IronMan, Vol 7, No 5, Page 7, est. Fall 1947

Steve Reeves - "Mr. America" 1947

by Peary Rader

We are happy to present this interesting story of Steve Beeves the new "Mr. America". The information contained in this article was obtained from the man who has trained Steve through almost all his exercising career, Ed Yarick. so the information can be considered quite authentic.

On the night of June 29, 1947 at the Auditorium of the Lane High School in Chicago about 3,000 people witnessed the crowning of a new and sensational "'Mr. America". Most of the audience left the Auditorium amazed that such a muscularly perfect speciman existed. It was unbelievable that anyone could have such huge muscular size and yet retain the perfect balance in proportions, the excellent separation, that Steve Reeves displayed. Here was a man who combined the massive muscular development that appeals so much to barbell men with the broad shoulders and slender hips that the average man prefers. Here was a man who not only had a magnificent physique, but also combined it with a very handsome face crowned with beautiful jet black, curly hair. a magnetic personality and a flashing smile that showed his ivory white teeth.

We have never seen a man who looked finer in his street or dress clothes than Steve Reeves. Everywhere he goes people, turn to stare at this handsome young giant with the very broad shoulders and the erect carriage and lithe step. Steve Reeves was born January 21, 1926 of Irish Scotch and English descent. He grew up as any normal, healthy boy would with an interest in general sports and play. However, he acquired a desire to be larger and more powerful at an early age and missed no opportunity to increase his knowledge on any subject concerning bodybuilding.

Steve was not introduced to barbell exercise until the age of 16 when he visited the home of a friend, Joe Gamina. Some of the boys at Joe's house were having a wrist wrestling contest and Steve, knowing that he was much larger and heavier than Joe, decided to try himself. Much to his surprise he was turned down. Upon inquiry concerning this turn of events, Joe told him of his weight training and showed Steve his outdoor gym and weights in his back yard. Steve at once realized that here was what he had been looking for and immediately began training with Joe.

The progress he made from the first was very inspiring. and, having a fine framework for a well developed physique, Steve secretly started training for the top reward -- the "Mr America" title. Barbells became to him what baseball, football, etc. are to other young fellows. Steve literally lived for his training. He began buying all the magazines he could find, both new and back issues, with information on bodybuilding and today has a superb collection.

Steve realized his need for the best information available if he was to make the greatest gains toward a perfect physique. To this end he sought out Ed Yarick who has one of the oldest and most successful barbell gyms in California. Steve placed himself under Ed's expert supervision for several months. Then was away for a time only to return again to the gym to resume training. After two years training here, he enlisted in the army. During this period he had gained from 166 pounds to 190 pounds of super physique at 6 feet in height.

After six months training, Reeves was shipped to the Philippines. While there he contracted Malaria. He lost 20 pounds bodyweight from his first attack. Thereafter he had 7 more attacks. This placed him in very bad physical condition. It was shortly after this that he was sent to Japan. It was here that he was able to obtain a barbell set from the Japanese. For the first time in many months he was able to train again. He knew that his training would help him develop resistance to disease and return his lost bodyweight.

It was just 2 years and 2 days after he entered the service until he was discharged. When he returned home he went at once to Yarick's gym and trained with Ed again. Here he remained training hard until one month before he went to Chicago for the big "Mr. America" Contest.

Little had been heard of Steve until he won the "Mr. Pacific Coast'" contest staged in Portland of last December. Steve has always been very regular in his workouts ana any misses were noticed by Ed and the other pupils. One Sat. of December '46, Steve failed to show up for his workout. Ed thought this very irregular but thought he would wait until the next workout period before inquiring into the matter. On the next workout period for Steve, Tuesday night in he walked with two fine trophies for having won the "Mr. Pacific Coast" contest in Portland No one but Steve's Mother and a friend, Bob Weilick, who went with him, knew where he had gone. This is quite characteristic of Steve. He would much rather make his plans quietly and leave the shouting until after his victory.

Not knowing that he was eligible for the '"Mr. California" contest until too late, Steve did not enter. However he did enter the "Mr. Pacific Coast" contest held in Los Angeles. This was for the 1947 title. This he won also. Eric Pedersen, who won the "Mr California" contest placed second to Steve in this as he also did in the ""Mr. America" contest, the two of them tying in the latter contest and Steve winning by vote of the judges. Steve was quite confident of winning the "'Mr. America" contest and knew that he had trained the best he and his teacher knew how to win it.

Steve's mother has cooperated in every possible way to help her boy realize his ambition by giving him all possible encouragement, helping him keep his training and cooking the things he wanted the way he liked them. How fortunate other boys would be if their mothers took as much interest in their training efforts. She is very happy about Steve's triumphs and thankful for the kindness shown to her son wherever he has been. Steve is not fussy to cook for and likes plenty of salads, meat vegetables and milk. Previous to the training period for the contest, Steve drank one quart of milk per day, but while training for his big event, he greatly increased the quantity of milk consumed, realizing its value. He does not eat white bread, white flour products, candy or white sugar. He likes a lot of fresh fruit, and uses honey for sweets. He always gets lots of sleep each night for he needs plenty of rest when working out so heavily. His mother tells us that he has never had to have a doctor for he has always been in perfect health. His teeth are very beautiful and have not a single cavity.

Other than his training with barbells, which is his passion, he likes horse-back riding and likes to visit his aunt and uncle who have a ranch in Montana. He also likes swimming and sunbathing and has a very beautiful tan and a fine textured skin denoting vital health.

Steve has no favorite barbell exercises. He just likes lots of all kinds of exercise and hard work because he knows that only by hard work can one succeed. He has followed many programs during his 5 years of exercising but just before he left for the '"Mr. America" contest he was performing the following very strenuous program:

3 sets prone presses with wide grip.
3 sets of incline presses (a favorite invention of Ed Yarick)
2 sets of side presses.
2 sets of front raises.
2 sets of curl and press 3 sets of chins behind neck.
3 sets of Latissimus rowing on 45 degree pulleys. .
2 sets of triceps curls on the dorsi bench. .
2 sets of bent arm curl behind neck 2 sets of triceps bench curl.
6 sets of incline benc'h curls.
4 sets of squats.
4 sets of leg curls for leg biceps.
4 sets of calf raises on leg press mac'hine.
2 sets of good-morning exercise on roman chair.

Steve has never gone in for Olympic lifting in any form being interested only in bodybuilding. In his exercises he has worked up to 20 reps in half squats with 400 pounds. He did 6 repetitions with 70 pound dumbells on the incline curls. 20 reps in the calf raises with 450 pounds.

His before and after measurements are as follows:

Weight166 lbs213 lbs
Height6 feet6 feet
Chest normal3749½
Chest expanded39½51

Although Steve has been a barbell man 5 years, yet only 3 years of this have been spent in hard training under Yarick. He is sure to improve a great deal more as the years pass. With his broad shoulders and narrow hips, he has acquired the nick name of "Lil Abner". We wish hi the best of everything in a life that is just beginning for him.


- STEEVE REEVES, "Mr. America" displays his great breadth of shoulders in this beautiful study by Constantine. This young man has the ideal type of physique admired by so many people.

- STEVE REEVES won the "Best Back' award with the terrific development shown in photo above. Photo by Ryan of Chicago

- It was near midnight when this photo was taken and the girls were getting pretty tired but they were properly impressed with Steve's physique for the photographer. Photo by Ryan of Chicago

- Steve shows his powerful legs, arms and chest to advantage in this graceful pose. This young man has received the greatest honor that America can bestow upon one of her youth -- "Mr. America" a title that brings with it a great obligation to meet as the ideal type of American Manhood. Other nations will recognize in him the type of super men we are developing.

- This is one of Steve's favorite poses and always brings applause from the audience because of its impressiveness when performed on the stage.

- This beautiful side pose shows Steve's powerfully developed arms and legs. Steve is young and will greatly improve to become one of the finest built men of all time. We will show other photos of him from time to time showing his continued improvement. All large photos by Constantine.

If you find these articles interesting and useful, please