Muscle Builder, Vol 9, Num 3, Page 10, December 1957

"MR. AMERICA" makes with the muscles

This is the story of Ron Lacy, a golden superman whose magnificently sculptured body has won for him the Mr. America and Most Muscular Man titles for 1957

By Charles Coster

THE lights of Daytona Beach's beautiful Peabody Auditorium dimmed and a feeling of hushed excitement pervaded the large theater. As the stage lights went up, a group of handsome young bodybuilders filed quietly across the stage, and the annual Mr. America contest was begun.

Here was the cream of the 1957 crop of America's best built men - men who had spent the long winter months whipping their bodies into peak-of-contest condition. Each was burnished a rich copper bronze, having come to this Florida paradise several days earlier to soak up the sun along the miles-long beach.

We are very proud of all of them as we are especially proud of the chosen one - a golden blond superman whose magnificently sculptured body was outstanding from the moment he walked on stage.

Ron Lacy's magic caught the audience from the first. He strode to the podium with the easy grace of the trained athlete, he posed gracefully and modestly, going smoothly from one pose to another. It does no disservice to his worthy competitors to say that Ron held that large audience in the palm of his hand throughout his tenure on stage.

They call him "Speck" Lacy for a very good reason. Our newest Mr. America has just about as many freckles as he has muscles, and like all freckle-faces he has that honest, open, ingenuous expression that we all find so heartwarming.

It is said that rarely does one find a very freckled person who is not in super-abundant health. "Speck" Lacy is certainly no exception - he simply catches your breath with his tremendous vitality and zest for life. It just seems to burst from every pore. As one spectator observed, "That guy zings!"

Just a few years ago Ron Lacy was placing second in various California contests, a happy-go-lucky guy whose very modesty in matters physique-wise prevented him from taking any contest very seriously.

Earle Liederman, who had seen Ron in competition, said, "Ron Lacy will be great if the "muscle bug" ever bites him!" Then, just about two years ago the bug did bite, and Ron's trained in dead earnest ever since.

He had never touched a barbell until a bare five years ago. At that time he met the great Steve Reeves and became inspired to emulate this ideal bodybuilder. Although Ron at 5'8" is a good five inches shorter than Steve, they have much in common. Certainly they both can claim a monopoly on magnificent legs. As a matter of fact, even when Ron was placing second in the Mr. California, the Mr. Southern California, and the Mr. America contests of 1955 and '56, he won "best legs" awards.

Our newest Mr. America is a man of honesty and sterling character, and in matters of health he epitomizes the highest standards of bodybuilding, for he practices what he preaches and preaches what he practices. As a professional physical therapist Ron Lacy is connected with the University of Kentucky's sports department. Here he works closely with every university sports director, he himself being an expert swimmer, jumper and runner.

But he has a truly enviable position which enables him to teach the benefits of weight-training not only as a sport itself, but its value as an auxiliary to other championship sports. Few bodybuilders have such a golden opportunity for such specialized service to our beloved iron game.

The statistics on Ron Lacy read: Age 27; height 5' 8½"; weight 188. His Mr. America measurements are: Neck 16½; chest 47; waist 30; biceps 17½; thighs 26; calves 17½. And here is how he got them.

You will note from this very excellent routine that Ron uses super-sets, peak contraction, flushing and cheating methods and all the other modem theories that have been developed by the Weider Research Clinic. Although Ron is not specifically a Weider pupil-nevertheless all his training has been done with the superior Weider principles in modem barbell training.

(Arms and Pectorals)

Most of his arm work is done in six to ten reps and in three to five sets, each exercise.

First he performs his pet arm exercise, the two-arm barbell curl; he follows this with the single-arm isolation curl with a dumbbell to bring peak contraction of the biceps.

At the conclusion of these exercises be goes into barbell rowing motions, winding up with several. sets of chinning on the horizontal bar.

Next are the triceps, and Ron gets a good deal of resistance from his bench presses (even though this movement is especially for the pectorals). He does 3 to 5 sets of 6 to 10 reps of the bench press, beginning with 225 pounds, working upward.

Next come standing presses with dumbbells, although he occasionally varies this by using a barbell.

The incline barbell press is another exercise he does for both pecs and triceps, using upward to 200 pounds for the usual six to 10 reps and three to five sets, depending on how his energy is at the time.

With the lat machine, Ron does downward presses for special triceps work, holding his elbows close to his sides while concentrating on the triceps action. He also performs standing French presses for the triceps.


For his deltoids Lacy does dumbbell raises, sidewise as well as forward, using 35 pounds for the side laterals and 45 for the forward. These are done in sets of 5 each with 10 reps.


Back training is accomplished with two exercises; one, the ordinary dead-lift with legs stiffened and the other while under the lat machine which he pulls downward until the bar touches the upper back. (Of course the lats are strongly affected by the several sets of chins performed earlier). Ron performs 5 sets of 10 reps of the lat machine pulldown.


Ron does his abdominal work on a table edge and upon an incline board. During the table work he keeps his hips near the edge grasps sides of the table and then raises his legs upward to straight over-chest position to lower them until his feet almost touch the floor.

This furnishes good work for his lower abdominals.

His upper abdominals are affected by doing situps on a low incline board. He performs these movements with great vigor. With each of these exercises he does but one set of 50 reps.


Rod's favorite exercises for the legs are the Reeves squat, where the barbell is held at upper chest throughout the exercise; the regular squat; and the Hack squat, in which the bar is held behind the back. In Hack squats he generally uses 150 pounds while the straight squat or Reeves squat is done with 205 pounds. Each exercise is done for 3 to 5 sets of up to 20 reps.

His leg curl exercises are done upon a special apparatus. Lying on his abdomen and with his heels braced against the padded crossboard, he bends his legs upward as far as possible, thereby flexing the thigh biceps. The resistance he uses varies with his energy, but he frequently leg curls 75 pounds or more for 10 to 20 reps.

The leg press comes next on his program and he does this with special leg pressing apparatus, using between 400 and 600 pounds in 3 sets of up to 20 reps.

Ron's calf work is usually done with the leg press machine, and partially with the assistance of a dumbbell. In the former he lies under the board with his flat feet upon the lower side, to then press the board upward with the strength of his toes only. This motion knots up the calf muscles and tires them if sufficient resistance is used. He usually works against 300 pounds.

The second calf exercise is with dumbbells, in which he holds one in the hand corresponding to the leg being exercised. He prefers this one-leg concentration, and although the dumbbell shown in the picture is a light one (it was light for photographic purposes only), he uses a weight that will tire the calf in 20 reps.

Note that in this movement he leans slightly against a bar. This removes the necessity of fighting to keep one's balance.

Ron practices much heel-and-toe walking, and this in itself is one reason why he has such remarkable calves.

MUSCLE POWER and MUSCLE BUILDER magazines acknowledge with gratitude the splendid cooperation of the Chamber of Commerce of Daytona Beach, Florida. Without their tireless efforts this contest could not have been so successful.

Daytona Beach was a perfect choice for the contest, for balmy air, sunny skies and cool nights made both the Senior National Lifting competition as well as the Mr. America contest a time to be remembered.

Special salutes are due that excellent photographer, Sam Satterwhite, whose long range camera caught aspects of the performances that ordinary cameras cannot.

To Miss Janice Flagg, all high greeting for her thorough compilation of information; to Mr. Stanley Nass, the meet director and to Mr. Ed Piccard, the indefatigable publicity director of Daytona Beach. Here's hoping we have the contest there again - and soon.


- Barbell Curl; Dubbell Isolation Curl; Barbell Rowing; Chinning; Bench Press; Incline Bench Press; Triceps Pressdown; French Press; Front Laterals; Side Laterals;

- Deadlift; Pulldown on Lat Machine; Sit Ups; Leg Raises; Reeves Squat; Regular Squat; Hack Exercise; Thigh Curl; Leg Press; Toe Raises On Leg Press Machine; Standing Raise On Toes;

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