Muscle & Fitness
Steve Reeves Image Credit: Muscle & Fitness
Steve Reeves Image Credit: Muscle & Fitness

How Steve Reeves Built The Most Aesthetic Physique

Steve Reeves— 1950 Mr. Universe and cinematic Hercules—built the most aesthetic physique of all time. Here’s how.

Greg Merritt

THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE— the most aesthetic male physique of all time. Nearly seven decades after he last posed on a dais, Steve Reeves is still champ. In fact, as a reaction against the modern bigger-is-better ethos, he’s only solidified his status. Today, the original Hercules is the archetype for the classic physique division. Long ago and with only simple tools and food, Reeves constructed history’s most perfect body. How did he do it, and what lessons can be applied to your workouts today?


He seemed like something conjured up in an artist’s workshop. Joe Weider effused, “Steve Reeves was the male ideal of physical perfection.” After witnessing the 21-year old Reeves shortly before he won the 1947 Mr. America, a writer in Your Physique magazine (the precursor of FLEX) raved, “I, personally, proclaim him to be the finest specimen of American manhood I have ever seen in a kid of his years. He hasn’t a single weak spot in his make-up…He seemed from out of this world, just as though a super-man had suddenly appeared on a pedestal.”

When he won the 1950 Mr. Universe over future legend Reg Park, he was only 24, but the 6'1" 220-pounder had reached the pinnacle of bodybuilding, competitively and aesthetically. Because his face was as perfectly chiseled as his physique, Hollywood noticed. However, despite a few small movie and TV rol

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