John Grimek’s Bodybuilding Contest History

Posted on Tuesday, November 3rd, 2015 by John Wood

Here’s John Grimek showing his winning form and hardware after taking first in the 1948 Mr. Universe contest (defeating Steve Reeves in the process!) Most bodybuilders are lucky to win one contest in their careers but Grimek finished first in EVERY contest he ever entered. Here’s a look at the full list:

1939 – York Perfect Man
1940 – AAU Mr. America
1941 – AAU Mr. America
1946 – Most Muscular Man in America
1948 – NABBA – Mr. Universe
1949 – Mr. USA

After winning the AAU Mr. America contest for the second year in a row, they passed a rule that one could not enter it again once they won – the powers that be figured that if they didn’t take this step, Grimek would just keep on winning them.

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Author: John Wood. All contents, including images and text, copyright © 2005-2019 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc. Not to be reproduced without permission. All rights reserved. We will most likely grant permission but please contact us if you would like to repost. IMPORTANT: Equipment and books, courses etc. pictured in blog posts are generally not available for sale unless specifically noted.

John Grimek

Posted on Saturday, March 17th, 2012 by John Wood

John C. Grimek, from Perth Amboy, New Jersey, has the unique distinction of being one of “the greatest” in pretty much every aspect of strength training that you can think of…

As you can probably tell, Grimek was a champion bodybuilder and won every contest he ever entered. This included the AAU Mr. America contest twice (in 1940 and 1941 – the only man to do so) and Mr. Universe in 1948. Grimek was a fixture on the cover of Strength and Health magazine and either the subject of, or the author of dozens of training articles.

…but he also wasn’t just all show, Grimek was as strong as he looked. Grimek represented the United States at 1936 Olympics in Berlin (where he accomplished the highest American total) and put up impressive numbers in many different lifts.

To give you a few good examples, Grimek could easily rip phone books, lift 11-3/4 pounds on the “Weaver Stick” and actually worked up to supporting a thousand pounds in the overhead press position.