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1950s Bodybuilding Legend Bob Hinds

By Strength Oldschool

Not much information has been known on this superb bodybuilder from the mid to late 1950's, known by the name of Bob Hinds. However, very recently I have came across additional information which has resulted in the update of this article.

The terms "THICK", "SLABS OF MUSCLE", "RIPPED" and "EXPLODING VEINS" come to mind when seeing the heavily muscled 1950s physique of Hinds. 1950's Bodybuilders are meant to be natural but this man will make you think otherwise!

The photo below I came across online and it's one that I've never seen before. If anyone knows whom the Photographer is, please let me know for credit purposes or from which magazine it came from?

1950s Bodybuilder Bob Hinds

Yesterday, (Thursday, 21 September, 2023) I received a message from Bob Hinds son on the following Youtube video that I uploaded...

"My father, but I don't know him. Last I heard, he is an artist sculptor living in Santa Fe (Robert William Hinds). These pictures were taken right before I was born. I had a friend who insisted he must have taken steroids. According to my mother, he absolutely did not. He was very health minded, and she contributes his build to his Austrian descent (mom), and Scottish (dad). However, what you mentioned about the drugs addressing mental issues could have a small possibility. That's all I know. I will try to purchase the magazines you showed. I share this info since it seems we are researching and wondering the same. I didn't know I had a brother named Isaac." ~ Bob Hinds son

Upon knowing Hinds full name I decided to do some research today (Friday, 22 September, 2023).

Hinds full name is Robert William Hinds, a World War 2 veteran, born in Norwalk, Connecticut, USA, in 1924. Norwalk is a city located in Western Connecticut, United States, in southern Fairfield County, on the northern shore of the Long Island Sound. Norwalk lies within both the New York metropolitan area and the Bridgeport metropolitan area.

From the 1957 Muscle Builder Magazine - January, Volume 7, No. 6. it states the following information... (see below photo).

1957 Muscle Builder Magazine - Bob Hinds

Bob Hinds was practically unknown until a year ago (this would have been 1956).

Hinds had trained with weights for 8 years prior to 1957 (1949) and did not train at a public gym but instead had trained at home.

In 1957, Hinds was 32 years young, living in Connecticut and earning his living as Commercial Illustrator. He was married with a child and did not begin training with weights until age 24 (around 1949). At 24, he was 5ft 8 1/2" tall and weighed a muscular 205 lbs bodyweight.

Hinds was always a husky and strong kid, an all around athlete who specialised in Football and who could run the 100 yard dash in 10 seconds flat!

While being married with a child to raise and working full time within the art profession during his early to mid 20's, Hinds had noticed his body changing for the worse and so he began to train with weights within the comfort of his home. Over the next 7 years Hinds trained alone and built an incredible physique, purely for the pleasure of training and keeping fit only.

"I never thought I was exceptional, weight training was merely a means of keeping fit as far as I was concerned and it wasn't until I began training at Abe's that I had any pictures taken or thought about entering contests." ~ Bob Hinds

Hinds work as an Illustrator enabled him to travel to New York where he learned about Abe Goldberg's gym. Goldberg was impressed with Hind's physique which could easily be seen from underneath his clothes.

Hinds clearly had exceptional arm genetics with thickly muscled upper and lower arms which exuded power. It's amazing how someone with that type of physique can go relatively unknown from the public eye.


From the Muscle Memory website, it states that Hinds competed only on two occasions, all during 1956.

  • 1956 Mr America (AAU): 8th place. Awarded 3rd for "Most Muscular" - Beaten by Art Harris (1st) and Ray Schaefer (2nd).
  • 1956 Universe (AAU): Short class, 2nd place.

There was quite a line up for that 1956 Mr America contest. Here are the placings:

1. Ray Schaefer
2. Ron Lacy
3. Gene Bohaty
4. Art Harris
5. Vic Seipke
6. Dean Higuchi
7. Harry Johnson
8. Robert Hinds
9. Tim Sweeney
10. Joe Lazzaro
11. Pete Ganios
12. George Jones
13. Bruce Randall
14. John Leahy
15. Lou Degni
16. Edward Chrupcala
17. Joe Mauri
18. Gene Wells
19. R Berenguer
20. Tom Sansone
21. Constantine Kosiras
22. Frederick Coe
23. Len Bosland

Robert Hinds appeared within only a few Magazines...

1956 Iron Man Magazine - November, Volume 16, No. 3.

1956 IronMan Magazine - Bob Hinds

The photo above: Bob Hinds on the right and Harry Johnson on the left. This photo was taken in the summer of 1956 at the gym and grounds of Bill Colonna at Norfolk, Virginia.

1959 Iron Man Magazine - JanuaryVolume 18No. 4.

1959 IronMan Magazine - Bob Hinds


As to whether Hinds was "Natural" or not, personally I would assume no, given how much muscle and how vascular he was. Just look how thick his bicep veins were!!

1950s Bodybuilding Legend Bob Hinds

Here is an article except from Jerry Brainum...

"In the past, prominent vascularity was rare in bodybuilding competition. While some muscles, such as the biceps, did show a vein or two, you didn’t see the vascularity so abundant today—yet another reason it’s associated with drug use. Vince Gironda, one of the greatest bodybuilding competitors ever, once told me that he often lost to far less muscular bodybuilders because of his then-rare high vascularity. Most bodybuilders in the late ’40s and ’50s just didn’t show many veins. It made a guy like Vince stand out—which at that time wasn’t good. “The judges just didn’t know what to do with me, so they would place me third or fourth to men who were far less muscular than me,” Vince said.

Another bodybuilder with the same problem was Bob Hinds. I recall viewing a photo of him on the cover of Iron Man around 1959, when he was at his physical peak. His vascularity was astonishing, easily rivaling any of the current bodybuilding competitors. Yet like Gironda, Hinds suffered the same discouraging fate in competition. His highest placing in the Mr. America contest was eighth in 1956, although he did place third in the voting for the most-muscular award. He stopped competing not long after that." ~ Jerry Brainum, Iron Man Magazine [source]

Some people will argue that because Hinds developed his physique during the 1950's, then he must have been natural! I would love to believe this but unfortunately I don't. Steroids may not have been widely available during the 1950's but "Testosterone" may have been. According to Jerry Brainum, Testosterone was given to people way back in 1941 to treat for "Depression". It wasn't realised that Testosterone had "Muscle Building" properties until ten years later!

So did Bob Hinds take Testosterone during the 1950s? I don't know nor can I prove it. But looking at Hinds physique, I find it hard to believe that he was natural. If he was, huge respect to the man.

Here's some brief information on the history of Steroids...

"...Methandrostenelone (trade name Dianabol) was not developed by Ciba until 1958 and both Tony Garcy and Lou Riecke have said they did not even learn of it until John Ziegler introduced it to them in 1960." ~ Iron Game History, Vol. 12, Issue 1 [source]

"1960 was the year in which Dr. John Ziegler convinced Tony Garcy and Bill March of the York Barbell Club and Lou Riecke of the New Orleans Athletic Club to begin using a form of training called isometric contraction and to begin taking a pill called Dianabol, and that the dramatic success of these three athletes ushered in the steroid era." ~ Steroids: An Historical Perspective by Terry Todd

Within the above video Jerry Brainum speaks out about why he thinks Pre-1960's Bodybuilders did not do Steroids. He also mentions "Ciba".

From Steroids: An Historical Perspective by Terry Todd, this small passage I found interesting...

"One of the things about bodybuilders in the pre-steroid era that stood out - leapt out, really - was their vibrant good health. Men like John Grimek, Bert Goodrich, Steve Klisanin, Armand Tanny, Ed Theriault, John Farbotnik, Bill Pearl and George Paine almost literally glowed with health and it was understood that their physical appearance was a manifestation of the care they took to exercise regularly, eat carefully and take sufficient rest...These days, by contrast, in order to reach the very top in bodybuilding and to produce the massive, vein-ridged bodies that are winning, it seems to be necessary to violate, not follow, many of the rules of good health."

I find it strange that Bill Pearl's (1930 - 2022) name was mentioned above, unless Iron Historians, lifters and fans of the Iron Game really believed that Pearl was "Natural" all his days? With respect to Terry Todd (RIP) and Bill Pearl's family and friends, it has been confirmed by those in the know that Pearl (RIP) was a user of steroids and I don't just mean a casual one off occurrence.

Certainly in his younger years, Pearl no-doubt was a natural lifter but at some point, he jumped on the drug scene which could probably easily be tracked by observing closely his physique development from year to year. Such figures to confirm this are Jerry Brainum and Steve Greene (Iron Vegan). See videos below.

For the record, both Jerry Brainum and Steve Greene developed personal relationships with Bill Pearl. Greene personally trained with Pearl throughout the 1970's and was witness to all that was going on.

From GETBIG.com, this photo appeared...

Dr. Gorgott - Bob Hinds - Dr. C. Whitehead

The following information was simply quoted from GETBIG, so it may not be accurate, but the photo shows, from left to right: Dr. Gorgott (spelling could be wrong), Bob Hinds and Dr. Craig Whitehead.

I haven't found any information regarding the Doctors online, and I'll need to do some research, but from the GETBIG post, "Gourgott died young and Whitehead went crazy...". But this may not be accurate as I said.

The fact that Hinds was friends with two Doctors suggests to me that he would have had access to Testosterone, but that's not fact, it's simply my opinion.


Again, there is virtually no information online regarding how Bob Hinds trained. However, upon accident, I did come across the following information...

"In my opinion there is nothing new, radical, or revolutionary, about TUL, CADENCE, PERIODIZATION, "SUPER-SLOW," or many of the other concepts currently in vogue. The great Bob Hinds, a bodybuilding competitor back in the late fifties/early sixties, was known to sometimes perform reps that took from 45-60 seconds each to complete, during sets. I knew a few individuals here in Chicago during the early sixties who trained so slowly that they looked as if they were training in a jar of molasses! I experimented with Bob Hind's approach on occasion back in the 60's. I distinctly recall that I was bored by that type of training, therefore I never used it as anything more than a "break" from the regular grind of training." ~ [source]

That is the only source of "extremely brief" information regarding how bodybuilding legend Bob Hinds trained! So he "sometimes" performed "Super Slow reps" which would take close to a minute to complete. Unfortunately, even that description isn't detailed enough, for example, was it just the negative that was performed slow or both the positive and negative? How many reps were done? How many sets? What exercises were used? Etc.

From the 1957 Muscle Builder Magazine - January, Volume 7, No. 6. it states the following regarding Hinds training..

Hinds trained long and hard using heavy weights and saw no reason to fool around with light weights. He never followed any set bodybuilding course. More information was stated but as this article was from a Joe Weider magazine, I refuse to believe that Hinds used the "Weider Training Principles", bullsh**!

Regarding the online "source" link above, which contains a lot of good information but one strange thing, no author name? After trying to track down the author I noticed there were several websites (see below) which were created by the same person but again, no author name?

  • Website one (The author mentions working around Sergio Oliva, training at the  Duncan YMCA in 1965 under the careful eye of Bob Gajda, so since I know several lifters from that time frame and area, who also spent time with Sergio, I'll therefore do some fact checking!)
  • Website Two (Author going by the name of Herb April but I couldn't find anything online regarding the name Herb April?)
  • Website Three (Heavy Zen Press)

After tracing who owned the website (modernronin.com) I was led to a person who lives in San Antonio, Texas. But that may not be the person who wrote the articles on the above websites.


Suposidly in his prime (late 1950s), Robert Hinds weighed a ripped 215 lbs and he was capable of pumping his arms up to a massive 19" plus! His arms measured 18.5" COLD!

The rest of his measurements were as follows:

Chest: 49"
Thighs: 26"
Calves: 18"

Hinds never smoked or drank alcohol and ate very clean and healthy. He enjoyed steak, fresh vegetables and fruit, whole wheat bread and milk.


"When my wife and I go out I'm always looking at my watch and wondering when I can get back. To make art you have to be devoted to your work." ~ Robert Hinds

Robert Hinds wasn't just a bodybuilder, he was and is a deeply passionate artist. He was fortunate to have a successful Graphics career before moving to Europe to study casting Techniques in Italy and Bologna. He made the transition from traditional drawing and painting to producing figurative bronze sculptures that are collected throughout the world.

Producing art was like taking a breath for Hinds. He was and probably still is compulsive, to the point of waking up at night and having to work to please his creative desire. He works all the time and can be found in his art studio.

"I'm not doing it for anyone else. I'm doing it because I have to do it." ~ Robert Hinds

Hinds spent 5 years studying Illustration at Los Angeles Art Centre School. Then he began his career in New York City as a designer / illustrator. He then spent the next 15 to 20 years working with Art Directors and taking on commissions for example, The New York Times. He would later become an Art Director himself working for Wildwood Printing company, located in New Jersey.

Due to not feeling fulfilled by his Illustration work, he decided to pursue his passion for Sculpture and gave up his career to travel across Europe. The next 10 years Hinds would gain valuable exposure.

Hinds traveled to places such as Rome, Venice and Italy but lived in Spain, on the Costa del Sol. As an Illustrator, he liked the work of Thomas Hart Benton. He was also influenced by the Surrealist movement.

In 2008, during an Interview with Hinds by Lawrence Matthews, it was stated Hinds was living in Santa Fe and was 82 years old. However, if Hinds was born in 1924, he would actually have been 84 years old. So was Hinds born in 1924 or 1926? He was also described as "vigorous" in health and that he used to be a competitive weightlifter. Note: Not a bodybuilder!

Not sure how recent the photo is below but it pictures a much older Robert William Hinds. Possibly from 2012, where he would have been aged 86.

An Older Robert William Hinds - Bodybuilding Legend and Artist

It was noted upon my research that Hinds used the theme of "Survival" within his art.

"Survival. Keep your sanity and survive." ~ Robert Hinds

"Just look at the world and what man is doing to himself." ~ Robert Hinds

The term "Survival" makes me think of Hinds time spent during World War 2. And when he mentions "sanity", it also makes me think of his friend Dr. Craig Whitehead, who supposedly went crazy!

The fact that Hinds always needed to be busy working on his art was possibly due to the fact that it calmed his inner demons and made him somewhat happy. But that's just my opinion. I did not know the man and can only speculate.

Below are links to resources I used to obtain some of the above information, including a link to Hinds personal art website.

Interview with Robert William Hinds
World War 2 Reference

I was notified today (Sunday, 24 September) that Robert Hinds unfortunately passed away about 5 years ago. So that means he died around 2018, age 92 or 94, depending on his date of birth. I do not have an exact date of death nor birth day. This news was a real shame as I planned to contact Hinds. He would have been a fountain of knowledge regarding bodybuilding from the 40's, 50's and 60's.

Thank you for taking the time to read this article. If you happen to know "factual" information on Bob Hinds regarding his diet, how he trained, what he was like as a person, etc then please post your comments at the links below:

Facebook RIP Post

If you love Vintage Bodybuilding Magazines like me and appreciate all the old school bodybuilders from the past, be sure to check out my Vintage Muscle Magazines playlist section on Youtube!

Take care and keep training hard folks!

Strength Oldschool

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