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About Me

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  1. The following article was originally published in the March, 1966 issue of Iron Man entitled "The Boys From Belleville". Phil Grippaldi may not be a physique title winner, but he certainly has a magnificent physique that is all solid muscle, and has some of the largest, if not the largest, muscular arms of any teenager in the world, with 20 inches, which he possessed at the age of 16. He amazed the audience and the officials when he came out to lift at the Teenage Nationals this year. Such size, muscularity and power is just too unbelievable in a teenager! His chest of 50" tapers to a waist of 32. Big biceps don't grow on trees, but in Belleville, New Jersey they grow, and grow, and grow on two young giants. Phil, the small giant, has 20-1/4 inch arms. Mike, the large economy giant, has 22 inch arms. Mike is also the bashful giant, allowing no measurements or exercise or physique shots at the moment because his arms are down from their usual 23 inches. Phil Grippaldi, whom followers of Lifting News know from his string of successes in Olympic lifting. Phil is fast becoming a legend. Mike Guibilo, who is known only to his intimates and to others by a few news items in the strength magazines. Mike is fast becoming a myth. IronMan, which deals only in facts, enjoys smashing legends and exploding myths. So we sent out ace myth-buster to Belleville to have a look-see. He reports that unless measuring tapes shrink on the long trip from California to New Jersey, the legend is truth and the myth more fact than fiction. The tape had discovered its first ever 19-inch arm in Chicago, but it was hardly prepared for the massive chunk of muscle that Phil Grippaldi calls his arm. Phil Grippaldi and Mike Guibilo are training partners. Mike is a fabulous giant of a man being 6'4" and weighing 248 pounds and more at times. His arm goes as high as 23 inches, with a chest of over 58 at times when weighing 265. His thighs at that weight are 26 with calves of 18. He has a terrific forearm of 18" and as far as we know has never been beaten at wrist wrestling. Mike became interested in weight training at about eleven, but didn't get really started until he was thirteen. Now, at about 21, his huge upper body tapers down to a tiny 32 inch waist. Mike is very religious in the regularity of his training and works extremely hard every day. He has never permitted anyone to take his photo stripped but has promised some photos for IronMan soon. But take a look at the pictures of Phil (photo above). The right arm is 20, the left is 20-1/4, and it's hard muscle too. Phil had been working them for over an hour before the pictures were taken, as he's determined to get them up to 20-1/2 cold by summer's end. He can throw a 49-1/2 inch chest, a 32 waist and 25-1/2 inch thighs into the measurement pile to go along with his arms. Things were not always so for Phil. When he started working out at 14 ("I wanted to get bigger"), he spread his skinny 140 pounds on a 5'4" frame. He made steady increases with no real sticking points. By the time he was 16, he already had a 20 inch arm at 5'6" in height. But he weighed a fleshy 215 and he was bulky but not hard, big but not shapely. Now at 5-8 and about 200, he has size, shape, hardness - and still a 20" arm. Phil works under a handicap of sorts; he confines his bodybuilding to the summertime when lifting is dormant in his area. It also happens to be the time when his coach, Butch Toth of the Keasby Eagles closes the gym and goes fishing. Butch looks down his nose at power lifting and passionately dislikes bodybuilding. So Phil has only a hurried three month program to work on his arm goal as he has to let his arms drop back to about 19 inches to control the weight properly in the clean. In spite of the arm kick, Phil has no aspirations as a bodybuilder; he's too good an Olympic lifter for that. In the year and a half he's been lifting, he has entered close to a dozen meets. He has one third place, one second, and the rest firsts to his credit. Only three of these meets were teenage meets. His best individual lifts (practice or meet) were all made in the same meet - 305, 370, 340, for a 915 total. So, it's obvious that Phil is a competition lifter. His goal in lifting for the coming year is a 950 total. He could also make it as a power lifter, although he's never entered that kind of competition. He has bench pressed 430, squatted with 505 (he did 420 when still 15), and can dead lift 600. If all put together in one meet, he would have beaten the present Junior National champion by 90 pounds. But don't get the idea that it is only his uncommon strength and development that set Phil apart from other teenagers (these pictures were taken one month after his 19th birthday). He has the drive and enthusiasm expected of youth, but he also has a maturity that belies his years. His exposure and travel in competition have helped; but it's his frank assessment of his achievements and his clear-eyed setting of attainable goals that impress. There is no conceit, no dwelling on his accomplishments - just a stating of them as a prelude to greater achievements to come. And there is no apology for limited goals. When they are achieved (and with Phil you get the idea it's only a question of when, not if ), there will be others. And they'll undoubtedly be met too, because Phil sets his sights on what he knows is possible for him and leaves the wishes to others. And what is that Grippaldi Arm Routine? It's borrowed from his coach, Mike Guibilo. Phil and Mike are workout partners; both have well equipped basement gyms where they work out alone or together. Mike sets up the torso routines for the two of them; Phil works out the leg routines. Phil's summer routine is split into a two day routine, six days a week. He uses 8 repetitions on all sets, feeling that this number is the best for him in in attaining a desirable amount of definition. He uses maximum weight in all sets to gain the utmost in size. Even though we have a picture of Phil doing a situp, he's a stranger to the board. He doesn't use it in bodybuilding, and he's a strict type of presser who hasn't found the need for additional abdominal strength to develop a whip-press. First Day Bent Arm Laterals. Press Behind Neck (seated, from bench press rack). 4 sets of alternate DB curls. 4 sets of DB peak contraction curls (photo above). 4 sets of French presses. The above is the afternoon workout. In the evening he tapers off with 8 sets of squats. Second Day 8 sets of Bent Arm Pullovers. 8 sets of seated alternate DB curls. 4 sets of barbell cheat curls. 4 sets of French presses. 4 sets of incline curls. Phil finds a problem in warming up his thick muscles; this is complicated by an old football knee injury which bothers him when lifting. He's given up football completely for lifting now. In competition or practice he finds he has to warm up at least 15 minutes, preferably 30. During the lifting season he warms up, works on the three lifts in order, for form then does high pulls, front squats, and squat cleans with increasing weight. Then if Butch isn't looking, he may work in a curl or two. Mike doesn't have a lifting coach looking over his shoulder. He is strictly a bodybuilder and has been since he was 13. Unlike Phil who was short and skinny when he started, Mike was tall and skinny - 5'11" and 130 pounds. He played school football but always there was bodybuilding - five days a week, usually two sessions a day, one spell of 3-1/2 years without a single break and never more than 3 or 4 days without a workout. A killing routine, but Mike has the results to show for his efforts. In the pictures of Mike and Phil together, Mike is wearing a sweater that seems to be bulky. But that bulk is all Mike and the sweater is stuffed with nothing but muscles. Mike is at a crossroads now. He is trying to decide whether to take the quick way to sudden glory via the professional contest or the slower amateur path first with its broader-based competition, greater coverage and more significant titles. In any event, he just finished a two month layoff because he felt he was growing stale. He was just now commencing a new routine to give greater emphasis to his legs which he admits do not match his torso. Even after his long layoff he could still claim a cold 22 inch arm, 32 waist, 25.5 thighs and 56.75 chest at 6'4" and 248 pounds. He has been about 15 pounds heavier but he feels that ultimately on his frame he can best carry a 22.5 inch cold arm and a 57.5 to 58 inch chest. Mike is only 20 now but has not set a definite period yet in which to achieve his goals. Perhaps the fact that he intends to marry shortly with a resultant change in workout routines makes him cautious about predictions. If determination and hard work count for anything, Mike is halfway there already. Look at Mike Guibilo's Training Routine before his layoff: He had a day routine that took 3.5 hours and an evening routine that took 1.5 hours - no talk, no long rest, just workout - 5 to 6 days a week. Day Routine 1. Bench press varying the position of the incline but not the weight or the sets which were always 3 with 8-10 reps each. He had 5 positions from flat on up through the four notches of his bench to nearly 90-degree incline. He has done a wide grip, touch and go bench press with 548 lbs). 2. Seated press behind neck (the basement ceiling is too low to permit him to stand, and besides, he feels he gets more or what he wants out of this way ), 4 sets, 6-8 reps, 350 lbs. 3. High pulls, 4 sets x 5 reps up to a maximum of 450. 4. Dumbbell curls (strict, as are all of his exercises for maximum benefit ), 8 sets, 8 reps, 68 pounders. 5. Cheat curls (the only exception to the strict maxim), 3 sets, 5 reps, 325 lbs. 6. Peak contraction curls between the legs, 5 sets, 8 reps, 68 pounds. 7. Bent arm pullovers. 8. Situps on the board, 1 set of 150-200 reps, bodyweight. Evening Routine 1. Sometimes squats, depending on how he feels. 2. Kneeling military press (remember that ceiling? ), 3 sets, 2-3 reps, 300 pounds. 3. Peak contraction curls again, but only with 55 pounds. 4. Straight arm pullovers, 4 sets, 5 reps, 285 lbs Both workouts, 5 to 6 days a week. Mike has found over the years that he could make gains for about 6-8 months before reaching a sticking point. Then he'd change routines and continue on to the next sticking point. While the above routine is highly specialized, remember it was the latest of many Mike has devised for his own needs and desires. His torso development seems unbalanced, but Mike has no intentions of entering contests until he can present overall balance. Until then the myth of Mike will grow, and grow, and grow.
  2. If they were going to make a movie about Michael Guibilo, it would be part - "Sopranos" and part - "Jersey Boys." A picture of young Guibilo says as much. He's wearing a tight gray sharkskin suit, the kind that The Four Seasons used to wear. But the tailoring reveals a freakishly large, bulging bicep. See, Guibilo was no diminutive front man. He was a 6-foot-4, 280-pound sledgehammer better suited to the dark corners of the world. In a few short years, he went from lead guitarist of a group called The Vibrations to bouncer at mob joints, to the guy who dismantled a safe with his bare hands during a Lakewood heist that made headlines. After that job, he switched teams. His access to the dark corners made him a valuable - and legendary - operative for lawmen in several states. * Photo above: Michael Guibilo, standing, third from left, played electric guitar and launched a band called The Vibrations, with friends (from left) Earl Wood, of Belleville, on the organ; Joe DelGuerico, of Belleville, on guitar; Butch DeSiena, of Newark, on saxaphone; and Jerry Capita, of Newark, on drums. The legend centers on his double life. He foiled death plots against a federal judge, a U.S. attorney and a Paterson cop. He worked his way into the underworld of gun traffickers and jewel thieves. But all along, he was robbing banks to augment his payments for being a snitch. When in jail, authorities would wire his cell - with his knowledge - to build cases against fellow inmates. Then he'd get out and the cycle would start over again. It went on that way for 20 years. * Photo above: The FBI by Ronald Kessler includes information on Michael Guibilo. A sample of which can be read here. The book can be purchased here. Guibilo's story begins in Belleville. It ends in the hospital ward of the federal penitentiary in Allenwood, Pa., on March 22, 2015, just three weeks before his 70th birthday. At Allenwood, he was serving a 90-year sentence for bank robberies in West Caldwell and Millburn, committed in 2003 and 2004. It was the 12th time he had been convicted of a felony. A few nights before he died, Guibilo was attacked in his cell while he slept (more info on the attack can be read here). His sternum was cracked and he suffered a massive head injury. During his recovery, he fell and hit his head in the dispensary and died. Guibilo's friends say it was a hit. Could have been the mob. Could have been the feds. Giubilo ratted on the first and knew too much about how the second operated. This is not the opinion of a bunch of wiseguys, or wiseguy wannabes. This is the general consensus of a retired urologist, a prominent attorney, a CEO, an Evangelical Church pastor and a retired cop who worked with Guibilo when he was an operative. * Photo above: Twiggy - Michael Guibilo - Denie Walters They gathered Monday night at the Abundant Life Worship Center in Springfield to hold a memorial service for Guibilo and talk about his many conflicting sides. "We wanted to wait until we got his ashes back from Allenwood," said Louis Di Bella, a retired urologist who knew Guibilo from childhood. The ashes arrived before Christmas. One theme of the service was Guibilo's brilliance. "He could do anything he set his mind to," Di Bella said. "He could have been anything." "He was the best there ever was," said Richie "Rocky" Barbato, a retired investigator who worked in the Bergen County Prosecutor's Office. "He was fearless." "We wanted to do a job on a gun ring in Florida that would have been the biggest gun job in history. These guys had assault weapons, grenade launchers, you name it. Mike was in with them, but my boss didn't want to do it," Barbato said. Another theme - believe it or not - was loyalty. "Mike didn't think of himself as a rat. He called himself an operative," said Joseph Cervasio, chairman of a business consulting firm. "When he switched sides, he gave them everything he had." "He was more interested in saving lives than anything else," said Ramazan Zuberi, a paralegal who was working to get Guibilo released because of declining health. Anthony Pope, one of the state's best-known defense attorneys, was also reviewing the case. "He predicted he would be murdered in prison," Pope said. "He said, 'You gotta get me out of here or they're gonna get me.' " When Guibilo was sentenced in October 2006 (photo below) in connection with the Essex bank jobs, he was a shell of himself. "He had heart disease, pulmonary disease, arthritis," Di Bella said. He once robbed banks to buy expensive suits and drive Corvettes or Lincolns, but he was, in 2003, using the money to pay medical costs, his friends say. In the end, as it happens many times, Guibilo found peace through faith. A 2006 story in The Star-Ledger about Guibilo's life as an informant got the attention of Joe Cancelliere, the pastor at Abundant Life. "When I was a kid in Belleville, I used to ride my bike by his house just to get a look at him," Cancelliere said. "I was getting into weightlifting then and I heard about this guy with 22-23 inch biceps." Cancelliere still has the body of a powerlifter and one of his church logos shows a Jesus, with superhero muscles, bearing the weight of an enormous cross. "God sends us people like us," he said. "So I went to see Mike (after he was sentenced). I said, 'God sent me to see if you need anything.' He lifted his hands up against the glass, and I put mine up there, and we prayed." That relationship continued three times a week for almost a decade until Guibilo's death. "I never physically touched Mike," Cancelliere said. "We always talked for hours by phone or through the glass. But I could see he was truly repentant. He wanted to get out and come work here with us." And so the legend continues. Part of what Cancelliere does is reach out to men in trouble, trying to find a path to redemption. They all know Guibilo's story. Good guy. Bad guy. Depending who you ask. But, in the end, just another guy looking for something else, looking for a way out. By Mark Dilonno Original Source of article. View here. Mark may be reached at mdiionno@starledger.com. Follow The Star-Ledger on Twitter @StarLedger and on Facebook.
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