With the 2017 Arnold Classic season about to kick off we thought it fitting to disclose some interesting facts about the competition’s first ever champion, Rich ‘The Dragon Slayer’ Gaspari:
- American bodybuilder Rich Gaspari made history by winning the first Arnold Classic in 1989.
- He started lifting weights as a teenager and became the first bodybuilder to introduce the concept of striated glutes to the bodybuilding stage. Rich became synonymous with the extremely vascular, hard and ripped condition many athletes displayed in the 1980s and 1990s.This incredible conditioning became his trademark during his bodybuilding career.
- He won the NPC Junior Nationals held in New Jersey in 1983 and turned Pro one year later by winning the light-heavyweight class at the IFBB World Amateur Championships in Las Vegas, setting a record as the youngest person to ever win the competition at only 21 years old.
- Rich was 3 time consecutive runner-up to 8 time Mr. Olympia Lee Haney from 1986 to 1988.
- The cash prize for first place at the first Arnold Classic in 1989 was $55,000 which was more than double what the winner of the prestigious Mr. Olympia received at the time.
- Rich got a nasty stomach virus in the middle of his contest prep which greatly contributed to his absolutely shredded condition of 93kg on stage.
- The ultra ripped Rich trained twice a day, on a gruelling double split routine for six days a week, using drop, forced and supersets to crank up the intensity.
An Example of a Rich Gaspari pre-contest split:
- Day 1 and 4: Chest, calves, abs | pm: Arms
- Day 2 and 5: Back, abs | pm: Shoulders
- Day 3 and 6: Legs | pm: Calves, abs
- Day 7: Rest
“Rich set a standard for muscularity and hardness in the 80s that really got everyone’s attention, a standard that everyone had to achieve in order to get up there and compete.”
– Lee Labrada, former IFBB Pro bodybuilder