Was Reg Park A Natural Bodybuilder?

Reg Park was Arnold Schwarzenegger’s idol and mentor. Park served as an inspiration to Arnold who became the most popular bodybuilder on planet Earth.

Due to the fact that Reg Park competed about 50 years ago many people use him as an example of what can be achieved naturally without the usage of anabolic steroids. We are here to tell you that those people are wrong and need to get their information in check.

Was Reg Park A Natural Bodybuilder?

Put down the pink glasses in order to see the truth.

Were steroids available during Reg Park’s era? 

Regardless of what your grandmother and the watered down articles say, anabolic steroids were first discovered in the early 30s and were used ever since.

Back in 1935 Karoly Gyula David, E. Dingemanse, J. Freud and Ernst Laqueur presented a powerful hormone contained in the tests. The hormone was revealed in a May 1935 paper On Crystalline Male Hormone from Testicles (Testosterone). 

The chemical synthesis of testosterone was achieved in August same year, when Butenandt and G. Hanisch published a paper describing “A Method for Preparing Testosterone from Cholesterol.”

Clinical trials on humans, involving either oral doses or injections of testosterone propionate, began as early as 1937.

Testosterone propionate is mentioned in a letter to the editor of Strength and Health magazine in 1938; this is the earliest known reference to an anabolic steroid in a U.S. weightlifting or bodybuilding magazine.

Reg Park’s first bodybuilding contest was Mr. Britain in 1949 which he won.

Conclusion: Steroids were available more than 10 years prior to Reg Park’s debut on a bodybuilding stage.

Reg Park Was As Big As Arnold Schwarzenegger

Reg Park was as big, if not bigger, than Arnold Schwarzenegger who has admitted to steroid use in a video. In 1970 Arnold and Park competed together in NABBA Mr. Universe and took respectively first and second place.

Conclusion: Reg Park competed well against well known steroid users in untested shows.

Reg Park Was The First Bodybuilder To Bench Press 500lbs

In April, 1954 Reg Park became the first bodybuilder to bench press 500lbs.

What was his secret?

The most legendary powerlifter of all time, Ed Coan, lifted 584 lbs on the bench press at a bodyweight of 220lbs. Ed Coan was also an enhanced lifter since he suffered a lifetime ban in the IPF powerlifting federation. This is just an example of what a 500 lbs bench actually is.

What are the chances that a lean bodybuilder will be able to bench press 500lbs at about 235-250lbs of bodyweight naturally when a legendary powerlifter like Ed Coan did ‘only’ 84 lbs more after a lifetime dedication and drug use?

Conclusion: Reg Park had insane strength that makes people question his natural status.

Reg Park Was 235- 250 lbs at 6’1”

The muscular development of  Reg Park would win many bodybuilding competitions even today. Most true natural bodybuilders weight about 190lbs at 6’1″ when they are in contest condition and have low body fat. Reg Park weighted 40lbs more.

Conclusion: Reg Park was crazy big and wasn’t a drug free bodybuilder.

David K, Dingemanse E, Freud J, Laqueur L (1935). “Uber krystallinisches mannliches Hormon aus Hoden (Testosteron) wirksamer als aus harn oder aus Cholesterin bereitetes Androsteron”. Hoppe Seylers Z Physiol Chem 233 (5–6): 281.doi:10.1515/bchm2.1935.233.5-6.281.
Hoberman JM, Yesalis CE (1995). “The history of synthetic testosterone”.Scientific American 272 (2): 76–81. doi:10.1038/scientificamerican0295-76.PMID 7817189.
Beyond Strong: Rip Reg Park”. Beyondstrong.typepad.com. 2007-11-23. Retrieved 2012-09-19.
A tribute by Arnold Schwarzenegger. Regpark.net. Retrieved 2012-09-19.


  1. Eric Lahmy

    I am sorry but I don’t agree. To say that Reg Park was under steroids because he was so good is biased because he was not so good. When he was between 235 and 250, he was not on competition shape but training for bulk. For the three Mr Universe he won, he weighed respectively 230 (1951), 214 (1958) and 225 (1965). This is not an outrageous weight for a quite tall 6’1’’ man.
    Regarding the testosterone, it was isolated in 1935 by two German chemists. The experiments you speak of (since 1937) were conducted mainly in Germany and were followed by a handful of high level scientists (the isolation of testosterone was crowned by a Nobel Prize in chemistry). Nobody could see effects on muscle development because you had to train with weights to see such a thing. Everybody was looking in the direction of changes in mood (aggressiveness) and other things like sexuality behavior, hairs, baldness, etc, etc. It is said that testosterone was used on the soldiers by Germans (during the first World War, it was alcool who was given to soldiers)… Even if you could read an article on testosterone topics before 940, that does not mean something, some original minds have tried well before that date to eat some bulls testicles to enhance their masculinity or some juices or homogenate of virile glands of apes and other poor animals for the same purpose. These thoughts were well know on this time and as soon as 1920, Einstein wrote that all the wars in the world were provoked by too much testosterone in the male organism! The first use documented of testosterone was by Russian athletes in 1952 (with Vladimir Kuts who became the dominant runner in the world before 1956. Kuts erased all the world records of Emil Zatopek but paid the price: he died 48 years old at 48 in 1975, and Zatopek, who was a natural runner, older than him by 6 years, outlived Kuts by 25 years, dying 78. The “athletic” use of testosterone filtered in the USA only in 1955 when the Russian doctor of the weightlifting team boasted that the American should never win in front of Russians and finished by telling the word “testosterone” to doctor Zeller, the American weightlifting physician. One year after, Ciba developed the “Dianabol” a top-secret product given only to putters (track and field) and weightlifters, and to protect this secret, the Americans spoke of a new technique of training, the isometrics! Every time one US shot putter or weightlifter beat a record, it was thanks to isometrics!! But in 1956, one bodybuilder, having heard about what was behind isometrics, try to find the product, could not (bodybuilders were considered bullshit and did not have access to dianabol) and after an extensive research, found bolden, a veterinary product and in 1957 went from 95kg (209 pounds) to 105kg (231) for 5’9’’ height, 4 inches less than Reg Park, in some months of hard training. Bill Pearl was arguably the first Mr. Universe steroid user. And Reg Park was a drug-free bodybuilder.

  2. Vesa

    Excactly. Besides rural england 1948, he got milk from his friends and extra food. There were no steroids. No need either. He ran 100 meters in 11 seconds, as a teenager. Also won 200m againts grown men. A natural gifted legend. I benched 160kg as a fat guy, with 8 months training. My dad military pressed 120kg, weighing 82kg. No prior lifting. But ten years working as a lumberjack. So please..open your mind a bit..

    1. Rob

      Drop the BS, your father didn’t military press 1.5 times his body weight by working as a lumberjack and you didn’t bench 160kg as a fat guy, and drop the rose colored glasses as well, Park was as natural as Arnold.

      1. Eric LAHMY

        Why do not believe somebody when he tells you what his father and himself were doing? You perhaps know better than himself? It is tiring to try to explain things to people who, being so “ungifted”, do not admit that they are gifted people. Reg Park trained, ate and slept well and was gifted and I believe him when he says he never took steroids, because he was too a family man, a good and decent man who never deceived anybody. And I believe Vesa when he tells me what he tells me about him and his father!

  3. Steve

    Yes he lived in rural England, but his dad owned a gym and manufactured weights. You can’t tell me this guy wouldn’t have known about or had access to current developments in the field including steroids.

  4. slorter

    Early pictures of him with Steve Reeve most likely natural but the ones with Arnold he was on the gear and so was Arnold!

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