Larry Scott dies at 75 – champion bodybuilder

Mr. Olympia Larry Scott

Mr. Olympia Larry Scott

On March 8th 2014 a legend in Bodybuilding passed away, and that legend was Larry Scott. I know many of you new to bodybuilding may not know who Larry Scott was, but I would like to describe to you the kind of inspiration Larry Scott had on my life and training, and hopefully through my description you too can continue to learn from this great Bodybuilding champion and human being.

When I started my training career at thirteen, the only bodybuilders I knew were guys like Lee Haney and Rich Gaspari. Being an advid muscle magazine reader, I would often run into some training articles, which were published by Larry Scott. As I read through all of these unique articles on training, I soon came to realize that Larry Scott was the first Mr. Olympia. It was through this method of magazine reading that I can to know who Arnold was and such. I knew who Lou Ferrigno was because of the Incredible Hulk T.V. program that came on Fridays back in the late 1970’s and early 80’s. When I purchased my Weider golden weight set at sixteen years of age, the training and exercise charts had Larry Scott depicted on them showing the weight trainee how to do many of the exercises in the course that came with the weight set. I came to really appriciate Larry Scott especially when it came to his creative way to train arms; from the shoulders all the way down to the forearms. The preacher bench was a unique exercise device, which Larry made famous and was later called the Scott bench. It was called the Scott bench because Larry Scott, almost exclusively, used the preacher bench to build his legendary biceps.


I remember learning about the Larry Scott preacher bench arm series where you perform a set of dumbbell curls on the preacher bench, then a set of barbell curls on that bench and finish it off with a set of reverse E-Z curl bar reverse curls. This would constitute one set or series. Larry would prescribe the athlete to do three to five series of this tri set on preacher bench twice a week for about three weeks before changing the biceps program. He did this series in Vince Girondas Gym in north Hollywood, which by the way was the only gym that had a preacher bench at that time; the 1960’s. As the preacher bench became popular through the magazines reporting on Mr. Olympia, Larry Scott building 20 inch arms on it, many other bodybuilders began to use the routine that gave Larry scott his 20 inch arms. Larry Scott was a very unique bodybuilder who was in toon with his genetic limitations. Larry did not start out a large person. He had a pencil neck and very narrow shoulders. Larry soon realized that all of the typical ways to train did not work for him. So he had to devise ways to train and isolate the muscle groups so that full development can be achieved.


A Younger Larry Scott with Narrow shoulders and a long neck

A Younger Larry Scott with Narrow shoulders and a long neck

Larry developed many unique way to train arms as described before with the preacher bench series and he also learned how to train his shoulders by isolating each deltoid head, he trained his chest by doing dips on the v dipping bars by turning his knuckles inward, which isolated the pectorals in an unusual way. He would also do his bench presses to the neck and not to the chest area because he said that doing the bench press in the classical fashion would basically hit his front deltoids robbing his chest muscles of the stimulation needed to help develop the area. Larry was an inovator. He even developed many of the pieces of equipment that he used at Vince Gironda’s gym. For example, Larry began designing and manufacturing the preacher bench with the exact specifications as the one he used at Vince’s gym. He developed the twin pedistal bench for training triceps. Larry explained that perfoming the classic standing triceps extensions would eventually hurt your elbows, so he developed the twin pedistal bench to train triceps by performing the long cable pully kneeling triceps extension on the twin pedistal bench. I tell many of my students that I train to learn and read everything Larry Scott has written on everything arm training because he over came many of the obsticles that hamper most people with similar genetics.

Larry Scott at 70 years young

Larry Scott at 70 years young

Larry Scott won the Mr. Olympia twice in 1965 and 1966. I say God Bless Larry Scott, and although I never met him, he has impacted my life for the better. I use many of his training routines today especially his preacher bench series, shoulder and triceps routines. I a future blog post, I will include many of Larry’s shoulder and arm programs.

Larry Scott – Mr. Olympia 1965 – 1966

The Iron Man Larry Scott Interview Part 1

The Iron Man Larry Scott Interview Part 2

Larry Scott Lateral Raise Training Running the rack

Larry Scott Tribute

Here is a Larry Scott interview from 8-2006 podcast from pro bodybuilding weekly.

Larry Scott Interview 8-2006 a

Here is an article From the L.A. Times.

Larry Scott dies at 75; champion bodybuilder

Larry Scott, nicknamed ‘The Legend,’ was Mr. America, Mr. Universe and the world’s first Mr. Olympia.

March 13, 2014|By Steve Chawkins

Larry Scott wasn’t exactly a 98-pound weakling, he weighed in at 120, but his life changed forever after he ran across a stack of bodybuilding magazines in an Idaho city dump.

The scrawny 16-year-old started working out in private, doing lifts with a tractor axle.

Within 10 years, he was Mr. Idaho, Mr. California, Mr. Pacific Coast, Mr. America and Mr. Universe.

In 1965, he became the world’s first Mr. Olympia, a title designed by promoter and publisher Joe Weider as bodybuilding’s indisputably supreme honor.

The outcome “was more or less decided the first time the judges got a look at Larry Scott’s biceps,” Weider later wrote in his Muscle & Fitness magazine. “Those mountainous, cannonball-like peaks were different from anything the sport had ever seen.”

Scott, who was nicknamed “The Legend” and was on Weider’s list of “the 20 greatest physiques the world has ever known,” died Saturday in Salt Lake City from complications of Alzheimer’s disease, his family said. He was 75.

In a Twitter message, former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who also had a place on Weider’s “20 greatest” list, called Scott “a great man who inspired millions.”

When he was 28 in 1966, Scott snagged his second Mr. Olympia title and stunned the bodybuilding world by announcing his retirement. Like boxer Rocky Marciano, one of his heroes, he said he wanted to go out on top.

But years later, he also said he had been haunted for some time by doubts about the lure of celebrity and his quest for physical perfection.

After the 1962 Mr. America competition, he stared mercilessly into a hotel room mirror.

“I saw an athlete who’d achieved outward perfection: tanned, muscular, seemingly confident and charming, and he was spiritually dead,” he told writer Rod Labbe in an interview for Iron Man magazine.

“My dreams, what I’d once thought so important, meant nothing,” Scott said. “But what could I do? I was Mr. America and had to set a good example.”

Ultimately, Scott said, he found solace in his family’s Mormon beliefs. After his bodybuilding career, he owned gyms and a Utah business selling bodybuilding equipment, training programs and nutritional supplements.

Born in Blackfoot, Idaho, on Oct. 12, 1938, Larry Dee Scott took courses in sports officiating at Idaho State University but was unenthusiastic. Spotting a matchbook ad for an electrical engineering course at a Los Angeles trade school, he talked his parents into letting him go.

California “was simply the place to be,” he told Iron Man. “They had great gyms there, and I wanted to bring my development to the next level.”

In 1964, Scott made his only foray into movies in “Muscle Beach Party,” starring Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon. He was Rock, one of the muscle men coached by Jack Fanny, a gym owner played by Don Rickles.

In real life, Scott worked out with celebrated trainer Vince Gironda at his North Hollywood gym. He drank a gallon of milk a daily, ate lots of eggs and took protein supplements. At full strength, he had “pectorals that looked like hindquarters on a thoroughbred,” according to the Salt Lake Tribune.

Scott, who wrote a 1992 memoir called “Loaded Guns,” developed biceps 20 inches around, half as big as the average man’s. He did so many “preacher curls, a biceps-building exercise on a slanted bench that looks like a pulpit, that they also became known as Scott curls.

One of Scott’s first competitions was for Mr. Idaho in 1959. He was one of eight men competing on a movie theater stage.

“In those days bodybuilding contests were far from the norm,” he said. “No red-blooded American male would be caught dead wearing oil and a pair of skimpy underpants and posing.”

Just six years later, the scene at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, site of the first Mr. Olympia competition, was strikingly different, according to an account by bodybuilder Dave Draper.

Backstage, he wrote, the men “greedily and anxiously pumped up, panted, ghost-posed, sweated, applied oil, sipped water, encouraged, feared and rooted for each other and longed to be somewhere else.”

“I oiled his back, he oiled mine,” Draper, a former Mr. America and Mr. Universe, wrote of Scott. “I said he looked great, he assured me likewise…. A bond is established, lions in a cage, horses before the starting gun, haunted marionettes, their strings slack before manipulation.”

The winners were announced, Draper wrote, to a “rolling thunder never before expressed in this tarnished and fading opera house an awesome rumble that stopped the heart.”

Scott too could rhapsodize about his sport.

“Bodybuilding is like hearing a symphony,” he told the Salt Lake Tribune in 1979. “The more you hear, the more you know, the more you enjoy. To see and appreciate a beautiful male body at its peak takes education.”

Scott’s survivors include Rachel, his wife since 1966; daughter Susan; sons Erin and Nathan; and seven grandchildren. Two sons died in the 1990’s Derek in a 1992 motorcycle accident and Michael the following year.

Until Next Time.

God Bless you all






  • I am currently following Larry Scotts preacher bench series for arms.

  • Thats great Lewis. So am I for the umpteenth time.

  • He was one of the few “pros” I listened to. There was something about him that seemed so honest and real. I ordered his book mail order along with “Super Squats” and that changed everything for me “-)

  • Hey Ray, I agree with you. Larry Scott did have a way of being a down to earth kind of guy.