Building High-Performance Muscle™

The Black Prince
Robby Robinson Speaks

Pick a pivotal moment in bodybuilding history, and chances are Robby Robinson was there.

Robinson was a veteran of some 300 amateur bodybuilding contests when Joe Weider invited him to California in 1975. His training partners at Gold's Gym included Arnold, Franco, Ed Corney, and Ken Waller. He was at or near the center of the sport when you could still call it that with a straight face.

Pumping Iron? He was in it. Mr. Olympia? Not only was he in it, he won the over-200 division twice, in 1977 and '78, losing the overall trophy to Frank Zane both times. Along with the most famous titles in bodybuilding — Mr. America, Mr. World, Mr. Universe — he won the first Night of the Champions in 1979, and the first Masters Olympia in 1994, when he was 48.

As he reveals in our interview, Robinson considers the Masters O the biggest win of his career. He'd been living in Amsterdam since the 1980s, but came back to compete against Lou Ferrigno and some old friends like Corney. According to the gossip of the day, the Masters was created for Lou Ferrigno, who was under contract to Weider for hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. Ferrigno finished second to Robinson, who went on to win the over-50 Mr. Olympia in 1997 and 2000.

He retired from competition in 2001 after 27 years as a pro.

Today, at 62, Robinson is old enough to be the father of many Testosterone Muscle readers, with a body impressive enough to steal our girlfriends. After watching his new DVD, Built, and seeing the dedication he continues to bring to the art of bodybuilding, I jumped at the chance to speak with him.


Testosterone Muscle:
So what's the story behind the IFBB bust with your body and Joe Weider's head? How did that happen?

Robby Robinson Speaks Robby Robinson Speaks

The statue (from the November '79 issue) and the original (September '79). 

Robby Robinson:

TM: You retired from competition in 2001. What have you been up to since then?

RR:

TM: Unleashing the Wild Physique?

TM: How has pro bodybuilding changed in the last 40 years?

Robby Robinson Speaks

TM: When you see pros onstage in the last 10 years or so, with four-pack abs at 260 pounds, it's just not something that most guys in the gym can identify with.

TM: What's your training like these days?

RR:

TM: Really? Stronger than you were back in your prime?

RR:

Robby Robinson Speaks

The Black Prince today — the hairstyle may be new, but the biceps remain the same.

TM: In the Built DVD, we see you still doing high-risk exercises like Smith machine squats and behind-the-neck pulldowns. Have you had to deal with any injuries as an older lifter?

RR:

Robby Robinson Speaks

The Oak, Corney, Robinson, and Gable.

TM: Was there anyone of that era that you think isn't as recognized today as they should be? Somebody who's been underrated?

Robby Robinson Speaks

Padilla (left) competed with Franco in the under-200 class.

TM: Does that have to do with politics going on behind the scenes?

RR:

TM: Back when the Olympia had weight classes, you won the over-200 class twice.

Robby Robinson Speaks

RR:

TM: You touched on steroids earlier, and there's a question I've always wanted to ask: Were there any successful pros in your era who competed without any anabolics?

RR:

TM: And you saw a big change?

Robby Robinson Speaks

The Black Prince of the '70s.

TM: But you can't attribute all your success to drugs.

RR:

TM: Do you know what today's competitors are using? I'm guessing it's more than one shot every two weeks.

RR:

TM: How can we deal with steroids in pro bodybuilding? What needs to be done?

RR:

Robby Robinson Speaks

Melvin Anthony: the next prince?

TM: Do you think that maybe the sport could already be headed back in the right direction? You had Dexter Jackson winning the Mr. Olympia. And there's the 202 Showdown for smaller guys.

RR:

TM: On the more practical side, what if the Average Joe asks for advice on how to get results? Anything in particular you'd tell him?

RR:

TM: So it's being consistent with nutrition?

TM: Anything else you want to mention before we wrap up?

RR:

TM: Sounds like a great cause. I'll look forward to seeing how it turns out. Thank you very much for your time.


To learn more about Robby Robinson, or to order Built, check out his website.

© 1998 — 2008 Testosterone, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

PUBLISHED 
Discuss | Rate | Add Favorite | Print Version