Jim Haislop: The Successor to Steve Reeves
Steve Reeves shocked the world of bodybuilding in 1946. The physique he brought to the stage holds up today as one of the greatest of all time. The combination of incredible width and a tiny waist changed bodybuilding forever.
Jim Haislop entered the scene in the 60s. This was the first time the world saw somebody who emulated the shape of Steve Reeves. Whilst Jim had a similar structure to Steve, he had more mass and definition.
Jim Haislop became known as the successor to Steve Reeves.
Jim’s passion for bodybuilding started at a young age. In 1965 Haislop won the AAU Mr. Florida competition, aged twenty-three. He also secured third place in the national Mr. USA show that same year.
Jim Haislop went on to secure some impressive titles.
Winning the Mr. Universe (tall) competition in 1969 was the final time Haislop stepped on stage. To qualify for Mr. Olympia you had to win the overall category at Mr. Universe. This was where you earned your pro-card.
Despite his decorated career, Haislop never turned pro. The likes of Dave Draper, Larry Scott, and Sergio Oliva dominated the 1960s. A young Arnold Schwarzenegger was also rising through the ranks. Turning pro in the 1960s was not easy.
Training & Workouts
There’s very little information about Haislop’s training and workouts. Here’s what we do know.
Although Haislop and Reeves had similar genetic structures, they didn’t train the same. Steve was an advocate of rest and recovery, training only three days a week. Haislop reportedly trained six times a week. Each session could last up to three hours.
Haislop reportedly followed a lower body/ upper body split. This was very common at the time. Below are some of his recorded lifts.
Bench Press: 350lbs (158kg)
Back Squat: 485lbs (220kg)
Deadlift: 545lbs (250kg)
Impressive lifts, especially when you consider his low bodyfat and stage-ready conditioning.
Focus on the squat
Haislop was an advocate for back and front squats. Jim preached the importance of a full squat with a complete range of motion. Now referred to as “ass-to-grass”.
Jim also advocated squatting with raised heels. This technique was popular amongst old-school bodybuilders, including Arnold. Raising the heels negated the impact of poor ankle mobility. It allows for a full range of motion. This is especially important in taller bodybuilders.
Raising the heels also reduced the workload on the hamstrings. More emphasis was on the quads which created a dominant stage presence. At the time, a lot of bodybuilders neglected the importance of hamstrings.
Unilateral training is common in modern-day bodybuilding. It involves training each side of the body independently. Haislop was one of the first to pioneer this approach. Jim reportedly trained in this way to ensure perfect symmetry in his physique. If one bicep was a quarter-inch smaller, he would perform curls with that arm only. The other arm would rest until both were the same size.
Haislop followed a typical diet of bodybuilders at the time. The focus was on steaks, fruit, milk, vegetables, and honey. This was a staple diet for the era as food choices were much more limited compared to today. Supplements were available at the time, but it’s unclear if Haislop used any or not.
Jim Haislop’s career was bitter-sweet. Haislop had a physique beyond comparison. There is great admiration for Haislop amongst the bodybuilding community. Unfortunately, he never received the level of fame his colleagues did. In another era, Haislop’s story would have been very different.
Sergio Oliva claimed the limelight during the era of Haislop. Oliva is the only man to ever beat Arnold at the Mr. Olympia competition. Tough competition, but an undeniable physique.