Marvin Eder: Biceps from the Bronx

Marvin Eder was a true icon from the Silver Era. Eder was known as the “Biceps from the Bronx” and was a force to be reckoned with in bodybuilding and weightlifting. Not only did Eder have an impressive physique, but he was immensely strong. Eder is often overlooked and not discussed in modern bodybuilding. He retired from the sport early over issues with politics around bodybuilding. 

Marvin’s bodybuilding journey did not come without challenges. As an infant, Eder was very sick and picked up illnesses easily. Doctors instructed Eder to avoid weightlifting as it would affect his growth. Eder stood at just 5 feet 2 inches tall and 120lbs as a teenager. Eder’s family opposed his desire to weight train, leaving him to perform pull-ups and dips in the local park. After showing good progress, Eder joined the world-renowned East Side Barbell Club in New York. 

Marvin started as most bodybuilders; reading every muscle mag available and copying the workouts. Marvin Eder saw little improvement until Abe Goldberg took notice. Abe trained Eder and taught him the proper technique required to build muscle. Eder quickly gained 30lbs of muscle and became hooked on the sport of bodybuilding.

Eder had a short bodybuilding career. Reports suggest he left the sport over politics in judging. This is a common theme and a big factor around the 1980 Mr. Olympia Contest. Despite his brief career, Eder had an impressive track record on the stage. Eder’s record is more impressive competing at a height of 5 feet 8 inches weighing 200lbs.

1949 Junior Mr. America: 2nd

1949 Junior Mr. New York City: 1st

1949 Junior Mr. New York City: 1st Most Muscular

1949 Junior North American Championship: 1st

1950 Mr. America: 6th

1950 Mr. Eastern America: 1st

1951 Mr. America: 3rd

1951 Junior Mr. America: 2nd

Despite a short bodybuilding career, Eder became known for his immense strength. Eder noticed he had a gift for the bench press. At the time, equipment was primitive. So much so that even the incline bench hadn’t been invented yet. Eder focused his attention on what was proven; the bench press. Marvin was bench pressing over 200lbs with very little training. By the time he was eighteen, Eder could bench press 400lbs. With the correct training and guidance, Eder went on to perform some impressive feats of strength. 

Eder achieved the strength records below at a weight between 190lbs and 200lbs. 

Bench Press: 515lbs (the first man to do so under 200lbs bodyweight)

Olympic Press: 330lbs

Back Squat: 50 reps at 300lbs

Single Arm Chin-Ups: 8 reps for each arm

Behind-the-neck Press: 205lbs

Parallel Bar Dips: 434lbs

Wide Grip Chin-Ups: 80 bodyweight reps & 8 reps with 200lb weight

Handstand Push-ups: 25

Eder was known at the time for being the strongest pound-for-pound bodybuilder. This was also at a time when steroids weren’t widely used and Eder was most likely a natural bodybuilder. Marvin hung up the posing trunks in 1951, aged just twenty-two at the time. In 1989, Eder was inducted into the Annual Association of Oldtime Barbell and Strongmen. Eder was recognized for his immense strength and pioneering work. 

After leaving the world of bodybuilding, Eder started his own plumbing business. Throughout his life, he continued to show immense strength and never stopped lifting. At the age of 75, Eder was doing 500 crunches a day. Marvin credits his strength to having incredibly strong joints. Eder claims to have never taken steroids or any kind of supplements and ate a modest diet of milk, steak, and chicken. 

Marvin Eder is often forgotten about in bodybuilding and weightlifting circles, but his records speak for themselves. Eder credits his success to his genetic potential and ability to work harder than anybody else. Eder was a true pioneer and in another era, would have undoubtedly been the biggest name in world bodybuilding. Eder passed away in February 2022 at 90 years old. 

Rest in peace to one of the true Legends of Bodybuilding.

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