Not only was Arnold Schwarzenegger’s employer, Joe Weider, the “Trainer of Champions” and, the “Muscle Builder”, but you may be surprised to know that he was also known as “Tiger Rough Joe”, who, apparently, opened the gateway to “terror fighting”. How do you defend yourself against someone whose hands are around your throat? Easy. You knee them in the balls. Joe even covers the awkward and unlikely scenario of defending yourself against some guy who is trying to reenact the Gone with the Wind poster with you. Also included are unusual exercises, one of which Joe later adapted as an advanced spotting technique on German bodybuilder Jusup Wilkosz. After forays into sex education, judo, developing a he-man voice and personality, Joe Weider started teaching what he knew best.
In the 1970s the Weider research institute came up with male jewelry in the form of a wrist bracelet they called the Hell Bent For Leather and Lead Strong Arm Bracelet which, at roughly fifteen dollars a pair in the 1970s, would be at least 150 bucks in today’s dollars. Anticipating potential mockery and to squelch potential derision immediately, the ad’s writers opened their pitch by throwing it back at the reader, are you man enough to wear them? It’s not the bracelet’s that look foolish, it’s you who would look foolish wearing them, but only if you’re not man enough.
The original bracelets Arnold associated himself with were called Strong Arm Bracelets and it wasn’t until a few years later that Mr. Western America Roger Callard started endorsing the newer model, called Power Bracelets. Callard was no stranger to modeling Weider ingenuity as seen in these new kind of tank tops that allowed the wearer to, watch their muscles grow!
Independent of Weider jewelry, the main reason bodybuilders wore such accoutrements were movie or television roles. Arnold, Steve Reeves, Ralf Moeller, Lou Ferrigno, Dave Draper, and even Frank Zane had roles requiring them. Chuck Sipes wore them as a strongman. Chris Dickerson had his own reasons. When I put on a costume, I feel a certain way: strong, heroic and in control of my destiny. It’s a way of expressing myself. Well, there you have it. Maybe bodybuilders employed a similar rationale in order to convince themselves to part with enough income to procure Joe Weider’s bracelets.