Blog Archives

A Different Kind of Plank Hold

My buddy, Randy Roach, author of Muscle, Smoke and Mirrors I & II was telling me about a particulary difficult plank hold he has been working on.  This plank hold that Roachdude is working on is certainly different than the traditional plank hold often used for abdominal training.  In Randy’s version, he is suspending himself from an overhead chinning apparatus with his body perfectly straight.  His next goal is to chin himself (more accurately put, this horizontal position would be akin to a row – extremely difficult none the less).  In the picture below Randy has brought his body up to a perfect parallel position to the floor.  Looking carefully at the photo you will see that Randy’s feet are not resting on the bar in the photo and that he is maintaining this posture with phenomenal strength and muscle control.  Talk about an intense ab workout!

Randy Roach – Installment #3

A must read is Randy Roach’s Third Installment  on nutrition, Muscle, Smoke & Mirrors II, how he changed out of that dumb-ass Arnold tank top and much, much more.

Randy Roach Interview

One of the top published, if not THE top published historian on bodybuilding (and my pal) Randy Roach has written his second epic novel with his latest release of “Muscle, Smoke & Mirros II”.   To get the full “Roachdude” effect, check out this interview to really appreciate his endless knowledge of health and the history of bodybuilding.

Muscle, Smoke & Mirrors Volume II



November 11, 2011

Pumping Iron…PumpingArnold!

On June 8, 2008,
Randy Roach introduced the Iron Game world to the beginning of what is to be a 3-volume book series titled, “Muscle, Smoke & Mirrors.”  The books entail a comprehensive history of bodybuilding and all its related issues such as diet, weightlifting, fitness,
drugs, and even global politics. Upon its completion, the decade-long project will have encompassed 1,800 pages through extensive interviews, research and analysis.

Reaction to Volume I far exceeded initial expectations with endorsements coming from the general reader, academia, and numerous professionals throughout the field. David Epstein of Sports Illustrated has commented on the “unbelievably extensive research.”  Veteran industry writer, George Coates stated, “If Volume II is only half as good as Volume I, it will still be terrific! I must have read Volume I at least six times and I’m still amazed at the clarity and content throughout.”  At a hefty 562 pages, Volume I would be a
tough act to follow…

Well, almost three and a half years later, Volume II was released at a whopping 728 pages.  Almost 200 pages more in storyline and 19
additional photos over that of Volume I, this book puts a laser focus on the decade that launched the sport of bodybuilding into the mainstream public eye: the advancing  yet politically fraught 1970s.  This was the era that saw the rise of the fitness boom, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Arthur Jones and his Nautilus machines.

Bodybuilding was cast in a whole new light thanks to the efforts of George Butler and Charles Gaines who brought the phrase “Pumping Iron” into the Western lexicon. Volume II of   “Muscle, Smoke & Mirrors” drew upon a quarter million words in order to contextualize the plight of muscle into a more favourable media spotlight and a place in an evolving culture.

With early access to the manuscript, Paul Solotaroff of Men’s Journal and Rolling Stone called it “a riveting, panoramic read.”  Motion
picture photographer, Ron Koeberer who served as a consultant on the project stated:

Over the course of the last year, I have had the pleasure of knowing and working with Randy Roach as a contributor to Volume II of Muscle, Smoke & Mirrors. And I am proud to have been one of the few people that have seen this volume as both a work in progress and as a finished product. What Randy has done here is simply stunning. His attention to detail, accuracy, and his ability to uncover new and relevant information that has never before been known, talked about, or seen in print, makes his new book totally absorbing while at the same time setting a benchmark, a new standard to which all other books on physical culture will no doubt be judged. Yes, it is that good.

Volume I and Volume II of “Muscle, Smoke & Mirrors” are published by Authorhouse and can be purchased from or   The prologue for Volume II may be viewed at


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