Bodybuilding Training Article from

Ian Lawrence - Bodybuilder From the Seventies
by Grant Williams -- 1977

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I had noticed his photos for seven years in the British magazine "Health and Strength". His name was Ian Lawrence, and the first pics showed a thick and muscular pair of legs, but little in the way of upper body development. This was nearly 10 years ago and, I recall thinking. "Too bad. If the guy had an upper body as good as his legs, he'd be winning a lot of contests."

Year by year it became apparent that Ian was training heavily and consistently. His photos became better and better, and his physique grew more and more balanced. He began to win big titles. In 1973 he won Mr. Scotland, winning that title after several tries. Then Ian Lawrence exploded into international focus with a win in the Class 3 NABBA Mr. Universe during position by winning the Mr. International and Mr. United Kingdom titles. And his extremely successful year was climaxed in November with a convincing win on American soil at the AAU Mr. World contest. There he was also runner up for Most Muscular and won Best Legs and Best Abdominals.

Ian Lawrence had another banner year in 1975. In May he became the first Scotsman in nearly 20 years to win Mr. Britain. The next month he annexed the Mr. Europe title and in September he triumphed over a strong field to win the NABBA Amateur Mr. Universe title. At this point, Jan had become the first Scot to win either Mr. World or Mr. Universe, and he had taken both titles!

When Dale Adrian came back form competing in london, he was effusive in his praise for the Ian Lawrence physique. "He's really incredible, Bill, much better than his photos show. He's unbelievably thick all over, but he's retained good lines and he was very hard looking. You ought to try to get a story about him!"

That sounded like a great idea, but it presented some problems -- not the least of which was the fact that Ian lives in Kelso, Scotland and I live thousands of miles across an ocean, away in California. For months, I didn't even have an address for Ian, but Franklin Page was kind enough to supply me with his address last April. It took my questionnaire six weeks to get to Scotland, a say to be filled out, and another six weeks to get back.

In his letter accompanying the completed questionnaire, Ian noted, "I have filled out your forms somewhat quickly, so they may be scrappy in some places." Apparently the Scottish definition of scrappy material diverges from ours. Ian was so clear and thorough in his answers that he almost wrote a book! I easily had ample information for this story. What I found upon reading his answers was an in-depth picture of a genuinely great bodybuilder, one who is only now beginning to gain his just acclaim here in America.

In addition to being a great bodybuilder, Ian is an outstanding human being a great bodybuilder, Ian is an outstanding human being and quite a wit Just an example of his sense of humor, he answered my question about his best strength feat by saying, "I once killed a 300-poound haggis with my bare hands. It bit me twice, but I survived." He really had me gong. I could see him standing up on a cliff, torso bared, doing battle with some huge bear or monster. The next day I looked "haggis" up in the dictionary and found it to be a somewhat revolting Scottish pudding made from oatmeal and the internal organs (heart, liver, etc) and entrails of a sheep, pig or calf! At any rate, here's Ian Lawrence's story.

Ian was born on September21,1948. He developed and early interest in athletics, particularly tennis and rugby. He excelled at rugby and played for the Kelso Firsts for three years as a prop forward. This sport no doubt contributed much to his early fine thigh development. Like many athletes. Ian took up weight tainting to gain weight for his sports. "I made good gains quickly and this considerably helped my rugby. I was also bitten by the bodybuilding bug and have never regretted it."

Ian was 16 when he began bodybuilding. At 115 pounds bodyweight, he had a 40-inch chest, 12-1/2 inch arms, 22-inch thigh and 15-inch calf. Training three times a week, Lawrence was soon able to bench press 185 pounds and squat with 200. His progress was extremely fast the first few months of training. Indeed, he put an inch on his upper arms the first two weeks!

For several years, Ian combined tennis, rugby and bodybuilding training. He won a few local physique titles, but he was far from national or international standard. Finally in 1972 he resolved to concentrate his efforts on bodybuilding."I sat down one night and thought abut my future in bodybuilding. I'd had a few small successes, but I realized that to win the big ones I would have to do something to obtain quicker and better gains. I began to pay more attention to my diet, and I increased my workouts from thrice a week and 1-1/2 hours per session to five times weekly and three hocus per session. I also put more drive and aggression into my training and have gained steadily ever since."

Prior to a contest, Ian steps up his workouts to seven days a week and 3-1/2 hours per session. He also reduces his normal one minute rest period between sets to 10 seconds. "It is exhausting, but I enjoy a workout more when I go hard. Since I train alone, I train against the clock to keep myself going. I know what exercise I should be on from the time I start training, so I go harder if I'm falling behind. Training against the clock keep me from lagging and taking too much rest."

Ian trains in the early evening after work, and his workouts typically consist of about 75 sets each day. He uses a split routine and always trains hard and fast. Lawrence prefers high reps in the 12 to 18 or 20 range, and sets of six to eight per exercise. He does varying numbers of sets for each bodypart -- usually averaging 30 each of r chest and back, 24 for deltoids and triceps, 18 for biceps, 10 for the waist and six for thighs and calves. This number of sets is stepped up prior to a contest.

Deltoids are Ian's favorite bodypart, but he surprisingly dislikes arm work (despite his 19-1/2 inch upper arm measurement). "I hate working arms. Any other bodypart I enjoy working, but when it comes to arms I have to push myself very hard."

As an example of how he trains each bodypart, Ian Lawrence gave me his pre contest deltoid routine--

  1. Seated press behind neck: 1 x 20 with 140; for 20 with 160
  2. Alternate dumbbell press: 6x16 with 65s
  3. Cable side lateral raises: 6x14 with 35
  4. Rear Lateral raises: 6x14 with 25s
  5. Standing press: 6x16 with 140

Needless to say, this is a rugged workout, especially when you consider that Ian's resting only 20 seconds between sets!

It takes plenty of fuel to power a Mr. Universe through the day, so Ian Lawrence eats five meals a day and consumes a variety of food supplements. Here's a typical day's eating schedule.

  • Breakfast - 2 boiled eggs, 2 weetabix with honey, supplements
  • Mid-morning Snack - 1/4 pound of corned beef supplements
  • Lunch - 1/4 pound sirloin steak, a salad, supplements
  • Tea - 3/4 pound sirloin steak, 1/2 pound cottage cheese supplements
  • Supper - a large tuna steak and supplements

Ian occasionally eats chicken or liver in place of the steak, and between contest he will consume ham, pork and all fruits except bananas. For the last month before a contest, however, he must restrict his diet. "I cut only carbohydrates for that period and eat only meat and salads, drink only water. This improves definition a great deal and gives the physique a hard look."

Ian prefers the food supplements. "I believe in supplements, because I train very hard and need more than the accepted daily intake. My nutritional supplements include protein tablets, desiccated liver, wheat germ oil capsules, amino acids and vitamin C. I find it best to space the proteins out to every two hours, because the way the body will assimilate them better."

With the above training and nutrition program, Lawrence had built some incredible measurements and strength. In contest condition, he weights 196 pounds at 5'5" in height. His chest is 50 1/2, waist 32, upper arm 19-1/2, forearm 13-1/2, thigh 26 and calf 18. And of course he regularly wrestles the "300-pound haggis."

One of Ian Lawrence's greatest strengths has been his family. His wife Norma has been a constant support. "I could not have won so many titles had I not had my wife. She encourages me, gives me incentive to do well for her, and cooks my meals. Because of her I am more settled than I would be if single. We also have two great kids.

Feeling that his training has too often taken him away from his family, Ian recently made a rather momentous decision. :"Due to business pressures (he's a salesman) and spending too little time with Norma and the children, I feel I'll have to give heavy training and competition a go-by for a couple of years. Even so, I'll be only 30 when I start again and with the knowledge I've gained over the years it shouldn't take to long to get back into top shape." During his two-year hiatus, Ian will be anything but physically inactive. He still trains about 1-1/2 hours three days a week and plays rugby ant tennis, too. He also fishes, so he will remain very fit. Of course these recreational and fitness activities are secondary to he family at this time.

"I feel I've won all the titles that are important to me. Under these circumstances, it would be selfish to continue spending time and money on myself when they could better be spent on my family." With this decision, the sport of bodybuilding is very much poorer, but Ian Lawrence very much richer.

Ian, we American bodybuilders salute you. You came, you saw, you conquered, and now your rest on your laurels. We hope to see you back in competition soon, but if not, rest assured that you've done a great job!

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