Clarence Bass' Ripped,
Review by: Vince
When imagining the ultimate in physique
leanness, I immediately think of the first time I saw a photo Clarence Bass.
was an 1980 Muscle & Fitness. It was like looking at a road
map in bold relief. What was different about Clarence's physique, as it is to
this day, is that he would look normal in a business suit in spite of the coat
of armor that existed underneath.
Instead of seeing this as undesirable to the
ego, Clarence has thrived off of this image in his highly successful series of
books, which include Ripped I, II, & III, The Lean Advantage,
and Challenge Yourself.
What most people do not know about Clarence is
that he has a life outside of staying "ripped". He is a successful
attorney in addition to partnering with his wife Carol in running Ripped
Enterprises. For almost 25 years, Clarence has inspired countless men and
women with his writings and has now come out with his initial video project.
Clarence was the one who first inspired my career in fitness and strength
training two decades ago. I consider him my first mentor and he has not
disappointed me in the least over all these years. My admiration and respect for
him has only grown as he has continued to progress and challenge the test of
Ripped: The Video
begins with Clarence's beginnings in weightlifting competition,
showing him in vintage photos and video footage. It then moves quickly over a
few highlights of Clarence's
success in Over-40 bodybuilding career where he won titles such as "Best
Legs" and "Best Abs."
The video follows Clarence into his kitchen where
he demonstrates preparation of his special breakfast recipe, "The Old
Reliable", which epitomizes Bass' nutritional philosophy that whole foods
will fill you up without filling you out. He is very meticulous, though
easygoing, in his preparation and full explanation of this initial meal. Bass
points out that he takes few supplements and those he does, he takes in
From the kitchen the camera follows Clarence into his office where he reviews his
training diary before each and every workout. He makes specific plans of what he
will accomplish in the forthcoming workout based on his previous performances.
Nothing is casual or left to chance though he never appears anal in his
approach. It's just good common sense that ensures steady progress. As he says,
"Success breeds success."
Cut to: Bass in Olympic
lifting and nailing a 450-pound Squat in competition.
Cut to: Clarence in his personal training studio -- equipped to meet
all of his training needs.
Bass explains the purpose of his using a mouthpiece
during his lifting as well as the importance of proper footwear. He demonstrates
his "General Warm-up" which he does prior to every workout. The
warm-up incorporates both with weights and aerobics. He emphasizes very simple range of motion movements that do not
promote fatigue or interfere with upcoming intense strength training.
Clarence believes in the warm-up is to prime the mind and body for the
After the warm-up, Bass demonstrates various Olympic-style Pulls. He explains
the difference in a Snatch-grip and a Clean-grip. His form is excellent and a
testament to his ability to continue such demanding lifts at 65 years of age. Each rep is performed with
same precision as the one before. For sake of "being human" we are
able to witness Clarence get slightly off balance on one lift only to correct
It’s this kind of ""non-editing"" that makes
this video so much more educational.
From here, he goes into the Barbell Squat
demonstration where is uses simple Squat Stands instead of the popular Squat
Rack or Power Rack. Clarence says he prefers to train alone but advises
that a spotter be used if needed. Warm-up sets are explained where
his philosophy is much as with the General Warm-up. The warm-up sets are to
prepare for the work sets not to tax the muscles.
Next, Bass speaks about abdominal training and the need to address those
muscles as any other muscle group. He performs what he calls ‘‘Hanging
Hip Curls’’ which is commonly known as ‘‘Hanging Leg Raises’’. "Hip curl’’ is a better description of what is occurring during
this exercise and Clarence explains why. Then he moves to The Saxon Side Bend for the obliques
in a fashion that seems more effective than the conventional method. Again, he
explains why it is more effective and why he prefers it.
Bass then goes into a brief posing routine that reminds us of why he
trademarked the name "Ripped." Seeing the development in his serratus,
intercostals, and obliques is worth the price of the video itself. He
demonstrates excellent separation in his quads and the hamstring/quadriceps
Muscle maturity at its finest is revealed as is the fact that you can get better
with time. Any twenty-five year old would love to show this 65
year-old body on the beach!
The post-workout meal is explained as Clarence is shown in his kitchen. He
clarifies why the body's needs differ from 'after a workout' to
other times during the day. Clarence says to ""never leave the table
hungry." At this point in the tape, Clarence introduces his wife Carol, who
is an integral part of "Bass Enterprises" and obviously a key in his success.
In Bass' study he is shown preparing for his cardio workout. He
reaffirms that he always "plans for success" no matter if it's
strength training, cardio workouts, or nutrition. From there he explains why the rowing machine
is his preferred piece of cardio equipment. He demonstrates a challenging workout that competes with his own
personal record. Bass explains why he denounces "fat-burning zone"
cardio training for fat loss and demonstrates the Tabata Method of
high-intensity cardiovascular exercise on a Schwinn Airdyne. He takes us through
an entire session that explains the purpose of warm-up and the work intervals.
Stretching follows as he explains his views on the subject.
In his bathroom he demonstrates bodyfat percentage
assessment. He takes us through a simple method of measuring progress in body
composition. He clearly explains the way to do it without typical
Then back to the kitchen for Clarence's bedtime snack. Yes, that's
right. You can get ripped eating right before bed. Explained is the purpose of
such a meal as well as a trick to troubleshoot overeating at any time during
Finally, Clarence's shares treasured photos of
past bodybuilding champions and other friends.
Ripped: The Video
is an excellent excursion into the daily life of one of
this generations unsung fitness heroes. Clarence's down-to-earth approach to
training --and to life -- show that it is possible to realize your bodybuilding
potential with both purpose and underlying passion for a lifetime.
Vince McConnell, ET Fitness Enterprises:
The above review is reproduced with permission of Vince McConnell and
Dolfzine On-Line Fitness, Inc.®