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Clarence Bass: Everyday Condition at 77

Clarence as Never Seen Before

Last year we began photographing Clarence’s everyday condition—no dieting, no body hair removal, no body color, no oil, and no change in training routine—to record the “inevitable decline” that exercise scientists say typically begins at 75 for the person who starts training early and never stops. Lifelong exercisers soar above the untrained person at every decade of life—but must eventually pay the piper.

The best depictions are by University of Miami Professor Joseph Signorile in his book Bending the Aging Curve.  Signorile includes graphs showing the neuromuscular aging curves for the untrained person, for the person who starts exercising at about 40, and finally the trajectory of men and women who have been exercising their entire life. The loss of neuromuscular function for untrained individuals begins in earnest at about 40 and drops more and more rapidly with each passing decade; the decline is exponential. The person who begins exercising at 40 shows a relatively flat curve until about 60, and then begins a slow decline. The lifelong exerciser, however, soars above the others at every decade of life. The regular exerciser will have a curve that begins at a much higher level than the other two—and stays there. The inevitable decline that does occur leaves the 75-year-old lifelong exerciser at a level equivalent to an untrained person at 20. At 90, the lifelong trainer is at a level equivalent to an untrained person 30 years younger.

Time waits for no man and Clarence is no exception. It’s time to record his second year of decline. He turns 77 this month. The “problem” is that there is no noticeable decline. The only difference between the “Bass Pose” at 76 and 77 is the color of the posing trunks, black at 76 and blue at 77. To add interest we have included two new images: an arms-down side chest pose and another featuring the quads.

Clarence has been photographed his entire life and we believe these photos add a new dimension. They show Clarence as he has rarely if ever been seen before—and not just because he’s an atypical 77-year-old.

PS: Many of the best photos come about almost by accident; it happened to Clarence in California 35 years ago and again in this shoot. The photos on the front and back covers of our first book, RIPPED were an afterthought—and the same is true of the muscle-control photo of Clarence’s quads. Clarence was starting to get dressed and noticed that his quads were really popping in the morning light.

In the 1979 photo shoot, Bill Reynolds, then Editor-in-Chief of Muscle & Fitness, had a few more frames in his camera at the end on a long session in a California gym; he asked Clarence to do another pose or two, “Any pose.” That spur-of-the-moment act produced the cover photos that made “Ripped” a word for “Ultimate Muscularity” known around the world.



Clarence Bass at 76 and 77

Clarence Bass at 77



Ripped Enterprises, P.O. Box 51236, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87181-1236 or street address: 528 Chama, N.E., Albuquerque, New Mexico 87108, Phone (505) 266-5858, e-mail: cncbass@aol.com , FAX: (505) 266-9123. Office hours: Monday-Friday, 8-5, Mountain time. FAX for international orders: Please check with your local phone book and add the following: 001-505 266-9123

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