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Peary Rader Bodybuilder Biography


Peary Rader Founder of IronMan Magazine

Peary Rader was born in Nebraska USA on October 17, 1909 and started training with weights at the age of 12. At only 128 pounds and standing 5'11" he was very skinny and wanted muscle. After doing a bit of research he decided to eventually to just squat.

He tried everything that his meagre allowance would allow but when he saw that he was not gaining any muscles he eventually designed something that would change his life and many others. It started with experimenting with methods that he thought might work.

In the first 12 months of training he had added 100 pounds of muscle. Peary and his friends were so impressed with this system of gaining good quality muscle that he decided to tell everyone about it.

Peary quickly realized that there was a growing market for people who wanted to gain muscle fast and he produced his first publication called ‘The Rader Master Bodybuilding and Weight Gaining System’ which was an instant success.

Although Peary was actually a weightlifter he knew that an increase in strength would mean an increase in muscle. At the time Rader became the Midwestern Heavyweight Champion, which is a title he won every year for seven years in a row.

It was the success of his muscle and strength building program, which lead him to start his own muscle magazine, which he first published in August 1936 and he called it The Iron Man. The Iron Man magazine was not what it is today as it was a lot less ‘hard core’ compared to today’s Iron Man magazine with a circulation of over 100 000.

Life was not easy for Peary when he started his publishing business and his first few issues of Iron man were printed on a ditto machine, which Peary had salvaged from the trash. Rader got married to Mabel Kirchner in 1936 and they had two sons called Jack and Gene.

Peary Rader continued to publish Iron Man until September 1986 where he published a few letters from prominent people in bodybuilding and weightlifting to celebrate the magazine's 50th anniversary.

Before he finally sold the magazine to John Balik in 1986 Peary had created a circulation of 70 000 and had published over 1300 articles that he had written himself on the secrets of strength training and building muscle.

It was only after the magazine was sold that John Balik started to reposition the magazine as the ultimate hard-core bodybuilding magazine that we know today. Peary died in his home on November 24, 1991.


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