Clarence Ross
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Who is Clarence Ross?

Clarence Ross, who was born in California, had a difficult upbringing.

His life had a less-than-ideal start due to the loss of his mother at a young age and his many moves between foster homes.

Short Career of Clarence Ross

Clarence Ross is one of just two persons to have ever defeated Steve Reeves in a competition in the history of bodybuilding, yet his true tenacity and determination overcame any minor setbacks in life.

After the attack on Pearl Harbor, Ross joined the US Air Force to defend his nation, where he immediately gained a reputation for his physical dominance, size, and training expertise.

He was appointed as the Air Force’s weight training instructor quite fast.

Ross demonstrated to the world that he was a champion both inside and outside the gym by running his successful gym, competing in illustrious competitions, modeling, and penning fitness articles.

Body Measurements of Clarence Ross

Full Name: Clarence Ross
ALIAS: The King Of The Bodybuilders
ERA: 1940, 1950
PROFESSION: Bodybuilder, Gym Owner, Writer, Model
WEIGHT: 205 to 215lbs (88.5 – 93.0kg)
HEIGHT: 5’10” (177.5cm)

Clarence Ross



  • 1945 AAU Mr. America 1st
  • 1945 Mr. USA 1st
  • 1945 AAU Mr. America 2nd
  • 1955 Mr. Universes (held in London) 1st place in the tall class

“Life is so much more worth living when a person is strong and healthy.  Building, good health and developing a muscular body is the world’s most fascinating hobby.  It is one you never tire of, and one which brings you both success and happiness in life.”


Flat Fees And Foster Homes

California welcomed Clarence Ross into the world on October 26, 1926. He was the second of a total of four kids.

The four children were raised in Oakland by his mother Jeannette Levi and father, teamster Hershel Ross, but Clarence’s mother passed away while he was very young.

Ross was transferred from a string of foster families to foster care.

Ross’s life didn’t exactly start the way he would have liked it too, but it didn’t stop him from going on to become one of the very few bodybuilders to go on to win the competition over people like Steve Reeves.

Ross was driven to develop a strong and healthy body after experiencing bullying and being teased as a child because of his flat feet and small stature.

To increase his strength, he jumped at the chance to participate in as many sports as he could, including football, basketball, and track.

Ross grew to a height of 5 feet 10 inches and a healthy weight of 135 pounds by the time he was 17 years old, but this wasn’t enough for Ross; he desired a bigger and stronger body.

At this point, he decided to begin utilizing weights, particularly the York Barbell System, to which he would gradually add 15 pounds during the training time.

Weightlifting And Perl Harbor

Ross was inspired to join the Air Force during the Perl Harbor assault to defend his country. Ross began his duty on October 31st, 1942, in San Francisco and was later assigned to Las Vegas.

Ross’s remarkable interest and passion for the sport led to his assignment as a weightlifting instructor almost immediately.

He trained with Cpl Leo Stern there, who would later have a significant influence on Ross and the direction of his weightlifting career.

Leo’s training frequently included body-wearying heavy weightlifting motions with sets and repetitions to build muscle.

Ross was able to increase his body weight by 35 pounds of lean muscle while also developing the necessary physical strength.

Ross married his high school girlfriend at this time when he was 18 years old. Ross’s wife and longtime girlfriend supported him in competing since they knew he had a lot of potential to succeed.

Competition Background

Ross shocked the nation by winning the AAU Mr. America competition in Los Angeles in 1945. He won yet another competition on March 13th, 1948, this time in Los Angeles at the Mr. USA pageant.

Ross maintained his training regimen and entered the 1949 Mr. America competition with an amazing physique. He was defending his title.

Ross came in second position overall, but Grimek stole the show and won the race that day. Ross came in second, but he beat Steve Reeves, who took first. He was one of just two guys in the sport’s history to defeat Reeves.

Ross made a significant comeback to bodybuilding in 1955 and competed in the Professional Mister Universe competition in London. He was successful in winning the tall class, but Leo Robert defeated him overall.

Some claim that the long, exhausting flight to London from abroad in temperatures as low as -10 degrees and the sickness he contracted while traveling were to blame.

Naturally, Ross put on a good performance and announced his retirement from bodybuilding following his final contest. Ross took a full week off after arriving home and stayed in bed to recover from the exhausting flight and the illness.

A Career in the Profession

Additionally, Joe MacDoakes’ 1949 movie “So You Want to Be a Muscle Man” included Clarence Ross.

Joe’s wife was attracted to Ross’s portrayal of a strongman (Ellery), which inspired Joe to try to imitate Ross’s stature and power but fail miserably.

Ross also rose to fame as a result of his appearances on various magazine covers, in articles, and in other advertisements.

In November 1945, he was discharged from the Air Force and afterward founded a gym in Alameda, California.

At this time, Ross also joined forces with American Health Studios and rose to the position of manager of one of their West Coast gyms.

Simply Strong

Ross’s muscles were useful powerhouses of physical strength and were created for size and aesthetics. When he was competing, he was regarded as the all-time strongest bodybuilder.

He could deadlift 650 pounds, squat 450 pounds ten times, bench press 385 pounds ten times, and curl 200 pounds loosely for ten repetitions. He could also overhead press a heavy 315 pounds.

His preferred exercises included the dumbbell bench press, which he performed with a set of 175 lbs for 10 reps before switching to lateral raises with the same weight right after.

Some of today’s athletes would pale in comparison to Ross’ training standards. This guy developed his incredible strength through 100% natural training, employing whole foods and an effective workout regimen.

Genuineness of Clarence

Ross was originally sponsored by Joe Weider, who regarded him as a kind and sincere person who was always willing to provide a helping hand to anyone interested in learning about bodybuilding.

“Clancy has elevated weightlifting to a higher position and given the discipline a sense of respect.” (Joe Weider)

Here’s Ross discussing his love of bodybuilding:

“If I had my life to live over, there is only one slight change I would make. Instead of waiting until I was 17 years old to start training, I would have begun at 12 or 13. Life is so much more worth living when a person is strong and healthy.

Now that I know the benefits, I would make every possible effort to start enjoying them just as young as possible.

Building, good health and developing a muscular body is the world’s most fascinating hobby. It is one you never tire of, and one which brings you both success and happiness in life”.

Ross went away on April 30, 2008, which was a tragic loss for millions of people all around the world.


Ross preferred to train for strength and power over size; it was here that he discovered how to develop his renowned physique.

However, there were also times throughout his workout regimen when he would accomplish the typical rep ranges of 8 to 10, using 3, 4, or 5 sets.

Ross reportedly used two 140-pound weights in repetitions and for incline and flat bench presses, which undoubtedly added to his stature at the time.

Clarence Ross trained for years before developing the workout regiment indicated below, but this example is the result of years of commitment, trial and error, and hard effort. Ross thought that when attempting to gain muscle, all forms of training should be utilized.

Clarence’s practice schedule


  • Squats 6 x 10 reps
  • Calf raises 4 x 25


  • Seated dumbbell curls 3 x 8
  • Preacher curls 3 x 8
  • Triceps pushdowns 3 x 103


  • Pushups on parallel bar 3 x 15
  • Chest Incline bench press 3 x 10
  • Bent arm laterals on bench 3 x 8


  • Leg raises on ab bench 200 reps
  • Situps on ab bench 200 reps
  • Side bends 100 reps on each side


  • Lateral raises standing 3 x 8
  • Upright rowing 3 x 8

General Conditioning

  • Pulldowns down to legs on lat machine 3 x 10

What Clarence Ross can teach us?

Clarence Ross didn’t have the best start in life; his erratic upbringing, which included repeated moves between foster homes, might have derailed his ascent to fame.

Ross adopted a different attitude. With tremendous determination and a desire to improve his physical appearance and quality of life, he recognized chances wherever he looked and realized his life’s objectives.

Dreams can come true with the same zest for life as Ross did, as well as a kind and sincere attitude. Ross left a lasting legacy that continues to inspire people today all across the world: “Hard effort pays off.”