Abe Goldberg

David Chapman

Some gym owners have made a huge impact on bodybuilding. One man who clearly relished his job as coach, mentor and gym proprietor was Abe Goldberg, and he not only possessed one of the finest physiques of his time, but he also helped others to maximize their athletic potential.

Abe Goldberg was born in the New York borough of Manhattan on November 14, 1924. He was small, skinny and not particularly strong until his brother persuaded the 14-year-old Abe to begin exercising in order to put on muscle. He began by doing dips on a high bar, thus laying the foundation for his magnificent shoulder and lat development. It wasn’t until he was 17 that Goldberg bought his first set of weights and began to work with them. The results were quickly apparent, and, by the time he reached 20, he had what was described as a flawless physique.

Unfortunately, World War II had broken out, and Goldberg joined the Army to fight in Europe. Despite being wounded in action, the young New Yorker returned to bodybuilding shortly after he was discharged. He found work in the warehouse at Joe Weider’s New Jersey headquarters. There the young man was able to pick up many important tips from the bodybuilders who were always around. It was a great place for a young man with ambition and talent, but it wasn’t where Abe wanted stay. He wanted to open his own gymnasium and be his own boss.

In 1950 Goldberg finally inaugurated his own gym in New York’s Lower East Side. It was a state-of-the-art facility and soon became a mecca for major physique stars of the time. Reg Park, Marvin Eder, Clancy Ross, John Tristram and even Joe Weider worked out at Goldberg’s excellent gym.

While he was operating his business, Abe wasn’t neglecting his own muscular build, and he continued to compete in various contests. Goldberg had a magnificent physique, but it was his upper body that attracted the greatest attention. Your Physique magazine declared in 1951 that Goldberg had “perhaps the most magnificent chest development in America.” Photos from the time confirm that estimation. Abe Goldberg remained a respected figure in New York’s physical culture scene until his death on December 4, 2002.