What is Chet Yorton’s Natural Bodybuilding Workout Routine?

Chester Yorton, aka Chet Yorton, who is celebrated as “the father of natural bodybuilding”, was born in 1939. Arnold Schwarzenegger was beaten by him at the NABBA Mr. Universe amateur competition in London in 1966 while Yorton never was only 27 years old.

Yorton’s bodybuilding journey, however, is quite different from that of his peers and is proof of what strength and determination can help a person achieve. While most people would just be happy to walk again after being smashed to pieces in a car accident, Chet wasn’t. He grabbed a dumbbell, started weight training, and didn’t look back.

In fact, Chet went on to defeat Arnold Schwarzenegger winning the Mr. America and Mr. Universe titles in addition to regaining his ability to walk!

Chet Yorton’s Workout Routine

Yorton’s diet involved training the whole body in one session three times a week. He exercised twice on the same day, but with lighter weights each time. This marked a difference in his fitness regimen. He also had days when he only lifted very heavy, medium and light weights.

The morning and evening sessions of Chet Yorton’s exercise program are:

  • full squat
  • Squat Hashem
  • Bench Press
  • Deadlift
  • Shoulder Dumbbell Press
  • bicep curls
  • Dumbbell triceps press
  • The calf at the bar

Only eight fundamental exercises are included in this training program, which is performed twice a day for three days a week. It’s just a simple, natural exercise program, nothing flashy or difficult. Yorton recommends healthy eating throughout the day and restful sleep at night.

According to Chet Yorton, bodybuilding was going the wrong way. He strove to give non-steroid users competitive opportunities, and by highlighting them in the magazine he started, he strove to turn these athletes into role models for young people.

Chet Yorton’s Journey

Right after graduating from high school, Yorton was in a car accident. He eventually had a steel rod and plate inserted into his left femur and a steel plate placed around his right femur. Her lower body, from her hips to her toes, was bound in a cast.

He first injured his left thigh, but as he began to move about on crutches, he lost his balance and tumbled down the stairs. He underwent further surgeries and spent four months in a wheelchair before he was able to walk again on crutches.

Interestingly, Yorton was in a wheelchair in the hospital when he noticed a set of dumbbells in the corner of a room. Before his accident, he had never touched a weight. He asked if lifting weights would speed up his rehabilitation. He gained 55 pounds in seven months.

Since discovering dumbbells, Yorton hasn’t looked back. After two years of intensive training, he made his debut in bodybuilding competition in 1960. He went on to win the IFBB Mr. America, NABBA Amateur Mr. Universe, and NABBA Pro Mr. Universe titles in 1966 and 1975, respectively.

Arnold Schwarzenegger has only lost to his competition three times in history. One of those rare occasions included Yorton’s triumph at the NABBA Amateur Mr. Universe contest in 1966. Yorton is probably most recognized for this, which is also unfortunate as he had a significant influence on the sport of bodybuilding.


Chet Yorton said goodbye to the bodybuilding community around 1970. He was concerned about several things. He observed the growth of harmful trends in bodybuilding as steroids took hold of the sport. Yorton also witnessed many activities that he thought were immoral. Nonetheless, the bodybuilding star continues to be an inspiration to many.

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Teresa E. Burton