Vince Gironda was born in 1917 in Bronx, New York. He began lifting weights at age 22, at the local YMCA. He trained there for about 8 months before moving to Easton Brothers Gym, where they trained him to be an instructor. He opened his own gym in 1948.
He experimented with training methods, developing a unique, unorthodox style. For example, he shunned the use of the conventional back squat and bench press, substituting these exercises instead for sissy squats and neck presses. He created a plethora of different exercises and machines, to include the preacher curl. He gained popularity as a personal trainer and earned the nickname the "Iron Guru," training such familiar names as Larry Scott, Jake Steinman, Lou Ferrigno, Frank Zane, and even Arnold Schwarzenegger. Other celebrities include Clint Eastwood, Denzel Washington, James Garner, Tommy Chong, Erik Estrada, and Cher.