Irvin “Zabo” Koszewski Training Routine

Irvin “Zabo” Koszewski (b. 1924 – d. 2009) was an American professional bodybuilder. Zabo served the United States in WWII in New Guinea where he contracted dengue fever and malaria. He brought back side effects, which he suffered with off and on his whole life. He also suffered with PTSD.

Despite being handicapped he won the bodybuilding titles Mr. Los Angeles (1953) and Mr. California (1954)!

Zabo started working out in his early teens. He had a hernia and it was never surgically treated. He started doing core exercises and and lifting weights. He was an all star athlete in high school – wrestling, track, swimming and football. Eventually repairing his own hernia through exercise.

John Balik of Iron Man magazine recalled that “he had a 10-pack of abs when everyone else had a six-pack.


Legs and back Sets Reps
Squats 8 10
Leg Curls 8 10
Hack Squats 2 20
Leg Curls 2 20
Stiff Leg Deadlift 4 10
Power Cleans 4 10

Note: He alternated Squats with Leg Curls and Hack squats with Leg Curls
irvin zabo koszewski

Chest Sets Reps
Decline Dumbell Press 10
Criss-cross on overhead pulleys 10
Parallel Dips 10
Push Ups 25

Note: These exercises are done for 1 set in above sequence, 7 times around.

Lats Sets Reps
Chins 7 10
Rows on Pulley 7 10
Pull Downs Behind Neck on Pulley 7 10
One Arm Reverse Laterals on Pulley 7 10 each arm


Delts Sets Reps
Seated Dumbell Presses 7 10
Flys with dumbells
Seated Press behind Neck 7 10
Upright Rows 7 10

Note: He alternated Seated Dumbell Presses with Flys

Arms Sets Reps
Incline Curls Alternate
Tricep Press Downs on Pulley

Note: He alternated both exercises with 20 x 10 reps

All 5 day schedule of workouts are preceded by:

Sit ups 500 reps No stopping
Leg Raise 500 reps no stopping

SUNDAY-He does what he feels like doing in his training. He calls this his “Goof off Day.” His training is done in the early afternoon at Gold’s gym and needless to say he trains very fast.

Much swimming in the blue Pacific and running on the beach is done as a further part of his exercise program.

picture from Lydia Tack’s archive (w. permission)
Reference about Zabo’s WW2; Lydia Tack (zabo’s wife)

Leave a comment

Consent Management Platform by Real Cookie Banner