Hulk Hogan’s in surprisingly good shape for a guy his age and has always maintained an pretty incredible look. People like to point at steroids, and although Hulk used them when they were legal in the 1980’s, it takes a lot of work to get that kind of build much less maintain it. Especially when you consider Hogan was legitimately working over 300 days a year, back then.

Hogan did a lot for bodybuilding and I think, in hindsight, was a great role model for kids. Sure he taught us to beat up the bad guys, but say your prayers, take your vitamins and train isn’t that bad of a philosophy to live by. Vince McMahon knew he was onto something as well and that impressionable youngsters might want to bulk up like the Hulk, which led to the release of the Hulk Hogan Workout Kit.

As with a lot of things, I never owned this as a kid, but my cousin did. I remember specifically when he got it and how we used to listen to the included cassette tape, where Hogan would instruct you on how to get stronger. I seem to recall the tape being pretty serious, with lots of instructions on push-ups to do and stuff, with some cool rock beats. Given that it was marketed to kids, it seemed pretty legit all things considered. Heck it was a 40 minute workout.

Can you imagine a workout set today, marketed to kids? Not likely. Maybe if it’s a video game. Anyway we were both convinced that with enough time we were going to look just like the Hulk and be ready for some hangin’ and bangin’ and slam Andre The Giant (or at least that fat 5th grade bully on the school bus) in no time.

I’m not sure what happened to most of the gear (shame it didn’t include a t-shirt, they would have sold more), but my cousin had the dumbbells and wrist bands for years. I would always use the weights when I went over to his house, even years later when the paltry 3 pounds wasn’t enough to make a difference. Hey, they had the Hulkamania logo emblazoned on the side. That had to mean something!

Interestingly, here’s the commercial from that very same workout set. Noticeably absent is HULK HOGAN! I have no idea why Paul Orndorff, who feuded with Hogan for much of the early 1980’s is doing the pitchman routine for the Hogan workout kit. Either Hogan was too busy at the time, or Vince thought that sticking Mr. Wonderful into the commercial might up Paul’s status. I actually think it was probably a case of the latter.

I never did quite reach Hulk Hogan levels of muscles, but every time I see a fat little kid my first instinct it to want to bodyslam them. Speaking of fat kids, I did eventually fight that fat 5th grader on the bus. I was in 3rd grade and he was messing with my aforementioned cousin, so instead of bodyslams, I cracked him in the skull with my cousin’s metal He-Man lunch box. I guess I was channeling nWo Hollywood Hogan, instead. I narrowly avoided a school suspension and ended up having to ride a different school bus, but it was worth it. Maybe Hogan should have marketed a lunch box!

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