Has bodybuilding and weight lifting changed over the years? Take one look at performers from fifteen years ago, and the question becomes laughable. Athletes in sports from baseball to football – to even golf – are bigger, stronger, and faster than their mentors ever could have hoped to be. But one area specifically takes the cake, and that's in bodybuilding.
Today's competitors have muscles that are much bigger, more defined, and more symmetrical. Advance in training techniques and what to eat – nutrition – have given today's strongmen a shape and physique that many thought not even possible a decade ago.
It's still difficult. It still takes patience, dedication, and determination. But now, with so many how-to books and courses (usually written and given by former builders and experts), it's not something that's out of reach for ANYbody, and it's much, much easier.
Just like in any field or any "new" sport, athletes and weight lifters of the past tended to more on trial-and-error methods. Luckily, they wrote these things down. Also, since bodybuilding is a relatively new sport as sports go, most of the real pioneers are alive and well today, able to share their knowledge onto today's crew of learners.
Go into a gym and look at all machines designed for a specific group of muscles, created to isolate them. It's staggering, and in no way way did the fathers of the sport have access to such creations. Many of them relied on soreness and doctors to tell them what was going on when they did certain lifts. We live in a great time to be a serious weight lifter.