FLEX: How important are genetics in bodybuilding?
Kai Greene: I never talk about genetics. Nothing is built by wondering about Kai Greene’s genetics or your own genetics or anyone’s genetics. A body is built around the discipline of doing certain things correctly meal after meal, workout after workout, day after day, year after year. If you have a plan and the discipline to follow that plan, then success can follow. No one is born with a great body, and no one gets a Mr. Olympia body or any sort of amazing or beautiful physique without developing and following the habits that lead to that physique’s development.
You can’t do anything about your genetics, so why focus on it? Instead, focus on what you can change. You talk about genetics or you worry about genetics or you use genetics as an excuse—saying you can’t do this or you’ll never look like that—and it just distracts or diverts you from being all you can truly be. And that’s all you should concern yourself with. Be the best you can be, and don’t think about how can I look like Kai Greene or some other bodybuilder. You’re going to look like you, and if you follow your plan day after day you’re going to look the best you can look.
FLEX: Do you cheat some of your reps to keep the set going or shorten the range of motion?
Kai Greene: I do a complete rep on every rep. Success comes from using proper form, going slow, and getting a complete stretch and complete contraction every time. That’s how I’ve avoided injuries, and that’s how I’ve built muscle, rep after rep. Luckily, I never learned bad habits, and I didn’t get into using heavier weights with bad form. Doing that, you’re probably going to injure something eventually. It’s also a shortcut around muscle growth. You’re taking the easy path that doesn’t stimulate the most muscle. So I learned early how to do strict and full reps. It’s the hard way, but it’s hard for a reason. It makes it harder on your muscles and forces them to grow.
What do you do to get such awesome hamstrings?
Thanks. I train hamstrings with quads, glutes, and calves, and some of the quad and glute exercises, like Jefferson squats, glute kickbacks, and regular squats work my hamstrings. As far as direct hamstring exercises, I do leg curls and stiff-leg deads. I do them slow and under careful control. I keep my hams tensed throughout. I also do them for higher reps, usually 20 per set. With hamstrings, you really have to have a very strong mind-muscle connection, because it’s hard to see them working. You have to feel them working from a full stretch to a full contraction on every rep. Most people try to rush through the reps so they can use more weight, but they’re not connecting with their hamstrings and getting those strong contractions. - FLEX