What are some of the more unique exercises you have either invented yourself or picked up from someone else? Were they beneficial and something that you still do every once in a while just to switch things up more?
There are a few exercises I had to come up with when I was younger because we didn’t have a gym to go to, so I was forced to improvise. For shoulder presses, I would get my father’s four-wheeler and pick it up from the ground. When I wanted to add some weight, someone would sit on it. For chest, I did pool table bench presses. There was no chinup bar, so I would hang off the doorway ledge by my fingertips.
When you have nothing else, you make do with what you have. I did these for many years, and they worked—no excuses!
Do you use the Hammer Strength back machines often? Which other ones in the Hammer line do you like or dislike and why?
I have had a bad lower back for a few years now, and some days, bentover rows and deadlifts just cause me too much pain and discomfort. When that occurs, I turn to the Hammer Strength section because there are a lot of good machines there. The one-arm row, a few different lat pull-downs... Those machines pretty much have every angle that you can think of. There hasn’t been one that I didn’t like.
There are even some days that I can get my entire back workout done on Hammers. They are very helpful for people with injuries.
What is your favorite piece of cardio equipment? How much do you do (days, minutes) off-season and during contest prep?
I don’t have a favorite, because I hate cardio! But what works best for me is the stair machine. I will do about 45 minutes, five or six days a week while prepping for a show. In the off-season, I like to use the treadmill or stationary bike for 20 to 30 minutes, three to four times a week. I like the pump I get from the bike; when I get off it I can barely walk.
What is your opinion on dropsets? How often do you do them, and for which body parts/exercises? How much weight do you drop?
I’m a big believer in dropsets, and have been doing them since day one. I can say that there are days when I do them on every exercise. For example, on flat bench press I will do 405 pounds for 10 reps, drop it to 315 for 10, 225 for 10, and 135 to failure.
I will do them on many other exercises as well, such as my straight-bar biceps curls and side laterals for shoulders. I just love feeling the burn and getting as much blood as I can into the muscle. We all live for the pump!
What do you do on the days when you just do not seem to have a big appetite but still need to consume all of your meals?
I have been there many times, when you just can’t eat as much as you need to. I just eat a smaller meal, sometimes half the size. Or I drink more shakes and have carbs on the side.
But some days I will just eat whatever I want like pizza, burgers, fried chicken, sushi, chips, chocolate—everything that I love, just so I’m eating. I think that we need to do that from time to time. And that stuff tastes good! - FLEX