Greene trains biceps about once a week, usually on the same day as chest, triceps, and forearms. A student of the iron game would assume pecs would come first, followed by arms…but when it comes to the enigmatic 2012 and 2013 Mr. O runner-up, you soon learn to expect the unconventional.
“Say I’m traveling and not really expecting to perform big lifts for my chest, but instead just want to pump some blood into the area—there’s a chance I may do triceps first,” Greene says. “I might also start with forearms, triceps, biceps and then do chest, or start with chest and triceps followed by forearms and then biceps.”
Greene pauses a moment, as if he can hear the visceral reaction from exercise physiologists and by-the-book lifters alike as they react to the perceived lunacy. After all, doesn’t tiring your triceps negatively impact your ability to work your pecs to their max? Not to mention launching a workout with forearm moves, which can compromise your grip strength for the heavier chest and arm exercises to come.
For Greene, though, personal experience trumps the science. “There are days you don’t want to go too heavy and risk injury,” he says. “You may be nursing a shoulder injury, or dealing with some elbow issue, or be worn out from long days on the road. For chest, I may be select exercises with that in mind, and lift lighter than usual.” To that end, then, pre-fatiguing his arms hasn’t compromised his performance.
How does he know? Well, for one, you’ll probably never come across an athlete so attuned to the inner workings of his body. Greene doesn’t zone out during a workout. He doesn’t aimlessly rattle of reps. He’s not haphazardly stringing exercises together. Greene is 100%in the moment, analyzing every twitch and tremor of his physique.
“The absolute wrong way to go about biceps training is to turn off my mind and not process what my body is feeling, what it’s telling me,” Greene explains. “From the frst rep to the last, sensory triggers are stimulated, and if you’re attuned enough, you can interpret that data and make good decisions that’ll further advance you toward your desired goal. It does take experience in the gym, so you can’t expect a beginner to walk in and do it, but it’s something that can be learned.”
With that statement, we have some proof to the theory that Kai Greene isn’t a mere mortal, but a super- charged, bodybuilding machine that can create otherworldly, freaky, dense muscle mass with precise superhuman calculation.
But for the rest of us, there’s an integral lesson to be learned: Successful training requires immersive, unyielding engagement of the mind on every single rep. Cue the exit of the old workout paradigm: The sweat-beaded guy in the stained T-shirt grunting through intensive sets, zoned out to power through the pain, all while aggressive guitar chords envelop the scene in hazy harmony.
A Greene workout requires reading and reviewing a constant stream of data. During biceps training, his vital feedback includes the feeling of the biceps contracting and extending during a rep, the strum of connective tissues, the recognition of “good” pain versus “bad,” and the monitoring of blood fowing into and out of an area, creating the internal pressure of a pump on muscles that triggers growth. “Working out is a mental activity—your mind is the key to making the activity proftable or a waste,” he says simply.
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