We journeyed to Mamdouh “Big Ramy” Elssbiay’s “home office,” the appropriately mammoth Oxygen Gym in Kuwait City, Kuwait, to witness how the largest bodybuilder of all time is growing a chest to match the rest of his 5'10", 316-pound physique. Here are eight takeaways.
1) Big Ramy aims for 10 reps on every set. (True or False?)
FALSE – HIS REP COUNTS VARY
For chest, back, shoulders, and legs, the mass monster alters his target reps each week, progressing from 6 to 8 to 10 to 12 to 15 over five weeks. Then he starts the five-week cycle again at 6. The rep progression allows him to change his focus subtly each consecutive workout, journeying from 6-rep strength sets to pump-up sets of 15 over five-week spans.
2) Elssbiay does incline dumbbell flyes first in his chest routine. (True or False?)
TRUE – TO PRE-EXHAUST HIS UPPER CHEST
By doing an isolation exercise (incline flyes) before a compound exercise (Smith machine incline presses) focused on the same area (upper chest), the 2015 Arnold Classic Brazil champ’s upper pectorals are already tiring before he moves on to the presses. Doing this assures that his pecs will fail before his front deltoids and triceps can take over. Of course, it also means he can’t hoist as much iron in the presses as he could otherwise, but it’s much more important to Elssbiay that each rep of both the flyes and the presses is targeting his upper chest. He needs to maximize muscle there in order to keep it in line with its neighbors: his colossal delts and traps. Upper chest pre-exhausting is the perfect one-two combination to launch his workout.
3) The most common technique used in his chest routine is dropsets. (True or False?)
FALSE – HE USES FORCED REPS MOST
Big Ramy does mostly straight sets with strict form. His trainer, Ahmad Alaqi, is always lurking to make certain he hits his rep target with proper form. On the last set of most exercises, Alaqi helps just enough so that Elssbiay ekes out a couple of extra reps.
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