Before his sixth-place finish at the 2013 Mr. Olympia, it was 12 years since Jay Cutler finished lower than runner-up in a bodybuilding contest. During that span, he’s strung together an improbable tally of 15 firsts and 11 seconds. He’s been in the top two at the Mr. Olympia a record 10 times, winning on four occasions. He won three consecutive Arnold Classics before stopping. Since 2000, the only three men who have defeated him—Ronnie Coleman, Dexter Jackson, and Phil Heath—are fellow Mr. Olympias. In 2012, recovering from a biceps injury prior to the 2011 Olympia, he forwent competition for the first time in 15 years and focused on his business ventures. The 2013 Olympia was the last time we saw Jay Cutler in posing trunks. His 11 consecutive years of excellence will stand as one of the greatest accomplishments in bodybuilding history. In honor of his 25 straight top-two finishes, we’ve assembled 25 techniques Cutler used to ascend to heights where only Mr. Olympias reside and where he remained for more than a decade.
1. HAVE A PLAN
When he was 22 and living in Massachusetts, Cutler traveled to Southern California to enter a local show. His plan to garner publicity worked. He won the 1995 NPC Tournament of Champions and, months before he nabbed a pro card on his first try at the 1996 NPC Nationals, he was grinning on a Muscle & Fitness cover. That’s the way he rolls. Over the ensuing 17 years, Cutler carefully plotted out everything: business, training, eating, and competing.
2. TURN UP THE VOLUME
“I’ve always been a volume trainer,” Cutler says. Boy, has he ever. In 2003, I watched him do 10 back exercises for 43 sets over two workouts on the same day! There is a prevalent (and often irrational) fear of overtraining that leads many bodybuilders to lose sight of the growth-inducing benefits achieved by increasing their sets per workout.
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