RONNIE COLEMAN: EXPLOSIVE
I don’t use ultrastrict single-muscle movements for any bodypart. As for using light weight and just squeezing a specific muscle, I never do anything like that. I try to combine explosive power and strict execution into each rep. Regardless of how heavy I go, I try to make the intended muscle work to its full capacity by putting as much of that weight as possible directly into it.
What I remember about squatting 800 pounds is that I wanted to make sure I was going down far enough and compressing that weight directly into my thighs. That’s what I examine in my videos: whether I was going down far enough, because I believe in performing every movement the right way. That’s howI was taught, to go down as far as I could, below parallel, hams on calves, then put as much power and strength as I had into the upward explosion.
I did only two reps, but both of them were good reps that I felt all the way through my thighs. Doing it that way, you have to involve more than the contraction of a single muscle; all muscles in the thighs have to work together, as well as other muscles in the body that coordinate balance. Same with biceps work. To get those puppies to work, you have to use your delts, forearms and even your abs as you tense to explode into the rep.
RONNIE COLEMAN'S BICEPS WORKOUT
BARBELL CURLS, 4 sets, 8-12 reps
STANDING ALTERNATE DUMBBELL CURLS, 3 sets, 8-12 reps
CAMBERED-BAR PREACHER CURLS, 3 sets, 8-12 reps
STANDING CABLE CURLS*, 4x2 sets, 8-12 reps
*Coleman performs four nonstop sets, takes a brief rest and repeats the series.
JAY CUTLER: CONTROL
For a lot of pros, when they’re working a bodypart, you’ll see some motion in the rest of their bodies. When they’re pushing heavy weight, it’s almost impossible not to use a lot of muscles. I do the same, but usually with the rest-pause principle. I contract the muscle as much as I can, but I don’t do continuous repetitions at a steady pace, like a machine. My training is different from Ronnie’s in that manner. His is explosive: up, down, up, down, consistently paced, with no pause, for 10 reps. Mine pause. For squats, I go down, come up and squeeze the quads for a oneor two-count, go back down, come up and squeeze for a one- or two-count, etc.
For bench presses, I pause at the top of every third rep or so, and when I come down, I control the bar so that it stops about two inches shy of my chest; i.e., I don’t bounce it off my chest. That’s what I consider strict.
For barbell rows, I throw around 400 pounds, so there’s going to be some cushioning with my knees to get the weight up, because I don’t want to tweak something. I’m not dragging the weight up my body, though, and I’m not jerking it all over the place. When you’re moving that kind of weight, your hips and your body have to move, for balance.
For preacher curls, my body is braced in position, so I don’t use body motion. There will be some for standing barbell curls, to maintain balance and keep the weight focused in the biceps. It’s nonetheless controlled and, for some reps, I pause at the bottom and really feel the weight, to get the mind-to-muscle connection. With 70-pound dumbbell curls, it’s also pretty hard to remain perfectly erect and still. It’s not the contraction of only a single muscle fiber that’s moving that weight. The rest of the body has to continuously stabilize itself to accommodate the constant weight transfers. That’s real-world physics for you.
Even with a pullup movement, I might have to use other muscles to help bring my bodyweight all the way to the top, in order to get a peak contraction in my back. When you’re a 300-pound guy, you’re going to have some body motion.
JAY CUTLER'S BICEPS WORKOUT
BARBELL CURLS, 5-6 sets, 8-10 reps
ONE-ARM DUMBBELL PREACHER CURLS, 3 sets, 8-10 reps
INCLINE DUMBBELL CURLS, 3 sets, 8-10 reps
TWO-ARM HIGH-CABLE CURLS, 3 sets, 8-10 reps
HAMMER CURLS, 3 sets, 8-10 reps
DARREM CHARLES: FORCE
There’s a fine line between applying a little force from another muscle group, or cheating, for the purpose of moving a weight so that it places even more stress on a muscle versus going all the way across the board to where you’re doing the exercise totally wrong and missing the targeted bodypart altogether. I like to cheat just enough so I can still execute the exercise correctly; that is, feel it in the muscle I’m trying to hit. Ultra strict repetitions are what I call a Jane Fonda workout, which is using very light weight, so that nothing else moves.
In bodybuilding, though, you have to go a little bit heavier, so other muscles help lift the weight in a manner that places more stress on the muscle than can be applied only by that muscle’s contraction. Don’t, however, cross the line. I’ve seen guys do T-bar rows with weight so heavy that they have to stand straight up. That’s a deadlift, not a row — a totally different exercise. T-bar rows should be done with the back at about a 45-degree angle. With shoulder presses, you have to recruit the upper back, traps and even the upper pecs as you start the movement.
DARREM CHARLES' DELTS WORKOUT
BARBELL PRESSES, 3 sets, 4-10 reps
DUMBBELL LATERAL RAISES, 3 sets, 4-10 reps
BENT DUMMBELL LATERAL RAISES, 3 sets, 4-10 reps
UPRIGHT ROWS, 3 sets, 4-10 reps
BARBELL SHRUGS, 3 sets, 4-10 reps
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