Kai Greene’s leg workout was like a symphony. Not a classical symphony like a work by Beethoven or Mozart, but rather a symphony of organized confusion filled with dissonance and fury. There was a harmony of sets, reps, muscle and contractions that made beautiful music. Greene’s mind is the conductor and his muscles are the orchestra. The weights are the instruments and the music is the physique he displays onstage. Greene has developed a connection with his body that every bodybuilder should dream to achieve. His workout is all about this connection and his ability to harness it on that particular day. He is after a feeling, and once he gets it, he moves on. The onlooker might see only sets and reps; but a closer look reveals the masterpiece Greene is creating. Follow along as Greene builds, refines and perfects some of the best wheels in the game. This is Training Day.
FLEX: Training Day always kicks off by asking the athlete to evaluate the bodypart we’re about to train. So, how do you view your legs? They are considered some of the freakiest wheels in the history of the sport, but what do you see? What do you like and dislike about them? color>
KAI GREENE: My legs are a strong part of my physique. I had to work hard to get them to where they are today; I didn’t just start like this. But I’ve been training for more than 20 years — I stopped counting at 20 — and there’s been a lot of work done in that time. This year I’ve focused on adding more detail and I’m always working to make them more round. Like I do every year, I’m looking to take what I already have and make it even better.
You just warmed up with 30 minutes on the StairMaster and a 15-minute ab circuit that was pretty intense. Do you ever worry that all this work at the start could leave you weaker?color>
I’m at a different starting point than I was years ago and many others might be today. In order to polish and fine-tune my physique I’ve had to go away from what is expected or “normal” for others. The warm-up gets me in the right mindset and perfect focus. I get more alert, aware, and my neurological connections are sharper. It also gets the blood flowing and helps prevent injury. After all these years in the gym, I know what works for me and what gets my mind and body in the best possible start for a great workout. Don’t be scared to experiment, because that’s the only way you’ll find what works for you. Additionally, as a larger athlete, I’ve learned the importance of training my abdominals at the start of a workout. This helps me with breathing and abdominal control that I can later take to the stage. I practice these things when I’m freshest.
Now let’s get into the workout. So far we’ve seen cardio, abs, glutes, calves and now you are going into hamstrings. Do you ever worry that all this work at the start of the workout compromises your ability to fully stimulate your quads?color>
I work in a specific order that addresses bodyparts from weakest to strongest. This creates harmony in my physique. I start with glutes, then calves, then hams because that is the order of needed improvement. My quads are superior to the other parts of my legs, so I prefer to address those other parts when I am most energetic and alert. This is the formula for improvement.
First up is the unilateral standing leg curl, a true isolation exercise for hamstrings. What do you feel on this particular machine and why do you use it first in the workout?color>
I like this exercise very much because it allows me to connect with each leg individually. I’m also able to use my glutes and spinal erectors to stabilize my body and stay in place. With each contraction I’m imagining myself standing onstage in the semirelaxed pose. This exercise really gets me into gear mentally to start the workout.