Top Secrets From the Pros

40 bodybuilding greats reveal their most unique training tips.

This is the good stuff. These are the things that they do that you probably don’t do. We’ve assembled the 40 most unique training tips from 40 pro bodybuilders, champs who span more than a half-century, from first Mr. Olympia Larry Scott to fast-rising current superstars like Justin Compton. Though rarely performed or discussed, these exercises, techniques, and set-rep schemes helped grow a tremendous amount of contest-winning muscle, and they can be incorporated into your program to generate similar gains. There’s no need to hack into any networks. We’ve got the secrets.


“The purpose of dumbbell flyes is to fully stretch and contract the pecs, so I try to maximize this by twisting the dumbbells through each rep. In the top position, the dumbbells are together, and my palms are facing each other. As I lower the dumbbells, I twist my wrists out, so in the bottom position my palms are facing forward. Then as I bring the dumbbells up, I twist my wrists in so when the dumbbells meet at the top, my palms are facing again. That twist keeps more tension on my pecs throughout each rep.” —Mustafa Mohammad


“I train my neck once or twice per week. I do the neck machine, getting one set for 30 to 50 reps in each of the four directions [front, back, left, right]. I sometimes lie on a bench and hold a 45-pound plate on my face [with a towel under the plate] and bring my head up for 30 to 50 reps. I’ll also put a dumbbell in a towel, and I’ll hold the ends of the towel with my mouth while facing down and bring my head back for 30 to 50 reps. This also builds up my jaw muscles.” —Hidetada Yamagishi


“It’s not good enough merely to keep your mind on each set you do. Try to visualize each rep doing exactly what you want. I don’t take mental pauses between sets. My mind is deep into my training even though I might be resting my body. I am always preparing myself mentally for what’s coming next, so I cannot allow irrelevant thoughts. Long after my workout is over, my mind is still in contact with the training session.” –Frank Zane


“Do a set or two for abs before your back or leg workouts. This gives your core a light pump and helps you keep your abs tense during exercises like rows and squats. I’ve found that this keeps me safer and also stronger.” —Troy Alves


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