Training Styles: Freestyle

How to improvise and innovate on training days

In 2008, FLEX introduced a new concept to training—freestyle. In an era of freestyle rap, freestyle skateboarding, and even freestyle running (parkour, anyone?), some bodybuilders improvise and innovate their way through their workouts. Kai Greene has been at the forefront of this method. Sometimes it’s difficult to tell which body part the Mr. Olympia runner-up is training, because he’ll incorporate work for other muscles and include unorthodox moves like handstands. However, it was after observing a Brandon Curry workout in the summer of 2008 that I brought the freestyle label to bodybuilding.


Shortly after Curry won the 2008 NPC USA Championships, I watched him train back and spoke with him about his workout concepts. His freestyling manifested itself in three ways. First, he sometimes did only one exercise per workout. For example, he’d do 15 sets of barbell rows for back and nothing else. Second, he created his own exercises, such as a one-arm standing cable “row,” which was a contraction-only minimovement that kept constant tension on his working lat. Third, he mixed it up as he went along, altering each workout as it progressed depending on biofeedback and intuition.

“I switch it up like the wind changes. I don’t want to get bored in the gym. I just want to enjoy it every time I’m in there, so I’m constantly trying new things.”—Brandon Curry

Freestyle workouts incorporate several classic Weider Principles: eclectic (change your workout, when necessary, as it progresses); instinctive (experiment to determine what works best for your body); and holistic (include vastly different training styles). But what most animates freestyling is creativity. This suits  more artistic bodybuilders like Greene and Curry, but it may not work best for you.

Click "Next Page" for Freestyle tips and a Freestyle workout example >>

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