The Evolution of Jay Cutler's Training

Jay Cutler reflects on the workouts that made him a four-time Mr. Olympia.

 HIGH VOLUME FROM DAY 1 

Were you a volume trainer from your teen years?

I always trained each body part once a week. Chris Aceto and Laura Creavalle took me under their wing and taught me a lot about training and nutrition. I did a lot of sets. Being younger, I could recover much quicker. There was a lot of variation and angles. I worked for the pump versus pushing heavy weight all the time.

What mistakes do you think you made as a teen bodybuilder?

I overtrained, no doubt. I did too much. Chris taught me a lot about the nutrition aspect and wrote me a six-meal-a-day diet that I posted on my refrigerator and followed exactly as the portions and the foods were listed. I think I progressed very quickly from that point because my diet was so intact. So, even though I was probably overtraining, I did pay strict attention to the diet and getting enough nutrition.

 FILLING IN THE BLANKS 

Your legs were obviously the body part that developed easiest for you. I remember a picture Steve Neece took of you as a teen in tights outside Gold’s Gym in Venice more than 20 years ago.

Legs, yeah. Of course.

Which body part(s) were toughest to get to grow?

I’d say my chest, because I was so wide and my shoulders were so big. I had to learn to get that arch when you train chest; I have a big rib cage. I had to learn to work the chest muscles instead of just pressing weights because I was very, very strong. I had to learn to contract my chest, so what I’d do is tuck my chin in and let my chest touch my chin with every rep so I could feel it contracting.

My arms were rough to grow. I had small calves compared with my quads. My back held me back against Ronnie Coleman in the early years at the Olympia, so I did a lot to improve that, a lot of T-bar rows and pullups. Really, I just always tried to improve. For a guy who I think wasn’t blessed with the best genetics to be Mr. Olympia, I think I did a good job of filling in the blanks.

 

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