Dexter Jackson's greatness is a given, even as time marches on and younger competitors rise and fall. His beard is gray, his face is lined, but his physique refuses to age. In an effort to discover his secrets, we examine what makes the Blade so phenomenal, from A to Z.
A IS FOR ARNOLD CLASSIC
No competitor is more associated with a contest than the Blade is with the Arnold. He holds every significant record: most wins (5), most entries (15), most top-five finishes (14). In addition, he’s won the Arnold Classic Australia and Arnold Classic Europe. With all due respect to the contest’s namesake, Jackson owns the A.C. (all stats are as of July 2016).
B IS FOR BICEPS
He has two of the highest-caliber guns ever flexed on a stage, but if you’re looking for the key to bulbous biceps here, the secret is there is no secret. He does the same things most every other bodybuilder does for moderate volume and moderate reps. A typical routine consists of EZ-bar preacher curls, seated alternate dumbbell curls, and one-arm machine curls, all for four sets of 8-10 reps. “There are a lot of different ways to do a curl with free weights and machines,” he says.
C IS FOR CHARLES GLASS
Around the time he turned 41 at the end of 2010, when it seemed his physique might actually be fading, Jackson enlisted trainer Charles Glass, even though it meant “commuting” from Florida to California. Glass, a master of hitting all the angles with modified exercises, has been Jackson’s trainer ever since, proving you can teach an old dog new tricks.
D IS FOR DELTOIDS
At first glance, his shoulder routine seems elementary: an overhead press, a front raise, a lateral raise, and a rear lateral, four sets of each, 10-15 reps per set. What makes it unique is Glass and his bag of tricks. The master trainer is liable to come up with things like a one-arm Smith machine overhead press (sitting perpendicular to the bar) and an underhand EZ-bar front raise. The parameters stay the same, but even Jackson is surprised by the particulars of each workout.
E IS FOR EATING
This is the part he doesn’t like—all those monotonous meals. “I’m not naturally a big eater,” he states. “When I retire, I’ll eat like a normal person and weigh less than 200 pounds.” For now, though, eating
is a big part of his job. He makes the most of it by spicing up his off-season meals with things like mashed potatoes, turkey bacon, buttered lobster, and steak smothered in sauce. However, when the Blade brings out the cuts during his contest prep, he turns to the diet staples—tilapia, chicken breasts, and sauce-free steak.
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