THE CONQUEROR’S ROAD
Last year I feel that William delivered a very dominating, crisp package, so I was very excited to see how that would look with his productive off-season behind him. This year William came onstage seven to eight pounds heavier and, if anything, his conditioning was even tighter, which meant that visually his physique had made some very significant leaps in quality, which were plain to see.
The key areas we focused on improving were:
- Increasing the overall width and thickness of his shoulders
- Increasing the thickness and detail in his back
- Keeping his waistline very tight
William’s legs are extremely well-developed from every angle: They have no weaknesses, so the goal was to make areas of his upper body just as commanding. What I didn’t want to do was pack weight onto his frame this off–season at the expense of his small waistline because you see it time and time again where athletes sacrifice shape and symmetry for size, and that’s just not bodybuilding. I’m very much a believer in quality over quantity and always come back to the classic, beautiful lines of a owing physique rather than sheer mass alone.
To bring out the added width of William’s shoulders, we focused on hitting them twice a week, usually every fourth day. The key thing to remember with this is that due to the increased frequency of training on this muscle group, the secondary workout needs to be adapted accordingly. The goal was to stimulate the muscle fibers in the secondary workout without causing so much damage that William would be unable to recover properly between those workouts. Remember, the shoulders are brought into play in other workouts anyway, so this meant I really had to think hard about his Y3T training plan.
William also trained his back every four to five days to increase the frequency of stimulation within that area. However, unlike shoulders, the back is a much bigger muscle group. This creates its own issues because you have to balance food intake along with supplementation for recovery, as well as trying to stimulate growth without overtaxing the whole body and potentially forcing it into a negative environment. One workout focused more on width, while the second workout focused on thickness within the back area.
However, I want to emphasize that although the workouts were very different due to the specific goals I just mentioned, there’s no way to completely avoid crossover between certain areas/ muscle groups within the back. You might be focusing on the lats more in one workout and the rhomboids more in another. However, you’re still going to hit those areas in both workouts, ultimately. This is why it’s so important to allow your body enough time to recover within your programming so you’re not overtraining certain areas. As I always say, to force as much detail into the muscle as possible you must always focus on the quality of your contraction with each rep. On back, this is particularly important—therefore, I stipulated very specific rep tempos for William to maximize the engagement of specific fibers within his back.
Adding that extra seven to eight pounds of quality muscle took effort in the off-season, when we even resorted to introducing meals through the night to keep him as anabolic as possible. However, what I really want to reiterate is that you can’t just keep forcing growth with more and more calories. At some point you will start seeing negative effects, such as a distended gut due to the volume of food you’re having to process. Like I said, it was key that we kept William’s waistline flat, which we managed to with the extra solid muscle on top. To me, this is what really sets a world-class physique apart: mass, thickness with the owing lines in the right places, and a at midsection.
Overall, I felt that William excelled this year, and once again he was the talk of the show. He’s now beat athletes such as Dexter Jackson and Shawn Rhoden. He has firmly made a space for his name in the top-five bodybuilders the world has to offer and will continue to improve upon that over the coming years. I simply couldn’t be any more proud of William’s efforts. He has a very bright future!
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FLEX’S GROWING PAINS
The same problem that keeps arising for Flex every Olympia is that he’s right at the top of his weight class, which makes it very difficult to manage. The reality is that his body still wants to grow, and we have to be very careful about how much mass we actually put on his frame in the off-season. Otherwise it’s only going to cause more stress for him when he starts prepping. Last year, he blew people away with yet another phenomenal package—he really is setting the standards in this 212 division and will continue to do so. However, while his weight is a very real factor we have to consider, we did aim to make some improvements in key areas for this year. Flex is the champion for a reason: His commitment to making improvements year after year never wavers, and he always wants to do more to please his fans and build a bigger legacy for himself.
The areas we focused on were his:
- Chest thickness
- Rhomboid area
- Outer-quad sweep
THE 212 KING’S PLAN
Flex has the most complete physique in this class. However, the goal is always to improve, so we focused on training his chest every fourth day to add more thickness. Like I mentioned before with William, allowing for recovery between these more frequent workouts is essential. Especially on chest, whereby the shoulder joints are undergoing more stress, for instance. The secondary workout was based more around blood volumization and isometric contractions/squeezes, and we preferred to use the incline angles on pressing to really emphasize growth within the upper pec region.
To bring Flex’s outer quad sweep up, we included more close-stance leg pressing, hack squats, and leg-extension variations, whereby more of the load is transferred into the outer thigh region. When you consider how big the quads are, it makes sense that you need to utilize multiple angles of attack in order to maximize each area.
Finally, we included more back exercises in Flex’s Y3T plan, which targeted the rhomboids and erectors down the middle, lower regions of his back. This wasn’t necessarily a weakness; however, we just wanted to exaggerate that 3-D illusion of his physique from the back, which I felt we managed to achieve.
THE ULTIMATE PACKAGE
Ultimately, the biggest factor with Flex is always bringing the package that people expect. I feel the Olympia brings a certain level of stress and demand for any athlete due to the prestige of the event. Especially when you’re the four-time reigning champion, which can potentially lead to a negative response with your cortisol levels, which in turn can lead to some water retention. This is always very hard to manage in any athlete. It’s just a natural part of the process at this level of competition.
BRINGING IT CONSISTENTLY
Both Flex and William have never gone onstage out of shape, which has created a certain level of expectation from the fans. This is giving credit to their own hard work, their commitment as athletes, and their drive to be the very best at what they do. However, with that level of expectation comes more and more pressure to deliver each year, which both of these guys take in stride.
To wrap this up, I’d just like to say that I’m incredibly proud of both of these athletes, and I’m even more proud to call them my friends. It’s such a pleasure watching both of them evolve as people and as athletes with each year that passes by. Everything they’ve achieved is more than deserved, and I know they’ll continue to do amazing things going forward.
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