The Zane Way

Olympia legend Frank Zane talks about his strongest bodypart: his brain.

Courtesy of Weider Health & Fitness

“If you want to get good at something, you have to do it a lot. The basis of learning is repetition." 

What about the micro approach? How were you approaching individual workouts?

I’m not thinking about anything when I’m in the gym. I’m just doing it and getting a good workout. As far as psyching myself up to get a good workout, if that doesn’t happen on its own, then I’m not motivated and I don’t train as hard. It takes care of itself. I don’t really have to do anything to psych myself up—ever. If I was training for a competition, the mindset automatically fell in place the closer I got to the contest. Because I did it for so long.

By the time I was winning Olympias, I had already been training for so long. No overnight sensation here. That was always my approach—take your time and do a good job. Pay attention to details. Over time, by taking a lot of photographs, I got to see what was what. And when I went onstage, I already knew what I looked like because I saw it in photographs. At a show, nobody asks you how big your arms are. What do they do? They look at you. In any scientific experiment, if you want to be successful, you have to cut out extraneous variables. Get things out of there that don’t matter. Don’t waste your time looking at measurements. That’s what I did. I concentrated only on what I looked like.

Would this also apply to the exercises you do? Meaning, get rid of the exercises that are extraneous and make sure every movement you do serves a specific purpose?

Yes, as my overall purpose. But actually, when I do each exercise, my purpose and my goal is to get a good pump on every set. And if I don’t, something’s wrong. Get a good pump in the area I want it—that was the whole thing. That’s not something I had to think about; that’s just something I did because I had been doing it so long and practicing it. It was just habit.

 

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