#3. Compound movements
After the giant sets it’s time for compound exercises, specifically close-up grip bench presses and dips. When performing close-grip benches, he uses a pyramid pattern that allows him to use heavier weights and fewer reps.
“I tend to use the Smith machine. I ﬂip an incline bench around. And I angle the seat part up, and that’s where I put my head. That way, I can more easily watch what’s happening. My grip is set by touching my thumbs. So I take a grip that is about two thumbs apart”, states Lewis.
Lewis is also a great fan of dips, which he performs by trying to reach failure on every set with 20+ reps, using only his bodyweight and making sure to squeeze the muscles as hard as possible during each rep. When targeting the triceps with dips, he tries to keep his body as upright as possible in order to avoid activating the chest muscles. According to him, these two compound exercises are the best way to thoroughly exhaust his arms.
The Welsh Dragon always begins his biceps routine with standing alternate dumbbell curls. “A lot of people just throw the weight up. Myself, I try to get a full range of motion, and I turn my hand as much as I can, and hold for a second and squeeze”, he states. Needless to say, this wrist twist is the most important advantage of dumbbell curls and should be utilized to its maximum. After three or four sets of alternate dumbbell curls, Lewis follows with two sets of curling the dumbbells simultaneously.
Lewis then continues his biceps workout with EZ-bar curls and hammer curls. He performs the hammer curls in a seated position, alternating the arms. That being said, he keeps the reps in the relatively high 12–20 range on both EZ-bar curls and hammer curls.
He is also keen on performing 21-styled two-arm cable curls with the EZ-bar handle, preferably between the EZ-bar and hammer curls. He would do seven reps in the lower range of motion, then seven reps in the upper range of motion and finally seven reps with full range of motion. He then finishes the routine with a few rest-pause reps, done by pausing shortly after each rep in order to squeeze out one additional rep.
As you can see, the most crucial aspects of The Welsh Dragon’s routine are maintaining a high intensity, focusing on contractions and performing a high range of reps. Regardless of his training style, he stresses the importance of the mind-muscle connection as the thing that really helped him bring his physique on a whole new level.
However, the key part of this legendary bodybuilder’s approach to muscle building is maintaining his musculature proportionate. According to him, it’s much better to sacrifice gaining an additional inch on a certain body part in order to focus on less developed areas – and he learned this the hard way. Only a proportionate, well-balanced physique can be aesthetically pleasing and count as real success. His advice is to target your lagging muscles on a new way by truly connecting to them and focusing on their performance separately from surrounding muscles and then hitting them with all you’ve got, for as long as it takes.