4. Chris Cormier: strict and full range of motion
As an IFBB pro with almost unmatched competitive experience, Chris Cormier used his own approach when training to get huge: an optimal blend of power and strictness. When performing his reps, he doesn’t worry about reaching a certain number – instead, he focuses on getting the most of the muscle by thoroughly stressing it throughout its full range of motion.
On the subject of training arms, he emphasizes the importance of letting your arms extend all the way down, then contracting them all the way up, using an adequately heavy weight. And when it comes to the dreaded leg day, this bodybuilder with notoriously ripped legs calls for maximum pressure and a balanced involvement of both primary and secondary working muscles for optimal results.
Cormier’s quads workout
• Leg extensions (perform as warm-up sets with lighter weight): 4 sets, 15 reps
• Squats: 5 sets, 12-20
• Leg presses: 4-5 sets, 12-20 reps
• Hack squats: 4-5 sets, 8-15 reps
• Leg extensions: 4-5 sets, 15-25 reps
5. Johnnie Jackson: hard and heavy
Johnnie Jackson is known as one of the strongest bodybuilders in the world, known for competing at powerlifting events and rocking a godlike physique. His method for stimulating insane growth is distributing the workload over an entire muscle group, instead of focusing it on one single muscle in that group.
When training, he uses weight so heavy that it cannot be managed by contracting only one muscle – the neighboring fibers have to lend a hand. “The more muscles that have to be called into play, the more mass you will gain“, explains Jackson.
Jackson’s leg workout
• Leg extensions: 5 sets, 15-20 reps
• Squats: 5 sets, 1-15 reps
• Leg presses: 5 sets, 15-20 reps
• Hack squats: 3 sets, 15 reps
• Lying leg curls: 4 sets, 20 reps
• Seated leg curls: 3 sets, 30-40 reps
• Donkey calf raises: 6 sets, 30 reps
6. Melvin Anthony: tension is the key
Top level bodybuilder Melvin Anthony is widely known as the best poser of the modern bodybuilding era, relying on perfect symmetry and muscle separation to create an incredible aesthetic effect on stage. In addition, he often gets credit for having the best developed back musculature in the world. Anthony’s muscle-building tactic is based on maintaining continuous tension in the muscle in terms of controlled movements.
He would go down slowly, then power himself up, focusing on the contraction and avoiding a jerky up and down motion. No matter the exercise, Anthony insists on using strict form until reaching failure, after which he squeezes out some additional partial reps. His key advice for ultimate success is to keep the muscle under maximum tension all throughout the movement.
Anthony’s back superset:
• Front pulldowns: 5 sets, 15 reps
• Seated cable rows: 5 sets, 15 reps
• T-bar rows: 5 sets, 15 reps
• One-arm dumbbell rows: 5 sets, 15 reps
• Close-grip overhand pulldowns: 5 sets, 15 reps
• Deadlifts: 5 sets, 15 reps
7. Darrem Charles: adequate force from all muscles involved
IFBB champion Darrem Charles’s impressive competition history speaks volumes about his meticulous training regime. His cheating, in terms of applying force from a muscle group other than the targeted one is down to the minimum – just enough to perform a given exercise correctly.
Other than that, he advocates using weight that’s heavy enough to activate the secondary working muscles to support the lift, which in turn allows the primary muscle to achieve full contraction and places even more stress on it. But moderation is the key here – if the weight is too heavy, your goals will be compromised.
Charles’s delts workout:
• Barbell presses: 3 sets, 4-10 reps
• Dumbbell lateral raises: 3 sets, 4-10 reps
• Bent dumbbell lateral raises: 3 sets, 4-10 reps
• Upright rows: 3 sets, 4-10 reps
• Barbell shrugs: 3 sets, 4-10 reps