19 Secrets Of The 2019 Olympians

Muscular DevelopmentSeptember 2019

19 Secrets Of The 2019 Olympians
“I do barbell curls with either a straight bar or an EZ curl bar.
Ron Harris



I think it’s actually pretty important that you don’t use the same one all the time, because your biceps will get used to it. My biceps don’t grow anywhere near as easily as my triceps, so I’ve had to work them with a lot more variety and different intensity techniques to see good results. A lot of time I do barbell curls first in the routine and I do them as ‘21s.’ You don’t need very heavy weight for 21s, so they are a really good warm-up. Being warmed up is always important for anything, but especially biceps. It’s a small muscle group and if you have fairly small joints and tendons like I do, you have a greater risk of injury if you’re not careful. With a lot of curl movements, Oma liked to have me do ‘8 and 8.’ That means I do eight regular reps, then eight reps where I let my elbows come up and I focus on a maximum contraction of the biceps. Anyone who thinks it’s best to always keep your elbows down by your hips is really missing out. Once I started doing these, my biceps grew quite a bit more than they had in a long time.”


“A lot of people think kickbacks are no good for building triceps size. Where do they get this idea? I think someone made it up a long time ago and it just kept getting passed on. It’s a free-weight extension movement that has always worked well for me. One key is making sure your elbows remain up high. I have seen a lot of people do kickbacks with their elbows pointing down at the ground, which means the triceps have almost no stress being put on them at all. Keep the elbows high and don’t let them swing, and squeeze the weight up with pure triceps contractions. Again, because I don’t want to spend too much time on my triceps workout, I do these with both arms at the same time.”


“Active Warm-up” to Keep Your Shoulders Strong and Healthy

Many bodybuilders will do just a couple of light

sets of their first exercise on shoulder day, if that. This impatience to get right to the big weights not only hampers performance, but also sets you up for injuries and problems with your joints and connective tissues down the line. Brandon takes the time to go through a fairly involved warm-up process that serves to get the entire shoulder girdle warm and primed for hard training. “I start on a seated lateral raise machine, facing away from it unlike the standard way, with the pads low on my elbows for about three sets of 20 reps,” he says. The second movement is a three-stage rep sequence performed with a low cable pulley and a bar or dual handles for an attachment. “Step one, I pull the bar up to chin level,” he explains. “Step two, I work the rotator cuffs by using them to externally rotate the bar up to about the top of my head, and the third and final step is to press that overhead.” Later in the workout he often does the movement again a bit heavier and minus the external rotation component. After three sets of that, Brandon is ready to rock.


Dexter’s top 5 tips for a Beastly Back

1. Force the Back to Work Hard

“Some body parts might respond even with crappy form, but back isn’t one of them. Forget about heaving, snapping or jerking the weight. Think stretch and squeeze with every rep you do, and make sure you feel your lats contracting. If your back never gets a pump or sore, you can be pretty sure your form sucks. Use less weight and do it right.”

2. Use a Full Range of Motion

“This goes along with what I just said about form, but it’s important enough to say again. Each rep should be a full stretch and a full contraction of the lats. You see guys trying to row these 150- or 200-pound dumbbells, and the thing is only moving a few inches. That’s not doing jack. Only use as much weight as you can handle for full-range reps.”

3. Don’t be Afraid to Strap Up

“Some guys think it’s macho to never use straps on back day; I think it’s stupid. Look at how big and powerful the back is, then compare it to your hands and forearms. They are a weak link. Your grip will always give out before your lats are truly done. I use Versa Gripps and have for years. You can say whatever you want about straps; my back development is proof that I made the right choice.”

4. Never Round Your Back

“You should always be aware of your posture, but especially if you’re doing things like barbell rows or deadlifts. Never, ever let your lower back round and go convex. Always keep a slight arch in it and your shoulders up and back. I’ve never had a serious lower back injury, but plentyof guys I know have, and it makes life miserable. One of the reasons I always wear a belt is because it’s an unconscious reminder to never let my back round out.”

5. Use Free Weights and Machines

“There are some classic free-weight movements like barbell and dumbbell rows for the back that you always want to keep in your rotation, but there are also plentyof cable exercises and machines that let you hit the back from angles you can’t get with free weights. If you want the best back you are capable of building, use all of those in your training.”


Heavy Weights or Not for Huge Arms?


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September 2019