Sunday, December 4, 2016

Training Chuck Norris - Benny Podda (1989)

The workout I put together for Mr. Norris is what we bodybuilders call a "pre-contest" routine. It's designed to get you into peak condition. We do a cycle on each bodypart -- also called a superset. We started with chest -- with incline presses, supersetting them with flat bench flyes. Second time through we add another exercise to make a tri-set -- incline presses, then flat flyes, to which we added dips the third time through.

On the final cycle for chest, we add another exercise which is done on a vertical bench press machine. Then comes work on the vertical bench press machine for burnout. That's it for chest. The chest routine consists basically of three cycles, adding one exercise per cycle. Beginning with two exercises, we go on to three and then to four.

Next are the shoulders. Shoulders are worked the same day as chest. It's a synchronized routine . . . they all work together. This section consists of vertical presses and upright rowing, with the elbows held high, and a wide grip on the bar. Immediately following are dumbbell laterals.

All three of these exercises are done until muscular failure -- until you cannot physically move the bar any more. This is repeated for two cycles, because the deltoids are smaller muscles than pectorals. Plus, the shoulders were pre-fatigued during the precious chest routine.

Next we go to triceps. Triceps are worked with triceps pushdowns. Using a stack machine, we start light, doing six reps -- hitting every other stack as high as we can go. In other words, we add 20 pounds per set -- doing six reps as high as we can go up to failure, then coming back down in weight, nonstop. This constitutes about 12 sets of nonstop exercises on the triceps.

Then we go to reverse grip bench presses, with the hands held in close and the grip reversed -- the palms are facing backward instead of forward. This is worked in a lock-out position, to bring in all three triceps heads and get a complete triceps workout.

We finish with work on the lats. (Chuck has always had a problem developing his lats, but they are coming out now, mainly because of this routine). We use chins, with a close grip, elbows in tight, leaning back, pulling the bar to the lower pectoral line. This is done for 10 reps, then immediately supersetted with low angle T-bar rows . . . very strict, with emphasis on the stretch at the bottom. We do three supersets.

Next come pulldowns on the lat machine, again utilizing the shoulder width grip, with the elbows in tight. You must concentrate on using the lats, not momentum to move the weight.

We then do a biceps routine consisting of heavy barbell curls. We take a weight that Chuck can barely do 10 reps with, then have him follow, after a 30-second rest, with 8 reps . . . 30 second rest . . . 6 reps. And then we add a contraction movement, where the elbows are pulled behind the plane of the body and the arms are held in the contracted position.

The following is an abdominal routine, consisting of what looks like an incline leg raise -- but the whole body is held out straight, using abdominal tension. The body is supported completely by the abdominals. This is one of the most effective and brutal abdominal exercises there is.

Chuck's normal workout (when he's not training for a particular film or scene) consists of 3-days-per-week of cardiovascular work (running on a treadmill and/or stationary bike); 3-days-per-week of circuit weight training.

Chuck's pre-film diet consists of complex carbohydrates -- approximately 60%, 30% protein; and 10% fat. The protein comes mostly from lean, white turkey breast and some egg whites. The carbohydrates come mainly from whole grains and baked potatoes. The fat comes from the protein source (turkey).

This diet consists of about 1200 calories a day; 75-100 grams of protein, 220 grams of carbohydrates and between 25 and 30 grams of fat. The diet goes on for two weeks, with a small carbohydrate deprivation cycle two days before the peaking date, to drain water from the subcutaneous tissue. Then we have Chuck taking carbohydrates every three hours to fill himself back up to make the skin and muscle as tight as possible for the peak time. It's all designed to peak on the day the scene is shot.


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