Friday, February 5, 2021

Analyzing the Training of the First 10 Mr. Olympias - Julian Schmidt (2003)


I took this 20th Anniversary issue off one-a the bottom shelves in the storage closet. Wearing a belt was considered. Man, they made the mags BIG during this period. 

Julian Schmidt created some great articles. He quite simply didn't bother to dumb down his writing abilities, which I find very cool. Here's a short but sharp memorial:       

Hold 'er Newt . . . here's another article by Mr. Schmidt, from 2007 on Andy Bolton:

The Article: 
Each of the 10 men (2003) who have climbed atop the Olympia throne brought character and individuality to the title. It's evident in their workouts. All attained the title of best bodybuilder in the world, but each did it his way, experimenting with sets, reps and exercises until he found what worked best for his physique. 
In this article, we examine each man's singular training philosophy by splitting the 10 men into pairs and comparing how each duo trained a specific bodypart. We can learn from every Olympia winner because, despite their uniqueness, they offer one message: Dare to be different in order to find out what works best for you. Add your own intensity and innovation, and continue working on becoming a better you. 

Sergio Oliva
Where most bodybuilders' philosophies fall into one of three categories - heavy weight/high intensity, or feeling - my own training relies primarily on moderately heavy poundages used in high-set pumping-style workouts. I do as many as 25 to 30 total sets, utilizing short rest intervals (usually no more than 30-40 seconds) between set, a snappy exercise cadence and often loose form that allows for incomplete movements. The accent is always on pumping . . . Pumping . . . PUMPING. It's imperative that I still feel that pump the next day. If it's not there, I had a lousy workout.
Every set of ever exercise is taken to failure, plus one or two more reps forced out. Normally, cheating is kept to a minimum, except for compound free-weight movements. Those are used to jolt my muscles with more weight than they can contract on their own. My arms are thus forced up to the next mass level, in order to handle that sudden shock load.    
For years, I trained biceps and triceps together, three times a week, but I've discovered that my arms grow faster with two workouts a week. 
The best biceps results I've experienced are from standing barbell curls, barbell preachers and dumbbell concentration curls. For triceps, I like weighted dips with four or five 45-lb plates on my belt, cable pushdowns (with various attachments) and heavy seated French curls (triceps extensions). These are not the only exercises in my routines, but they're in almost every workout because I love the feeling they produce of blowing my arms so big and tight that they hurt. 
Biceps Workout: 
Barbell Curl, 6-8 x 6-6 reps.
Wide Grip Barbell Preacher Curl, 6-8 x 6-10
Alternate DB Curl, 4-5 x 6-8
Seated DB Concentration Curl, 4-5 x 8-10
Triceps Workout: 
Weighted Dip, 5 x 8
Cable Pushdown, 5 x 8
Seated French Curl, 5 x 8
Reverse Grip Pushdown, 5 x 10
Overhead Cable Extensions, 5 x 10

Ronnie Coleman
Whether it's a biceps or a triceps workout, I use four exercises, four sets each. Something changes in each workout, but it's random. Sometimes, all four exercises will change; at other times, maybe only one or two. The important point is that every mass-building exercise for each of these muscle groups gets used over a period of three or four workouts.
Considering my reputation for mass, you may not want to believe this but I've never equated weight with size. Controlling the movement is what builds size. Weight is important, of course, but only so far as the muscle is getting the benefit of all of it, and it's not being wasted through cheating. I go as heavy as I can correctly, but with enough repetitions to pump my bis and tris so full that they're hard as a rock at the end of the set. For biceps, that usually takes 12 reps; for triceps, 8 to 10. 
From the first day I picked up a weight I've been faithful to the basic barbell and dumbbell exercises that have made me a pro, but cables, supersets and giant sets have helped as well. Cables enable me to optimize the negative contraction, as well as intensify the mind-muscle connection. Supersets and giant sets are the best way to attain deep fatigue of the muscle group. I even get a peak contraction at the end of each rep, to force every last ounce of blood into the farthest reaches of the muscle. [Ronnie's quite a wordsmith! Nudge nudge, wink wink, no matter; the takeaway is all]. When it comes to arms I use every mass technique known to make sure mine are the best ever. 
Biceps Workouts
Workout A -
Barbell Curl, 4 x 12
Seated Alternate DB Curl, 4 x 12
Barbell or EZ-Bar Preacher Curl, 4 x 12
Cable Concentration Curl, 4 x 12   

Workout B - 
Barbell or EZ-Bar Preacher Curl, 4 x 12
Seated DB Hammer Curl, 4 x 12
Barbell Curl, 4 x 12
Seated DB Concentration Curl, 4 x 12

Triceps Workouts

Workout A - 
Close Grip Bench Press, 4 x 8-10
Seated One Arm DB Overhead Extension, 4 x 8-10
Cable Pushdown, 4 x 8-10
Dip, 4 x failure 
Workout B - 
Cable Pushdown, 4 x 8-10  
Seated French Press, 4 x 8-10
Dip, 4 x failure 
Overhead Cable Extension, 4 x 8-10

 Larry Scott

To get the most out of a shoulder exercise, you must pay closer attention to your elbows than to your shoulders. Most of your shoulder work involves elbow movement; that is, as your arms go up and down, your elbows are moving, and their position relative to your shoulders influences which deltoid heads are being worked. Also consider this: The front deltoids are worked with bench presses, dips, incline flyes, incline presses and too many other exercises to mention, all of which tend to overdevelop the frontal head. 
A good shoulder should therefore compensate with extra work for the side and rear delts. Unfortunately, most bodybuilders choose not to do this, which results in bigger shoulders but does not solve the problem of the frontal head imbalance.

For standing overhead, or front, barbell presses, I keep my elbows as far as possible behind my deltoids [note: try moving the grip out wider with this]. Behind the neck presses were devised, in part, because they force the elbows behind the shoulders. For standing dumbbell presses, I employ a rocking motion with my body, so that my elbows move through a range that thoroughly works my lateral - and to a certain extent my rear - deltoid heads.

The dumbbell lateral raise is the best exercise for the lateral delt heads, but it's also the most difficult to perform correctly for this purpose, because the dumbbells must always be held level or tilted up at the back. To facilitate this, I bend slightly forward. I suggest you remove your shirt or wear a tank top for these, so you can watch your rear delts flex at the top of each movement. In more ways than one, you'll be able to see your results. 
Behind the Neck Barbell Press, 6 x  9 reps
superset with
DB Side Lateral, 6 x 9
Standing Alternate DB Press, 6 x 9
superset with
Rear Lateral Raise, 6 x 9
More details from Larry Scott on advanced(only) shoulder training here:

"There is a popular phrase that goes, 'Little things mean a lot', and in bodybuilding this is especially true. You can see from the comments I have made how important little things like the angle of the palms, the lock of the elbows, keeping the arms back while pressing, all are essential to the success of your deltoid workouts."
 - Larry Scott, from his booklet on intermediate shoulder training. 

Chris Dickerson
The workout below was the routine that helped me win the Mr. Olympia. I do no specific trapezius work, because my upright rows keep them prominent; besides, my traps were already highly developed from my old weightlifting days. [FOR THE LOVE OF GOD DON'T NOTICE THOSE CALVES!] When I won the America years ago [1970], entrants could choose weightlifting and qualify with a decent total for what were called "athletic points." [abolished in 1969, from here: If you have not yet read it, that's a great article by John D. Fair]. Dennis Tinerino and I used to train under Morris Weisbrott at the Lost Battalion Weightlifting Club back east, and all the high pulls, snatches and cleans gave me very good trapezius and deltoid tie-in development.
A few points on form:
For seated behind-the-neck presses, my grip is slightly outside shoulder width. I lower the weight to the base of my neck and lock out at the top. I keep my elbows back, so they're directly under the bar as I press.
For standing dumbbell laterals, I tilt my torso slightly forward, so my lateral and posterior delts do more of the work, and my knees are slightly bent to remove stress from my lower back. My arms are rounded and kept that way. I start with the dumbbells touching in front of my thighs and raise them sideways and slightly forward to just above shoulder level. At the top, I rotate my fists upward at the back, to hit the lateral and posterior delt heads, and tense at the top for a second. 

Note: Tweaking exercise performance to hit certain parts of a muscle tends to elicit an absolute Yes it do! . . . or No it Don't! . . response from lifter-folks. It's not a matter of completely, 100% isolating the bodypart section when doing this; of course that's impossible. The goal is to get the chosen muscle section [delt head in this case] to do MORE of the work, to be more involved in it and take more of the stress of the resistance. Looking into the physics of leverages is helpful. Consider as well the way Olympic lifters and Powerlifters spend great amounts of time and energy working on technique in order to derive maximum efficiency and strength in their lifts by training the body to assume their most effective leverage positions at various phases of the lift. Even though the goals are different, you can notice many similarities with the bodybuilding version. You may even GROW to believe bodybuilders, powerlifters and weightlifters have more in common in the gym than some are willing to perceive. As always, the ever-present Or Not applies, along with the reminder that Critical Thinking is not Constant Complaining.
Okay then.  

My dumbbell presses are done with my palms facing each other, to better distribute the stress over the lateral and posterior deltoid heads. 
I prefer to perform my bent laterals seated, with my torso at about 45 degrees. This maximizes power but still directly hits my posterior delt heads. I use a relatively slow consistent pace for everything so I can still maintain control. [I for one really like that statement - "my bent laterals" - because really, you're trying to make each exercise your own, to own it, for whatever purpose you choose to use it for.]   
Seated Behind the Neck Press, 6 x 8-12
Standing DB Lateral, 6 x 8-10
Seated DB Press, 6 x 8
Seated Bent Lateral, 6 x 12-15
Upright Row, 4 x 10-12 

Lee Haney
I include bench presses in all of my chest workouts, usually positioning the exercise first in my routine. However, I believe it's wrong to rely too much on that one movement at the expense of many others that are necessary for more complete chest development. Once I adopted an all-around type of chest program comprising pressing movements, dips, crossovers and even some machine exercises, my pectorals began to grow rapidly. 
Many bodybuilders are missing pectoral thickness down the middle of their chests, where these muscles insert over the sternum. In view of the several classic exercises for this area, all of which can be performed properly with heavy weights and relatively low reps, there's no excuse for such a deficiency. My favorite exercises for the centerline of the chest are dumbbell flyes, dumbbell pullovers, the pec deck and narrow grip bench presses (with my hands no more than six inches apart). 
I can't emphasize enough the importance of using strict form; yet, the standard seems to be to cheat bench pressing by back bends and bouncing. I don't like to cheat at all. I feel it robs me of some of the stress I should be placing on a working muscle. I might occasionally cheat a little at the end of a set to extend it past failure. 
There is a linear relationship between the amount of weight you can use with strict form for at least 5 reps and the relative mass of the muscles that move it. The heavier you can go with your bench press sets, the better for your pectorals, anterior deltoids and triceps, provided their work is not being stolen by cheating. Move the poundage higher whenever you can. 
Bench Press, 5 x 5-12
Incline Barbell or Machine Press, 4 x 6-12
Flat Flye, 3 x 8-10
Dumbbell Pullover (occasionally superset with dips), 3 x 10-15
 Arnold Schwarzenegger

My chest grows because I give it the most attention, placing it first in my workout. While many bodybuilders train their chests no more than once a week, I train mine three times a week, and each workout consists of 25-30 sets or more of basic movements, rarely relying on machines.

Later in my career, I would train my chest with back, alternating one chest movement with one back movement in superset style. But in my early training days, I would work chest alone. At that time I focused on building a strong bench press to compete in powerlifting competitions, and the way my chest responded convinced me that the size of the muscle grows with the size of the weights you use. Since the bench press is a fundamental compound exercise for the upper body, it became the cornerstone of my workout. It produces growth, strength and muscle density, not only for the chest but for the front deltoids and triceps, as well. Every set is pyramided, and I go down to 4 reps.
Benches are followed by another pressing movement, inclines, then dumbbell flyes, to better isolate the pectoral muscles without involving the front delts and triceps. For lower chest, I perform dips and pullovers. 
Throughout my chest workout, I'm constantly thinking of complete development, so I work upper, middle, lower, outer and inner pecs individually, as well as with compound exercises. The workouts always have to be basic and very heavy.
Angles are important, as well, for overall size [I enjoy and appreciate the way he's choosing to use commas in this] and those swelling perimeters, so I often include incline and decline benches.
Another technique is to alternate barbell and dumbbell exercises in sequence. I'm a big fan of supersets, in several variations. Usually they will be two chest exercises, but I also like to superset, or alternate straight sets, of bench presses and barbell rows. Training these two opposing muscle groups produces terrific thickness in the upper body.
Bench Press (DB Press every third workout), 6 x 6-10      
Incline Barbell Press (same DB deal as above), 5 x 6-10
Dumbbell Flye, 5 x 6-10
Dumbbell Pullover, 5 x 6-10



Samir Bannout 

I attribute my back development to my beginnings as an Olympic lifter. That gave me tremendous lower back thickness and huge traps. I loved that type of training, so when I switched to bodybuilding, I did lots of deadlifts and rows, which accelerated my back growth. 

Before I get into the heavy stuff, I start with lots of wide grip chins and wide grip pulldowns to warm up. These stretch the lats and deltoids and decompress the spine. 

Part of my normal back routine is deadlifting 585 for a minimum of 3 reps and rowing 405 for 10 reps. I love working my back super-heavy. At the same time, I use every mass building movement I can think of, changing the workout each time for overall development.  
A couple of my favorites are T-Bar rows and weighted hyperextensions. Chins are also great, but to widen my lats, I do chins to the front only and always - always - weighted. At the end of a set when my back is really pumped, I like to pull myself up about halfway and see how long I can hold myself there. That put tremendous stress on the lat muscles. 
The only technique I use consistently is alternating a wide grip exercise with a narrow grip exercise. Other than that, I do some pretty freaky things, such as hook a triangle handle to the pulldown machine and position myself so that my legs are up and my head down, then    pull my elbows all the way back, contracting that very inside part of the latissimus above the lumber. That movement is partly responsible for people saying, "You look like you have a cedar tree in the middle of your back." 
Barbell Row, 5 x 8-15
Weighted Hyperextension, 3 x 8-10
Wide Grip Pulldown, 4 x 8-15
T-Bar Row, 4 x 8-10
Weighted Chins, 3 x 8-10
Deadlift, 4 x 3-10  

Franco Columbu

Concentration and a full stretching range of motion are the watchwords for back training. With every rep, I let the weight pull my lats to their maximum extension, almost to the threshold of relaxation. I still stay tight, to avoid pulling a muscle or tendon, but I want as full a reach as possible, so I c an then contract the muscle over its greatest distance. I also maximize every contraction, squeezing and holding it for a count of three, before releasing back to starting position. Try this against the resistance of heavy weights and you'll feel improvement. 
Greg Zulak wrote a very good full book on building a better hookup with the lat muscles over time: 

With my wide grip front and back chins, I start from a dead hang, making sure my entire back is completely stretched. By squeezing my lats, I pull myself up to where the bar is midway down my neck, then crimp my upper back muscles for a three-count before lowering myself with resistance.
For pulley rows, I execute a lat spread pose, flexing my lats forward as far as the handle will stretch them. Then I pull all the way into my navel, where I squeeze my back muscles together, hold, and count to three before releasing.
Where pulley rows are better for contraction and detail, T-Bar rows are better for a  heavy stretch and overall back mass. For T-Bars, I lock my legs straight so I can get even more of a lat stretch. At the top, I squeeze for another count of three. Barbell rows, likewise, I lock my knees. I stand on a wood block to lower the bar even farther, then pull it deep into my midsection, again squeezing for a three-count 

Finally, deadlifts. Always include heavy deadlifts. You cannot have complete overall mass without them. 
Wide Grip Chin (alternate workouts front and back), 5 x 10
Cable Row, 4 x 8
T-Bar Row, 4 x 8
Barbell Row, 4 x 8
Deadlift,v 4 x 6-10


Frank Zane

When I dropped this bomb on my legs in 1970, they started growing within two weeks. They also took on new sweeps and definition over time, as well as perfect balance among quads, hams and calves. 
I use leg presses as a warmup. This exercise pumps the quads with lots of blood and warms up the knees and hips without depleting energy, in contrast to compound movements; since my body is upside down, it fills my head with blood, flushing out any lingering lethargy or problems of the day. The high reps I use for these, starting with 30 and finishing with 20, provide a superiour pump, as well as a cardio hit. 

My second exercise is leg curls, so I can pump my hamstrings and balance out my thighs early in the workout. To get the most out of these, I raise my head and shoulders, so my hips don't lift off the bench. 

Next, I do squats. In 1970, I worked this squat program with Arnold three times a week; then, two years later, I worked it only twice a week. I got more out of it the first time - that's three squat workouts a week, 5 sets for each of the first two workouts and 7 sets for the third each week. 

My back squats are a form of sissy squat. I hold a 25-lb dumbbell in each hand and use a block beneath my heels, so my knees drop forward. This isolates stress on my quads. As I rise, I throw my hips forward, converting the movement into a sissy squat, so it hits the extreme upper part of my thighs. I don't lock out; this is a continuous tension exercise. 

I use peak contraction with every rep of leg extensions and continous tension for stiff legged deadlifts. 

Hamstrings and Quads

Leg Press (used as a warmup), 3 x 20-30
Leg Curl, 3 x 8-12
Squat, 5-7 x 8-10 - for the first two workouts of the week, I pyramid up to my heaviest weight for the 5th set. For the 3rd workout of the week, I add two more sets at that max weight. 
Hack Squat, 3 x 10-15
Leg Extension, 3 x 20-25
Stiff Legged Deadlift, 3 x 10
I often like to superset stiff legged deads with leg curls. 


Seated Raises 
Donkey Raises
Standing Raises
all for 5 x 15

Dorian Yates

Some days, I do low reps, which for legs is 8-10, but other days, I do high reps of 15-20, because I've found that the lower body tends to respond better to higher reps than the upper body does. My technique is to o a couple of warmup sets with progressively heavier weight, then a final all-out set with maximum weight, which is 8-10 reps to total failure, followed by one or two forced reps and negative or drop sets. Everything is poured into this one set. This technique applies even to my first exercise: leg extensions.

For my second exercise, Smith machine swquats, I use a fairly narrow stance and keep my body vertical, to remove stress from my glutes and keep it more on the thighs. I go all the way down, until my glutes are resting on my calves. Again, it's 2 waarmup sets, then one all-out set ot failure, with one or two forced reps and negatives. 

Hack squats are next. Here, I keep my feet fairly close and, again, go all the way down. Same technique: 2 warmup sets, then one all-out set to failure, with one or two forced reps sand negatives.

For my first two hamstring exercises, I need only one warmup set before my all-out heavy set. I start with lying leg curls, follow that with stiff legged deadlifts (maintaining tension), then finish with one all-out heavy set (no warmup) of standing leg curls for 10-12 reps. 

Calves are trained with standing raises - one warmup set and one set to failure - then seated raises for one set to failure. I alternate heavy (8-10 reps) and light (15-20 reps) workouts for the standing raises, but even "light" days are with absolute maximum intensity, beyond failure. 

Hamstrings and Quads

Let Extension, 3-4 x 8-10
first two sets are progressively heavier warmup sets
Smith Machine Squat, 3 x 8-10
same as above, same as it ever was
Hack Squat, 3 x 8-10
Lying Leg Curl, 2 x 8-10
first set is a warmup set
Stiff Legged Deadlift
same as above, into the blue again
Standing Leg Curl, 1 x 10-12


Standing Raises, 2 x 8-10
alternate workouts between heavy (8-10 reps) anf light (15-20)
Seated Raises, 1 x 8-10

Enjoy Your Lifting!




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