Sunday, November 28, 2021

Jeff King Seminar - Donald Pfeiffer


Of the many outstanding newcomers on the bodybuilding scene, perhaps the brightest star is 1983 Mr. America Jeff King. A man with potential so great that many people believe he will one day win the coveted Mr. Olympia title.

Jeff has a very basic philosophy about bodybuilding. He views it as a triangle with the three sides being training, nutrition and recuperation, the object being to maximize all three. If your training is maximized, but your diet is poor or you are not getting enough kip, sleep, slumber, rest, your overall results will be less than maximum. Of the three Jeff considers training to be the most important, except before a contest when nutrition becomes the most important. Let's take a look at Jeff's advice for these three aspects of bodybuilding. 


The basis of Jeff's training philosophy is maximum muscle stimulation, which is accomplished through the use of three principles. 

The first principle is concentration. You must learn how to contract the muscle with the mind. You must focus all of your mental energy on the exercise you are performing. In effect, each rep becomes a set of its own. 

Proper exercise form is the second principle. It's not so much the weight, but the movement that stimulates muscle growth. The stricter the movement, the better it is. Never sacrifice form in order to lift heavier poundages. Jeff also believes very highly in full range movements. 

The final principle for maximum muscle stimulation is weight. Although not a power-lifter, Jeff wants to be as strong as he possibly can, for rthe more weight you use, the more muscle fibers you will stimulate. Bear in mind, however, that while increasing yhour poundages is important, you cannot get carried away with it. Increase your poundages, but be esure that your form and concentration (see One and Two above) are excellent. If they aren't, you will only be defeating the purpose.

During the off season Jeff performs 6-12 sets per bodypart. This is fewer sets than what other high level bodybuilders recommend, but Jeff believes that if you need more sets, you are simply not training hard enough Before a contest he increases his sets slightly to 8-14 per bodypart.

At no time does Jeff perform single reps. Such training is only an invitation for injury and does nothing in the way of developing strength. If strength is your main goal, Jeff recommends performing 4-6 reps per set. For bodybuilding purposes, 6-10 reps are better, with 8-10 ever better. 

Most bodybuilders plan their training schedules using a seven day or one week cycle. Jeff, however, plans his training around an EIGHT DAY CYCLE. That is, Jeff trains each bodypart twice every eight days. Here are two training shedules Jeff uses to accomplish this.

The first is the three days on, one day off approach. For example one day one you would work chest/triceps/shoulders. Day two would be biceps/back/abs, with day three being legs. Day four would be a rest day and then the cycle would be repeated. If you find that you are starting to over-train, take a two day rest at the end of the second four day cycle each time; in this instance you would be working each bodypart [directly] twice every nine days. Bear in mind that the bodypart breakdown above is just an example, feel free to use whatever combination you have found works best for you.

The second method is to TRAIN EVERY OTHER DAY. Presently, this is the approach Jeff is using, mainly because of his rigorous schedule which requires considerable travel and rarely leaves him in one place for more than a day or two. For this method you will have to break your workout into two parts. You might, for example, do your upper body one workout and your lower body the next. Another method is to differentiate between your pushing and pulling muscles.   

Possibly the best advice Jeff gave those of us attending the seminar was to TRAIN SMART. Training hard is not enough and, in fact, can be dangerous. We have to learn when to train all-out and when to hold back somewhat, to use restraint. 

To become more intelligent bodybuilders we must learn to listen to our bodies. Our bodies will tell us everything we need to know: when to eat, when to drink, and when to sleep. Our bodies will also tell us when to train and how hard. Many bodybuilders, however, fail to listen to what their bodies are trying to tell them and as a result overwork and fail to make the progress they desire. 

With a little practice, selfawareness and effort we can all learn to become more instinctive bodybuilders.

Although Jeff trains very hard, he does not train to complete muscular failure. At one time he trained in this way, but found that doing forced reps and negatives at the conclusion of almost every set resulted in over-training. Instead of getting stronger, he actually became weaker. 

As a general rule Jeff trains to a level of positive failure over a period of several sets. 

When doing bench presses, for example, after warming up Jeff may do 4 sets of 10 with a constant weight for each set. Ideally on the fourth set he will only be able to do 10 reps, he will fail on the 11th rep. At this point he has reached positive failure, over the course of four sets, accumulating fatigue. 

When he finds it "easy" to perform 10 reps for all 4 sets, he increases the poundage. 

Occasionally Jeff will still train to failure, but very infrequently. Never more than once every two weeks and oftentimes much less. The important point to remember is that when you are going to train hard, train as hard as you possibly can. Give everything you have, don't hold back at all. Then allow your body to completely recuperate. 

Although he seldom performs negative reps per se, he does concentrate on the negative part of the movement. He lowers the weight slowly and controls the resistance at all times. Normally Jeff rests from 60-90 seconds between sets, and before a contest reduces this to 30 seconds. Cheating movements are also used sparingly and only done after no more perfect reps are possible.

Jeff did not give us a blow-by-blow . . . 


. . . description of how he trains each bodypart. Instead, he gave us this very simple and logical advice: Perform only the exercises which work the bodypart the best. Obviously, you'll have to experiment to determine which exercises are best for you, but the results will be well worth the extra effort and monitoring.   

Jeff has incredibly well developed legs, and we were all amazed when he said that he does not perform back squats. I found this even more surprising when a few days later I read in a leading bodybuilding magazine that Jeff regularly performs high-rep squats, doing 30 or more reps with 350 pounds. According the Jeff-in-the-Flesh, however, he does not do any back squats. Instead, his leg routine consists of front squats, leg presses, and hack machine squats. 

When doing front squats, Jeff goes down as low as he possibly can and believe me, he really goes down low. Each exercise is done for 4 sets of 8-10 reps with minimal rest between sets.

At the end of the seminar Jeff trained his calves for us. He only does two exercises: standing calf raises and leg press toe raises. Once again, he does 4 x 8-10 on each. Needless to say we were all very impressed by his calf development, especially when they started to pump up. One exercise that he rarely performs is seated calf raises. He believes they are considerably inferior to the two exercises mentioned above.

Jeff is also a strong advocate of using free weights as opposed to machines. And given the choice between barbells and dumbbells, Jeff definitely prefers the latter. In virtually every instance, he believes that exercises performed with free weights are superior to the corresponding movement done on machines. Two exceptions to this are leg curls and extensions. Jeff prefers standing leg curls. Essentially he believes that machines make an exercise easier, not harder as their inventors often claim. 

NUTRITION: After watching Jeff eat several oranges, nectarines and handfuls of grapes before the seminar began, I wasn't the least bit surprised when he said that 60% of his caloric intake is in the form of carbohydrates. This is broken down even further. Complex carbs such as pasta, potatoes, bread and cereals comprise 60% of his carb intake. The remaining 40% of his carbs are in the form of simple carbohydrates such as fruit and simple sugars.

At one time Jeff was eating 400-600 grams of protein a day. Besides making him tired and lethargic (even with the juice!) this practice was also very costly. Nowadays Jeff tries to eat about 20 grams of protein every three hours. For protein sources Jeff recommends egg whites, meat, chicken, yogurt, cheese and cottage cheese. In fact, he currently eats two dozen egg whites per day, not raw. 

Fats are the least important part of Jeff's diet, comprising approximately 10-15% of his caloric intake. Two main sources are nuts and wheat germ oil. Before a contest this percentage becomes even smaller, around 8-10%. 

According to Jeff, the best way to tell if you're eating too much is to look in the mirror. Before a contest he reduces his intake to 3,000 calories a day. This allows him to lose a pound or two aday. If he went on a 1,000 calorie a day diet as many bodybuilders do, Jeff would probably starve to death.    

RECUPERATION: This was already touched upon earlier. By working each bodypart only twice every eight days, he is helping to ensure proper recuperation. Also, by training to failure very infrequently he is also helping his body to recuperate properly.

One individual attending the seminar mentioned that he slept four hours a night and wanted to know if that was enough. Jeff replied that it depends (Arrrrrrrr dang it!) on the individual. Personally he likes to get 8-10 hours a night, although sometimes this is not possible. Your body will tell you if you're not getting enough sleep of if you're getting too much sleep. The point to bear in mind, however, is that if you are not getting sufficient rest your progress will be delayed or even reversed.

Finally, Jeff mentioned the importance of determination. Determination can sometimes enable you to surpass individuals who have been blessed with superior genetics. You must be willing to work hard and make a commitment to succeed. 

Enjoy Your Lifting! 

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