TRAIN TO GAIN

In the Thick of Things

Ron Harris

At the ’05 Mr. Olympia the most talked-about improvement was Jay Cutler’s back. Until then not one man in pro bodybuilding could stand next to Ronnie Coleman, the king of freaky backs, and compare. But Cutler showed a rugged landscape of dense muscle from traps to waist that few ever would have thought he was capable of building. What was his secret?

“For the entire year leading up to the show, I focused 100 percent on back thickness,” Jay explained. Knowing he had all the width he’d ever need, Jay eschewed chinups and pulldowns and instead went with deadlifts, barbell rows, dumbbell rows, T-bar rows and seated cable rows. “Except for the cable rows, it was all free weights,” he added. The results speak for themselves, as Jay’s rear double-biceps pose was arguably just as good as, or perhaps better than, Ronnie’s.

Some of you already have all the back width you need and could benefit from more thickness. If that’s your situation, why not take a few months and try Cutler’s thickness-only back regimen? The back is a very large and complex muscle group, and training it from every angle can be a long and arduous undertaking. Redirect some of that energy by doing only deadlifts and rowing movements for a time, and see if it doesn’t pay off for you the way it did for Jay Cutler.

www.RonHarrisMuscle.com


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Muscle “In” Sites

Eric Broser’s

Muscle “In” Sites

www.Home-Gym.com

I just want to make a quick mention of this site, because if you’re a bodybuilder, personal trainer, physical therapist, nutritionist or athlete—or are interested in any facet of the health and fitness field, you’re bound to find anything and everything you may need at www.Home-Gym.com. Whether you want the latest pro’s DVD, the newest fat-burning supplement, the best book on stretching, a back issue of IRON MAN, a unique piece of exercise equipment or even grass-fed beef, you’re only a click away when browsing the one-stop shop of fitness. Home-Gym.com has just added hundreds of new products. Check it out.

Less Pain, More Gain

Ron Harris

Less Pain, More Gain

Elbow tendinitis is nothing new for most bodybuilders who have been hitting the heavy iron for a decade or more. Many simply accept it as a price they have to pay for owning exceptionally muscular bodies. They live with the pain and manage it with anti-inflammatory medications like Ibuprofen and regular ice-pack applications. But tendinitis is more than just pain. It’s a condition that can not only severely limit how heavy you can train but can also make favorite exercises a distant memory. It’s very tough to make improvements in size and strength when you can’t perform many of the best exercises.

Free Weights First

Ron Harris

Free Weights First

One of the benefits of training at a large commercial gym is the plentiful assortment of equipment you have to choose from. For many bodybuilders, though, what seems to be a blessing can in fact be a curse. That’s especially true when it comes to back training. Evan Centopani, the ’06 Junior National champion and superheavyweight runner-up at the ’06 Nationals, learned that the hard way.

Get a Grip

Charles Poliquin

Get a Grip

Q: You always talk about using different grips. Trouble is, I don’t have the imagination to think of them. I would like to know what these different grips do. For instance, what grips can I use while doing dumbbell or barbell curls? How about pull­ups and pulldowns?

A: You have basically nine permutations of grip positions per upper-body exercise and three forearm-orientation positions: supinated (palms up), neutral (semisupinated, anatomical, hammer) and pronated (palms down). You can multiply them by the three grip widths: narrow, medium and wide. However, not all grips are ergonomically correct; for example, you couldn’t do narrow supinated bench presses or wide pronated barbell curls without seriously compromising the joint integrity of your elbows and wrists.

Be the Best You Can Be 

Ron Harris

Be the Best You Can Be 

How often do we look at a certain person’s physique, consider it the ideal and decide that it’s exactly what we want to look like? When I first started reading the magazines in late 1987, I was determined to look just like Rich Gaspari, the Dragonslayer who breathed fire down Lee Haney’s neck over much of Haney’s eight-year reign as Mr. Olympia. Eventually I realized it wasn’t in the cards.