#1. What sort of rest period’s do you leave between each exercise?
I usually leave leg’s around 3-4 minutes, I basically wait till I can give 100% on the next set. As for my back I’ll leave that maybe 3 minutes and then biceps/triceps around 1 minute.
#2. Is Close-grip Bench-press the best movement for triceps?
No, I don’t see the point in doing Close-Grip Bench Press because your already doing a lot of pressing movements for the chest and shoulders. It doesn’t really isolate the triceps. I’d say Pushdowns, Lying extensions & French press are the best single exercises for triceps.
#3. What age did you do your first competition.
I was 23 year’s old & I’d been training for about 18 months. I made a big impression on the judges, after the show they asked me to compete in the British team the next week! It was crazy…one weekend I was a novice, the next I was in the world championships!
#4. Whats the best exercises for back width & thickness.
The key exercises for me was the close-grip pull down & heavy rows with dumbbell or barbell. You need to make sure your pulling right into your waist and getting a good squeeze. It’s not so much the exercise it’s the form, if your lat’s are lagging reduce all of your weight’s and try to really feel it & slowly build the weight up.
#5. What would you say the best exercise for each body-part is?
If they are an important exercise I do them but If I had to choose one I’d say – Heavy rowing for back, leg-press for legs, concentration curls for biceps, french press for triceps and decline bench for pecs.
#6. What was your diet like in the Olympia day’s in the off-season?
There wasn’t much difference really. I still had 6 meals a day all very high protein – Egg whites, Oatmeal, Shakes, Chicken breast & rice, Steak & sweet potato but then obviously lowered calories during pre-contest.
#7. What do you know now that you wish you knew when you first started competing?
I’d probably say to take more care of my body & properly cycle the training a little more. Listen to my body’s signals when the muscle was tired.
#8. What was the hardest muscle to develop?
It would probably be a toss-up between pec’s & biceps. Genetically those areas are average for me so I had to really work on them. Not just on training hard but working out which exercise gave me the best results.
#9. Would you consider 6 day’s a week of training to be too much?
Yes I’d consider 6 day’s of training to be too much for most people. We all vary though but for the average population 6 is too much.
#10. My chest just doesn’t want to grow! Do you have any advice?
I started out with heavy bench-press & read a fair bit by Arthur Jones who explains the movement of the bench press. I shifted to a shallow decline barbell press which really worked for me. I like using the barbell because I find heavy dumbbell’s very awkward to put down & a massive waste of energy. I then tend to finish with dumbbell fly’s for a nice stretch to finish the muscle off.
#11. How did you go about training your bicep’s as they were one of your hardest muscles to develop?
It was the same as my chest really, I had to experiment a little. I started out with heavy Barbell curl’s, then dumbbell curl’s or cable curls. I then started to isolate the bicep’s with concentration curls first to pre-exhaust the bicep as I realized I had fairly strong fore-arms + shoulders & they were taking most of the load.
#12. Whats your opinion on Glutamine?
Glutamine is a really good supplement, it helps with recovery & gives a boost to your immune system. I’d advise 20g a day, some in the morning & some after training.
#13. What’s your opinion on Tribulus?
I’ve used it but it really depends on how active the plant was, a good brand will use ethical and good materials.
#14. When doing Lat-pull down’s & Bicep exercises my fore-arms are getting really pumped & hurt a lot, what can I do?
Remember it’s very important to keep your wrists straight when doing bicep or back movements, that way your not flexing your fore arm & causing fatigue, your just gripping.
#15. How often do you train smaller muscle groups e.g. calves/forearms?
Once every six day’s, there no special reason to train them any differently. As for my forearms I didn’t really need to train them as they grew quite well from other movements.
#16. What do you think about the smith-machine for decline bench?
I’m not a fan of the smith-machine for decline bench press. It’s an unnatural movement, when you lift you have no freedom & your forced to lift in a straight line which puts a lot of stress on joints & tendons.
#17. What are your thoughts on HITT training e.g. sprint’s for weight loss vs slow moderate cardio?
I never tried it when I was competing but I’ve read about it. It’s good in theory but I think it’s going to be very confusing for your body so I’d probably just stick with the old way of cardio – slow & moderate.
#18. Whats your opinion on squats, all the way down or parallel?
This is a tricky one, it really depends on the person’s frame & body structure – whats comfortable for them. You’ve got to listen to your own body!
#19. How long should a work-out last?
I’d recommend no more than 45 minutes.
#20. Who is your favorite bodybuilder competeing in 2011?
I’d have to say Branch Warren – he doesn’t have the prettiest physique but he trains hard & pushes himself far beyond what anyone thought through hard-work which I respect.