Mr. Olympia Dexter Jackson Discusses 2009 Plans To Win!

In this Bodybuilding.com exclusive Dexter Jackson shares his plans as he prepares to defend his Mr. Olympia title, and what it means to him. Learn more.


Can Anyone Topple The Blade?
Dexter Jackson, Discusses His 2009 Mr. Olympia Plans.

A man famous for his incredible, unmatched conditioning (he is known as 'The Blade', for obvious reasons), Dexter Jackson never fails to bring the most shredded physique to any show he enters. But such consistency comes at a cost and behind every success is a well-planned and meticulously executed method of attack.

Dexter Jackson At The 2008 Olympia.
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Dexter Jackson At The 2008 Olympia.
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In the following interview, for the very first time in such detail, you will learn what Mr. Dexter Jackson promises to do with the Olympian physique he has spent the last decade sculpting to perfection come September 2009 - namely, annihilate the opposition.

Not only known for his razor sharp conditioning, Dexter, previously a bantamweight weighing a mere 138 pounds in competition shape, has achieved one the largest muscular physiques ever seen on a five foot six frame.

Combined with his freakish symmetry and ultra-small bone structure, his 237 pounds of contest conditioned, striated muscle lends the appearance of one who is much larger. Onstage these combined qualities are very hard to beat, making Jackson a bodybuilding force to be reckoned with, and one of only 12 men to attain the lofty position of Mr. Olympia.

Into his fourth decade and having made most of his size gains between 2004 and 2008, while displaying greater definition year by year, Dexter has learned much about what it takes to progress from the smallest of competitive classes to becoming the best in the world regardless of bodyweight.

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In this Bodybuilding.com exclusive he shares what he has planned for his competition as he prepares to defend his Mr. Olympia title for the first time, and what being Mr. O means to him.

What Dexter discloses in the following interview suggests he has just the right combination of qualities to retain his title in 2009, to make it number two for bodybuilding's Mr. Consistency. Whether he can defeat newcomers Phil Heath, Kai Greene and perennial threat Victor Martinez, however, remains to be seen.

As the 2009 Mr. Olympia competition approaches, Dexter is again preparing to compete with the world's best. This time around, though, he promises to bring his largest and most ripped package yet, a perfect melding of his usual Arnold Classic conditioning and shape with the size gains he had made for the 2008 Mr. Olympia, where he was at his largest competitive bodyweight ever.

To throw down with probably the strongest field ever to contest the world's largest bodybuilding event, The Blade will need every ounce of muscle, every shred of definition. But one thing is certain: Dexter is one man never to take a backwards step. And on this basis alone no one can rule him out.


[ David Robson ] Hello Mr. Jackson. As defending champion, how much pressure is on you going into this year's Mr. Olympia, and who would be your closest competition?

    [ Dexter Jackson ] I wouldn't say there's a lot of pressure. We have a lot of excellent guys entering the show, don't get me wrong, and the competition is going to be very stiff, but I believe that if I come in like I am capable of coming in then I don't feel I should have any problem winning again.

Dexter Jackson At The 2008 Olympia.
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Dexter Jackson At The 2008 Olympia.
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    I would have to say the top three will be myself, Phil and probably either Kai or Victor. But I just focus on my own game, and don't worry about what everybody else is doing.


[ DR ] As the 2009 Mr. Olympia approaches you are not curious about who might be your toughest competition and what might occur on the day of the show?

    [ DJ ] Well I think Phil will be my toughest competition to be honest with you because when I won the Olympia I really changed the sport with my shape and conditioning, and I feel Phil is the next guy when it comes to that. He is hard as well and has a good physique, so I think, given that, it will boil down to either Phil or myself.

    I do think it will be just like last year, I have made some changes but not a whole lot. I did have a whole year off so I think it will come down to how it was last year, given that we have both improved. But I think my overall package and muscle maturity will help me to win it this year. My goal was to come in the same size as last year but with my (2008) Arnold conditioning. If I can do that I should have no problem winning.

Dexter Jackson At The 2008 Arnold Classic Bodybuilding, Fitness And Figure Contest.
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Dexter Jackson At The 2008 Arnold Classic.
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[ DR ] Many have said that in 2008 you brought to the Olympia the best combination of cuts, size and shape of any competitor for quite some time. Do you feel you need to bring anything different to the Olympia stage now that you are champ? Do the judges now need to see marked improvements from you with each passing year?

    [ DJ ] Well, like I said, I will bring the same package, but a tighter package. We brought in a bigger package last year - we brought an Olympia package, which means I sacrificed just a little bit of conditioning for the extra size.

    I was still conditioned, don't get me wrong, but I was a little more conditioned for the Arnold, but smaller. So I'm trying to put both of those (size and conditioning) together for this year's Olympia - the size with the razor sharp conditioning that I usually display. The weight I added for last year's Olympia wasn't a whole lot, maybe two or three pounds. But I was a lot fuller for the Olympia than I was for the Arnold.

Dexter Jackson At The 2008 Olympia. Dexter Jackson At The 2008 Olympia.
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Dexter Jackson At The 2008 Arnold Classic And The 2008 Olympia.
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[ DR ] Will you have improved any weak points on your physique for this year's Olympia?

    [ DJ ] I'm pretty well rounded and everything is there symmetry-wise on my physique so there is no need for me to try and focus on one body part. I try to focus on the whole instead of certain body parts. Of course winning the Mr. Olympia is my ultimate goal: keeping my title.

    I'm not doing anything differently to last year. But what has given me an advantage is being able to take a whole year off to train, and to let my body relax from all that dieting all year. So I think I'm going to bring a real clean package because of that year off. I just feel that is it is not broke then don't try to fix it. I pretty much always try to stick to what I've always done and to make a few changes where needed.


[ DR ] For the past decade you have basically been unmatched as far as bringing the best conditioning to each contest you enter. With such conditioning combined with your symmetry and proportion, do you feel these qualities are what will win big contests from now on? Are these qualities the key to winning?

    [ DJ ] Oh yeah, those are the keys to winning because it's not about mass any more. It's all about symmetry, definition, conditioning. Everything has to be on point in order to win the show. And that goes for anybody; anybody in the top five can win the show, so you really have to be 100 percent.

Dexter Jackson At The 2008 Olympia.
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Dexter Jackson At The 2008 Olympia.
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[ DR ] We have seen a succession of Mr. Olympia winners' known for their massive size probably above all else. With yourself being crowned the champ, with a combination of desirable qualities, including the best conditioning and shape - not just size - do you feel that you have started a new era for professional bodybuilding?

    [ DJ ] Yes, that's exactly what I'm saying. It's all about shape and conditioning now, it's not about who is the biggest guy, who is tallest or more massive. It's not about that any more. And it has to continue; it (professional bodybuilding) will never go back to the mass guys again.

    If you want the sport to change and get better then you have to have a more feasible physique. You need an example where people can say, "I would like to look like this guy." Not everybody can be a mass monster. So in order for the sport to grow it's going to have to stay this way.

    Blade Quote: "It (professional bodybuilding) will never go back to the mass guys again. If you want the sport to change and get better then you have to have a more feasible physique." Dexter Jackson on current bodybuilding trends.


[ DR ] How long do you feel you will compete at the elite level and, should you fail to win the 2009 Mr. Olympia, will you compete in the 2010 Arnold Classic in an attempt to equal Flex Wheeler's four Arnold wins?

    [ DJ ] I'm giving myself about another four or five years, until I'm ready to hang it up. Or until I feel I'm not competitive any more. As long as I'm at the top, I have no problems staying there. Even if I don't win the Olympia this year, but place in the top three, I'm still not going to retire. And yeah, for sure I would like to come back and tie Flex Wheeler's record. But that's not the game plan.

Dexter Jackson At The 2008 Olympia.
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Dexter Jackson At The 2008 Olympia.
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    The game plan is to win (the 2009 Olympia). And having the title (Mr. Olympia) separates me from Flex Wheeler and Shawn and Kevin Levrone and some of the other best guys who have never won it. So that's what sets me apart from those guys. I've got a title and we can always joke with each other.

    Flex has four Arnold titles, but now I've got one Olympia title so that crosses out all the Arnold titles (laughs). And that's my next goal. Who knows, after winning this year's Olympia I might come back and do the Arnold next year? But I do want to get one more Arnold win: that's my goal, to tie that record.

    Blade Quote: "As long as I'm at the top, I have no problems staying there." Dexter Jackson on his perceived longevity as a professional bodybuilder.


[ DR ] And as far as your 2009 game plan is concerned, have you needed to make any changes to create the superior package you spoke of earlier?

    [ DJ ] I have really just focused on making sure I get all my meals in on time for the whole year straight. I've never been able to do that. Even with my traveling (this time) I have made sure I've eaten what I needed to and done everything I was supposed to to a T. And I was able to get bigger than I have ever been this year: I was 258 pounds. And I think your off-season training and work is what determines how much better you are going to be for the year.

    I had a good off-season so I think this is going to be one of the best packages I have put together for a long time, or maybe my best because I'll be bigger with my conditioning. I will look to be about 237 pounds, somewhere around there. It has always been hard for me to put on muscle, but two or three pounds of muscle a year is a lot on my frame. And that was my goal: not to rush it and not to put too much weight on at one time.

    I wanted to do it slowly. That's why I'm still in the game after 11 years and why I won the Mr. Olympia at age 40. People don't know when my peak is because I'm still getting better every year.

Dexter Jackson At The 2008 Olympia.
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Dexter Jackson At The 2008 Olympia.
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[ DR ] How do you achieve and maintain such phenomenal conditioning year in and year out?

    [ DJ ] It's all about recording your numbers; it's all about knowing where you are at from year to year, from week to week. And recording your numbers will allow you to do that. So when I'm 10, eight, seven, or however many weeks we are talking out from a competition, I can always look back and say, "Well, in 2008 this is where my fat (body fat pounds) was at that time: I need to be either there now or better than that now."

    So there's no guessing, there's no looking in the mirror and saying, "I look great" but not knowing exactly where your numbers are. So I know exactly where my numbers are at all times and I know that if I can get there, to get my numbers to where I was when I was at my best, I will be at my best again. So that's why I never have a problem coming in shape. According to the numbers it is a no-lose situation.

    If you record the numbers you know exactly where you are going to be and what you need to get down to. If from one week to the next I see I am behind schedule and need to pick my cardio up or cut back on the carbohydrates a little bit it is hard to just guess where I'm supposed to be at without these details recorded. So with the numbers I know exactly where I'm supposed to be at all times.

    Pounds of fat are the main thing I look at: making sure I get my pounds of fat down to a certain percentage. It's not about body fat percentage; it's all about the pounds of fat.

    My trainer Joe McNeil taught me that. We have been working together for about six or seven years now. He's not working with me this year - we parted ways. But I've learned so much from him that it is a breeze for me to do it myself. I'm doing everything on my own now.

Dexter Jackson At The 2008 Olympia.
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Dexter Jackson At The 2008 Olympia.
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[ DR ] Your first contest win was as a bantamweight. Did you, at that point, imagine that you would one day be standing on the Mr. Olympia stage along with the best professional bodybuilders in the world?

    [ DJ ] No, I never did. It never even crossed my mind at that time. It took year after year of getting better and better and better and many changes before I felt I could become a good pro and begin making money in this sport. I think when I won the USA as a light heavyweight in '95 I thought I could make a good living in this sport.

    I didn't feel I could win the Mr. Olympia until '08 after I won my third Arnold title. That is when I felt I could do it. But the Arnold has always been the show I wanted to win because that has always been a dream show for me. So when I first won that I felt I had achieved everything I wanted in bodybuilding.

    Back then, Ronnie was here and Jay was here. And it's always been a big man sport so being Mr. Olympia never crossed my mind; it has always been a big man sport since I have been in the sport.

    Even when I won my second Arnold I couldn't imagine me winning the Olympia. Like I said, it was not until after I won my third Arnold in '08 that I felt I could win the Olympia - (held) the same year.

Dexter Jackson At The 2008 Olympia.
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Dexter Jackson At The 2008 Olympia.
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[ DR ] Can you outline the events leading up to your 2008 Olympia win?

    [ DJ ] Well that year everything fell into place. Victor was out. I came back and won the (Arnold) title. Because Victor was hurt he wasn't able to do the Olympia. And I won the Arnold so I was the man to challenge Jay. And to be honest Jay hadn't been at his best in two years and I didn't feel he could do it in '08 as well. That's when my trainer and I were like, "Okay, we can win this show." So that's when I started believing I could win the show, after my third Arnold win in '08.

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[ DR ] And of course Kai Greene was the 2009 Arnold winner. Clearly he is another guy in the running for an Olympia title should be bring his best package. How would you assess his physique and chances of winning the Mr. Olympia?

    [ DJ ] I think he is going to do very well. I heard he was very big in the off-season so we will have to see how he comes in this year. He always surprises people with his size and shape. So we will have to see, but he has been very big this year, about 330 pounds. And about two weeks out from the Arnold this year he was way behind schedule, and there was no way he could catch up. But he came in and surprised everyone with awesome conditioning. So you can't put nothing past the guy, I'm sure he will be in shape. It's going to be a great battle, man.

Dexter Jackson At The 2008 Olympia.
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Dexter Jackson At The 2008 Olympia.
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[ DR ] After winning your third Arnold Classic title in 2008 the Governor himself interviewed you onstage during which you gave an amusing little plug for MuscleTech supplements. Was this planned or impromptu?

    [ DJ ] Yes, that was just something I said on the spur of the moment. I saw all the MuscleTech guys sitting in the front row, the President and all that good stuff. So I just gave a shout out to MuscleTech, that's all (laughs). I always want to make the boss man happy.


[ DR ] How did it feel for you to finally win the Mr. Olympia title in 2008?

    [ DJ ] It was a pretty amazing feeling because I never thought it would happen, so of course it caught me off guard. I was just speechless and it was mind boggling for me for months. It took forever for me to accept that I had won this title, for it to sink in.

    It was expected and I did want to win, but I just never thought it would happen. But when I did win it took me months to just really accept that I had won the title. It was unbelievable. It's (the Mr. Olympia title) what the sport of bodybuilding is all about, the Super Bowl of bodybuilding; it's our biggest competition; it's what everybody wants to win; it's the world cup.

Dexter Jackson At The 2008 Olympia.
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Dexter Jackson At The 2008 Olympia.
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[ DR ] Who did you look up to and want to aspire to being like as you came up the bodybuilding ranks?

    [ DJ ] Well at the start it was Shawn Ray, then it became Flex Wheeler. Those were probably the two biggest names that I remember not really idolizing, but trying to model my physique after.


[ DR ] And I guess we could say you have done a pretty good job at that.

    [ DJ ] Well thank you.