I bet a lot of you have thought about what it would be like to workout with a pro bodybuilder and even the big man himself - Jay Cutler. Well the only thing I really lifted was a camera but I did get to watch while Jay worked out with his lifting partners in the "Pit" at world famous Muscle Beach right on the boardwalk at the beach in Venice California.
So let me tell you how this happened. I was at the Junior California NPC competition in Pasadena CA on Saturday. Jay was in town as the guest poser for this show along with his good buddy, IFBB Pro Derick Farnsworth. Well I got the phone call in the late afternoon that Jay was possibly going to come out to the "Pit" to workout and he would also be videotaped for his brand new DVD to be released at the end of July.
I am the official photographer for the Muscle Beach Venice shows, so I was lucky enough to get the heads up. Later in the evening I got another message that it was still not confirmed but that I would know by 9 or so the following morning. So Sunday morning came along, I got the call, packed up and checked out of my hotel and headed to the beach. It looked like a good way to spend a Sunday!
Shortly after I got there, Jay came walking along the boardwalk with his buddies. And you can bet there were a lot of looks from the tourists! Although it was a cloudy day there was still plenty of people.
Venice Beach is perhaps the second or third most popular tourist attraction in the world right behind Disneyland and Las Vegas. And at Muscle Beach where most people in the world think muscles were born, the reigning Mr. Olympia came to do his back workout on a Sunday.
The same place where the careers and legends of Arnold and so many else were started. Well after Jay shook hands with some people and took a few photos with the quickly building crowd, Mr. O got down to business.
Now it is something else to workout at this place but I had to think about what it is like to workout, knowing that you are doing it to retain your title that took you so long to get and also in front of all these people. That kind of throws some more seriousness into it.
Reverse Grip Pull Downs:
First up was reverse grip pull downs. By the way, Jay is wearing a well worn leather lifting belt on all his lifts. It is under his shirt. Reps were pretty high at 15 per set, none of this low rep heavy weight stuff. The weight was increased on each set. Clean sets, clean movements, no jerking, squeezing on each pull.
Then we moved on to deadlifts from the ground starting at 135 and finishing at 405. This is where you could start to see that Jay was working. He truly moved the weight off the ground and through the reps without any problem, but he was working it.
The sweat was starting to run and the face grimaces were going. And as you can see when the weight gets really heavy he does use the straps hanging from his wrists around the bar. So I think if it is ok for Mr. Olympia to use lifting straps you can too.
Straight Bar Rows:
Next up was straight bar rows. Sticking the corner of a full length bar into a corner, they started piling on the plates. Now Jay was pushing, you can see it on his face and the tension in his arms and shoulders. Even his calves and legs were tensing pretty good. That is a lot of weight on the end of that bar.
One-Arm Dumbbell Rows:
But in regards to heavy weight Jay made an interesting comment, one that I think we all hear from time to time. When it came to one arm dumbbell rows, the heaviest there were 110's which is light weight (where have I heard that before?). But Jay made his point, 'it's not how heavy the weight is'. Those 110's were just fine and they did the job of putting more grimace and sweat on him.
Bent Over Rows:
Still going now and on to bent over rows. One plate, two plates, three plates and finally four plates per side. Now I have personally done 405 bent over rows in my prime just a couple of years ago. But Jay does it a whole bunch cleaner.
This is where you see doing it right with good form really shows. Jay moved to the bar, picked it up, bent over and then without any jerking and not just pumping away at it, moved the bar up and down in clean full movements until he was done.
Close V-Grip Seated Back Rows:
The finish was close v-grip seated back rows. I have no doubt that this is where you really make gains. Pretty worn out, feeling the pain but squeezing out each movement. It would have been easy to quit before now but he is going to be Mr. Olympia again. Just ask him!
Mr. Olympia Jay Cutler, The Ambassador Of BodyBuilding
Jay said that he would be an ambassador for the sport and before an international crowd gathered around with cameras and cell phones he got on the stage right there, stripped off his shirt and gave them a look at Mr. Olympia. And they crowd loved it and could not get enough.
Jay gave them a few words of appreciation and his big smile, never once complaining after a heavy workout. So I have a new title for Jay:
So I worked out with Mr. O, kind of. But I came away from my watching him workout having learned a lot. First off, Jay does not really do anything different than you and I when we workout. He just does it right each and every time. Good form, weight that you can control, concentration and contraction of those muscles on every movement.
We have all heard these things, but Jay does it. The other thing is that he does it all the time. He had just guest posed late the night before, he lives in Las Vegas, but he worked out on a Sunday and not lightly.
It was fun that Derick Farnsworth came by too. Derick is one of the shortest IFBB Pros but I think in size he is one of the most deceiving. I am around these huge guys all the time so my thinking is a little skewed.
Now the crowd sees it different, you can see it on their faces. But Derick has amazing size for a guy so short. Across his shoulders and chest when you are around him he is huge. Ok, not as big as Jay but you would not mistake him for a aerobics instructor. Next up for Derick is the Europa in July where he will be taking advantage of the new split weight class.
This workout for Jay was for real. There were no posed set up shots, I never stopped him to ask a question or disrupt the flow of things. It was just his workout. He was being videotaped for his new DVD coming out at the end of July but there was nothing set up for that either.
Jay doesn't have a title for it yet but just watch for a new one. And I have a suggestion for you, buy it! Now that I have watched Jay, I can tell you that there is a subtlety of technique that you will not discover by yourself. You have to see it and learn it from a pro. And most people don't have the access to get out to where the pros workout to watch them. So get this DVD! I know I will!
And one more thing. If you get a chance to work out at the "Pit" at Muscle Beach, do that too. It's a fun place and it is where muscles were born.