Weightlifting is primarily about how much weight you can lift, and weightlifting events have been going on for thousands of years. The purpose of weightlifter training is to make you stronger. Bodybuilding, on the other hand, is all about using weight training to improve the size and shape of all muscles in order to achieve an aesthetically balanced and proportional look.
Bodybuilders get stronger, but some of the greatest are not as strong as you might think. However, this was never the case with Mr. Olympia Ronnie Coleman.
Ronnie, an eight-time champion, was the third Mr. O to enter the modern "big man" era. There was Lee Haney, Dorian Yates, and then Ronnie. Lee trained very hard and heavy, but his approach was quite traditional. Dorian, on the other hand, used a super-intensive "heavy duty" method with many negatives, forced negatives, and eventual injuries. Dorian purposely sacrificed his body in order to achieve his masteries.
Ronnie had a different training strategy. There has always been some debate about how to most effectively achieve the "bodybuilding effect" – that is, to build big, full, and shapely muscles. How much weight, how many reps, sets, and exercises? Ronnie has rewritten the rulebook on this subject. He was known for doing more repetitions in a set, often 12 to 16, with extremely heavy weights. I once watched Ronnie do a 170-pound dumbbell shoulder press and later asked him how he could do so many reps with so much weight, and he told me, "I started doing high reps with lighter weights and have then worked with heavier bumps. ”
Apparently, when it comes to building muscle, you need to use a resistance that is at least 75% of your max. 1 repetition corresponds. Heavier is fine as long as you do enough reps, as this is the combination of enough reps and enough weight that creates the bodybuilding effect. Weight lifters generally don't do enough repetitions or various exercises to look like bodybuilders. A great response to muscle training, however, depends on genetics. How much muscle fiber of which type have you distributed where? Skeletal proportion, length or muscle belly of various muscles.
Genetics is the reason Lebron James never had to choose between basketball and jockey. If you don't believe in the limitations of genetics, try getting bigger.
Some people, including bodybuilders, are naturally stronger than others. And the fittest receive special rewards for exercising this power. It's both physically and mentally satisfying. So, most likely, Ronnie developed his training style because it felt good.
Joe Weider always advised bodybuilders to listen to their bodies, and that is exactly what Ronnie and the other pros at Mr. Olympia did.
By the way, the scientific description of the volume of training required to achieve results is time under tension. Each rep is pretty short, so it will take you enough of them to keep your muscles tense for about 60 seconds. It turns out to be four to five sets of four to five exercises – pretty much the kind of workout bodybuilders discovered through trial and error over the decades.
The top bodybuilders are all genetic geniuses, so many can use a style of training that is not top-notch in terms of effectiveness and efficiency, yet produces excellent gains. However, the higher up you are in the sport, the more small differences matter. Why settle for anything other than doing your best?
I have to admit, after 40 years of working with bodybuilders, Ronnie is my favorite among modern day competitors. The shape and fullness of his muscles – not just their size – keep surprising me. It also happens that he was one of the strongest bodybuilders, which is what made his use of heavy weights for high repetitions so impressive.