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Recently, four-time Mr. Olympia Jay Cutler dropped by Bodybuilding.com headquarters. Although he took an immense number of photos with fans and surprised callers in our customer service department, his visit wasn’t all fun and games. Jay actually came to teach—not in a training room, but in the gym.
Bodybuilding.com athlete Kizzito Ejam was lucky enough to be Jay’s sole student for the day. Cutler took Ejam through the first workout of his mass-building Living Large Trainer, where Kizzito was given a one-on-one lesson about the best techniques for training chest and calves.
We filmed the entire workout so you could benefit from Jay’s incredible knowledge.
You don’t have to be preparing for a bodybuilding show to incorporate Jay’s techniques and workouts into your regimen.
| Incline Bench Press |
Elbow position is crucial with pressing movements. “You don’t want to push with your shoulders and triceps,” says Cutler. “You want to push with your chest, so move your elbows a little inward. If your elbows are out, you’ll use your shoulders and triceps to move the bar. Your chest should be the highest point on your body. Push the bar upward and feel your pecs contracting.”
“I see a lot of people in the gym who are pressing over and over and just doing the work with their triceps,” Cutler adds. “That’s why you see a lot of underdeveloped chests.”
| Flat Bench Press |
The bench press is the meat and potatoes exercise for the chest. But, you have to do it correctly to get the best results.
“Focus on contraction,” Cutler says. “You see a lot of people in the gym doing cheat reps and bouncing the bar off their chests because they’re using more weight than they can handle. I’m a bodybuilder. I’m not focused on how much weight I’m using. I want to feel that burn. Keep your chest up and contract your pecs.”
Although bodybuilders aren’t exclusively focused on hitting a massive one-rep max, Jay has some advice if you’re stuck and can’t seem to improve: “Train lighter for a couple of weeks and then go back to a max-effort workout. You’ll probably be better. If you’re constantly training heavy, you’re just exhausting yourself.”
| Dumbbell Fly |
“As you probably know, the chest gets engorged with blood from pressing movements,” says Cutler. “Now we’re going to stretch it out to engage more muscle fibers and get more blood and nutrients into the area.”
Jay’s advice about selecting weight is consistent throughout his workout. “Everyone’s mind is stuck on how much weight he can hit. That’s not what is important. It’s all about the contraction and how to get blood into the area. If you use too much weight, you can’t get the arms out very far to stretch out the chest.”
“Don’t try to get more reps than you can do by yourself, even if your partner is yelling at you. If you get to the point where your partner is doing all of the work, you’re done,” Jay says.
| Dips |
“This movement was a staple for a lot of my Olympia training,” Cutler says. “It creates that nice, round look. The key to doing this exercise well is keeping your legs back and leaning your chest forward. You’re not trying to lock out the triceps; you’re trying to lock out the chest. That’s why the lean is really important. If you lean back, it’s hard to lock the chest, but if you’re forward, the chest will lock before the triceps.”
When it comes to weighted dips, Cutler didn’t need to add any extra iron. “Because I weighed 300 pounds, I usually only used my body weight,” he says. “If you’re heavy enough, bodyweight dips are fine.” Focus on the contraction in your pecs and getting all 10 reps. Don’t worry about strapping on a dip belt or weighted vest.
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