Jay Cutler has carved out a legendary reputation as a competitive bodybuilder, winning the highest accolade in the bodybuilding world, Mr. Olympia, on no fewer than four occasions. In a new YouTube video, he teams up with strongman Brian Shaw—who is also a four-time champion in his own field, having won the title of World’s Strongest Man in 2011, 2013, 2015 and 2016—for a workout, and demonstrates a typical arm day routine.
“The whole goal is to get in the gym, get as much blood in there as possible, and have a great workout, get sore,” he says.
Cutler starts on triceps with a set of rope pushdowns, performed in a kneeling position to remove bodily momentum from the equation and force the tricep to do more of the work, with a focus on explosiveness at the lower end of the range of motion. “The reason I do triceps first is I always feel like when I have a good tricep pump, as soon as I do the first set of biceps, I get a huge pump there,” he says. “I usually pyramid the weigh up a little bit… I’ll try for 12 [reps] at least.”
Next up are skull crushers. “This exercise I still do to this day,” says Cutler. “I feel this is probably the best mass exercise to build density in the triceps… My goal is to do 10 or 12 repetitions.” He adds that he tends to favor a closer grip on the bar for this move, and allows his head to hang off the end of the bench slightly.
Cutler follows this with heavier pushdowns once he is fully warmed up, performed with one foot staggered in front of the other so that he is almost leaning forward, with the cable right up against his shoulder. “I think you really need to get a little bit of pre-exhaust into the muscle, and that’s why we started with the ropes,” he says. “This is going to be the heaviest of what I do.”
Next up are bicep curls. “Today I’m going to swing a little bit,” says Cutler. “Just kind of flow through it, so just a contraction of the bicep, not coming up too high… just getting the blood in there. To be honest I don’t even count repetitions.”
These are followed by preacher curls, which Cutler performs on a machine. He advises not coming all the way up in this curl movement, but rather stopping once you can feel peak contraction of the bicep. Cutler rounds out the workout with front double bicep curls, performed by standing with arms outstretched with a cable in each hand, and then recreating a basic curl movement for 12 reps.
“The weight never mattered to me,” Cutler says at the end of the workout, explaining how his main priorities have always been about longevity, staying injury free and maintaining healthy muscles. “I think a lot of people go into the gym like, ‘I’ve got to get on the bench press first.’ Why don’t you get on a cable crossover and warm the pecs up?”
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