By Greg Merritt Flex
Ready to reveal a champion-inspired physique of your own? Apply these techniques and maybe you’ll follow in the Cutler footsteps.
Turn up the volume
“I’ve always been a volume trainer,” Cutler says. And, boy, has he ever. There is a prevalent (and often irrational) fear of overtraining that leads many bodybuilders to lose sight of the growth-inducing benefits achieved by increasing their sets per workout.
Double-up on back
This four-time Mr. O possesses one of the greatest rear lat spreads ever witnessed. By 2005, his lat width was matching if not succeeding Ronnie Colemans. Cutler, like Coleman, also worked back twice weekly. One session focused on width (using pulldowns and other cable exercises), the other targeted thickness (mostly rows and deadlifts).
Deep-tissue massage is a crucial component of his recovery plan. At least once weekly, he undergoes lengthy massage sessions, sometimes leaving bruised and battered. He feels this probing, pushing, and scraping has boosted his recuperation and flexibility and thus aided growth.
Do unilateral sets
As with all bodybuilders, Cutler’s left and right halves are not symmetrical. His left limbs are clearly superior to their right counterparts. He narrows this gap by including unilateral exercises in every leg and arm workout and placing a special emphasis on bringing up his weaknesses while still expanding his stronger side.
Sweat the small stuff
Unlike most pro bodybuilders, Cutler schedules some forearm and ab sets into his routine, even during the off-season. Likewise, though he has two of the sports best calves, he trains his lower legs as hard as every other body part.
Work your warmups
Lets get the terminology straight. Cutler refers to the lighter sets preceding his working sets as feel sets, not warmups. This is because hes not merely going through the motion on those sets. Instead, he’s getting a feel for the weight, making certain his technique is on point, and monitoring his muscles to determine how hard he should push his working sets.
Stick mostly to the 812 rep range
Until 2004, most of his sets were in the 810 range, and during his teenage years he often went even lower. But over the past eight years, he rarely strayed from the 1012 range for big body parts. Arms and calves were mostly in the 12-15 range. But he doesnt always count reps. Throughout each set, he focuses on his working muscles, because he believes that calculating reps is merely a distraction.
Whey powders boosted his daily protein intake. Creatine and BCAAs powered him through workouts. Vitamins and minerals ensured that the salad-adverse Cutler had all the necessary micronutrients for recovery. Throughout his career hes been on the cutting edge of sports nutrition.
Eat, eat, and eat some more
When Cutler was a teen bodybuilder living in rural Massachusetts, he used to buy his beef by the cow, literally. He hit the 280 mark before his 20th birthday by training heavy and eating heavier. He’ll tell you that eating six or more high-protein meals daily isnt something he enjoys, but frequent feedings have always been a necessary part of his growth plan.
Avoid major shocks
Dont ask Cutler for scary workout stories. He doesnt have any reminiscences about 30 continuous sets of squats or giant-set circuits that kept him hovering around a trash can, revisiting his protein. He never supersetted bis and tris until he couldnt scratch his own head. He sticks to his training program, and that program has never included all-shock workouts from hell.
Hit the angles
He learned what foot placements will stress various areas of his legs, what grips will best target sections of his upper body, and which exercises are most effective for his particular physique. Then he employs that knowledge to hit each body part from a variety of angles, with a particular emphasis on what he most wants to accentuate.
Where are the photos of a fat Jay Cutler? Where are the shots of a front butt, or a doughy face as round as Charlie Browns? Don’t bother Googling. You wont find any. Throughout his pro career, hes always stayed within striking distance of stage shape. Fat is bad for business. Year-round cardio has kept the wrong sort of pounds from sticking, and that, in turn, has allowed him to better monitor his progress and more effectively diet down to excavate the fine lines.
Improvise your training
He has a rough outline for how each workout will progress, but doesn’t follow a detailed script. Instead, he analyzes how his muscles are responding and chooses his tools accordingly. Often, he will pause mid-workout so he and his training partner(s) can review how many exercises hes done and what he should do next. Every workout is a work in progress.