Dorian Yates is a six-time IFBB Mr Olympia, winning in consecutive years between 1992 and 1997. He has the fourth-highest number of wins of all time, behind only Ronnie Coleman, Lee Haney and Arnold Schwarzenegger. He is based in Marbella, Spain
Have short and long term goals
‘You have to have a clear idea of what your short-term and long-term goals are, and then have a plan on how you are going to get there. I knew from day one exactly what I wanted to achieve in the first month – my short-term plan – and what I wanted to achieve over the course of the first year, which was my long-term plan.
Without goals and plans you will achieve very little. You are like a boat without a rudder, it doesn’t matter how fast you go, you’ll never get to the destination without direction. At first, my ultimate goal was to become the British novice champion, but I surpassed that very quickly. And that’s why having goals and a plan changed the game for me. I achieved my first goal, so set another one that may have seemed impossible at the start. That’s how you keep building and improving and more becomes possible, so ultimately something seemingly beyond your reach can become a reality.’
Dave Tate is a former powerlifter who reached elite status in five different weight classes. He has worked as a trainer and consultant to hundreds of clients, including major universities, professional franchises and professional athletes, and is the founder and CEO of EliteFTS.com. He is based in Columbus, Ohio
Make the target muscle do the work
‘It’s simple: to build muscle, find ways to make movements harder; to build strength, find ways to make them easier. Adding mass is all about activation and zeroing in on the target muscle. If you are doing dumbbell presses but feel it in your triceps then you’re not activating your pecs in the necessary way. You have to find the right way that makes the target muscles do all of the work. This could be done with pre-exhaustion, slower rep speed, peak contraction, more focus on the muscle, or many other methods.
For strength, find the movement pattern that allows you to use the most weight. Using the same example of the dumbbell press, keep a neutral grip, tuck in elbows, use a faster eccentric motion, and a host of other methods, will allow you to find ways to lift more weight and/or perform for reps, thus increasing your workload.’
Bret Contreras is a renowned strength coach, groundbreaking biomechanics researcher and the world’s foremost expert on glute training. He is based in Phoenix, Arizona
Make strong glutes a priority
‘The biggest breakthrough for me was discovering the importance of glutes-specific training. Dedicated glutes work is critical for functional training, sports performance and injury prevention, because of the four basic movement patterns they are involved in: hip extension; hip external rotation; hip abduction; and posterior pelvic tilt. In short, they’re involved in just about explosive action in sports.
Moreover, they protect the lower back, hips and knees, so not only will strong glutes keep you injury-free, they’ll also allow you to continue making gains in the gym because they will improve your deadlift lockout strength and your squat power out of the hole. In addition, stronger glutes improve your sprinting speed, vertical jump, agility, and rotational power. Finally, it’ll increase self-confidence, as a powerful, athletic-looking backside does wonders for your self-esteem, so the importance of glutes training cannot be underestimated.
Keep doing your squats, deadlifts and lunges. These popular staples have been around for many years for good reason: they work. Add in hip thrusts or barbell glute bridges; learn how to perform back extensions by relying mostly on glutes and hamstrings to extend the hips; learn how to posterior pelvic tilt via a giant glute squeeze in a front plank; and add in some lateral band work, such as monster walks or sumo walks. This will ensure comprehensive glutes strength.’
Nate Miyaki is a fitness author, personal trainer and nutrition consultant. He is based in San Francisco, California
All workouts are about size
‘I wasted a lot of time and effort when I first started training solely for physique enhancement. I came from more of a performance sports background – American football, track and field, then later stunts and pro wrestling. I thought I could out-train a poor diet. It’s a battle my skinny-fat ass was losing miserably. It wasn’t until I came upon a more efficient approach that I transformed my physique, and more importantly, was able to get my clients consistent and predictable results.
The approach is a three-pronged process.
1. Use diet for 85% of your fat loss.
2. Be as active as you can around the clock – walk more – for the final 15%.
3. All resistance training in the gym should be focused exclusively on one thing – building lean muscle mass.
Think of it like this. You want to minimise body fat and maximise lean muscle mass. Diet is your primary weapon to slash body fat. Exercise should be your primary weapon to build lean muscle mass. Separating those two, and kicking ass in each one, is the most efficient approach I know of to transform your physique.’
Shaun Stafford is a WBFF Pro Fitness model world champion and performance director at City Athletic. He is based in London
Track now to succeed later
‘Having a long-term training programme is the only way to ensure you will do the right workouts at the right times, and are constantly working towards building a better body. You also need to keep a log of exercises, sets, reps, tempo, rest and weight from every session: this will provide you with all the information you need to make the necessary changes to your programme so that there is enough variation to keep progressing. As well as allowing you to plan your way onwards and upwards, it also allows you to look back at what you’ve achieved over the past few weeks or months, which in itself can be hugely motivating.’