Staying Lean Year-Round

The Texas Oak

By Logan Franklin

Q: You stay very lean year-round, what looks to be about four to five weeks out from stage ready. Do you think all competitors should stay in that kind of condition, or is it just your personal preference versus bulking a bit more?

A: I think each individual should do whatever helps them make the best progress. In Classic, we have a weight limit. When I compete, I can’t be more than 222 pounds and I’m already right there on the cusp. I’m not trying to play a size game. For me it’s about balance and making sure every muscle group is complete and popping. I want a physique that flows timelessly. It also helps my digestion to stay leaner. I’m not shoveling huge amounts of food in and blowing my waist out.

I also like to remain leaner so I can practice my posing year-round. Posing has become a lost art. You don’t see many posing routines in either Bodybuilding or Classic that you will remember later.

A final reason I prefer staying lean is that I have obligations to my sponsors, and I need to be in shape for appearances and photo shoots with very little advance notice. Sometimes I am asked to fly out and do a shoot with only a few days’ notice! Getting out of shape and losing my lines isn’t something I’m interested in. But your situation might be very different, so it could be in your best interest to “bulk” and allow yourself to put on some body fat when trying to gain.

Classic Weight Limits

Q: We saw the weight limits for Classic increase twice in the first two years of the division, each time adding 5 pounds for the pros. Since then, the weights per height have remained the same. Do you think they will ever bump them again? Do you think they should?

A: I’m not sure if they will ever bump the weight limits up again, but in my opinion the weight parameters are good where they are. My concern is keeping everyone accountable and maintaining the integrity of the rules for everyone. All the Classic athletes need to be correctly heighted with no one allowed to slide and compete heavier than they are allowed to, whether it’s a big name or a nobody. Just be consistent and don’t allow anyone to cheat.

Push/Pull/Legs Split

Q: What do you think of the Push/Pull/Legs training split that’s regained some popularity in recent years? Some people love the fact that there’s no overlap, while others say it’s too many muscle groups to train in one workout and still give them all equal time and energy. What do you think?

A: I don’t think it’s ideal to do so many muscle groups in one session. I’ve never tried it because I’m like, when do you train arms? I prefer training arms on their own instead of after a ton of other exercises and I have been using the “bro” split the whole 18 years I’ve been training. It works well for me, and I enjoy it. At the end of the day, you need to enjoy the way you train. I’m definitely not trying to discourage anyone from trying Push/Pull/Legs or suggesting that it’s wrong. I think as long as you’re in the gym, squeezing and stretching the muscle, you’re doing better than most of the couch potatoes out there who don’t work out.

One final thought on P/P/L. I would think it might be a bad idea for someone with either lagging shoulders or triceps to train them after chest, and the same goes for hitting biceps after a full back workout. I seriously doubt you could give them the energy and attention they need at that point to catch up.

Training Intensity Builds Size

Q: When trying to gain raw size for someone who is still in need of it, do you recommend mostly heavy straight sets, or should I also be doing intensity boosters like drop sets, supersets, forced reps, and so on?

A: I think people get confused. Intensity doesn’t necessarily mean using techniques like drop sets and forced reps. To me, intensity is more about how well you squeeze the target muscle, slowing the movement down and forcing the muscle to work harder instead of just moving a weight from point A to point B. I try to make every set as hard as I can. I will often take a weight that I could get 15-20 reps with and squeeze hard and control the negative, so I barely get 12. That’s intensity. That builds not just mass, but muscle maturity, separations, graininess, and striations. The weight needs to be heavy enough to stress the muscle, but not so heavy that you can’t feel the muscle contracting fully.

Connection with the muscle is the most important thing to me. Far too many people now are focused only on lifting heavy for their Instagram or TikTok posts, chasing clout, likes, and followers. Me, I don’t give a shit about that. I will post a clip of me curling 25-pound dumbbells, but my arms are almost 22 inches. I can easily curl 50 or 60-pound dumbbells, but the form would be sloppy, and my biceps would only be doing part of the work. That’s not how I train or how I want to train. If more people stopped worrying about looking cool or doing some fancy new superset, there would be a lot more great old-school type physique out there.

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