Here is some workout gold for you bodybuilders and powerlifters out there. Jay Cutler shares his secrets to success from his decades as a bodybuilding champion. Some of his advice is so simple yet very powerful, as they emphasize that workout fundamentals can be the most effective strategy.
Some of the highlights of his wisdom include keeping your workouts simple and focusing on what gets results. You don’t need to get all fancy with your workouts and spend time and energy doing things that don’t get results.
One really great piece of advice he gives is to increase sets and not reps. He emphasizes that burning yourself out by over-repping will prevent you from maximizing your workout, so Jay rarely goes to failure. But he does say that the rest period between sets should be relatively short, usually under a minute.
Overall Jay talks about one of the most important things for a successful workout strategy is to be able to adjust and improvise when something needs to be improved. Mainly this, combined with a solid workout nutrition plan year-round, is his go-to strategy for success.
Size comes to those who simplify. Stop chasing your tail and follow Jay Cutler’s lead to look your best this year, next year, and a decade from now!
Four-time Mr. Olympia Jay Cutler is the everyman of the bodybuilding elite. Approachable, humble, and honest, he’s kind of like the guy next door… who just happens to weigh 280 pounds with near-zilch body fat.
True to form, if you meet Jay, he’s not going to blow your mind with round-the-campfire tales of epic workouts or cutting-edge tactics. In fact, his training routines are almost legendary for their extraordinary lack of novelty. He does more than lift things up and put them down, but not much.
On the other hand, this means that nary a second of Jay’s time in the gym over the years has been wasted. Few if any of us can say the same thing. So while fans may be hungry for his training and nutrition “secrets,” Jay is quick to point out it’s no secret at all.
Here are 10 of his most fundamental rules for maximizing your own physical potential while preserving your sanity.
You’re not likely to find Jay doing exotic exercises or using gimmicky equipment. In a montage of his workouts of the last 20 years, the haircuts would change more than the movements. You’d see him doing a lot of bench presses, squats, rows, pullovers, press-downs, and preacher curls. Why? They work.
These six movements are almost foolproof mass-gain tools for even the most desperate of hard-gainers, as well as for someone with Jay’s peerless genetic makeup. That’s why you’ll find all of them throughout his Living Large 8-Week Mass-Building trainer. Rep ranges? The usual prescription of 8-12 for size is where the magic happens, in his opinion.
Conventional wisdom is that larger body parts need 12-16 sets of work in order to grow. But conventional wisdom doesn’t win four Olympias.
It’s not uncommon for Jay to perform 3-4 times that number of sets for a given body part—while never reaching failure, as he told us in the article “Lifelong Lessons on Building Mass.” He doesn’t do this as a shock tool; it’s a normal part of his routine. Where many other bodybuilders add reps and cut down on sets, Cutler says he prefers to go heavy for fewer reps, and add more sets. “You can’t do as many reps, or you’ll burn yourself out,” he says. This contributes greatly to the dense muscularity he has come to be known for.
Beginners can get great results from full-body routines, but for advanced lifters there’s no substitute for a well-designed split. Longtime lifters know the quickest way to plateau is to fall in love with a single workout, bang it out, and then head back to the gym to do the same thing before you’ve had a chance to fully recover.
Jay insists on getting enough rest between sessions for the same body part, but grants that this is different for most people. What doesn’t vary between people is the importance of horizontal rest.
“I need to make sure I get enough sleep,” he says. “That’s the most important thing.”
The “rest as long as you need between sets” crowd may seem to make a compelling case. But their message falls on deaf ears when it comes to Jay. He rarely rests longer than a minute, even on his heaviest sets. It allows him to do more, live more, grow more, and eat more, staying both huge and ripped year-round.
He’s onto something. A study from the College of New Jersey reported that when men bench pressed with just 30 seconds of rest between sets, they burned over 50 percent more calories during the workout than when they rested 3 minutes.
Another from the University of Southern California, recently published in the “European Journal of Applied Physiology,” found that men who rested a minute between sets built more strength and size than men who rested four minutes.
Bigger, leaner, stronger—what are you waiting for? Get back to work.
Jay has never been shy about hitting a body part twice in a week if he feels the need. He has famously committed to twice-per-week back sessions, but with different focuses. One focuses on vertical pulls and deadlifts, and the other is heavy on horizontal pulls. This has helped him build a three-dimensional set of lats with show-stopping east-west development.
Go to Part 2 of Jay Cutler’s Rules for Growth