Brandon “The Prodigy” Curry, a veteran from Murfreesboro, Tenn., scored a stunning win over defending champion William Bonac to win the 31st Arnold Classic in March this year.
Curry received congratulations from Arnold Schwarzenegger, a check for $130,000, a Tony Nowak Official Champions Jacket, and the champion’s trophy. Curry, with his wife and four children in the audience, won the Arnold Classic for the first time.
This got us thinking that there will be some useful things we can learn about building muscle from the guys who do it the best. Stay tuned if this is your aim.
Brandon has been on the brink of stardom for a long time, and at the age of 36 He is well documented online on sites like bodybuilding,com and other well-known resources.
He was cleaning up house in amateur competitions at just 22 years old, but more impressively, he already had the type of development that other guys spend their whole lives pursuing.
The makings of a world-class physique were plain to see: clean lines, incredible definition, and pure aesthetics.
He continued to squash the amateurs, and he earned his 212 division pro card in 2008, showing that he was here to stay.
He has also been featured in his own web series called Brandon Curry unleashed which is definitely worth a watch if your interested.
Since then, Brandon has grabbed a dozen top-10 finishes as an IFBB Pro and is now taking the top spot due to all of his hard work
His humble attitude and work ethic will keep him in the race for years to come.
Its well documented that his philosophy around training varies with his growth and knowledge as an athlete. But there seem to be 4 areas that come up consistently and referenced by him.
1- Firstly, his love compound movements or the big three as it is referred to. This is in reference to the squat, the deadlift and the bench press, are the moves that are used in powerlifting. But why would a bodybuilder favor this type of training and what's there to gain? Well its all to do with the movements effects on testosterone release (which we already mentioned earlier) but more importantly the fact that it works a large group of muscles at the same time. This level of stimulation that is necessary for growing muscle tissue, is hard to achieve when just training individual muscles alone.
Secondly, curry talks about Progressive overload being his aim, mostly in the aspect of intensity. But what is it and how can we use it?
According to Chris Beardsley of Strength and conditioning research.com,
Progressive overload is basically the way in which we take the adaptations resulting from a previous workout into account, when performing subsequent workouts.
After a workout in which we lift heavy weights, all of the various adaptations that contribute to gains in maximum strength are stimulated. After workouts involving light or moderate weights, it is likely that only increases in muscle fiber size are stimulated (this is why lifting heavy weights leads to greater gains in maximum strength than lifting either light or moderate weights).
Either way, when we come to perform the next workout, we are stronger.
This means that, in the next workout, we have the option of making progress. If we choose this option, we can either lift a slightly heavier weight for the same number of reps, or the same weight for a larger number of reps.
This continual addition of either more reps or more weight is progressive overload. It basically means, keep making your training more difficult.
Curry prefers the intensity route, so that means he is more likely to keep his sets and reps the same, but increase the weight.
Thirdly curry talk a lot about using Accentuated Eccentric base training in the beginning of the week of his training week. It sounds complex but it is not as confusing as you may think.
When you train you can use three main types of muscle action concentric, isometric or eccentric. These are present in most moves that you perform. Accentuated eccentrics basically focus a lot of your work on the lowering part of the exercise.
This type of training stimulate greater strength and size gains than pure concentric training.
But why is that?
There are five potential reasons from the theory for this:
-There's a greater neural adaptation to eccentric training than to concentric training (Hortobagyi et al. 1
-There's a more important force output produced during a maximal eccentric action (greater overload) because you can use a higher external load (Colliander and Tesch 1990).
-There's a higher level of stress per motor unit during eccentric work. Fewer motor units are recruited during the eccentric portion of a movement, thus each of the recruited motor units receives much more stimulation (Grabiner and Owings 2002 , Linnamo et al. 2002). Furthermore, since the nervous system seems to recruit fewer motor units during a maximal eccentric action, the potential for improvement could be greater than with maximal concentric action.
-There's some evidence that maximal eccentric actions will preferably recruit fast-twitch muscle fibers, which are more responsive to muscle growth and strengthening (Nardone et al. 1989, Howell et al. 1995, Hortobagyi et al. 1996). In fact, eccentric training may stimulate an evolution towards a faster contractile profile (Martin et al. 1995).
-Most of the muscle microtrauma to the cells occurring during training is a result of the eccentric action performed (Brown et al. 1997, Gibala et al. 2000). It's been established that this microtrauma acts as the signal to start the muscle adaptation process
4- Finally Curry talks about the idea of functional muscle, which is pretty easy to describe. It basically means looking amazing but still being able to function and move well as an athlete. This is definitely something individuals should aspire for as they move through there fitness journey and especially as you get older. Mastery of movement and the body is an essential part of the good life.
What are your thoughts on this mammoth of a performer? If size is your goal will you implement any of these tactics, leave us a note in the comments below, we want to hear your thoughts