Lee Priest Training 3
Lee Priest turned pro at age 20.
He was one of the best, if not THE BEST teenage bodybuilders ever. Better than Arnold, better than Dorian, better than Ronnie, better than Steve Reeves, better than Lou Ferrigno. Better than all of them. We can learn quite a bit from Lee. What did he do that separated him from the thousands of other teens who were reading the “muscle books” every month, gulping down their Super Pro Protein powder and throwing back their liver tablets?
I’ve spent hundreds of hours around Lee, traveled to Brazil with him in 2007, traveled to Alaska, went with him to The Arnold, and have had him over to my house on more than one occasion. As an amateur bodybuilder myself, I knew the questions to ask to find out as much as possible about Lee. Here is what I know that I feel made him the best teenage bodybuilder ever and how you can benefit from this knowledge.
- Influence Lee’s Grandfather, Owen, was heavily into physical exercise. I remember Lee telling me story after story of how Owen loved physical challenges,thrived on them. Challenges such as walking home with bags of heavy groceries. Not because he had to walk. He wanted to. He never avoided hard work. You would never find Owen playing minecraft, team fortress 2, halo or any of the other video games. Owen loved to use his body. He would jump rope for up to an hour. He would walk to Lee’s house when Lee was a teen and knock on his bedroom window early in the morning, rain or shine, and off to the gym they would go to train. Lee watched all of this. Owen is the reason that Lee is a bodybuilder. Who is your influence? You won’t get it from a video game, a bag of skittles or the latest Netflix TV series. Oh, sure Lee liked to have fun – running around the Outback, riding his bicycle, going to the beach, swimming, fishing but the quite influence that Owen provided was greater than all of the other activities. These two had a strong bond. Owen was exposing Lee to the gift of physical fitness. Owen passed away in April of 2008. He was Lee’s champion. Who is your influence, who is your champion? If you don’t have an immediate family member as Lee did, go find one. Maybe that older kid who works out at the YMCA could be your influence. Maybe an Uncle or Aunt. Maybe it’s a coach or the mailman. Look around. Find a person, though NOT an internet “friend”.
- Consistency Lee has often talked about how he has only missed a small percentage of workouts in his entire career due to illness, travel or a rare scheduled day off. Lee is consistent at what he loves doing. He loves training, therefore being consistent comes easy. He doesn’t look for excuses not to workout. If you love what you do – whether it be video games, eating junk food, texting girls then that’s what you’ll do. Be honest with yourself. Do you really want to be a bodybuilder? Your actions will tell the story. Don’t attach emotion to your workouts. For example, don’t say “i don’t FEEL like working out today”. In this example, you’re letting your emotions (feelings) guide you. Instead, be a machine, a terminator and just go. Once you get there, chances are you’ll have one of the best workouts ever. I can’t ever recall saying, “Darn, I wish I hadn’t worked out today”. But there have many times when I said, “I wish I HAD worked out today”. Practice consistency if you want to realize your full potential.
- Effort I’ve put up tons of videos of Lee on YouTube. I’ve done this for many reasons. Helping to keep Lee’s legacy out there, marketing and just general self interest. There’s a video of Lee squatting. He works up to five 45lb plates on each side of the bar. That’s nearly 500lbs. He’s 16 or 17 in the video. Are you keeping a training journal? Are you working hard on squats? On deadlifts? Or are you avoiding heavy squats and deadlifts in favor of something easier? Don’t kid yourself. You have to work brutally hard if you want to stand out as an elite teenage bodybuilder. That means getting 8+ hours of sleep at night. Eating enough good quality food. Aim to get into the ‘3-4-5’ club. That means bench press 300lbs, squat 400lbs and deadlift 500lbs. If that seems too far of a reach, get to the ‘2-3-4’ club. Have goals and then work like hell to reach them.
Lee is no different than you and me. Yes, he was blessed in the genetics department. But guys like Larry Scott overcame genetic deficiencies (narrow shoulders) to go on and accomplish great things in the sport of bodybuilding. Follow the 3 guidelines above and you’ll be well on your way to reaching your own bodybuilding superstardom.
Sometimes, even bodybuilders are in a hurry to workout.
Maybe it’s “one of those days” and rather than skipping your planned workout, you’re looking for something quick, challenging and effective. I’ve got the perfect workout for you to try. This is a conditioning workout that focuses on the chest, back and triceps. You’ll do 10 sets of three different exercises. They are:
- Pull Ups
- Push Ups
You can do the pull ups on a regular chinning bar, use gymnast rings, trx, or get creative with a strong handle (shovel, rake, hoe) and a couple of chairs. Once you’ve found a safe way of doing pull ups, knock out a few for a warm up.
The next exercise is push ups. All you need is the ground. Make sure you use good form and go all the way down to the lowest position. Knock out a few warm up reps of push ups.
Finally, we go to dips. Do this off the dip bar in the gym, gymnast rings, plyometric box, a big rock or a piece of furniture. Once you’ve settled on your way of doing dips, perform a few reps as a warm up.
Vince trained all types in his Hollywood gym including:
- Robert Blake (TV’s “Beretta”)
- Clint Eastwood
- Denzel Washington
- Tommy Chong
- Brian Keith
- James Garner
- Erik Estrada
- and many others
When the Hollywood studios needed to get their “star” in shape they typically would send him or her down to Vince’s Gym on Ventura Blvd in Studio City, California.
Warm up thoroughly before doing:
- 10 pull ups
- 10 push ups
- 10 dips
Do each set as if it were the only set. Don’t rush through the workout, don’t use bad form. Focus on squeezing the muscles during the exercise.
Repeat for 10 sets with no rest/little rest
Time to beat < 20 minutes
Note – Vince was using both pull up and parallel dipping bars. My guess is that he did push ups off of the parallel bars.
Bodybuilding is a great lifelong activity, but if it’s done incorrectly, things can go wrong quickly. Lee Priest has been lifting with high volume training and has been using heavy weights since his teen years and has managed to never sustain a serious training injury. Sloppy training can result in injuries that will derail your bodybuilding program. This article will address the common injuries that overzealous bodybuilders make in their quest to build a muscular body.
Many people who workout in gyms complain about backaches, neck aches, and shoulder aches. They blame these aches and pains on their desk bound jobs where they sit in front of the computer all day. Many times these injuries are actually sustained in the gym and manifest themselves over a period of time.
The main culprit here is incorrect form being used in the gym. Too heavy weights plus incorrect form are quite typical when the desire to get big at any cost takes over. The constant wear and tear of joints, tendons, cartilage and muscles can mean painful limited range of motion in later years. Many injuries do not occur immediately such as dropping the weights on your toe or popping an attachment during a heavy bench press single.
Sure, back in the day, strong men pulled and yanked all kinds of odd objects in a show of strength but I can almost guarantee you that most of these guys hobbled into their later years due to muscle tears, strains or worse due to performing consistent wreck-less weightlifting. If you’re interested in building quality muscle that will serve you not only by way of increased strength but also improved cosmetic effect, execute your lifts using correct form 95% of the time. You can go for records during that other 5% but only when you feel strong, well rested and focused.
Common causes of injuries can also be attributed to those times when the bodybuilder hasn’t fully recovered from the last training session, Loss of focus, cheating, swinging the weight around is all too common amongst those who don’t plan and stick to their rest periods within their training schedules. This is one of the reasons why you see so many Crossfit injuires. Not enough rest, not enough focus. Typically, cheating and swinging the weight not only causes you to waste your time it will eventually cause injury.
An example of a common exercise done with incorrect form is the barbell curl.
Barbell Biceps Curl This exercise is perhaps the most commonly executed in the wrong form and causes injuries that people dont even know why they are injured. In every gym, you will see people swinging their barbells with their body rocking to and fro during this movement.
The rocking movement places tremendous stress on the shoulder joint which is the most unstable joint in the human body and the lower back. Over time, the shoulder joints and lower back will pay a heavy price for the wrong form and technique used during the lift.
Other common bodybuilding exercises which are often wrongly executed are the lat pull down, bench press, leg extension, military press and the list goes on.
So the next time when you have a mysterious backache or joint pain, reflect on the weightlifting exercises that you are doing and examine them as to whether they are the cause of your injuries.
Better yet, rest a few days and get out of the gym completely. Remember muscle growth occurs outside of the gym not in it.
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