Athlete/Celebrity Workouts

IFBB Classic Physique Competitor Robert Timms' Upper-Body Workout

This pro bodybuilder shares the routine that got him jacked.

by
Robert Timms: IFFB Classic Physique
Ian Spanier
Ian Spanier
Duration 60 min
Exercises 14
Equipment Yes

Trends are cyclical even in bodybuilding, as an old look is re-emerging. The new classic physique division, which pays homage to the look of the days of yore, is making that classic look—the symmetrical and streamlined Frank Zane body type—relevant again.

Leading this movement is Air Force veteran and new Gaspari Nutrition athlete Robert Timms. One gaze at the Arizona resident from the front and he immediately reminds many bodybuilding disciples of a young Lee Haney—sporting a thick chest, broad shoulders, and powerful arms. Timms and his coach, seven-time Mr. Olympia contestant Dennis “the Menace” James, are putting this new division on notice that he’s coming to dominate on every stage, with the ultimate goal of being the classic physique Olympia champion.

Signing with Gaspari

“It’s a big deal for me, a huge honor. To be signed by a company like Gaspari makes a huge statement. Also, supplements like SuperPump 250 and AminoLast will play a huge role in my training. On top of all that, to have a guy like Rich Gaspari, a man whose physique embodies what my division is supposed to be about and who has trained at that elite Olympia level, is incredible. I plan on taking advantage of that and learning from him so I can be that much better every time I step on that stage.”

Why classic physique

Timms actually started competing in the men’s physique division, but he and James noticed something. “My back was the epitome of a blessing and a curse. I was killing it from the rear, but that was hurting me as well because it wasn’t the look the judges wanted. Dennis and I were discussing what to do about that in the future when we got word about classic physique.” 

Timms and James were excited to know that classic physique was a reality and knew the course they had to follow. “Although there are guidelines, classic physique is definitely the look my body was meant for, and I know I will place better in this division because of that, and D.J. agrees.”

Classic training

Many athletes try to keep their programs current with the newest methodologies and training systems. Timms, however, knows what works for him and doesn’t deviate from it.

“I think too many people try to make training complicated. I know what works for me and what has worked for many who have come before me. The basic exercises are the best, and that is what I stick with. I don’t need to follow any type of system. I grab heavy weight that I can lift, and I lift it for as many reps as I can. Rest between sets varies for me. If I’m prepping for a show, then I rest 30 seconds between sets. If not, then it’s a minute and 30 seconds.”

Timms works for up to four or five sets per exercise, accumulating a lot of volume with a rep range of 10 to 20 reps, so he can pump as much nutrient-rich blood into the muscles as possible.

Shoulder workout notes

To have a V-taper that will turn heads, you need two things: a small waist and wide shoulders. Timms knows that having bigger side delts will add to that illusion of the V-taper, which is why he starts his training with lateral raises—as opposed to a press. He trains rear delts second because he knows the importance of the detail necessary in that area for back poses.

Chest workout notes

Timms says his chest is a strong muscle group for him, but he knows that to be distinct from his competition, his chest has to be the best, so he doesn’t let up on training it heavy and with high volume. “I know a lot of people think that since we compete in a different division than open bodybuilding that we likely train differently. The training is the exact same, at least for me. The look might not be the same, but my goal is. I want to build a thick chest that stands out when I’m onstage.”

Arm workout notes

Timms likes to alternate between biceps and triceps over the course of his arm training, which he does on its own day. Besides the fact that this training regimen makes for an incredible pump, it is believed to help in terms of efficiency because one muscle group is recovering as the other is working. So the result is that both muscles can handle more weight over the course of the workout.

Shoulder Workout

Exercise 1

Seated Lateral Raise You'll need: Dumbbells, Bench How to
Seated Lateral Raise thumbnail
5 sets
20 reps
30-90 sec* rest
*If Timms is prepping for a show he rests 30 sec. In the off season he rests 90 sec.

Exercise 2

Reverse Pec Deck
exercise image placeholder
5 sets
20 reps
30-90 sec* rest
*If Timms is prepping for a show he rests 30 sec. In the off season he rests 90 sec.

Exercise 3

Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press You'll need: Dumbbells, Bench How to
Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press thumbnail
4 sets
10 reps
30-90 sec* rest
*If Timms is prepping for a show he rests 30 sec. In the off season he rests 90 sec.

Exercise 4

Dumbbell Front Raise You'll need: Dumbbells How to
Front Raise thumbnail
4 sets
10 reps
30-90 sec* rest
*If Timms is prepping for a show he rests 30 sec. In the off season he rests 90 sec.

Chest Workout

Exercise 1

Pec Deck
exercise image placeholder
4 sets
20 reps
30-90 sec* rest
*If Timms is prepping for a show he rests 30 sec. In the off season he rests 90 sec.

Exercise 2

Machine Seated Chest Press
exercise image placeholder
5 sets
10 reps
30-90 sec* rest
*If Timms is prepping for a show he rests 30 sec. In the off season he rests 90 sec.

Exercise 3

Cable Crossover You'll need: Adjustable Cable Machine, D-Handle Attachment How to
Cable Crossover thumbnail
4 sets
20 reps
30-90 sec* rest
*If Timms is prepping for a show he rests 30 sec. In the off season he rests 90 sec.

Exercise 4

Incline Dumbbell Bench Press You'll need: Bench How to
exercise image placeholder
5 sets
10 reps
30-90 sec* rest
*If Timms is prepping for a show he rests 30 sec. In the off season he rests 90 sec.

Arm Workout

Exercise 1

Cable Biceps Curl You'll need: Adjustable Cable Machine, Straight Bar Attachment How to
Cable Biceps Curl thumbnail
3 sets
20 reps
30-90 sec* rest
*If Timms is prepping for a show he rests 30 sec. In the off season he rests 90 sec.

Exercise 2

Triceps Pressdown You'll need: Adjustable Cable Machine, V-Handle Attachment How to
Triceps Pressdown thumbnail
3 sets
20 reps
30-90 sec* rest
*If Timms is prepping for a show he rests 30 sec. In the off season he rests 90 sec.

Exercise 3

Cable Biceps Curl You'll need: Adjustable Cable Machine, Straight Bar Attachment How to
Cable Biceps Curl thumbnail
3 sets
20 reps
30-90 sec* rest
*If Timms is prepping for a show he rests 30 sec. In the off season he rests 90 sec. Set pulley in a high position.

Exercise 4

Reverse-Grip Pressdown You'll need: Adjustable Cable Machine, Straight Bar Attachment How to
Reverse-Grip Pressdown thumbnail
3 sets
20 reps
30-90 sec* rest
*If Timms is prepping for a show he rests 30 sec. In the off season he rests 90 sec.

Exercise 5

Barbell Biceps Curl You'll need: Barbell How to
bicep curl thumbnail
3 sets
20 reps
30-90 sec* rest
*If Timms is prepping for a show he rests 30 sec. In the off season he rests 90 sec.

Exercise 6

Skull Crusher
exercise image placeholder
3 sets
20 reps
30-90 sec* rest
*If Timms is prepping for a show he rests 30 sec. In the off season he rests 90 sec.
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