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M&F: Do you remember what your first issue of Muscle & Fitness was?
David Otunga: I don’t remember what exactly the issue was, but I’m pretty sure that it had Arnold in it. After reading about him, Arnold has always been one of my heroes, especially with bodybuilding. I love reading everything I can about him. In fact, my posing routine—I took a lot of that from his posing routine in Pumping Iron.
Who were some of your other favorite bodybuilders?
Well Arnold, obviously, and Ronnie Coleman, and nowadays I really like Phil Heath. I really like his physique. I’ve been watching him since he first came on the scene and I was like, “He’s definitely gonna do something.” Jay Cutler, as well. And the smaller guys in the 202 class like Flex Lewis. That guy’s a beast too.
So if you weren’t wrestling, do you think you’d be a bodybuilder or a lawyer?
Well I would probably be a lawyer who body builds—that’s what I did before. It was great because I would take all my meals and prepare them for the day, and just have them stacked in my office and every few hours I’d be in the kitchen warming stuff up. It got to the point where people knew, “OK it’s time for David to eat again.” And it was always the same meal—steak and a sweet potato, chicken—and then I would take my lunch breaks and go to the gym and get a workout in. It was crazy though ‘cause we worked long hours. I worked at a big firm in Chicago and sometimes I would have to be there late at night, and if I didn’t get to go to the gym, I couldn’t focus.
What’s your best bench?
Back when I was in law school I benched 515.
Down to the chest and into a full lock out?
Yeah that was legit. That was my best. But I haven’t matched it in so long because I had an injury and now I avoid it. Now it’s all about trying to stay lean and ripped for TV.
With TV, and what you’re required to do in the ring, do you have to incorporate more functional training?
Yeah, it’s definitely more functional, I’ve incorporated a lot more strength exercises and functional agility exercises in, but at the same time I still pay great attention to detail in bodybuilding because my goal is to be the most aesthetically pleasing WWE superstar. I really pay attention to that. But at the same time I want to be functional and athletic.
How’d you meet Ronnie Coleman?
I met him at one of the Olympia Weekends actually.
Do you remember what year?
My first one was 2004, and then I went back in 2005. I think I went three years in a row. And then in 2006 when he lost to Jay—that was devastating. That was heartbreaking for me. Jay Cutler was awesome though too. Then I just kind of became cool with him. He does a workout weekend, I don’t know if he still does but he used to, and I went on one of those too.
So did he fix anything for you in the gym, or did he have anything to say about how you lift or how you pose?
I haven’t talked to him much about posing yet, but in terms of the lifting, he’s got an interesting way of keeping tension in his muscle where he doesn’t completely lock out certain lifts. I started experimenting with that, which I really like too. It just adds a different little spark to different muscle groups when you’re hitting them.
Next year you’ll be in a movie called The Hive. Can you tell us what it’s about?
Oh man this is a great, great film. Halle Berry plays a 9-1-1 operator, and Abigail Breslin, from Little Miss Sunshine, is in the movie as well. A girl gets kidnapped and Halle Berry is the 9-1-1 operator who’s trying to help find her. I play one of the police officers who works with Halle Berry. It’s a thriller.
And what is your character like?
My character is a police officer, and he’s a really, really good guy. He takes his job seriously—a little too seriously at some points—but it’s all in the name of justice.
Want to train your chest and tris like WWE Superstar David Otunga? Then get ready for lots of volume. As you can see, Otunga is pretty straight-forward with his exercise selection, but always keeps sets and reps on the high side.
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