The Legend of the Welsh Dragon

An alphabetical guide to 4X 212 champ, Flex Lewis.


A is for Ali Rosen.

She’s an IFBB pro bikini winner, registered dietitian, and Lewis’ fiancée. Rosen and Lewis plan to marry next February.

B is for Back.

Like Phil Heath, Lewis possesses narrow clavicles, which limit his lat width. But also like the five-time Mr. O, this four-time 212 O champ made the crucial rear double-biceps pose his “lights out” winner by accentuating all the components others neglect—traps, rhomboids, lat density, spinal erectors—and that’s before we even get to his superb lower body. Let’s take just one area, his spinal erectors, which are arguably the best in the IFBB Pro League. Many bodybuilders neglect this body part, but not the Welsh Dragon. In each back workout, he gives it a special focus with power-rack deadlifts and intensely contracted back extensions.

C is for Calves.

Before he was the world’s best 212-or-under bodybuilder, even before anyone outside his family and friends in Wales knew his name, he had those calves. Lower legs were always a strong point, and now on the Olympia stage, they give his physique a finished look from every angle. Lewis works his gastrocnemius and soleus with a variety of exercises and techniques, but this is a typical triset routine (done for four rotations of 15 to 30 reps per set): calf press, seated calf raise, standing calf raise.

D is for Dragon.

A red dragon adorns the national flag of Wales, and mythical basilisks have been associated with Flex’s native land for nearly three millennia. He adopted the moniker “the Welsh Dragon” as a proud tribute to his heritage.

E is for Experimentation.

“My first gym had a limited amount of equipment,” Lewis remembers. “So I learned how to turn a chest machine into a back machine, a leg press into a shoulder press, and on and on. I was always experimenting, and I still am.” As just one example, he uses a seated calf machine for one-arm rows, which he named “dragon rows.”


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