With the right plan and the right discipline, you can get seriously shredded in just 28 days.Read article
Photos by Charles Lowthian
GIVE YOUR BICEPS THE STIMULATION THEY NEED TO GROW BY FOLLOWING IFBB PRO William Bonac’S ROUTINE, DESIGNED BY HIS COACH AND TRAINING GURU, NEIL “YODA” HILL
If you were just getting started as a competitive bodybuilder in 2008 and were significantly lighter than 250 pounds, whose physique would jump out at you while flipping through the pages of FLEX magazine?
This is a rhetorical question, of course. The rookie bodybuilder from ’08 we’re referring to is current IFBB pro William Bonac. And the physique that immediately caught his eye belonged to a man he still emulates to this day: 2008 Olympia champion Dexter Jackson. It makes perfect sense. The two are of similar stature (around 5'6" and in the 225- to 235-pound range) and both have inherently aesthetic physiques.
“When I saw Dexter for the first time, I thought, ‘OK, his physique is reachable for me,’ ” says Bonac, a Weider Athlete. “Ronnie Coleman was a big motivation for me, too, but he was so big, and I knew I could never be like that. Dexter’s size and look was more my thing. I look up to Dexter. I don’t think I’ll ever accomplish quite as much as he’s accomplished, but if I can get close, I’m good with that.”
In Jackson, you have a bodybuilder whose physique has always been much more than the sum of its parts. Perhaps his abs are his calling card, but his biggest assets have always been unparalleled symmetry, conditioning, and seamless flow from one body part to the next. Bonac’s physique is cut from a similar mold, except that his legs are naturally bigger. This is to his benefit, obviously, but to someday reach Jackson’s level, Bonac believes he needs to emulate one of the Blade’s other key attributes: consistency.
“After shows, most guys’ physiques go backward,” says Bonac, referring to when a professional bodybuilder has to compete multiple times over the course of several weeks. “They can maybe hold their shape for one week after, but after two shows they can’t. With Dexter, his physique just keeps getting better.”
What would you attribute that to? Bonac is asked. Genetics?
“Yes, genetics,” he replies. “But also, Dexter’s hungry, man. He wants it bad. When you have to compete more than two weekends in a row, it’s mental. You have to be very mentally strong. You can’t just rely on your physique.”
THE YODA CARD
Nobody builds a title-worthy physique alone. William Bonac, like Olympia 212 champ James “Flex” Lewis, has former IFBB pro and training guru Neil “Yoda” Hill in his corner serving as the mastermind for all of his workouts. Creator of his trademarked Y3T (Yoda 3 Training) protocol, Hill is one of bodybuilding’s most respected training gurus.
In the following pages, Hill breaks down the specifics and rationale of Bonac’s biceps training. Biceps are a strong body part for Bonac, and he’s cautious not to overdevelop them in fear of throwing off his symmetry. That said, he certainly doesn’t ignore his arms, and Hill has a strategic plan even for Bonac’s strong muscle groups.
“There are many reasons why I structure Y3T the way I do, which involves rep tempo, rep ranges, working sets, and rest periods,” says Hill. “Together, they combine to create a very specific environment for optimized hypertrophy. In Bonac’s biceps workout, the focal point is sarcoplasmic hypertrophy predominately, but within this rep range there will also be a crossover of myofibrillar hypertrophy. Ultimately, training to achieve both means that you’re maximizing your potential and gaining the benefits from both hypertrophy types. After doing this workout, you will experience tremendous blood flow to the muscle, where the slow- and fast-twitch fibers have been broken down. This is highly desirable, because the extreme blood flow helps stretch the fascia (which houses your muscle fibers) over time, which then allows for added growth.”
Hill designed this workout for Bonac, and it falls in Week 3 of his Y3T training cycle. For less-experienced lifters, Hill suggests two working sets of each exercise for a total of eight working sets.
Yoda’s Wisdom: “This is one of the primary compound movements for biceps training, which means ultimately you’re going to maximize the amount of muscle fibers you recruit within the muscle,” says Hill. “EZ-bar curls are favorable over straight-bar curls in many instances because of the positioning of the wrists. With a semi-internally rotated grip using a fixed bar its easier to keep your elbows tucked by your sides, which minimizes the use of momentum. When you consider the muscle mass William carries, this grip on a fixed bar also alleviates potential stress on the wrist joint.
“When using this exercise make a conscious effort to avoid allowing your anterior deltoids to bare too much of the weight and your lower back to generate momentum. We are aiming to break down the biceps specifically in this instance; therefore, we want to load that muscle with as much stress as possible.”
SEATED TWO-ARM DUMBBELL CURL
Yoda’s Wisdom: “One of the focal points of this exercise is wrist position, which changes throughout the movement because you aren’t using a fixed bar,” says Hill. “At the bottom of the movement, where your arm is fully extended, you’ll be in a semi or fully internally rotated position. However, as you begin to curl, I want you to ensure you move into a fully externally rotated position as soon as possible and remain there until the top of the rep. Once you hit the top of the rep and squeeze the biceps, remain in this position for as long as possible before reaching the bottom again. This is a very effective way of increasing the overall load within the biceps, bringing more muscle fibers into play. You will find this technique is more challenging, and you’ll be using less weight. But that doesn’t matter because the positioning will improve your muscle stimulation, which is the key factor in achieving hypertrophy.”
Yoda’s Wisdom: “This exercise is a fantastic isolation movement that removes all other external forces and creates an environment where you can really create tension within the biceps,” says Hill. “There are various ways of doing concentration curls, but the seated variation with your elbow resting inside your thigh is the variant I’d recommend. By using this method, you’re leaving the biceps completely isolated, without any input from the anterior deltoid or lower back—two common areas people get “extra help” from.
“The great thing about this exercise is that the angle created at the elbow joint lends itself to placing great stress and load on the biceps in the eccentric phase and isometric phase. Mechanically, it’s perfect for really finishing the biceps off once they’ve been broken down by bigger exercises like EZ-bar and dumbbell curls.”
STANDING PREACHER CURL
Yoda’s Wisdom: “This exercise is a great isolation movement to finish off the biceps,” says Hill. “There are many different angles you can use, but I personally recommend working between 60–75 degrees on the bench. The beauty of this exercise is that you’re able to really stretch the biceps out during the eccentric phase without hyperextending the elbow joint because of the protection from the bench. The angle created when doing this exercise makes it very easy to isolate the biceps, and more than that, allow gravity to help create more tension and load.
“One thing I want you to be very mindful of is keeping the back of your arm planted to the bench—don’t allow it to rise up, because that means you’re now involving other muscle groups and sacrificing tension within the biceps. This probably indicates the weight you’re using is too heavy.”
BONAC’S BICEPS WORKOUT
NOTE: All exercises are performed with a three-second eccentric (negative) on each rep and 90-second rest periods.
*Not including three to four warmup sets, starting at 50% of “working weight” (the weight that will be used on working sets) and gradually increasing resistance each set.
BONAC’S TRAINING SPLIT
NOTE: Bonac trains abs Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.