The Classic Prototype

Photos by Ian Spanier

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock or are new to the world of bodybuilding, you might have heard there’s a new division that is taking the NPC and IFBB Pro League by storm. Classic physique pays homage to the look of the past, and the goal is to make that classic  look relevant again in the current fitness scene. It’s safe to say that mission was accomplished thanks to athletes like Air Force veteran (and Gaspari Nutrition athlete) Robert Timms.

Look at the Arizona resident from the front, and he immediately reminds many experts of a young Lee Haney. Sporting a thick  chest, wide shoulders, and powerful arms, Timms and his coach Dennis James (yes, the IFBB Pro League bodybuilder also known as the Menace) are putting the division and the sport as a whole on notice that he’s coming to make an impact and win shows, with the ultimate goal of being the Classic Physique Olympia champion.

Robert timms biceps pump


“It’s a big deal for me, a huge honor. To be signed by a company like Gaspari makes a huge statement to me, and having supplements like SuperPump250 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.”


Robert timms side laterals rear


Timms actually started competing in the men’s physique division, but he and James noticed something right away. “My back was a blessing and a curse. I was killing it from the rear, but that was killing me as well because it wasn’t the look the judges were looking for. It was the epitome of a blessing and a curse. 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 DJ agrees.”

Robert timms front raise


Many athletes try their best to stay on top of all the new training methods and styles so they are current and applying what is in at the moment. Timms knows what works for him and isn’t deviating from that anytime soon.

“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. That is keeping it simple and basic. The basic exercises are the best, and that is what I stick with. I don’t need to follow any type of system or anything like that. I grab heavy weight that I can lift, and I lift it as much 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.” Going for as many as four or five sets per exercise, Timms is a high-volume trainer who keeps his reps in the 10–20 range so he can pump as much nutrient-rich blood into the muscles as possible.


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Robert timms dumbbell chest press


  • Pec Deck | SETS: 4 | REPS: 20
  • Chest Press Machine | SETS: 5 | REPS: 10
  • Cable Crossover | SETS: 4 | REPS: 20
  • Incline Dumbbell Press | SETS: 5 | REPS: 10

NOTES: Timms says his chest is a good muscle group for him, but he knows that to stand among the best, 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.


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Robert timms side laterals


  • Lateral Raise | SETS: 5 | REPS: 20
  • Reverse Peck Deck | SETS: 5 | REPS: 20
  • Shoulder Press | SETS: 4 | REPS: 10
  • Front Raise | SETS: 4 | REPS: 10

Robert timms shoulder press

NOTES: To have that V-taper that will win you shows, you need to have 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.


Robert timms biceps cable curl


  • Cable Curl | SETS: 3 | REPS: 20
  • Triceps Pressdown | SETS: 3 | REPS: 20
  • High Cable Curl | SETS: 3 | REPS: 20
  • Reverse-grip Pressdown | SETS: 3 | REPS: 20
  • Barbell Curl | SETS: 3 | REPS: 20
  • Skull Crusher | SETS: 3 | REPS: 20

Robert timms triceps rope pushdowns

NOTES: Many arm routines you’ve tried likely have all the biceps exercises followed by all the triceps work or vice versa. Timms likes to alternate back and forth between biceps and triceps over the course of his arm training, which he does on its own day. Besides the fact that it makes for an incredible pump, it is believed to help in terms of volume 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.