Lou Ferrigno's Mass Class

Lou Ferrigno's 30 best training tips for gaining hulking size.


Before and after he was the Hulk, Lou Ferrigno was bodybuilding’s ultimate behemoth. When Arnold Schwarzenegger was winning Olympias at 235, Lou was 275. And when Dorian Yates was collecting Sandows at 265, Lou was 315. In fact, the future not-so-jolly green giant first broke the 300-pound barrier in the off-season at the age of 20—an unprecedented muscular body weight in the early ’70s. At 6'5", he towered over competitors, but whereas most tall bodybuilders have trouble filling out, Ferrigno carried his mass proportionately with pleasing symmetry. He’s the best over-6'2" bodybuilder of all time, and if he hadn’t spent 17 years off posing stages, he may have collected a mantel full of Sandows. In celebration of what was and what could’ve been, Lou serves up his 30 best tips for hulking mass.


“On chest-pressing movements, I see a lot of bodybuilders use an excessively wide grip. My grip for all my chest presses is only slightly wider than shoulder width. That gives me both a better stretch at the bottom and tighter contraction at the top.”


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“Focus first on the exercises that work the largest muscles and several muscles together. Get stronger on these basic lifts, and you’ll grow. You could get a tremendous full-body workout with just squats, bench presses, and barbell rows.”


“The dumbbell pullover is excellent for tying the chest and back together, hitting the serratus, and stretching the rib cage. I like higher reps on pullovers: 10 to 15 per set and sometimes as many as 20.”


“Everyone remembers that scene in Pumping Iron when I’m doing shoulder presses and shouting, ‘Arnold!’ over and over. I used Arnold to motivate my workouts. Coming up I looked up to people like Steve Reeves, Larry Scott, and Sergio Oliva, and I read a lot of comic books: Superman, Batman, and, of course, the Fantastic Four, with the Hulk. From an early age, I wanted to be as big and powerful as the Hulk. Those are the kinds of images that drive you through your hardest workouts.”


“You can’t let yourself get too fatigued from a single beyond-failure set—at least not near the start of your workout. If you do, your strength level will be too low for you to do justice to the rest of the workout.”


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