Training

Retro Athlete: Francis Benfatto

This paradigm of classical bodybuilding was both behind and ahead of his time.

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Retro Athlete: Francis Benfatto

Born in 1957, Francis Benfatto was a man out of time when he made his pro debut in 1988. If he had been born a decade prior, his classical physique may have allowed him to challenge the similarly constructed Frank Zane for the Olympia title. And if he had been born three decades later, he might be a favorite for this year’s Classic Physique Olympia. Instead, over 19 pro shows from 1988 to 1993, the 5'6" Frenchman struggled to carve out his own niche as size standards expanded. He found his greatest success on the Olympia stage, finishing sixth in the drug-tested 1990 O and seventh the following year. Always, he maintained his classical shape: narrow hips, V-shape torso, flowing lines, artistic poses. His legs lagged, but his delts and arms could win shots. In 2006, at age 48 and after 13 years away from the stage (and a torn pec), he made a surprising comeback in the Australian Pro, finishing a respectable sixth and leaving us to wonder what could’ve been if only he’d been born earlier or later. 

FLEX FACT

IN THE 1992 O, BENFATTO BEAT FUTURE EIGHT-TIME MR. O Ronnie Coleman.

BENFATTO ON BICEPS TRAINING

  • “For biceps, I prefer free weights to machines or cables.”
  • “Some people think biceps are too small a muscle for supersets, but I disagree. They’re my favorite way to boost intensity.”
  • “I’m not focused on the pump. That’s why I keep my reps to no more than 10 and always with precise form.”

 BENFATTO’S BICEPS ROUTINE 

  • Barbell Curl | SETS: 2-4 | REPS: 8–10 
    • superset with EZ-bar Preacher Curl | SETS: 2-4 | REPS: 8–10 
  • Standing Dumbbell Curl | SETS: 2-4 | REPS: 8–10
    • superset with Incline Dumbbell Curl | SETS: 2-4 | REPS: 8–10

 FLEX 

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