Markus Reinhardt Training

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Markus Reinhardt Bodybuilding Workout

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You hear a lot about German perfectionism when it comes to mechanics: you might not have heard, however, that some of their bodybuilders put as much precision into biomechanics to produce physiques equally well crafted for size, design and performance as any BMW or Mercedes. One such model of Germanic muscular excellence recently arrived on American shores is Markus Reinhardt: outstanding genetics, together with a well-developed training plan, have propelled Markus from the upper ranks of junior competition in his native Germany just a few years ago to making a major impression on the natural bodybuilding stages of southern California.

"Big wheels" were parts this 5'10" body with the great lines came sufficiently well-equipped with: for his latest onstage appearance in November, 1995, at the Musclemania contest in Redondo Beach, California, Reinhardt's upper legs measured an awesome 26 1/2 inches, tapering in to a 32 inch waist. But as Markus also points out, lower body parts were early on the natural strong point in his athletic life. In school, he was involved with sports such as kickboxing and wrestling "along with having done a lot of cycling back then." Having gotten into bodybuilding by the late Eighties, Markus also quickly got into competing at age 19 and placed well in his teen class at the Mr. Germany contest, taking a third place in his heavyweight division at the 1989 event.

"I always had very good genetics for my lower body, so I really didn't have to train as specifically or intensely as for my upper body," he recalls. Once having arrived on the bodybuilding scene in Los Angeles, though, the new environment changed that approach. Along with the greater accessibility to equipment there, Markus also found a range of information that helped him rethink the training itself. "I had already gotten into a more scientific approach to training; I read a lot about Dr. Fred Hatfield's training principles and was applying that to my workouts," he describes: "But as my body was growing, and I got stronger and I used more weight, I probably made the mistake of training too much."

The solution which then enabled him to break out of the plateau he had reached in this drift into overtraining? A combination of intensity and heavy duty training principles: Meeting heavy duty training guru Mike Mentzer, Markus found his technique "close to what I always did, but more extreme." He subsequently trained with the former Olympian for several months and experienced "the toughest training I've ever been through: it opened a lot of new areas that I've never gotten into. It was a lot more intense than anything I had thought I could put myself through. So I was very enthusiastic about that, very motivated," he comments. "I was always a strong believer in doing as much as needed to get done: I believe most of the people in the gym do overtrain and have no clue of what they're doing, so I still stick with that program now on my own as much as I can. Right now, my goal is not to put more and more size on everywhere, just to even out my body even more and make it more perfect; certain areas, such as my back, for example, where I'd like to have a little more density, and my upper pectorals--you know, stuff where you're kind of lacking."

This critical eye for perfection has led Markus to utilize the knowledge he has recently gained toward continued results in his own training and, to a large extent, those of his clients. "I've made the biggest improvements in my upper body since I've been here, that's true--especially my arms and shoulders in the past two years," he assesses. "I don't really do different exercises out here--maybe different equipment, because I do use a lot of equipment and I don't use a lot of free weights--but the major turning point was, again, because I used a lot more intensity and I train a lot more forced reps, negative reps--a lot of things that I'd been reading about before but never really applied to my training. Cutting down the volume and increasing the intensity, by doing that is basically what brought my body up to a higher level, and especially in these areas that I neglected at the beginning, in one way by overtraining and doing too much for these muscle groups, which actually leads to smaller muscles. So now I've brought these muscle groups up and it looks a lot more aesthetic and a lot more even."

This more fuller but symmetrical look in upper body parts was key in helping Reinhardt achieve some high placings in an increasingly crowded field of natural heavyweights. He easily won his first local event at the 1993 Muscle Beach/Venice show, then took third and fourth place in his class respectively at the 1993 and 1995 Musclemania. He was particularly pleased with the quality natural condition that also led to a class win at the non-tested 1995 L.A. Bodybuilding Championships. "I'm planning on more naturally bodybuilding--if there is such a thing as a natural bodybuilding show in the future which I can get to, I'll be there to compete and try to do my best," he comments about his future objectives. His training routine follows a one on/one off split, with upper body workouts on days one and three as follows:

Day 1 - Chest/Shoulders/Tri's

                              SETS      REPS      WEIGHT

Bodymaster Flye Machine       1-2       6-12      240-300 lbs.
Incline Cybex Machine         1-2       6-12      200-220 lbs.
Flat Cybex Press              1-2       6-12      200-220 lbs.
Side Lateral Raises           1-2       6-12      40-50 lbs.
Smith Behind Neck Press       1-2       6-12      215-235 lbs.
Rear Deltoid Machine          1-2       6-12      200-240 lbs.
Rope Pushdown                 1-2       6-12      + 100 lb. extra
Dips with Extra Weight        1-2       6-12

Day 3 - Back/Bi'S/Lower Back

Dumbell Pullover              1-2       6-12      120-140 lbs.
Reverse Grip Pulldown         1-2       6-12      300-340 lbs.
Hammer Rowing Machine         1-2       6-12      225-250 lbs.
(single arm)
Deadlift on Power Rack 1-2 6-12 405-500 lbs. Spider Curl on Scott Bench 1-2 6-12 100-135 lbs. or
Cybex Machine Curl 1-2 6-12 100-120 lbs. One Arm Concentration Curl 1-2 6-12 40-45 lbs.

When it comes to utilizing his own experience for clients whos also seek to improve density and definition to the chest, arms or back areas, Markus finds many have some initial misconceptions: "Typically one thing is using free weights--most of them don't realize that it's not about lifting the weight at all," he observes. "And they believe "Oh, I don't wanna use free weights because I don't want to get big" or "I do want to use free weights because I want to get big." These are all myths-- there's no science behind them. It's a problem that many people believe training a certain way is going to make you look a certain way. You want to use a machine because it has certain benefits--to be able to have a higher contraction of the muscle which you don't get from the free weights, to be able to concentrate on your movement. When you do the free weight, you have to balance the weight out, which takes a lot away from the concentration of your movement. These are all little things that are real important when it comes to high intensity training; if you just play around with weights, as with the regular person who just wants to stay in shape, it's okay. If you're talking about high intensity training which is required to increase muscular density and volume, then you need to stay with the best you can do for it. The safest also, which I believe also means a well- designed machine. Also, I find people don't really put a lot into form, using slow repetitions on the way down, putting a lot of effort into letting the weight down slowly. Most people just let it drop! And I don't only train people who are beginners, I train more advanced people and many of them are making the same mistakes."

Carefully managed adjustments to training, he concludes, have been instrumental in letting him make fairly rapid but well balanced improvements to upper body muscle groups that initially had lagged behind his leg development. "By doing a little cardio at a time--maybe like an hour or 45 minutes every other day (never on consecutive days, because I always want to make sure that I don't burn any muscle) and training every other day--still doing my heavy duty training, nothing high rep, everything still staying the same--I looked the best I've ever looked in my life within five weeks," he reiterates. "And I still keep to that; I know exactly what to do over a certain amount of time to be contest ready. So the more polished the better, and that's what I'm working on now, trying to stay lean all year--being able to get ready for a photo shoot or anything within a week. I'm not trying to have a freaky physique: it might work for other bodybuilders, but I don't want to look like that myself." Indeed, having engineered an upper body physique of aesthetic detail as much as increased mass, Markus Reinhardt stands more like the big sleek import equipped to do even more future damage to any bigrigs he may run into on stage.

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