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Champ Training

A few years ago Toney decided on a radical scheme for improving his arms, namely to train them three times a week for a couple of months.

As someone who happens to make most of his living writing about how the pros train, I feel a certain obligation to keep it real for readers, lest they waste time, court injury or overtraining or experience any other adverse results from imitating the workout regimens of the world’s most muscular specimens. Recently I read something about ’07 IRON MAN Pro champion Toney Freeman that I had reported on in the past, and I really want to make sure I get the message out: “Don’t try this at home.” 

A few years ago Toney decided on a radical scheme for improving his arms, namely to train them three times a week for a couple of months. The plan was a rousing success for the X-Man, as he managed to add a full inch to his guns, which now stretch the tape out to 22 inches in contest condition. My fear is that a bunch of guys have read that and are out doing the same thing. 

Being a man whose arms have been a source of frustration for a full quarter century, I’m aware of how tempting the prospect may seem. I sure would love another inch on my arms, believe me. I’d take it over a Ferrari at this point, though probably not if you threw Shakira into the deal. Still, hitting arms three times a week is definitely something I’d be willing to try if it could deliver the goods. For just about everyone, of course, it won’t. 

You really, really need to take everything you read about the pros and the way they train with a grain of salt before you copy it. As I’ve said many times before, the pros aren’t like you and me. They’re genetic superiors who often look the way they do in spite of the way they train and eat, not because of it. That’s why guys like Ronnie and Jay can use loose, sloppy form and not only remain free of horrible injuries but grow to immense proportions as well. Current Mr. Olympia Dexter Jackson was able to get completely shredded several times every year dieting only for four to six weeks and without doing a lick of cardio. 

Besides genetic advantages, the pros usually have certain chemical advantages. Steroids and other drugs help a human being recover and grow from training volumes and frequencies that would put the average guy in the hospital from exhaustion. It’s fine to be inspired by the incredible physiques of the pros. Just don’t make the mistake of thinking that the way they train is going to be equally effective for you. IM

Editor’s note: Ron Harris is the author of Real Bodybuilding, available at

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