Kai Greene and his 10 most important training tips

Kai Greene ended his admirable career in 2016, but who knows? It is always appropriate to say never say never. Although Kai celebrated his semicircular anniversary for 45 years this year, what does it mean in bodybuilding as a sport often dominated by women in their forties? Basically nothing, just a number on the calendar and the advantage that Kai is a name that bodybuilding fans have really etched in their minds. Moreover, the time when he belonged to the absolute top is definitely not far enough that he is not able to follow it. Introducing Vice Vice President Olympia from 2012, 2013 and 2014 (always behind Phil Heath) and the holder of a number of other professional victories, including several victories at the Arnold Classic, would be carrying wood to the forest. We still remember him as the winner of EVLS Prague Prov in 2013 and it is good to remember that he left the bodybuilding stage in 2016 undefeated as the winner of three Arnold Classic competitions!

Bodybuilding theorists can continue to argue what caused his immense popularity, often outweighing the winner himself. Olympia, but on several aspects we would certainly agree with those who did not “need” it too much, and there were also few of them. And it is this polarization that is just one of those aspects, because the exceptional man, which he undoubtedly is, has his passionate supporters, but also equally zealous opponents, which applies to all fields of human activity – personality leaves no one indifferent. Every sport necessarily needs such a personality, and Kai Greene definitely belongs among them. His appearance was unmistakable, with a rather below-average height of 173 cm, he looked much smaller and it’s no wonder, because his racing weight reached up to 129 kg and an impressive 141 kg out of season! I hope that our readers will not try to imitate him in this regard, it could happen to them that they would then find pleasure in sumo… Of course, its dimensions corresponded to this – chest around 148 cm, arms 55 to 58 cm and thighs 85 cm. From this description, we would automatically assume that this is a golem who has difficulty with basic movements, such as just walking on a plane, and climbing a few steps will be a superhuman feat for him, but we would not be further from the truth! Kai Greene was, and certainly still is, incredibly flexible, and what he performed on stage in a free line-up still makes sense (bad linguists claim that he acquired these skills as a stripper in nightclubs). The quality of his free line-up was in stark contrast to his opponents, who often came up with nothing more than to walk from one part of the stage to another with poor content of only basic poses. Among such inexperience, Kai had to act as a revelation.


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Kai will certainly not be idle even today, and his inclination to artistic expression will certainly not surprise anyone that he appears in films, not only documentaries with the theme of bodybuilding such as Generation Iron 1, 2 and 3, but also feature films, especially in the successful sci-fi series. Stranger Things. Kai travels, promotes bodybuilding all over the world, of course he sells his name on branded clothes, training programs, etc., only a fool wouldn’t do that and he’s definitely not. So, after this comprehensive introduction, all that remains is to get acquainted with the ideas of a person who definitely has something to say to bodybuilding fans, and it would be a shame not to devote time to them. So let’s get started.

1. There are no best exercises

The whole history of bodybuilding is intertwined like a red thread with the desire and effort of all exercisers to find the best exercise for a given muscle part. It has always been perhaps the most frequently asked question of beginners to us gym operators and bodybuilding coaches with the expectation that we will give them a clear answer. Of course, they were always naturally disappointed because they didn’t get a clear answer. Ron Harris once talked to Kai about arm training and asked him to send him a list of the best biceps and triceps exercises. He never received such a list with an explanation:”Who can say that this or that exercise is more meaningful or more effective than any other? Each individual exercise we use as bodybuilders plays a very special role in our muscle development and it is difficult to say after many thousands of training units and years, how which exercise contributed to the results at a given time. ” In competitive bodybuilding, however, it is necessary to choose the right exercises to achieve a certain goal, which of course presupposes a thorough knowledge of the kinesiology of the exercise and know its exact targeting of the trained muscles, and then choose from the repertoire of exercises for the muscle part. So the question may be, which exercise or exercises are best for a given purpose or to achieve this or that goal?


2. Below average muscle parts do not automatically mean loss

Each of us has muscle areas that develop worse than the others. And it would be hypocritical to claim that genetics cannot be responsible for this imbalance in the development of muscle parts. Unfortunately, this is the case and we can train the pectoral muscles as lunatics, for example, and yet we will not achieve such a development as someone who puts half their effort into them and has twice as much. Thus, muscle development has a real basis in genetics, but that does not mean that we should resign and not at all make excuses for unfavorable genetics. Kai gives the following concrete example: “As a teenager, I had a trainer who made training plans for me, and I lacked calf training. So I asked her why. The answer literally grounded me because I learned that as an African-American I had no prospect of building big calves. “So Kai could have chosen an easier path and accepted this explanation and essentially ignored his calf muscles, but he took this information as a personal challenge and began training his calves with maximum passion. And we all know that the result has come. By the time he became a professional, his calves were already so good that she could keep up with his enormous quadriceps. “With a pessimistic mood, however, you will never achieve satisfactory results,” Kai concludes.



3. The rules are intended to be violated

Of course, this statement should be taken with a bit of exaggeration, but it is certainly not surprising that Kai broke established and traditional rules in bodybuilding and built his body only by his instinct and did what he thought was right even if it contradicted what recommended by experts, even to what his professional colleagues did. “You can’t climb stairs for an hour and then train your legs. You’ll be exhausted and your legs will shrink!”And you see, Kai did it that way. And did his legs look emaciated? Another basic rule is do not train for more than 90 minutes. However, some of his training, especially his legs, exceeded three hours! For example, he did push-ups for warm-up no matter which game was next. His numbers of repetitions have always had a different range and it is difficult to find a really typical training for any muscle part. He simply never followed any standard procedure, and the basis of his training was constant change and constant experimentation.


4. The load used is far from important

Kai is undoubtedly one of the strongest bodybuilders and his performances prove it. Just a few weeks before Mr. Olympia was able to perform several bench-press repetitions with 226 kg on the training video, in his young years he did not have a problem squatting with more than 362 kg and in series with 272 kg he performed 10 to 12 repetitions. Lifting as much weight as possible was definitely not his goal. By no means did he lift them on his own just to lift them. If he had not been able to perform repetitions in a full-fledged manner in the full range of repetitions with a feeling of maximum muscle contraction at every centimeter of movement, he would never have had the problem of substantially reducing the load used. He cites one-handed dumbbells in the forward bend as an example. He is able to use 68 to 90 kg of one-handed arm during this exercise, but still rarely exceeded the load of 54 kg. He took this approach from his role model Lee Haney, who did not use a load higher than 31 to 36 kg and definitely had the best back muscles at the time. At the beginning of his career, Kai also succumbed to the desire to lift more and more weights and the quality of movement and muscle contraction, the feeling of working muscles, all of which were far behind. In the following years, he suppressed his egos and used loads that were heavy, but he was able to control them in full range of motion. If Kai has been able to change this way of thinking, you have to try. In the following years, he suppressed his egos and used loads that were heavy, but he was able to control them in full range of motion. If Kai has been able to change this way of thinking, you have to try. In the following years, he suppressed his egos and used loads that were heavy, but he was able to control them in full range of motion. If Kai has been able to change this way of thinking, you have to try.


5. The basis is always exercises with free weights – never ignore them

If we should carve any rule in bodybuilding to stone, it is the above title. In the history of bodybuilding, millions of men, especially men, have shown this truth for decades to become stronger and bigger. And for most of that time, they used dumbbells as the only means to achieve these goals – nothing else was available. It was not until the 1970s that the era of machines began and the gyms began to fill with them, until it reached the stage of more machines than standard equipment in the form of dumbbells. Kai was lucky to train in one of the most famous gyms, the Bev Francis Powerhouse Gym, which provided both an excellent range of high-quality equipment and a large number of dumbbells. Despite these great possibilities, Kai never fully relied on high-tech machines to develop his body as best he could. However, he realized that the best that both dumbbells and machines gave him to develop should be used. Nevertheless, he claims: “I have tried all possible highly sophisticated machines in my career with the conclusion that they do not fully suit me. Free weights are still the most valuable tool for every bodybuilder. If you want to achieve spectacular and perfect muscle development, you can use free scales without machines, but I very much doubt it would work the other way around. That’s just my belief. ”

6. Squats with a large barbell are the basis of leg training

As already mentioned, there are no better or worse exercises in general, but rather less suitable or more suitable exercises to achieve a certain goal. Nevertheless, in this case, Kai made an exception in his views. He really considers squats with a large barbell to be the best exercise for developing leg muscles. “It’s hard to find an easier, more effective or more productive exercise for the entire lower half of the body,” he says at the beginning of the issue, continuing: “It’s hard to find a bodybuilder with more than average leg muscle development who doesn’t build his thighs with large squats for years.However, Kai does not deny that there are circumstances that simply preclude the use of squats. These are various intervertebral disc herniations or other spinal injuries, but these are perhaps the only legitimate reasons. For everyone else, squats are the absolute best choice for thigh strength and volume. However, Kai fundamentally rejects any partial repetitions for squats and claims that it is better to perform full squats with 100 kg perfect technique in the full range of repetitions than with twice the weight of half repetitions, where the technique is more like a dumbbell forward bend.