"Doing more exercise with less intensity,"
Arthur Jones believes, "has all but
destroyed the actual great value
of weight training. Something
must be done . . . and quickly."
The New Bodybuilding for
Old-School Results supplies
MUCH of that "something."
This is one of 93 photos of Andy McCutcheon that are used in The New High-Intensity Training to illustrate the recommended exercises.
To find out more about McCutcheon and his training, click here.
Discover how these unique HIT routines muscularized the body of an infomercial athlete.
By Andy McCutcheon
Ive always been a person who would rather train at home than go to a commercial fitness center. I grew up in Cambridge, England, and I got my first barbell set in 1984 when I was 18. Shortly thereafter, I started lifting in my parents garage.
At that time in my life I was into the martial arts and Id heard that weight training would make you into a better fighter. It certainly helped me. I trained consistently for several years and got hooked on bodybuilding. Basically, my goal was to get as strong as I could in all the basic barbell exercises. I even placed high in a couple of regional bodybuilding contests.
Mr. Olympia, Dorian Yates, was a judge for one of those contests and he invited me to workout a couple of times in his gym. What a treat it was to experience Dorians intensity up close. He was big, strong, and lean to an extent that was almost beyond belief. It was through Dorian that I first learned about the writings of Arthur Jones and Ellington Darden. HIT soon became an important aspect of my bodybuilding.
I moved to Portland, Oregon, in 1992, and took a job for Novellus Systems. I am an engineering project manager and I often work at the office 50 hours a week. But even so, I still find time to continue with my training at home. And it shows. Some of my friends, in fact, encouraged me ten years ago to put together a portfolio and get involved in commercial modeling.
I was thrilled when I was chosen over numerous auditioning men for a Bowflex shoot in 1994. A subsequent commercial, with me holding a bow, then pulling the string and arrow into a drawn position, as the curve of the bow then transitions into a bending Power Rod of a Bowflex machine, was a tremendous success. Ive done infomercials for Bowflex ever since.
Through Bowflex, I met Ellington Darden. I was photographed for many of the exercises for his book, The Bowflex BodyPlan (Rodale 2003). More recently, I demonstrated most of the exercises for The New High-Intensity Training (Rodale 2004).
Ellington has hammered me with the importance of harder, briefer exercise combined with superhydration and carbohydrate-rich foods to build and sustain my muscle mass and overall leanness. When we took the photographs for The New HIT, I was in my all-time best condition. At 38 years of age, I weighed 184 pounds at a height of 6 feet even. Ellington measured my body fat at 3.4 percent, which is as low as Ive ever been. And my muscle mass was 5 pounds more than any time previously.
I continue to train at my home gym in Portland. I have a Bowflex Ultimate machine, a couple of bars, 400 pounds of free-weight plates, and a large punching bag attached to the ceiling. Below are the routines I followed for six months prior to the HIT photo shoot.
HIT Routine A
Leg extension on Bowflex
Leg press on Bowflex
Lateral raise on Bowflex
Overhead press with barbell
Lying biceps curl on Bowflex
Seated triceps extension on Bowflex
Stiff-legged deadlift with barbell
Wrist curl with barbel
HIT Routine B
Leg curl on Bowflex
Squat with barbell
Straight-arm pullover with one dumbbell
Reverse grip pulldown on Bowflex
Chest fly on Bowflex
Bench press with barbell
Pushup on floor
Reverse trunk curl on floor
Trunk curl on Bowflex or on floor
Each routine was done for one set of 8 to 12 repetitions until muscular failure. Sometimes Id work up to 20 repetitions on the leg press and squat. I always moved quickly between exercises, especially the ones involving pre-exhaustion, such as the chest fly, bench press, and pushup in Routine B.
Pushups were and are still a specialty of mine. In England, I once held the British record by doing 107 pushups in a minute. So Ive got to pre-exhaust thoroughly my chest to make those pushups meaningful.
I alternated between Routine A and Routine B. Routine A was done usually on Monday nights and Routine B on Thursday nights. On my off-days, Id punch the heavy bag and do my martial arts training. One night per week Id play soccer.
As you can probably imagine, Im pretty much a hyperactive individual. I feel most productive doing some type of exercise almost every day or night at least, thats the way I felt until I got to know Ellington. Ellington taught me the value of taking off several afternoons and nights a week. Now, I eliminate all strenuous activity on the day after my HIT workouts.
Taking off two days a week has helped me get into the best shape of my life.
Am I satisfied? Not quite. Id like to add another 5 pounds of muscle, while keeping my same degree of leanness. And I figure I can accomplish my goals by applying the HIT philosophy to the equipment in my home gym.
"The HIT philosophy helps me to focus clearly," Andy McCutcheon says, "on the basic factors related to building muscle." Andys muscular physique is pictured throughout the pages of The New High-IntensityTraining.
I was always exposed to training as my father did his calisthenics in the 1960s and when we woke, he had us fall in and join him. I picked up a Weider Muscle Builder Power Magazine in 1976 and swore I would try to build muscle, as the physiques in that magazine were incredible. My friend thought is was a passing fad, as was my infatuation with the CB radio at that time. I have kept training since and it is my life's work. David Landau
Just wanted to give my best to Andy. I have the Bowflex Body Plan (just got an Ultimate) by Ellington and just finished reading his newest which is great. Every time one of my friends sees a picture of this guy or someone sees the Bowflex commercial they always immediatly comment on what a great physique he has. It's great to see someone who has naturally created a great body in a intelligent matter and doesn't look like a bloated cow. We need to see more healthy looking physiques with great symmetry. Rock on Andy!
Thanks for the compliments and for responding to my article. In response to your questions;
1. I trained in Tae-Kwon-Do in England under Master Richard Cox (5th Dan). I attained my 2nd Degree black belt. During that time I also trained in Ishinryu Traditional Japanese Karate under Steve Davis and Ticky Donovan. I competed regularly in both martial arts.
2. I trained 12 years total in Martial arts. I started at the age of 15. I started weight training at the age of 18 mainly to increase my strength and power for martial arts.
3. Avoid overtraining. It is essential to allow your body to rest fully between workouts. I would suggest alternating your martial arts training on the days that you dont lift weights. This will allow the muscles time to recover and prevent injury.
Remember to train hard and stay focussed! Good luck with your training!
I have done squats with the Bowflex. The xTreme Bowflex actually has the best squat set-up and platform compared with the Ultimate and the PowerPro. As with any exercise I suggest a couple of good warm up sets before you increase the resistance.
Thanks for the compliments and for your feedback on the Bowflex. Ellington has done an excellent job with the HIT book and has literally 'hit' home on some great techniques for packing on size. He was a huge inspiration for me during my preparations for this book. I am fortunate in that I have always been very disciplined when it comes to training, that is basically half the battle. Sticking to a solid workout routine, getting plenty of rest while maintaining a good healthy diet are all important factors to achieving that ideal condition. My attitude has always been; make it into something that you enjoy doing then make it part of your daily life!
Ok, Thanks. I have had the Power Pro and now the Ultimate, but still don't care for the platform on either for doing Squats. Not wide enough. But I prefer the Squats over the leg extension. I assume that you like the reverse grip pulldown vs, the other lat excercises on the Bowflex?
GC, have you tried lunges using the Bowflex? This is a great alternative to doing squats. You can actually isolate the quad muscle really well on the Bowflex. The reverse grip pulldown is one of my favorite back exercises. You can also alterate and do single arm lat pull downs to hit the middle back area. Regards, Andy
Hi Rick, I actually started off on the PowerPro and then upgraded to the Ultimate. When performing squats on the Ultimate I usually position the bench in the upright position. This provides more space to do the exercise. It also works well for lunges. With the bench down make sure you maintain good form on the exercise and avoid going past 90 degrees at the knee position. Regards, Andy
GC, It's difficult to explain the technique in words, you can see the lunge exercise in Ellington's HIT book. I would suggest trying the exercise routines listed above (A & B). You can do variations of the exercises on the Bowflex, this would be a good starting point. If you haven't exercised before I would suggest getting a check up with your Doctor before starting any type of physical exercise program. Regards, Andy
Sorry for the delay in replying. You can remove the bench but it leaves the support frame still in position. I usually lift the entire bench and secure it in the vertical upright position when performing the squat exercise. Check it out when you get your machine. Regards, Andy
That's not me on the front cover of the HIT book. I did shoot the front cover of Ellington's other book 'The Bowflex Body Plan'. Ellington had the HIT cover image already and wanted to use it.
My normal body fat level when I am between photo shoots runs at about 9%. I usually stay in this lean because it's much easier to respond to short notice photo jobs. It usually take me 2 weeks to get from 9% down to 4% body fat levels.
As for my diet. I have adhered to the same diet plan for the past 10 years and I have perfected it down to the day of the shoot. Basically, I follow a 7 day carb-phasing program.
If you don't mind, I have just a few questions that you may be able to help mw with. First of all,using a Power Pro, how far up do you bring the curl on a standing biceps curl? I can presently do 12 reps of 100# bringing my hand to my chest (basically touching). When I go to 110#, however, I seem to lock out at about 80% of that range of motion. Is it better to stay with the 100# or use the 80% ROM at 110#?
In addition, using the leg curl attachment, lying down I just cannot bring the pad to my buttocks. I am presently doing 130# 12X's, but I just have NEVER been able to get the pad as close as I would like. Could that be a question of lack of flexibility vs strength? My calves have some definition to them, so I know they have increased in size.
Finally, while using the squat attachment, is it normal to have light resistance at the start of a squat? I ask that because it is just too hard to get into position using the weights that I'd like. (I just went to 180# and I feel that the limitation here is the starting point, ie: getting under the bar safely, not the fully contracted point.)
Oh, by the way, I am a 49 y.o. male, 5'6", if that helps at all.
One last request, could you try to convince Dr. Darden to do a Bowflex HIT DVD???? I think it would be a GREAT idea, I truly do.