Casey Viator: Hardrock Bodybuilder

Bodybuilding, Hard-Rock and smoking a pack of cigarettes a day. That was Casey Viator’s lifestyle. When Casey Viator was 19 he won the AAU Mr. America title. The youngest to ever win that bodybuilding Oscar.

He was born on September, 1951 and grew up in New Iberia. Lifting weights start with heredity. In that department, he has been very lucky. His father and his father’s father were all powerfully built men. This heredity has been passed on to him.

One of his uncles actually got him started. He was a big “muscled” guy from the 1950s. Casey has been bodybuilding since he was 13, but he was way ahead of everybody else in his age group on all the strength moves, which included Olympic lifting. When he started training his arms were about 17 1/2 inches.

To achieve success, heredity must be accompanied by hard work. The ability to work as hard and heavy as he does in his workouts is definitely an acquired trait. He developed this ability at an early age through several months of training for Olympic lifting.

His home town was New Iberia, La. When he first started training, there was only one gym in this area, and it was filled with Olympic lifters. There was no such thing as bodybuilding there, and his first workouts consisted of Standing Presses, Power cleans, Squats and form work on the Olympic lifts. Through Olympic lifting, he developed the ability to psych up totally for a weight. He also developed a healthy respect for heavy weights and hard work.

He gained lots of size and strength right from the begining. He wasn’t too pleased about the way his chest looked because as a Weightlifter he wasn’t even training it. So, eventually, he started doing bench presses and heavy parallel dips, which quickly fixed the problem. He also started doing heavy bent-over rowing and heavy wide-grip chins which made his whole upper body respond rapidly. Pretty soon he dropped the Olympic lifts, and concentrated purely on bodybuilding.

But the Olympic lifting training gave him a better-than-average foundation for back development, particularly in his lower back and trapezius areas. Pulling movements like Cleans and Snatches are very good for these parts of the back.

Casey Viator Training Routine

Casey used to vary all the time his routines. He never stayed on the same routine. Some days he might do 12 to 15 exercises. Other days he might do multiple sets on the machines. He tried to keep it down to about 12 exercises.

He recommended 20-30 sets per bodypart and doing each body part twice a week. He suggested the following routine.

Day 1: Chest and Biceps
Day 2: Rest
Day 3: Shoulders and legs, back and triceps

He is opposed to the pyramid concept. Casey: “Do at least five sets, always going up. My concept is first you pump the muscle up, then you stretch it out.” He recommended 10-12 reps for the pump, 12-15 while stretching.

According to Casey you have to build musclar basis. You have to past a year. Then Push harder, Spend fifteen or twenty minutes more in the gym. Work the big muscles areas with bench presses, deadlifts, squats, military presses.

Casey’s thoughts on Back, Arm, Squat and Diet

In 1970 and 1971, when he first made his mark, he was doing 30-40 sets for the back two or three times per week. The training frequency varied because he was on a three-day cycle with no off days. Every third day he worked his back, which means that the workout came up at least twice a week, and sometimes three times a week.

He was doing a lot of Wide-Grip Chins, Barbell and Dumbbell Bent Rows, tons of Deadlifts and lots of trap work. This was at a time when people in his area said it was no good to train traps because it would destroy shoulder width. He didn’t agree then. So heavy Shrugs have always been part of his back workout.

Arm training

Casey was able to wrist curl 225lb, biceps strict curl 225lb. And lying tricep extensions 300lb. He admired arms like Larry Scott and Robbie Robinson. Arms are Casey’s best part. He thinks if you can display arms right it is one of the basic things to win a physique contest.

Casey: “Proportion mean so much you have to have everything balanced. That’s what the problem is with professional bodybuilders today. There are not a balanced physique. Well, Frank Zane has it but he’s not big enough.”

He used to use a lot of heavy, heavy movements, barbell curls, heavy lying tricep extensions, heavy dipping and chinning. Everything was done pretty strong.

He moved slowly. Thus he had no elbow or knee problem. He was doing multiple sets – 8 sets for his biceps in one movement. Most bodybuilder train too much. And Casey cited they quit right when they are starting to warm up. They quit at 8 reps when they should go on. Best: 6 sets of 10 – 15 reps

He liked to squat deep and full. According to Casey if you have trouble balancing, put a piece of 5/8″ plywood under your heels. If you have knee problems, point your toes in slightly and keep your knees wrapped. Even half squats are better than no squats!

He didnot take any protein supplements. He also did not care about his bodyweight. Casey: “The mirror tells you better than the scales.”

The only thing he did is try not to eat any kind of high calorie foods after 9 o’clock at night.He used to eat four meals a day (never after 8 p.m.) – a big breakfast with lightly cooked eggs and potatoes boiled the night before, a medium lunch and light snacks. Getting ready for a contest he dropped 200 calories every five days.

Casey’s Mental Attitude
Casey, who has been bodybuilding since he was 13, contrasted bodybuilding with football, highlighting the differences between the individualism of the one and collectivism of the other: “When a touchdown was made, it was the team. But the thing about bodybuilding is “Whatever I do, it’s me!” I like individualized stuff.”

Casey’s Training Advice
According to Casey the main problem is that people do the sets so casually. They don’t pile on the weights (here he did a very funny parody of an underachiever drifting through a routine). These people are like somebody writing their name over and over; they couldn’t do it any better. Every set you should add more reps or more weight. It has to be progressive. There has to be that stimulus.

Casey Viator competition accomplishments

1968, 3rd place, AAU Mr. Louisiana
1968, Win, AAU Jr. Mr. Louisiana
1968,  Win,   AAU Jr. Mr. Louisiana  
1969    6th    AAU Teen Mr. America 
1970    3rd    AAU Mr. America   
1970    Win    AAU Teen Mr. America    
1970    Win    AAU Mr. USA       
1971    Win    AAU Jr. Mr. America       
1971    Win    AAU Mr. America    
1978    2nd (med.) NABBA Amateur Universe   
1979    5th    IFBB Canada Cup            
1980    2nd    IFBB GP: Miami, FL.           
1980    Win    IFBB GP: LaFayette, LA.         
1980    3rd    IFBB GP: Santa Monica, CA       
1980    Win    IFBB GP: Pittsburgh, PA       
1980    5th    IFBB Night of Champions        
1980    13 tie    IFBB Mr. Olympia           
1981 not top 7 IFBB GP: Santa Monica, CA   
1982    3rd    IFBB Mr. Olympia         
1982    3rd    IFBB GP: Stockholm, Sweden  
1982    4th    IFBB GP: Antwerp, Belgium      
1995    12 tie    IFBB Masters Olympia        



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