Pete Grymkowski Workout Philosophy

Who is Pete Grymkowski? Pete came out of Rochester, NY to take the bodybuilding world by storm with his unprecedented size. His shoulders were the widest around and he was a frequent ‘Most Muscular’ title winner during his amateur days. He partnered with Ed Connors and Tim Kimber to buy the original Gold’s Gym from Joe Gold in 1979.

In this blog post oldschool bodybuilder Pete Grymkowski will reveal some secrets about diet, training and hypnosis before working out! – Mr. Berg

Pete Grymkwoski divided his workouts into two categories, primary and auxiliary. The primary being heavy, low rep movements necessary for size. An example of this would be heavy bench presses, incline presses. For shape: light and high rep: Dumbbell flyes and cable crossovers.

Pete Grymkowski three classes of building
First the beginning phase. A beginner should do basic movements that affect groups of muscles rather than ones that will isolate one particular muscle. That way the beginner can condition the muscles and prevent any immediate injuries.

Exercises for these would be benchpresses, squats, bent over rows and standing barbell curls. In other words, what you are doing is using groups of muscles.

According to Grymkowski bench presses work the lats, back, arms and chest. So this is a good exercise for a beginner to do. 

Later on you may start isolating certain pectoral movements. If a beginner starts doing isolated movements chances are he could injure that particular muscle that he’s working. So you want to work groups of muscles.

Progress to the intermediate stage
By this time you start to see that certain parts have responded faster than others. Because you are an individual you have to start using instinctive training methods. That’s what works best for you and not someone else. 

Phis is where you will develop your symmetry. According to Pete Grymkowski at this stage of bodybuilding you should also start using supplements. You are probably training hard enough at this time that you can’t get proper nutrition from the foods you eat. So you should begin supplementation with vitamins and protein.

Usually the intermediate stage is where the bodybuilder goes on or quits because this is where you will encounter sticking points and depressions and so forth.

Third we have the competition stage. By this time you have a better understanding of your own metabolism, whether it’s fast or slow. You know how to control your diet.

You know whether to train light or heavy. Here you have to stress symmetry. You are probably perfecting certain muscles groups at this stage. This symmetry will be just as important as your definition.

If one decides to use steroids he should always remember the basic reasons that caused him to begin bodybuilding. In most cases it was for general health, well-being and physical development. Should steroids be used if they contradict these reasons?

Mental aspects of bodybuilding!
The most important being concentration with training. Concentrated effort can separate a good person from being ‘great’. A bodybuilder must have a positive attitude; otherwise it’s very hard to force an exercise to failure.

If you are in doubt a little bit that you are doing the right thing for that particular body part as a rule you won’t put out in that exercise. According to Pete it’s a medical fact that if you have any doubt in your mind there’s no way you can give it your ultimate!

Goals give you an enthusiasm to work for. Bodybuilding can become boring if there are no goals to strive for. In Pete’s case the goals become somewhat of an obsession. After placing 2nd in the AAU Mr. America 3 year in a row he got depressed and quit training.

Then he came back into it in ’77 and moved out of New York beginning again and was successful this time.

Note: Pete Grymkowski used to hold seminars. Enjoy the following questions and answering by oldschool bodybuilder and legend Pete Grymkowski, Mr.Berg

Question: Thoughts about drinking coffee?

Pete: “UCLA is now doing some research on coffee where they found out that it has a benefit for excreting excess fluids and acting as a diuretic form and flushing other acids from the body.

Say a person’s getting ready for a contest and wants to get rid of fluids and keep his uric acid count down, well then, coffee would be beneficial especially when used with Vitamin B-6.”

Question: “You take your protein with skim milk prior to a contest. Don’t most bodybuilder take their protein with water prior to a contest because they are afraid the milk will smooth them out?”

Pete: “Well, non-fat milk is basically calcium lactate and water. It does have some milk sugars in it which add a carbohydrate count to it but it does not necessarily mean that those milk sugars will make you fat. Being that there’s a lack of butter fat chances are you won’t get fat. So it is advsiable rather than to have to suffer through a protein drink mixed with water that you can just as well use skimmed milk with it.

I always use skimmed milk with it. Depending upon how close the contest is I use up to 10 drinks per day!”

Question: “How many grams of protein do you take in per day?”

Pete: “It varies! Sometimes 30 to 40 grams and I have used up to 620 grams.”

Question: “What’s your raining routine like?”

Pete: “What I usually do is come into the gym around 11 at night and always start with calves. Then one day I will do say triceps and then back and finish off with abs. Then the next day I will come in and work calves, biceps, chest and abs. As a rule usually two body parts a workout plus calves and abs daily.”

Question: “You were saying you were doing low reps and sets for size with heavy weights. When you get to failure do you do two more sets or 1 set to failure and how many reps would that set be?”

Pete: “Well, going to failure naturally you know that you can never really determined the amount of reps because you might start out first set and get so many reps and by your last set you are way down. 

So the sets and reps really are not that important. I have done workouts where I have had to do 50 sets and I have done workouts where I have done 15 sets. To it’s all instinctive training”

Question: “Okay, let’s take the biceps for an example. Would you like training twice a week and how many sets would you do?”

Pete: “All right, let me give you a good example to follow. It does not matter what you do. There’s no such thing as overtraining!

There’s only under recuperation! In other words, it take a full 72 hours for each muscle group to recuperate. This is definitely a medical fact! By the time your body goes through all the glycogen changes and all the amino acid changes and so forth and your tissues heal it takes 72 hours for the full cycle to take place.

So the only factor that you have to remember is that if you train your arms not to train that bicep again for 72 hours. Okay? That’s the same with any body part!

Now that comes out to twice a week. So you should not be training any body part more than twice a week. To prove that this is true, there’s a guy by the name of Bertil Fox in England who trains 8 hours a day as heavy as he possibly can.

He stay in the gym all day long, goes out and has lunch and comes back. Now people say well is not he overtraining? NO! As long as he’s getting 72 hours of recuperation from one workout to the next it does not matter if you stay in the gym all day long.

When I was 22 I was up to 263 and I was huge at the time. Really big! I was too big for competition then. Everybody said I was just too big! Sergio Oliva and I were training down in Deland, Florida and came back up North and were training sometimes 5 – 6 hours a day, sometimes 7 hours a day if we split the routine.

I learned one thing. As long as you have proper recuperation time it does not matter how long or how many sets or reps you train. You can stay there day and night”

Question: “What percentage of bodyfat do you compete at?”

Pete: “One time I went in at 28 percent bodyfat and another time at 4 1/2 percent fat which they wrote up in the New England Medical Journal, because Mercury Morris had 5 per cent. Another time I went in they wrote it up at 0 per cent. This was in 1974, I got down to 0 fat which was only trace elements around my kidneys, liver and heart. I was ripped up! Real ripped up!”

Question: Do you use any type of hypnosis technique before training?

Pete” I was using hypnosis for quite a while. Up until maybe 6 months ago.”

Question: “Did you feel it helped?”

Pete: “I felt it did. In fact for a while I used to get hypnotized once a week and then I was able to hypnotize myself. I have not had time but it was very useful in the sense that it helped increase my intensity. It helped increase my discipline for diet and so forth. I was able to change my physique from last year to this year. There was much difference in cuts. Because I’m not using the steroids I’m also competing much lighter than I used to. I used to compete at 245 to 250 and now I am competing between 220 and 226.”

Question: What do you recommend to a tall person for working legs? When I do Squats it puts a tremendous strain on my back.

Pete:” Exactly! When a tall person does squats it automatically puts him at a disadvantage due to a leverage factor. You create a fulcrum point right in your hips. In order to accommodate that pressure your hips have to grow! You thicken out that fulcrum point. I suggest keep away from squats completely. There’s no reason for anybody to do squats. Do leg presses, leg extensions, leg curls!.”

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