With Gunter Schlierkamp
Also Featuring Jerome Ferguson
Sept 5th, 2006
24 days out
Gunter started off his chest workout with incline barbell presses on the Smith machine using 275 pounds which was actually a pretty respectable lift. I always felt that Gunter had more of a physique designed for size and not power, but on the getbig.com discussion boards, some were saying that Gunter was able to do 365 for eight reps on the incline barbell bench press. For his next set on the Smith machine, he used 315 pounds and went up to 365 pounds with the assistance of the trainer of champions, Charles Glass, who pens a monthly training feature in Muscular Development magazine. Gunter went on to do 405 pounds in a drop set going to 315 and then 225.
Gunter has a long build, which I would even say is athletic looking because he isn't very stocky (it's hard to be at over 6'1). Despite his size, he still has more room on his frame for more muscle. Gunter went on to hit some more Smith machine presses, this time on the flat bench and also going well above 300 pounds. I'm really uncertain what the motivation was behind all the Smith machine work for Gunter's chest, but in general I trust that Charles Glass is perceptive in terms of understanding a bodybuilder's unique needs and would not include these kinds of movements if they weren't necessary or helpful. Gunter's rep scheme was also somewhat different from the norm - he would do the positive range of motion on the presses then pause at the bottom and power through another rep, kind of in a strength building type of manner where the reps were performed explosively with all effort going into each rep, rather than using continual tension. Next Gunter performed flat flyes, but once again performed with using a machine - in this case the Cybex plate loaded fly machine.
Gunter hit some poses in between sets and he had been doing so throughout the DVD at this point. He was in great shape by the looks of things and from what I could tell it was simply a matter of nailing his conditioning in order to do well at the show. Gunter's vascularity was looking good also. From what I could tell, Gunter would simply need to pull out the remaining water he was holding and he would do well at the Mr. Olympia.
Gunter continued on with his machine work for his chest, next hitting seated machine presses, working in with up and coming bodybuilder Jerome Ferguson, who displayed good strength in his sets. Next Gunter posed in his shorts and was looking big and full as I previously mentioned - simply holding a few pounds of water which would easily be stripped with the right finishing touches and supplements leading up to the show. Make no mistake about it, I'm well aware of the importance of thyroid drugs and diuretics for cutting body fat for a bodybuilding contest, but naturally I have no idea what Gunter may or may not use when it comes to that. I'm not even aware of what supplements he uses since I haven't read much on his nutrition. Every now and then FLEX magazine does feature Gunter's training though. After his chest workout was complete, Gunter hit crunches on the abs machine and finished up for the day.
Redondo Beach, CA
Next we get a glimpse of Gunter's beautiful home in Redondo Beach, CA. His dog ran out of the house and there was another dog outside too which was a very small Chiuaua. Gunter picked it up and it was pretty hilarious to see a huge hulking beast like Gunter with the smallest dog you can get.
A little tour of Gunter's spacious home started next, starting with his kitchen and going to his office. He has a very nice setup and had a Jack LaLanne photo and autograph complete with a certificate of authenticity. Gunter posed a little with a cigar at his computer desk. It's obvious to me why Weider spent so much time and effort giving Gunter publicity - this guy is exactly what bodybuilders should strive to both. Both in terms of personality and in terms of physique. Gunter is also a model handsome tall blonde and not every bodybuilder can strive for that since it height and looks is not in a person's control as personality is. The master bedroom and master bathroom were shown next and both were very nice. Gunter definitely found himself a beautiful home.
Delts & Triceps
Sept. 6th, 2006
23 days out.
Gunter put on a weight belt and started his workout with upright rows. He was wearing a fitting black Nike shirt, so it was probably a XXXXL lol. He packed on a lot of small plates to the bar and I'm not exactly sure why. I suppose it might be annoying to perform upright rows with huge 45 plates there and it's better to pack on smaller weights so that they don't hit you. Gunter hit a few poses in his string tanktop before moving on to Smith machine work - this time barbell presses for his delts. As I said, I'm really not sure what Charles Glass' motivation was for including so much machine work in Gunter's training but I would guess it has to do with injury prevention. Being so dry and depleted close to a contest would make one more prone to injury and with the Smith machine taking care of the range of motion for you, the chances of an injury are reduced. Greg Merritt from FLEX magazine showed up briefly.
Amazingly, Gunter looked even better than he had during the previous workout, which was mentioned in the DVD by MuscleTime's Raymond Cassar. The day before he looked big and full, but during his delts workout he looked the same size if not bigger, and appeared to be holding less water too. I doubt he was actually bigger, but I would guess that having drawn more water out of him, it gave the appearance of more size. Jerome Ferguson looked to be about 5'10 based on Gunter's height which is often cited as 6'1, but I think in reality is closer to 6'2.
As Gunter's shoulder workout continued, he added free weights in the mix, mostly with various dumbbell raises where his fullness and condition just popped right out at you. Raymond was absolutely right that Gunter looked even better than he had the previous day. Raymond always looks for the best in each pro and comments on it, and he was bang on with that remark - somehow in just a day, whatever food Gunter ate the day before really drew out some more water and made him look a lot more impressive. I think he was contest ready that same day looking exactly as he did - just with a bit of pro tan and oil on him.
Next Gunter and Jerome did machine shrugs, however, Gunter made a mistake I commonly see in pro videos (e.g., Troy Alves in the BFTO 2003 DVD). The mistake was that Gunter was bending his elbows rather than keeping his arms straight and pulling his delts up as if to shove them in his ears (the way Markus Ruhl described the exercise in a 2001 issue of FLEX and that I agree with). I am in no position to be a stickler on Gunter's form, but it's just something I notice pretty frequently in pro training footage.
Next Gunter performed triceps pushdowns. His arms were huge, and it's crazy to think that Ronnie's arms are even bigger than Gunter's. Gunter's arms looked to be a full 23 inches. Next, Gunter and Jerome performed double arm dumbbell extensions for triceps and as good as Jerome looked he looked small compared to Gunter, which says a lot because Jerome is a great bodybuilder with a good future in the industry if he keeps on plugging. For Gunter's next exercise, he chose close grip machine presses which can be used for chest with a wider grip. Jerome and Gunter talked a little about Gunter's engagement to Kim and Gunter then did another set of machine presses for triceps and I noticed that Gunter was using a small handle as an extension to perform the exercise with the closest grip possible.
Gunter did some posing next and looked amazing. As I said before, Gunter looked contest ready the day this part of the DVD was shot and I honestly think he looked better that day then he did at the Mr. Olympia, although without tan and oil and contest lights and conditioning plus the comparison between him and other bodybuilders, it is impossible to know for sure.
Next up, Gunter and Kim were shown in Gunter's BMW M5 - 507 HP - a very powerful machine. A picture of Gunter and Kim was taken and Gunter drove home.
Gunter's house (2)
Redondo Beach, CA
At home, Gunter cooked a post workout meal and proved to be quite the chef. Nutrition is a great bodybuilding expense, and Gunter looked to be eating properly and have on hand all the necessary ingredients for muscle building nutrition. I heard talk that Craig Titus and Kelly Ryan both ate a horrible diet, and given Craig's recklessness with drugs and his horrid lifestyle in general I don't doubt that. On this topic, and I think it's an important one: Gunter Schlierkamp is everything a bodybuilder should aspire to be, and Craig Titus is everything that a bodybuilder shouldn't aspire to be. Craig was and still is a complete disgrace to bodybuilding and I hope he rots in jail for the rest of his life. I don't have a well formed view on the death penalty, but in general I am against it. Either way, I do hope hte punishment fits the crime for Titus and he remains in jail should he be found guilty, and so far I have every inclination to believe he will be. Gunter on the other hand, is a role model in the industry and we need more like him around.
Gunter continued on with his food preparation and said that he only drops sodium a few days leading up to a contest because he feels that sodium is an important nutrient that a body needs cooking and for that reason he keeps it in his diet. Gunter proved to be a great chef and made himself a delicious post workout meal.
Sept. 21st 2006
8 days out
Gunter started off with some leg extensions for his quads which is a great exercise for legs and a good one to start off with. In 2006, I spent a lot of time on the squat rack and it definitely made my squat strength go way up, but personally I find it hard to pick a certain exercise and determine exactly how much it has helped. For 2007, I plan to do a traditional leg workout one week and the next week do plyometrics or something like that just to shake things up a little.
After the warmup, Gunter hit leg presses and hack squats. His strength was decent, but not in Ronnie Coleman's caliber, and perhaps less than what you would expect for a man of Gunter's size. The only thing to consider there is that Gunter has extremely long limbs which makes his range of motion very long also and so he may possess great strength but be unable to show that in traditional lifts. His grip strength is incredibly strong though, as he was able to fully close the CoC #3 and not a lot of people are able to do that. After working out a little, Gunter hit some poses for the camera and to me looked more like he did during the first workout - big and full but back to retaining a tiny bit of water.
For hamstrings, Gunter used the seated leg curl machine and followed it up with an exercise I had never seen before which was appeared to be a sideways hack squat and which I would have normally assumed to work the quads, but Gunter did it in between sets of his lying leg curls.
Gunter performed some more of the same abs machine exercise at the end of his workout again. This leads me to believe that Gunter's plan was to work abs every day at the end of a workout. The school of thought here is that abs can be trained more regularly since they don't require as much rest as other muscle groups. This makes sense since intense training of larger muscles taxes the central nervous system more than smaller ones and most seasoned gym rats and bodybuilders will know that. Gunter talked a little with Raymond of MuscleTime.com before driving home once again.
Back and Biceps
Sept. 22nd, 2006
7 days out
Gunter started off his workout with machine rows. I have also seen Gunter train mostly with machines and to me this just confirms Bob Cicherillo's thoughts that basic exercises aren't needed. In truth, as long as you put tension on the target muscles, you will grow. Certain specific exercises aren't necessary, although it's nice to switch things up a little. Just try to keep in mind that bodybuilding is not an exact science and that what works for you may or may not work for somebody else. Also, when watching any given pro video, be aware that every pro uses performance enhancing drugs and that is also a huge advantage in both their training and their development. What's most important whether on drugs or off is proper nutrition and putting stress on the target muscle - don't buy in to any specific training or diet techniques. The basics are still the basics.
Next Gunter started training in his tank top and was looking amazing, although still not as good as he looked during his delts and triceps workout earlier int he DVD. In this case, he looked full but still holding that slight film of water which can make or break the look of a bodybuilder when it comes to the day of the contest. This made me wonder once again what Gunter's diet was like the day before his delts workout which gave him such incredible muscle pumps and fullness, coupled with great conditioning, thin skin, and muscle hardness.
Back to more machines, Gunter did lat pulldowns for his back. He did them while lying on an incline bench and I'm not exactly sure what the benefit of that is. Charles Glass is an interesting trainer and always mixes things up a little in the gym. Gunter did cable rows next and the traditional form of lat pulldowns. At this point in the DVD I once again wondered what the deal was with Gunter's penchant for machine exercises. Either he does them simply because they give them the result he wants, or he has something against free weights like Bob Cicherillo does since they are more likely to lead to injury or Gunter's training was only like this because he was so close to the date of the contest and so injury prevention was even more of a concern to him than usual.
For biceps, Gunter did stick with basic free weight movements like barbell curls though. Biceps are just a basic muscle and the exercises to go with them are basic too - and all basic free weight movements for the most part since there are not too many fancy machines for biceps. After doing some dumbbell curls for biceps, Gunter hit some poses and looked great, but still not quite as he did when his delts workout was shot. I did notice Gunter had a little bit of loose skin under his chest much like the kind that a person gets when they age - although Gunter will only be 37 in February (born in February of 1970) and so I don't think his body will show any major signs of age for quite some time. When Gunter was training arms, he had an incredible pump but he seemed to lose it somewhat by the time he posed.
Sept. 29th, 2006
Nine hours before judging
Nine hours before the 2006 Mr. Olympia was judged, Gunter was looking ok, but was a bit flat in my opinion. It's easy to tell when a bodybuilder looks flat since the muscles don't just jump out like theydo when they are full. Gunter was in condition, but lost a little fullness and didn't improve his conditioning enough to make up for it in my opinion. I think he would have looked more impressive with the extra few pounds he lost since it didn't seem to reflect in how shredded he was during the time he was shown posing. He looked good, but seeing the footage, I can now understand why Toney Freeman vaulted ahead of him at the Olympia and why Gunter was relegated to 10th place. Gunter hit the abs and thigh pose in the hotel room and always tends to look a little blocky in it, despite his stature and long limbs. I think if Gunter put his hands behind his head and focussed more on flaring out his lats while simultaneously flexing his abs as best as possible, he could reduce this as much as possible. His hands being on the top of his head will prevent him from displaying his lats in an advantageous manner in my opinion, although he is certainly not the only pro who poses like that - Ronnie Coleman and some others do also. Raymond from Muscletime took a lot of pictures of Gunter in the hotel room and Kim was with Gunter to support him. It's difficult to gauge Gunter's height exactly, but I thought Raymond was around six feet which would make Gunter about 6'2, as Lonnie Teper always states him as, but I'm not sure. When Gunter was flexing his arms, it became apparent that his arms had lost some fullness since the dates that the training footage was filmed. Gunter said he was 6'2 and 300 pounds which puts an end to wondering what his height was. All the times I saw him listed as 6'1 must have been inaccurate (he also seemed noticeably taller than the 6'0 Bob Cicherillo in the fit show).
The DVD ended with the credits rolling and some pictures of Gunter's 10th place performance being shown. He certainly looked respectable at the contest, but was not at his best. I would say he was perhaps at the level he was at the 2003 contest, or possibly a little off from that form. Still, as a top 10 bodybuilder in the world, no one can deny Gunter's success in the top levels of bodybuilding competition.
This was a good DVD featuring Gunter leading up to the 2006 Mr. Olympia Contest. I like DVD which lead up to a contest because you can see where you can see how a bodybuilder is doing as the time passes. In MuscleTime's "Titans IV: Troy Alves" DVD , you could see that he was looking swole for the 2004 GNC Show of Strength, yet flattened out by the time of the Mr. Olympia. I felt Gunter looked his best in this DVD during his delts and triceps workout on September 6th, 2006. That day he had all the fullness he had during the rest of the DVD but without any of the water where his muscles looked to be popping out of the skin. Had he put on some tan and oil, I think he could have stepped on stage that day. The audio and video quality of the DVD were both very good and the training sequences were well filmed, including good angles for the exercises and posing footage of Gunter. Gunter and his beautiful wife Kim seem to have made a good life for themselves and are both role models of what fitness superstars should be - I wish we could hear more in the news about those in the industry like Gunter and Kim rather than Craig Titus and others like him. It looks like Gunter is in a very spot in life right now and I wish him the best. I hope he comes back as strong as ever in 2008 because I look forward to his return to competition that year at the Arnold Classic.