Best Natural Bodybuilding Exercises

Inside Natural Bodybuilding Part 3

This is part 3 in a series of 5 interviews with bodybuilder Tomas de la Milera.   He is a 51 year old bodybuilder with a classic physique like Frank Zane.  Peek into his world as he prepares for competition and he shares what it takes to be a natural bodybuilder.

Cardio

Tracey: How much cardio is needed to burn fat?

Tomas: You know that all depends on the individual.  I think it depends on the person’s metabolism.  I think that people can actually, that for me has been a journey.  I’ve found that sometimes less cardio helps and sometimes more cardio helps when it comes to bodybuilding.  That is a very metabolic question.  I think every individual, like in any other form of training, I think through hit and miss a person finds out for themselves how much cardio is needed.  But cardio, in the bodybuilding world, in relationship to fat, lean mass, we look more at heart rate.  Keeping your heart rate lower because we want to burn more of the calories through resistance training and more of the fat burning, so you’re looking at there being a little bit more of walking, not so much sprinting or running.

Stretching

Tracey: Do you stretch at all?

Tomas: You know I should stretch more.  It’s so important.  I’ve been blessed by not stretching enough, by not having any injuries.   I did have surgery about 7 months ago, but that was more of my experience with football in the ‘70s when I was a kid.  I should!  I would focus more, if I was to address it to an individual, I would say, “Please put your time in,” because it does help in preventing injuries. But I don’t do it enough, no.

Legs

Tracey: Give me your number one best exercise for building each of these: Legs?

Tomas: Legs?  For building legs, it’s so interesting because I just came across this, for building strength in the legs, can’t beat squats.

But when it comes to squatting, your back needs to strengthen before your legs get stronger.  So that’s a pretty much overall exercise.  When it comes to just legs in general, in the bodybuilding world, I love the hack squat. You can’t beat the hack squat.  You can work with the leg placement, it really isolates the legs.  It takes away the pressure, if it’s done correctly, from your lower back.  So leg building, in a bodybuilding sense, I love the hack squat.

Back

Tracey: Ok cool! What about back?

Tomas: Back?  You know it’s funny because when I started lifting when I was very young, I developed a very big back.  That was one of my main muscles that I worked on.  Rows!  I love rows, standing rows.  Bringing it up and down.  That’s all I would do and I developed an incredible thickness in the back and width simply by rowing.

Tracey: So in the lats?

Tomas: Yeah in the latissimus, yeah, because what I did is I would just come lower and the body coming lower isolated a little more of the lats. You know, as you come up at like a 45° angle, you’re getting more of the trapezius and the rhomboid area.  But just by placing my body and row, row, row I just, because you know that’s all I knew.  You know what; it was a benefit because I really benefited from it.

Chest

Tracey: Cool! Chest?

Tomas: Chest?  You know it’s interesting because times are changing, of course we know that we have three types of chest.  We’ve got the upper, middle and lower.  But you can’t beat a bench press, incline and decline press and the combination of them so you can isolate the individual parts of the chest.  And also free weights!  Free weights.  Because then you get the stabilizing muscles.

Shoulders

Tracey: Good! Shoulders?

Tomas: Shoulders?  Shoulder press.   I get on shoulder press, shoulder press, I hit the shoulder press and I work it. Of course we can get into isolations like lateral raises or frontal raises.  But the shoulder press, especially if you’re just starting the body building, that’s the way to go.  Go with compound movements in the shoulder press, it’s definitely a compound movement.

Abs

Tracey: Good! Abs?

Tomas: Abs?  Sit-ups!   I’ve been so traditional.  Sit-ups, leg raises, there you go! But not to ignore the obliques, the external and internal obliques and also not to ignore the lower back.  Which, you know, dead lifts are great for lower back.  So you can do some back arches.  When I hear abdominal, I think of the whole mid-section instead of just the rectus abdominis.

Biceps

Tracey: Okay good! Biceps?

Tomas: Biceps?  Curls!  Curls! And change up your free weight, change it wider, you can go in more and just curls!  You know, because it also incorporates a little bit of other parts of your body, like your back and the stabilization in your legs.  You can do them standing, if you were to just start off because we want to get the body to work as a whole as much as possible.  In bodybuilding, you eventually start isolating, but if you’re just starting in bodybuilding, its best to get some other parts of your body in conjunction with that.

Triceps

Tracey: Okay and last one! Triceps?

Tomas: Triceps!  I like, for triceps, I like a close-grip bench press! I really do.  Because I believe, especially starting triceps, you want to build that thickness, defining a tricep later on with maybe triceps extensions or scull crushers.  But I think a good start would basically be a close-grip bench press.

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