Mohamed Makkawy wrote this article before leaving to compete in last year’s Mr Olympia contest in Munich, Germany. He was placed second to Samir Bannout, but went on to win the Grand Prix that followed the Mr Olympia, an achievement that saw him crowned as Grand Prix champion, and hailed as today’s most successful competing bodybuilding star. He is hot favourite to win the title this year. Now you too can follow the routine of the “Magic Egyptian” for success!
As I write this article I am preparing for the 1983 Mr Olympia contest which will be held in Munich, Germany, on September 24th, 1983. September 25th there is a Grand Prix contest in Zurich, then September 27th a Grand Prix contest in Sweden. Then October 1st the final Grand Prix contest in London, England.
Since I intend to enter all these contests in order to try and win the Grand Prix Championship I must train and diet in such a way that I keep my condition for all four contests. Many bodybuilders will enter the Mr Olympia and then give up after that, trying not to compete any more.
It is very difficult to hold a contest peak for even eight days, because at least a week before the contest I am practically starving, living only on special amino acids that I get from my trainer Vince Gironda. When I enter more than one contest, as is the case this time, then I must stay on this diet an extra week.
Since the Night of the Champions in May, I have been training very, very hard, and have turned down many appearances and seminars so that I could train and not repeat what happened before the Night of the Champions. My routine this time has been geared to get me as cut up and defined as possible, and also to place special emphasis on the back. Even though I show only one back routine in this article sometimes I vary it doing additional exercises on alternate days. My body has been responding very well, and I feel I have improved in all areas, but especially the back and arms. When the pictures of the Mr Olympia come out be sure to look at them and see if you agree that my arms are larger and more defined now than ever before.
The reason that I am going for more definition is that I expect my chief competition to come from Frank Zane and Samir Bannout. Both these bodybuilders are very symmetrical and well defined. Therefore the strategy of my manager, Ken Wheeler, and my trainer, Vince Gironda, has been to get me as cut to the bone as possible. But I must also have better development bodypart by bodypart in order to win. That is why, for example, I am doing so much work on my back. Frank and Samir both have excellent backs, so I must have too. Also by emphasising the arms I think I can overshadow them in the arm poses.
My posing routine will still use “Chariots of Fire” as a musical background, but I have made a few changes in it to try and show my back, shoulders and arms more. Vince has worked with me on this routine — I have just come back from training in California with him for two weeks and he says I am ready!
My diet has been the same as it always is when preparing for a contest. In other words I start out by eating only meat, chicken and fish (zero carbohydrates), then as the contest gets nearer I reduce the amount of food and take amino acids and liver tablets instead until in the last week when I live entirely on amino acids and liver tablets and no food.
My exact routine is listed below. However unless you are an advanced bodybuilder do not try and follow it exactly or you will lose muscle size. Notice how many times a day I train! For a better understanding of my recommendations for those who are not yet ready to compete in high level contests, I would like to advise you that I have completed my new training courses that Bob Kennedy has mentioned before in his “Bodypower” gossip column. Details of my courses are available if you write to me at: Super Fitness Centres Inc, 2110 Dundas Street East, Mississauga, Ontario L4X 1L9, Canada.
This is the way I am currently training. Every morning, Monday to Friday I work my legs completely. On every afternoon of these same days I work my back. On Monday and Thursday nights I work my chest. Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights I work my arms. And if you think I take a rest on Sundays you’re mistaken! As the contest season comes around I do not allow myself this luxury. Most Sundays I will do some miscellaneous exercises, training any area that I feel needs extra attention. Currently I am doing some back and shoulder work during these Sunday sessions.
The last time details of my training routine were published I was performing most exercises for twelve reps each set. Right now I am doing eight reps in most exercises, handling a little more weight than I used to with twelve reps. I am noticing that my calves, as well as my back and arms, are all growing well. Of course this does not mean that eight reps are necessarily better than twelve. It is probably the shock value of the change–over.
I may well go back to higher reps again one day and enjoy yet another growth cycle. I train at a pretty fast pace aiming to keep a good style in every exercise. I do not perform heavy duty style training, neither do I perform forced or negative reps to increase basic power. Remember that back home in Egypt I used to be an Olympic weightlifter, and that’s where I paid my dues with endless heavy, power workouts.
As I close this article, I would like to say a sincere thank you to all those who have supported me… my fans are my strength. They make me want to get better and better. Good luck in your training!
Mohamed Makkawy’s Olympia Routine:
* Flat bench press (to neck): 5 x 8
* 20° Bench press (to neck): 5 x 8
* Incline bench press 40°: 5 x 8
* Bent arm pullover: 5 x 8
* Wide grip “Gironda” dips: 5 x 8
* Straight arm pullover: 5 x 10
* High bench rowing: 5 x 8
* Pullups to waist: 5 x 8
* Wide grip chins behind neck: 5 x 8
* Wide grip pulldowns to chest: 5 x 8
* Hack squat: 5 x 8
* Seated pulley leg squeeze: 5 x 10
* Thigh curl: 5 x 10
* Thigh extension: 5 x 8
* Roman chair: 5 x 10
* Flat thigh extensions: 5 x 8
* Seated calf raise: 5 x 15
* Standing calf raise: 5 x 15
* Lying leg raise: 5 x 15 to 25
* Hanging leg raise: 5 x 15 to 25
* Hanging knee–in: 5 x 15 to 25
* Bent knee situps: 5 x 15 to 25
* Twisting situps: 5 x 15 to 25
* Cross ankle crunches: 5 x 15 to 25
* Wide grip rows: 5 x 8
* 45° lateral raise: 5 x 8
* Kneeling cable raise: 5 x 8
* Bent over cable raise: 5 x 8
* Lateral raise: 5 x 8
* Cable lateral raise: 5 x 8
* Incline dumbbell curl: 5 x 8
* EZ Bar curls: 5 x 8
* Cable short range seated curls: 5 x 10
* Parallel bar dips: 5 x 8
* Bent over triceps kickbacks: 5 x 8
* Triceps rope pulls: 5 x 8