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Nelson Jones: Squatting Deep and Asking Questions

Nelson has been hitting the leg day hard and making the body grow. Training for bodybuilding, Nelson’s workouts are geared for hypertrophy and the old school “pump”. One look at this guy and you know he squats. Starting at a young age, Nelson knew that bodybuilding was for him. It was all about the weight room and getting big. Keeping the workouts a little old school, 2016 is looking like the year of gainz!
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How old are you, where are you from, and do you squat as to grass?
I’m 24 years old and I grew up in Atlanta, Ga (although I moved to Charlotte, NC a couple of years ago). As far as my squat depth is concerned: I originally learned how to squat from a powerlifter and he wouldn’t accept any squats that weren’t ass-to-grass. So, my base was definitely established with super deep squats; however, I’ve since found that my quads respond better when I just break parallel. That way, the tension never leaves my quads- creating more hypertrophy.

What areas of weight training do you train and what is your best squat?
Actually, I’m a bodybuilder. Even though I got my start training and living with a powerlifter, and I’m just being honest- I sucked. Strength has come very gradually for me. My best (gym PR) is 405 for 9. My goal isn’t to be able to push more weight, it’s to create more hypertrophy, however; It’s inevitable that I’ll be able to squat five plates within the next few years which will be pretty freaking cool to me.

How did you into bodybuilding?
The interest (in getting bigger) has always been there- as I’m only 5,5″ lol. In high school, we had an hour for lunch and I would walk from my school go to a local drugstore. I’d buy a pack of 4 protein RTD’s and look at bodybuilding magazines while I was there. At 16, I was a senior in high school (and only 120 lbs), I remember seeing a picture of Jay Cutler on the cover of a magazine and knew that’s how I wanted to look. After that, I became entrenched in the sport: fully consumed with every pro show and binge watching the Mr. Olympia and Arnold Classic content. Bodybuilding is “my football.” I’m a tad obsessive as a fan, and I believe I would be even if I became an accomplished pro.

What does a normal leg day workout look like for you?
Most of what I learned about training, I learned from John Meadows (credit where it’s due!). I train legs twice a week: a heavy day and a day with more volume, creating more metabolic stress and aiding in recovery. My heavy day changes frequently but the last one looked like this:

  • Lying Leg Curls: (after 2-3 warm ups) I’ll do 3 sets finding a challenging weight, then I’ll do that weight for 4 sets of 12 reps (utilizing a small range of motion at the top of the movement, pelvis buried into the pad and knees raised off in order that I can contract the top of my hamstrings). On my last set, I’ll typically extend the set with partials til failure then an isometric hold til failure.
  • Adductors: 4-5 sets of 15-30 pumping blood into adductors. Then I’ll crank out 1 challenge set involving multiple droplets, then an intense isometric hold, then partials til I fail.
  • Barbell Squat: (3-4 warm ups) 4 sets of 8 with a 3 second negative and no pausing at the top
  • Leg Press: 3 HEAVY rest-pause sets of 30-50.
  • Hack Squat (close stance): 4 sets of 20 (or until I fail)
  • Romanian deadlifts: (1-2 sets to make sure my hams are warm) 4 sets of 12 (coming 3/4 of the way up).

So what’s next for you? Any goals you have to hit? (short and long term)?
Currently- I’m in pushing myself hard, as it’s my offseason, but I’ll be competing this fall. As for myself and my short term goals: I’d like to win an overall and create a physique worthy of a National level stage. I’d also like to help a couple clients win their classes and possibly a couple overalls this year. For my long-term goals: I’d like to reach my potential (hopefully resulting in earning my IFBB pro status) as well as helping clients accomplish the same.

what do your non-lifter friends / family think about what you do?
My family definitely thought it was weird at first, however; after they saw me compete the first time- I think it “clicked.” My family and friends are all very supportive. Many of them definitely think it’s strange but they respect how disciplined I have become in order to pursue my goals.

What do you tell the younger lifters when they ask how you got so strong?
My answer is always obsessive consistency. Anyone that knows me knows that I’ve walked around with my food with me for at least five years. I’ve never…I’ll say that again…I’ve never, ever missed a training session. Why because I love it. I guarantee if beginners get excited about bodybuilding, powerlifting, whatever- and they fall in love with the process, they’ll fall into those incredible habits of prepping their food and training their asses off. There’s plenty of ways to optimize gains like supplementation and massage. You can get super complicated, but if you don’t nail the basics daily- you won’t grow at the rate you desire.

Anything you would like to tell the younger lifters? and/or anything else you would like to add?
First, I’d like to thank you for the interview- I really dig the cause! I’ve always respected competitors and gym-goers with freaky legs. It’s obvious that hard work went into building their physiques.
Second, if anyone has any questions, would like help with a contest prep, or is just in my area and wants a training partner for a leg session- hit me up! You can reach me at Nelsonwjones @ gmail. com or on Instagram (@nelzonj).

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Founder of Fight Against Chicken Legs, part-time workout stuff, sometimes making websites look pretty, and saving the world #OneRepAtATime