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IFBB Pro & Fitness Model Steve Cook Talks With Simplyshredded.com [2011]

How did you get started with bodybuilding?

I grew up in a very athletic family and I’m the middle child in a family of seven. All the kids played sport, my dad was an athletic director at a local high school and I spent a lot of time at the track, gym and weight room. My love for working out started early and when I was in elementary my dad would make me do pushups during commercials of Monday Night Football. I quickly found that I liked the way it felt when I had blood in my muscles (the pump). I started lifting weights in middle school to enhance my athletic ability and it quickly became something I LOVED. By the time ninth grade rolled around I benched 320Lbs and was one of the strongest kids in my high school. My hard work in the weight room paid off on the field and I earned a college scholarship. I played four years of College football, all the while lifting and getting bigger. I was unlike a lot of the other football players because I was concerned with lifting the weight under-control. I tried to keep everything proportional and equal. From a very early age I developed a good mind muscle connection. When football ended it was easy for me to decide to compete as a natural bodybuilder. It took some time to learn the nutritional side of bodybuilding, but I found I enjoyed eating clean.

About a year ago I did my first bodybuilding show. I won my class at the Musclemania in Vegas and have been loving it ever since.

Where does your motivation come from?

My motivation comes from a deep love for weights and to see how far I can push myself every day in the weight room. I want to be the best I can genetically be and as strong and lean as possible. I sometimes have to remind myself not to overdo it. As I’ve gotten older I realized how important recovery is. Ultimately I want to be the next Steve Reeves…

I want a body that is appealing to the masses. My goal is to have the perfect balance of size shape and symmetry.

What workout routine has worked best for you?

I don’t think just one specific routine works the best. I am constantly changing my rep ranges, rep tempo and volume to make sure the muscle is always being shocked into new growth. I will do one thing for a couple weeks and then switch. Typically I stick to higher volume training though.

Sample Routine: This is my contest prep that I used to earn my IFBB Pro card in Men’s Physique

Monday: Chest/Back/Abs

(AM – Chest/Back, PM – Abs/30mins LISS)

  • Incline (DB or BB) Bench Press – 4 sets 8-15 reps
  • Wide Grip Pull Ups or Lat Pulldown – 4 sets 10-15 reps

Superset:

  • Incline DB Fly – 3 sets 10-15 reps
  • Supported T-bar Row – 3 sets 10-15 reps

Superset:

  • Bench Press (DB or BB) – 3 sets 8-12 reps
  • Close Grip Cable Row – 3 sets 10-15 reps

Superset:

  • Dips (for chest) or Decline Hammer Press – 3 sets failure
  • Close Grip Pulldown – 3 sets to failure
  • Pull Overs (DB or Cable) – 3 sets failure

(Giant set 3 rounds – failure)

  • Hanging Knee Raises
  • Rope Crunch
  • Broomstick Twist
  • Decline Bench Leg Raises
  • Swiss Ball Crunch

Tuesday: Delts/Traps/Arms/Calves

(AM – Delts/Traps, PM – Arms/Calves)

  • DB or Military Press – 3 sets 8-12 reps
  • Lateral DB or Cable Raise – 3 Set 8-12 reps
  • Bent over DB Lateral or Pec Deck – 5 sets 10-15
  • Front Raise – 3 sets 10-15
  • Upright Row (wide grip) – 3 sets 10-12

Superset:

  • Skull Crushers – 3 sets 8-14
  • Barbell Curl – 3 sets 8-12

Superset:

  • Weighted Dips – 3 sets to failure
  • Incline DB Curl – 3 sets 8-12

Superset:

  • Rope Extension – 3 sets 12-15
  • Concentrated Curl – 10-15

(Giant set 3 rounds)

  • Standing Calve Raises – 10-25
  • Seated Calve Raises – 10-25
  • Donkey Machine – 10-25
  • Reverse Tib Raise – 20-30

Wednesday: Quads/Hamstring/Abs

  • Stiff Legged Deadlift – 3 sets 8-12
  • Back or Front Squat – 3 sets 12-20
  • Standing Leg Curl – 3 sets 10-15
  • Leg Press (preformed slow) 3 sets 10-15
  • Lying Leg Curl 5 drops sets each to failure
  • Leg Extensions – 5 drop sets each to failure

(Giant set 3 rounds – failure)

  • Hanging Knee Raises
  • Rope Crunch
  • Broomstick Twist
  • Decline Bench Leg Raises
  • Swiss Ball Crunch

Thursday – HIIT Cardio

  • HIIT Sprints or Swimming (30-45mins)

Friday – Chest/Back/Abs/Cardio

(AM – Chest/Back, PM – Abs/30 min LISS)

  • Incline (DB or BB) Bench Press – 4 sets 8-15 reps
  • Wide Grip Pull Ups or Lat Pulldown – 4 sets 10-15 reps

Superset:

  • Incline DB Fly – 3 sets 10-15 reps
  • Supported T-bar Row – 3 sets 10-15 reps

Superset:

  • Bench Press (DB or BB) – 3 sets 8-12 reps
  • Close Grip Cable Row – 3 sets 10-15 reps

Superset:

  • Dips (for chest) or Decline Hammer Press – 3 sets failure
  • Close Grip Pulldown – 3 sets to failure
  • Pull Overs (DB or Cable) – 3 sets failure

(Giant set 3 rounds – failure)

  • Hanging Knee Raises
  • Rope Crunch
  • Broomstick Twist
  • Decline Bench Leg Raises
  • Swiss Ball Crunch

Saturday: Delts/Traps/Arm/Calves

(AM – Delts/Traps, PM – Arms/Calves)

  • DB or Military Press – 3 sets 8-12 reps
  • Lateral DB or Cable Raise – 3 Set 8-12 reps
  • Bent over DB Lateral or Pec Deck – 5 sets 10-15
  • Front Raise – 3 sets 10-15
  • Upright Row (wide grip) – 3 sets 10-12

Superset:

  • Skull Crushers – 3 sets 8-14
  • Barbell Curl – 3 sets 8-12

Superset:

  • Weighted Dips – 3 sets to failure
  • Incline DB Curl – 3 sets 8-12

Superset:

  • Rope Extension – 3 sets 12-15
  • Concentrated Curl – 10-15

(Giant set 3 rounds)

  • Standing Calve Raises – 10-25
  • Seated Calve Raises – 10-25
  • Donkey Machine – 10-25
  • Reverse Tib Raise – 20-30

Sunday – Cardio

  • 30 minutes HIIT intervals

What is the best way to train for hypertrophy specific gains?

Part of the beauty of Bodybuilding is that quality physiques have been built using all different styles of techniques. There is no “one right way” that everyone should follow. Things like rep range, rep tempo, frequency of training, machines vs. cables, and volume are just a few of the things that have been argued over, but one thing that no one argues is the fact that progression is the key to growth. I will say it again, In order to grow you need to keep progressing! That can mean increasing weight or increasing the number of reps. It’s this overload that stresses the muscle and causes the body to repair the micro tears thus making a muscle stronger. Personally I like to train between 6-20 reps with the majority being between 8-12. One thing I always do is keep my body from adapting by manipulating rest time, volume, and exercises.

Through the use of different shocking principals (forced reps, drop sets, supersets, rest pause etc) I keep progressing. After a couple of weeks I change everything up again and shock the body in a new way.

During growth plateaus what are the major factors in getting past these?

Being able to listen to your body is huge. After training for years you learn to listen to signals that your body is sending. Sometimes it’s as easy as resting or adding calories, so when I plateau the first thing I evaluate is my diet and recovery.

Other times I change up the split or throw in a new exercise.

What is your diet like?

Sample Diet:

  • Meal 1: 8 Egg Whites, 2 Whole Eggs, 1 cup Spinach and Peppers in an Omelet. 40g (1/2cup) Oat Bran with Cinnamon
  • Meal 2: (Pre workout) 8 oz. Tilapia or other White Fish, 1 cup Greens and 7 oz. (weighed raw) Sweet Potato (or 1 cup Brown Rice)
  • Meal 3: (Post workout) 3/4 scoop Hydro-whey, 45 mins later 4 oz. Chicken, 1 cup Greens, 7 oz. (weighed raw) Sweet Potato (or 1 cup Brown Rice)
  • Meal 4: Shake- 1.5 scoops Gold Standard, low fat string Cheese, Apple and 14g Almonds
  • Meal 5: 8 oz. Beef Sirloin or Fillet, Greens, and 2 Rice Cakes
  • Meal 6: 7 oz. Ground Turkey or Fish with Olive or Flax Oil and Greens

What is your supplementation like?

Optimum Nutrition’s supplements:

  • Whey Protein
  • Casein
  • Creatine
  • BCAA’s
  • Multivitamin

Favorite Bodybuilders?

I am a huge fan of aesthetically bodybuilders. Of course my favorite is Arnold, I met him when I was 7 and from then on I was a huge fan. I also like Steve Reeves, Frank Zane, Bob Paris, Lee Haney, Lee Labrada and Milos Sarcev. Also a huge fan of Zyzz (Az Shavershian). I have very similar beliefs on how the male physique should look. I saw he has passed on and I think it would be great to honor him by continuing to preach Aesthetics. It’s always sad when someone so young and in their prime passes away. He inspired many others to create better physiques and love him or hate him you had to respect how many people he inspired to get into lifting, RIP Zyzz.

Favorite Quote?

“One man has enthusiasm for 30 minutes, another for 30 days, but it is the man who has it for 30 years who makes a success of his life.” – Edward B. Butler

Bodyspace: http://bodyspace.com/stevecook_32/
Progress Photos: http://bodyspace.com/stevecook_32/progresspics
Photo Credits: Josh Wolfe, Sara Bryne & Gabriel Guzman

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24 Comments

  1. flexXx says:

    great guy.. inspirational

  2. cuzzy says:

    fuaark

  3. jackson says:

    He reminds me of the Miz from WWE but a shredded version, keep up the good work steve

  4. Myron Ballz says:

    FUUUUUUUAAAAAARRRRRRRKKKKKK! RIP father of Aesthetics ZYZZ. Props to Steve Cook for the shout out to the King of the Misc.

  5. Glamourkills says:

    Steve Cook is a HUGE inspiration…him, Greg plitt and zyzz(RIP) are gods

  6. Igor says:

    It’s so nice of him to give a Zyzz shoutout. Cook is awesome!

  7. Buff Gyal says:

    Man, to have someone like Steve Cook admirin’, Zyzz definitely inspired a lot of people and touched a lot of lives, whether he was truly aware of it. RIP Aziz.

  8. Marko says:

    Inspirational as fuk!!! GET RIPPED OR DIE MIRIN!

  9. Jessie Plyers says:

    Dont see why the big fuzz about this guy? is it because he won his pro card?

  10. TAOUK says:

    its cool to see a sydney boy(zyzz) represent world wide in the name of aesthetics!!

  11. carlos says:

    good arms and shoulders, he need to work the back and chest.

  12. TK says:

    Cook is a beast! Don’t hate “Jessie Players” caz you never got an interview in SS

  13. Chris says:

    Congrats Steve, making a huge name for yourself.

  14. Dick Masterson IV says:

    Cook you are the man,great physique and really cool that you gave the Father of aesthetics Zyzz(RIP) a shoutout. Jessie Players come at me bro, Zyzz laughs at you from atop Mount Olympus.

  15. Alex says:

    So inspirational, amazing body and physique. Read so many of your interviews. Keep it up man

  16. James says:

    Favorite body builder here, personally I believe his physique is better than Zyzz(rip) but that’s just me, steves a great guy and will go far in the physique division cuz hes got legs to go with the upper body

  17. Charles Hendiron says:

    Great physique but James in physique there is NO display of legs so your statement that he will go far is a bit not the truth. Secondly you dont know how physique will mold next year so he could be actually not what the sport will look like in 3 years.

  18. Nic says:

    I had a chance to kick it with Steve before his photo shoot for this years body building.com body space. Great guy…really knows his stuff. Keep up the inspiration!

  19. ARiiZ says:

    R.I.P. Zyzz, he inspired me to get into lifting I cant believe he died so young

  20. Izzy says:

    Mirin at you Steve. Well done brah, mad reps to Zyzz. Always chasin the aesthetics! Come at me !!

  21. wizhix says:

    very respectful Steve, cheers

  22. Dimitris says:

    very good work steve…
    keep going…

  23. Danded says:

    amazing

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