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John Robert Cardillo

John Robert Cardillo

John traveled the world to learn the best training and nutrition principles and trained alongside top pro bodybuilders at Gold's Gym California. He was a student of Arthur Jones, inventor of Nautilus and Medx Fitness machines, and the pioneer of hi-intensity training. John developed the HIT3 Training System, which transformed his physique to win countless bodybuilding competitions at just 18 years of age! He was also the first bodybuilder to utilize Faradic Electric Muscle Stimulation in his training and intermittent fasting during his competition prep. John’s SHREDDED Nutrition Diet helped him build one of the most shredded physiques of all time. His diet program incorporates fasting and nutrient timing to help athletes build lean muscle while losing body fat.

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Regan Grimes Hi-Intensity Leg Training with John Cardillo

By John Cardillo

In May 2019, I started training Zane Watson to help him prep for several Pro Show competitions and the Mr. Olympia. I introduced Zane to my Hi-Intensity (HIT3) workout methods. Zane's one of the hardest working bodybuilders that I've ever met. He loved the short intense workouts and over the course of 4 months, made incredible improvements. Experiencing firsthand how beneficial Hi-Intensity training is versus the high-volume training, that he was used to, Zane totally changed his workout practices and philosophy. In fact, he started to train his own clients at his gym using Hi-Intensity methods!

In late September, I received a call from Zane informing me that his good friend Regan Grimes was in town. Regan was getting ready for the IFBB European Championships in Spain and wanted to try a Hi-Intensity Leg workout. I agreed to meet Zane and Regan at Bodypro Gym Hamilton the next day at noon for the workout.

The next morning, I called Zane to specifically go over what exercises Regan had been doing and whether he had any injuries that had to be taken into consideration. I then wrote out the workout and gave him the exercise sequence.

Regan walked around the entire Bodypro gym, mesmerized by the incredible amount of quality equipment the club features. He was especially impressed by the more than 50 Leg machines! The plan was for Zane to put him through the leg workout that I had laid out. Zane, being totally familiar with my Hi-intensity workout methods, was anxious to introduce this type of training to Regan.

The workout was to start with low lumbar work as a warmup for the lower body. Hamstrings would then be worked and then quadriceps. The low lumbar work started with Regan performing 90 degree hyper extensions. Zane made sure that each rep was performed in strict form. Maximum stretch at the bottom of the movement followed by rising to slightly higher than a 90 degree contracted position. The contraction was held for at least 2 seconds, with Zane guiding Regan through each rep. After performing 16 reps, he could no longer complete a full repetition and the set was ended with Zane instructing Regan to rush over to the second exercise, the 45 degree version of hyperextension. (Editor's Note: Training in a Hi-Intensity fashion requires that no rest be taken between exercises for a body part being worked).

Hyperextensions (45 Degree)

Regan started the 45 degree hyperextensions holding a 45 pound plate in his chest, reaching muscular failure after completing 11 repetitions. Zane then had him drop the weight and perform more repetitions. After completing 4 more, Regan could no longer perform a complete repetition and the set was halted .

Stiff Leg Deadlifts

Without rest, stiff leg deadlifts were next. Performed on a platform to allow maximum stretch, whereby the bar can be brought down to the toes. Regan started with 255 and performed 9 reps. With each rep, his split hamstrings contracted and popped like an arm bicep does when performing curls! We then removed 70 pounds off the bar and he continued with 185. With Zane pushing him, he squeezed out 6 more reps, until bar dropped out of his hands, almost crushing his toes. These 3 sets concluded lower lumbar work.

Prone Leg Curls

Hamstrings started with prone leg curls performed to positive failure with 2 toe positions using 130 pounds. The first repetitions were performed with his toes pointing backwards, (in order not to engage the calves) keeping the main focus on the hamstrings. With each rep Regan’s hamstrings became more striated. After 6 repetitions he could no longer do another full rep so Zane instructed him to change his foot position pointing forward (which is the stronger position). Using this form, Regan was still causing the hamstrings to contract hard but with the help of the calf muscles. He performed 4 more reps until he reached muscular failure. Then I had Zane increase the weight to 200 pounds for negative only reps. Zane lifted the leg movement arm until it reached Regan’s glutes. Regan would do the “negative” part of the exercise by lowering it to a count of 10. On the 4th rep Regan could no longer control lowering the weight and the set was halted. He had reached total muscular failure in the “positive” lifting manner, the “negative” lowering manner and he could no longer even hold the weight in any position, thereby reaching “static” failure.

Hammer Seated Leg Curls

Without rest, Zane hurried Regan to the second hamstring exercise on a Hammer seated leg curl machine. Starting with 135 pounds, Regan squeezed out 6 repetitions, 45 pounds was dropped and without rest Regan did 4 more reps. A further 45 was dropped again and he was pushed by Zane to do 3 more excruciating reps, reaching total muscular failure.

Leg Press (90 Degree)

Again with no rest, the final hamstring exercise was the 90 degree leg press. With 400 pounds on the machine, Regan knocked out 11 repetitions. With each repetition his hamstrings popped enormously right to his glutes. Barely completing the 12th rep, the weight was reduced by 90 pounds and Regan continued to perform another 7 repetitions. The weight was reduced again by 50 pounds and Regan pushed out 6 more excruciating reps until his face became so red there was simply no more push left in him!

Hamstrings were now finished. Regan could barely stand up out of the leg press machine. After performing only 3 sets of exercises, his hamstrings were popping like something I'd never seen before.

Leg Extensions

With only enough rest to drink a few sips of water, I motioned to Zane to get Regan over to the Avenger Leg Extension machine ready to start the quadricep part of the workout. With 170 pounds on the machine, Regan was strapped in tight with the seat belt, (to ensure that his thighs contracted fully from knees to his hip bone).

Each thigh extension repetition was performed from full extension with a 2 second pause in the fully contracted position. His massive thighs exhibited perfect separations with each contraction. After 7 difficult reps he could no longer lockout to achieve full contraction, the weight was lowered by 45 pounds. As he screamed and pushed closer to muscular failure, cross striations started popping in the outer part of the quadriceps. An incredible sight to see! He continued to perform 4 more reps. Again screaming in pain, he wanted to quit, however with Zane pushing him, the weight was dropped by 25 pounds and Regan was able to complete 3 more reps! Unbuckling the seat belt Regan jumped off the leg extension machine to give his thighs some relief.

Barbell Squats

In order to not ruin the effect of this Hi-Intensity workout, I motioned Zane to get him under the bar in the squat rack! With 300 pounds on the bar, Regan started squatting with Zane behind him spotting him. After 11 deep repetitions, Regan was breathing like a racehorse almost falling over. We reduced the weight by 70 pounds and Zane pushed him to perform another 7 excruciating reps to total failure.

Hack Squats (Multi Angled)

At this point Regan tried to lay down to rest, however Zane rushed him over to the special multi angled hack squat. With 180 pounds on the machine and the angle at 80 degrees (almost vertical) Regan was able to squeeze out 6 repetitions, the angle was then lowered to 70 degrees making it possible for Regan to continue. He performed another 2 reps. The angle was lowered again to 50 degrees and he did 3 more repetitions. With each full excruciating repetition his quadricep splits deepened in front of our eyes. After lowering the angle again to 40 degrees, Regan could barely do 3 reps and the workout was over. He was so thoroughly exhausted that Zane had to help him out of the hack squat machine so that he could lay on the ground! The leg workout was over!

Regan performed a total of 9 sets of exercise for the 3 body parts, (low lumbar, hamstrings, and quadriceps). The workout took just over 25 minutes to complete. Speaking with Regan after the workout, all he could say was that in all the years of working out, he had never experienced the deep pain and pump he got from this Hi-Intensity workout. He texted me the next week and couldn’t believe that he was sore for 6 days after the workout. I responded, “Enjoy the growth”.

For more info on John Cardillo, check out his website at johnrobertcardillo.com or right here at Muscle Insider at John Cardillo.

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