Mr. Universe John Citrone's "Maximum Damage" Workout.
The DVD started off with some footage of John being interviewed and in his gym in Gateshead, near Newcastle-on-Tyne in the North of England.You see some pump room footage and one photo of John with Arnold. Tina Gallasch of GMV productions was on hand to interview John with Wayne behind the camera and directing. She asked John about his contest history and he said that the Junior Mr. Northern Britain was his first contest at age 17. Talk about a long spanning career - 47 years in bodybuilding! John said he got the British bench press record at the time with a 401 pounds bench press and that he was the first one in Britain to get a bench press over 400 pounds at his weight. Some black and white footage of the 1966 NABBA Mr. Universe was included with footage of Arnold hitting most muscular poses and twisting back shots were shown in black and white with Arnold looking great at such a young age. John twice stood side by side with Arnold in competition.
John started his workout and explained his training philosophy and how he focuses on maximum muscle fiber damage. He started off with the machine presses for his chest, on the seated press. He did some partial reps for added intensity at the end of his set. His muscle quality was quite high. He was hard and vascular and his age was not really showing in his physique.
Back to Tina, the interview with John continued. They talked about his longevity in bodybuilding and his thoughts on retiring. I was very impressed with the length of John's career and how he has managed to stay healthy and continue to win titles of that time. He was 52 years old at the time of the interview, and today he is going on 64 (in 2006) and is still competing! He just won the masters division of the 2005 NABBA Mr. World in Brazil, another excellent production by GMV.
Some contest footage of John was then shown, and he was looking sharp as well as presenting a good posing demonstration. John is a short man (around 5'3) and has a lot of muscle packed onto his frame. His conditioning is great and his most muscular pose is out of sight being his trademark. It really makes me wonder how long he will keep on competing in bodybuilding. Will he go until he is 67 to make it a 50 year competitive career or will he even go further until age 70? This DVD is worth checking out for that reason alone. Age is just a number, and I think John has proven that many times.
John's training seemed to incorporate a lot of machine work, which is surprising in some sense, and not so surprising in another sense. This was partly as the DVD was shot in John's brand new studio. John also trains at other old fashioned hard core gyms for variety. John has built his physique using basic exercises, hard and heavy. But at the same time, machine exercises would probably promote longevity in bodybuilding since the risk of injury would be lower. Tina even pointed this out in the interview. John said that he likes to use machines because he can get to failure when training on his own. With free weights, things would be a lot more dangerous. Some footage was shown of John using one of my favourite machines, the pec deck, which is used to build mass in the chest. He was performing a very intense set. John said that he uses Panatta machinery, some of which he even helped to design.
At the time of the DVD, John was getting ready for the World championships. That having been said, he was on a contest diet. John explained that a lot of his best gains came after the age of 50. He said that meal replacement supplements are a lot easier to rely on for his diet than whole foods because he doesn't need to spend time counting calories because it is already done for him. He now has his own supplements company Peak Body
Back to his workout, John was still working on the pec deck machine for his chest. John's feats of strength were being discussed and some old strongman footage of John was shown from the early 70s. In it he was shown blowing up a hot water bottle. It swelled up quite a bit and Wayne tells me it blew up shortly after he stopped filming. This was shot at a NABBA Universe contest back around 1973.
John explained that his favourite body part was chest. I would agree with him. He also said his favourite exercise used to be bench presses. He gave a good tip which is that the body will adapt to any stressful situation. As such, it is important to vary your routine so that you stimulate and stress your muscles into new growth.
After his set was complete, John commented that it was some way to celebrate his 53rd birthday and that he had been working out for 40 years.
John's triceps workout started off with dips on the hammer machine. John was training very intensely given that he was using machines. It is definitely possible to reach complete failure on machines. Machines are also very good for keeping continual tension on the muscle group involved. John explained that he was doing decline bench presses the previous year (1994) and that his triceps tore. I really don't know how injuries like this take place because John is such a seasoned veteran. No doubt he knew what he was doing and accidents can happen.
John moved on to his back workout next, starting with wide reverse grip chin-ups on the chin-up machine. John did wide grip lat pulldowns for his back as well. John said a few words about training after his first set and explained that he does three short workouts per day which results in maximum recovery ability. I had never really heard of a training program like this one before. He did another set of the wide grip pulldowns, once again, pulling the weight down to the front. John then went on to his final exercise for his lat workout - the seated rowing machine. John took off his tank top next to hit some poses. He was looking very hard and sharp, and especially so for a 53 year old.
John moved on to train his biceps next, using the a double arm biceps machine. He did a hard set as usual, keeping his intensity high. He went on to the machine preacher curls for biceps next. Given that he was training solely with machines, his intensity was on par with performing any free weight exercises.
Back to the interview with Tina, John explained that simply training to be a champion is not enough to make you a champion. He said that it takes the genetic possibility to get there and years of training. He said that champions have no secrets to getting big. I would disagree. And yes, make no mistake about it, ANYONE would grow massively big if they were on the steroid/training/eating stacks some of the pros are on today.
Back to his workout, John was now doing shoulders. He was back to using the machines once again with high intensity. John explained the principles behind his routine before moving on to another set. John was good at explaining what works for him and also at advising others about what to do for their workouts. A forerunner to Ronnie's on the road DVD.
John moved on to legs next, doing leg extensions on the machine as expected. John did do hack squats next in fact, which he said had less injury potential for him than barbell squats. I would tend to agree with this.
John talked about nutrition after his set was complete including his water intake. Once again, he had a lot to say about the issue. John was full of information which came from his years of experience.
Next up, John was shown training his biceps with alternate dumbbell curls. He hit some poses after that was complete, posing to some music which sounded like some 1980s beats. After another brief interview with Tina, John hit some more poses this time to more powerful Operatic music.
Some more contest footage of John Citrone was shown, with him winning the Masters World Championships. He has been winning for a long time now and will no doubt continue to win.
John was then shown winning the 1997 Masters NABBA Mr. Universe contest. Some footage of John was then shown from the 1998 version of the same contest, with John once again declared the winner. Very impressive! Keep in mind he was 56 years old at the time of this contest.
Some more brilliant GMV archival footage of John was shown. He was then announced the Masters champion at the 2002 NABBA World's! Talk about an amazing contest history. He was 60 years old at the time of that particular contest. Wow! You would be amazed at his condition in the show. He wasn't really showing much in the way of age at all. Very impressive.
Next John was shown winning the 2004 NABBA World championships! This time at the age of 62 years old. He was still looking as good as ever. Obviously to him, bodybuilding was simply a way of life. It would be hard to get a lot of people in their sixties to start working out, or to build muscle at all, but for John it was probably easy since he had been doing it for about 50 years, and it's also a lot easier to keep muscle you already have than to gain new muscle. He has been up against some tough line-ups in the past going back to Arnold, yet continues to win - even as of the 2005 NABBA show! John said he had been competing for 44 years! As of now (2006), he has been competing for 46 years!
John was next shown winning the 2005 NABBA European championships. As usual, he was in his normal shredded condition. The entire crowd line-up of 50+ champions posed next.
John was then next shown winning the 2005 NABBA World's once again in the Masters over 50 class! I have watched in amazement as I reviewed this DVD and I have to say that I was impressed with the quality of production, and most of all, the quality of the over 50 guys. They were looking fantastic for any age, especially over 50.
The DVD ended with John saying a few more inspirational words, and some final posing by John.
This DVD is an excellent choice if you want to check out a mature physique champion who still has the goods to compete against the best in the world. I'm amazed that John's career has spanned nearly 50 years. John also had plenty of good things to say and was full of insightful remarks due to his experience. While his workouts mostly consisted of machine training, his intensity was still way up there. Obviously John has found a workout program that has worked best for him, so I wish him all the best. I look forward to seeing him in the 2006 contests and I wonder how long he'll be able to stick around - still winning! I have since learned that he has won more titles in NABBA events than any other bodybuilder in history.
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