10 tips from Ryan Terry

For years, Englishman Ryan Terry has been at the top of the fitness food chain, consistently placing in the top five of Mr. Olympia competitions. Then, LAST spring, he brought home the gold at the 2017 Arnold Classic in the men’s physique category. So who better to provide you with 10 tips to get you on—and keep you on—track this summer as you chase your best physique yet?


“I’ve found steady-state cardio to be most beneficial for me and my competitive goals. It gradually chips away at my body fat without causing me to lose muscle. Start walking on a treadmill on a moderate incline for about 25 to 30 minutes at a pace that keeps your heart rate around 65–70%. Walk four to five times per week and work up to 45- to 60-minute sessions.”


“The key to sculpting your body and maximizing muscle growth is to vary tempo, volume, weight, and variations of your workouts. This could mean doing more supersets or dropsets, or amping up the time under tension. But I’ve also learned to listen to my body. If I’m tired and aching from a previous session, I adjust my current workout accordingly by lowering weights, sets, or reps. Similarly, if I’m feeling energetic, then I’ll up the intensity and take advantage of my extra energy.”


“Let’s get one thing out of the way: Flexible dieting isn’t about eating loads of junk food and making it fit into your macronutrients.So long as you’re hitting your predetermined macronutrient ratios, you can have a little treat here and there to strengthen you mentally and metabolically. But you can’t go crazy with the treats. Over the years, I’ve tried both clean eating and flexible dieting and have found that the latter approach works better for me when it comes to the mental side of dieting, as it gives me that balance in life. You can still go out and socialize with friends and family.”


“I found eating consistently throughout the day sped up my metabolism and helped my body function more efficiently. My energy levels were great, my fat levels were minimal, and I was still growing. I tend to stick to the same food types all year round, although portion sizes vary according to my physique goal at the time.”


Here’s how the 2017 Arnold Classic Physique champ carved his ripped midsection


“I start my abs workouts with the hanging leg raise, which helps achieve the V. It’s my favorite abs exercise.”


“Don’t use heavy weight with oblique moves. You’ll thicken the waist. Instead, use high reps and light weight.”


“Vary your workouts so you hit upper, lower, obliques, transversus abdominis, and the entire core.”


Incorporate these moves into your routine to take your gains up a notch

 Legs: Squat

why I like it : “Squats are great for building leg muscles. The calves, quadriceps, and hamstrings all get worked. They also create an anabolic effect that promotes muscle building and strength in the entire body.”

Don’t neglect training the transversus abdominis. These nonvisible muscles are found deep in your core and provide trunk stability and help minimize injury risk when strengthened. All plank variations hit the transversus abdominis.

Chest: Incline Bench Press

why i like it : “Having the bar at an incline activates the upper chest in particular, but it also works the entire pec area, so it’s a key move.”

Biceps: Single-arm Dumbbell Curl

why i like it : “It really isolates the biceps’ peak, adding height to the arms. I structure my arm training by curling heavy first, then I finish with some more isolation exercises, and I find that effective.”

Back: Deadlift

why i like it : “Deadlifts work more muscles simultaneously and contribute to greater strength and size gains than any other exercise in my training plan. It’s the one move I cannot afford to miss if I want a bigger back.”

Shoulders: Dumbbell Shoulder Press

why i like it : “It hits all three heads—medial, posterior, and anterior—of the deltoids at once, and I really feel the shoulders working every inch of the way up and down.”


“Although pressing exercises should be the foundation of your chest training, flyes are great for sculpting the muscles and maximizing that full, wide look. With flyes, there are so many different pieces of equipment on which to do them. I highly recommend rotating all of them into your routine.”


“I had always trained biceps and triceps once a week, but last year I decided to hit them twice: Once on the same day and once each on different days, I do triceps with back days, and biceps with chest. When I do biceps with other body parts, I go with high volume, 12 to 15 reps, and do three exercises. When I do them together, it’s low reps, heavy weight, four to five exercises, and long rests between sets. I also take in more calories to get a better pump.”


“Very few gym goers warm up properly before hitting an exercise, if at all. My advice? Incorporate pre- and post-workout stretches into your routine. Before workouts, massage your lower and upper body with a foam roller or PVC pipe. This will increase blood flow to get your body ready for a training session and release muscle tightness that can interfere with proper form. Also, stretch out your shoulders and back with a band. Postworkout, use a foam roller as well as a lacrosse ball to provide a more intense myofascial release and flush out toxins to help with recovery.”


“Many lifters believe that abs are secondary muscles that don’t require additional training. Nonsense. If you want six-pack abs, then focus on them specifically. And to take your abs to the next level, train upper and lower abs on different days. That’s what I do. It provides more time for recovery and allows you to focus more heavily on your abs.”


“When doing the back squat, the k squat, the heavier the load, the less emphasis there is on the quads. With big weights, your lower back takes on more and more stress as the leg muscles fatigue. So to make sure you’re hitting your lower body, you could of course, lighten the load on your back squats. But before doing that, I suggest opting for front squats and split squats. Also, use varied back squats. To target the ‘outer sweeps’ of the thighs, move your feet closer together—to about hip width. To target the inner thighs, specifically the adductors, widen your stance to outside shoulder width.”


“I always set goals in life to work toward, whether it’s a family holiday, a photo shoot, or a competition. Giving myself that end goal keeps me focused and on track. Throughout the off-season and leading up to the competition, I visualize the improved physique and stage presence I want to achieve. Do the same with whatever your personal goals may be.”