A day with an Irish Bodybuilding Champion

I’m just back from visiting my friend Kieran Dolan at his gym in Tullamore.
The reason for todays visit was that he was hosting Irish bodybuilder, winner of class 2 in the Irish Nabba Bodybuilding Championships and The U80kg class at the RIBBF Bodybuilding Championships, Patrick Lowbridge.

Patrick, or Pa as he’s known, gave an informal Q&A where he shared his knowledge and experience of the murky world of bodybuilding, the training, the dieting, the drugs and the tan. All very, very interesting.
A few things he said stood out to me in particular:

  • Lift heavy, 3 sets of 6-8 reps, ideally just 6 to failure.
  • Stick to big compound movements, forget the fancy stuff
  • Get your workouts done in around 45 minutes
  • Cycle between 6 weeks of all out training effort and around three weeks lighter, high rep work, around 8-12 reps per set.
  • Don’t be afraid to take the week off occasionally, rest is vital.
  • Building mass and reducing fat is all about food.
  • Eat clean, eat your veggies and get plenty of water into you.
  • All good advice, regardless of whether you are a body builder, athlete or simply a fitness enthusiast.

The best result I ever had from a body building program followed similar lines, big exercises performed for 4-6 reps, even with my martial arts practice I still built size and strength. This was way before I started training with Kettles and during a time I was solely focused on mass building rather than athleticism. When my training switched to a more athletic focus again for martial arts conditioning I lost some size but found that I’d built an excellent foundation to build strength and explosiveness onto.
Body building, done in the manner prescribed by Pa, training that follows the old school of Dorian Yates, Arnold and the like, it works. It’ll get you big, it’ll get you strong and it’ll lay a foundation upon which you can base your athleticism.

Pa is very open about the short comings of his training though. We talked for a while about my martial arts and the differences in training practices. Pa and his fellow body builders, in Pa’s own words “we’re not into training those deep (core) muscles, we’re more about superficial, stuff you can see.”
So while he does train his Abs daily, he doesn’t want to thicken his waist so it’s all high rep sets for various styles of crunch, great for aesthetics, not great for power.
Saying that, so long as he squats, deadlifts and performs standing overhead pressing, he should still develop decent strength through the core.

All in all today was a interesting and enjoyable, it’s always a pleasure to hear from high level athletes, regardless of their sport, there’s always something to be learned.

If you’re ever in Tullamore, be sure to check out Dolan Fitness, you’ll find Pa there most evenings as he is preparing for the Worlds.



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