Saturday, October 4, 2014

Workout of the Day: Van Dammage

With Arnold night, Jean-Claude Van Damme's birthday and An Evening with Carl Weathers stacked up in October, I've got to keep The Pump on to honor my shidoshis.  Of course, JCVD's physicality has been an inspiration to me since I first saw Bloodsport on TBS as a wee lad and continue to admire his dedication to keeping fit through the years without ever veering into fatass-ness a la Steven Seagal or freaky pharmacy cabinet-ness of Sylvester Stallone.  As a teenager, Van Damme was a self described "skinny runt" and was practicing karate for hours a day and running miles upon miles.  That gave him endurance but his coach Claude Goetz instructed the young man that he needed strength and resistance to be able to deliver knock out blows.  By age 18, his father described him as "Tarzan" and the high school drop out soon opened his own fitness mecca dubbed California Gym.  Young Van Damme weighed in at over 200 pounds of well developed and proportioned flexible mass.  Hitting Los Angeles in his early 20's, JCVD worked odd jobs like laying carpet, delivering pizza and driving a limo while training at 4:00 or 5:00AM at Gold's Gym in Venice 4 days a week.

After the success of Bloodsport, Van Damme showed off an extremely beefy yet lean, vascular and defined body in Kickboxer.  I'm sure the sweltering heat and constant sun helped tighten him up while Van Damme said he trained his entire body 3 times a week during shooting.  Throw in hours of martial arts training and choreography, Kickboxer might just be Van Damme at his physical peak.  By the early 90's when Hollywood started calling, Van Damme dropped down into the 170's which was arguably a better fit for his 5' 8" frame but his huge biceps and shredded shoulders were always on display.  Genetically never a mass monster like Arnold, Van Damme was content with building up his own naturally impressive frame with broad shoulders without bulky traps, bulging biceps, clearly identified brachialis, striated triceps, a wide yet not too mountainous chest, chiseled abs and a V taper into a tiny waist.  No chicken legs here either as years of ballet, karate and squats produced muscular quads and a derriere that audiences would be very familiar with.

Training wise, Van Damme approached weights in typical bodybuilding fashion, pairing opposite muscle groups like Chest and Back, Biceps and Triceps, etc followed by cardio and karate.  A typical session during the glory days was said to take upwards of 2-3 hours.  Always one for supersets, a JCVD chest/back workout would usually include Bench Press, Chins, Flys, Rows and Pullovers while arms would get swelled doing Preacher Curls, Dips, Concentration Curls and Triceps Extensions.  Squats, Leg Press and Extensions kept the leggy legs strong while Shoulder Presses and DB Raises kept his delts wide and defined without becoming overly large.  Reps were done deliberately with a controlled tempo to really feel the muscles working.  All that running and karate isn't too easy on the knees so you'd usually find Van Damme on an exercise bike after training or in the morning before breakfast.  On the set of Universal Soldier, Van Damme and co-star Dolph Lundgren each had a trailer gym on location to work out in.  Between takes, they would pump up for the camera much to the timing/logistical nightmare of director Roland Emmerich.  Out in the remote desert on Legionnaire, Van Damme and friend/co-star/kickboxing champ Dida Diafat kept in shape with a makeshift gym consisting of a Chin Up bar, Dumbbells and lawn chairs where Van Damme would perform variations of push ups and dips.  For In Hell, Van Damme could be spotted doing push ups between set ups to keep the blood flowing.  Long has Van Damme teased fans with a workout video that could be done outside of a gym using a few sturdy chairs to assist in push ups, dips and squats along with isometric exercises to work the muscles and heart with no impact on joints.  No sign of it yet though.

Eating wise, Van Damme seems to be one of the lucky few who can partake in a high carb diet and not have it go to his gut.  A big plate of pasta with salmon was a favorite after training meal while simple fare like oatmeal, fruit, lean chicken and protein shakes filled his day.  Taco Bell was a delicacy in his starving days.  In the 2000's, Van Damme went nearly vegetarian and appeared a slimmer, very defined shadow of his former self consuming rice, beans, vegetables and maybe a fish dinner once a week and telling surprised friends he was healthy, not skinny.

On this Saturday morning I continued my Circuit starting day where I got in Kettle Bell Swings, Chins, Push Ups, Machine Rows, DB Pullovers, 1-Arm Preacher DB Curl and Larry Scott JM Press 3 times through followed by forearms, calves, neck, lower back and cardio.  My next workout will be focused on legs followed by a Shoulders and Arms day then starting over.  Sometimes I'll take a day just to do cardio and go for a swim, row, Versa Climb, shadow box, jump rope, etc since all of those work the entire body.

No way will I be giving Carl Weathers a Predator handshake with weak pipes, so keep pumping!

No comments:

Post a Comment