Breon Ansley “Embraces the Pain” of Training On Fewer Calories During Olympia Prep

Ansley utilizes supersets and trisets while in a caloric deficit.

The Speakeasy Gym in Pasadena, CA, was the training outlet for former two-time Classic Physique Olympia champion Breon Ansley on Nov. 10, 2022, for a shoulder and arm workout with six weeks to go before the 2022 Olympia. The grandest competition in the sport is scheduled for Dec. 16-18, 2022, and Ansley will compete as a Classic Physique competitor for the final time before moving up in weight to compete in the 212 division.

The workout at the Speakeasy was unique to Ansley’s prep as it was early in his caloric cut to lean out for the Olympia. Ansley says training on fewer calories (read: less energy) involves “embracing the pain.” Check out his training session in the video below:

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Six is nothing to go through some pain, struggle, and exert some grit. That’s what’s going to make us the best in the world.

Pause sets and an emphasis on muscular endurance were the focal points of this session. While running on fewer calories, adaptations in the gym need to be made to prevent injury. Ansley opted not to increase the weight of each set too significantly as his strength is naturally lower while consuming less food.

The first movement was hammer grip dumbbell front raises. Ansley wore his lifting belt to support his bracing. Once he pre-exhausted his delts, he continued the set by switching to lateral raises. He continued his triset by leaning forward while sitting on the weight bench to perform dumbbell rear delt flyes.

The rear delt flyes could be performed by bending over while standing, but performing them seated offers better stability. That additional stability enables Ansley to move more weight without going too heavy, as the energy he would spend to brace himself while standing is removed as a limiting factor. These seem like small changes but can make a significant difference when detailing his physique.

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Moving away from the dumbbell rack, Ansley hit sets of shirtless dips. He performed them in a more upright position to bias the front delts rather than the pecs and triceps. The trade-off was significantly less range of motion so as to not impinge his shoulders.

Once all the dips were done, Ansley ventured to the cable rack to perform upright rows. Noticeably, his form involved maintaining a decent distance between him and the cable. Typically, this movement is done by rowing the cable near the collarbone. However, Ansley hoisted the cable in front of him, mimicking the movement patterns of front raises.

Once his shoulder training was complete, Ansley continued by training his biceps via EZ-bar curls. He superset them with reverse grip curls to add density to his arms. Hammer curls and triceps pushdowns closed out the session.

Ansley ranked third at the Classic Physique Olympia in 2020 and 2021, behind runner-up Terrence Ruffin and three-time reigning champion Chris Bumstead. If Ansley recaptures the throne in December 2022, he would tie Bumstead for the most Classic Physique Olympia titles of all time. 

Featured image: @breonma_ on Instagram