Bodybuilder Terrence Ruffin Learns to Train Around Injuries From Coach Joe Bennett

When a pro show is close, skip the exercises that don't feel right.

With the 2022 Arnold Classic fast approaching on March 4-5, 2022, in Columbus, OH, the elite bodybuilders who will compete are dialing in their preps to peak at the most opportune moments. With that comes some recovery efforts, such as deep tissue massage, tighter diets that don’t allow for cheat meals, and a depletion of water to help acquire that paper-dry skin that shines on stage. However, combining those things while still training hard can lead to some hiccups in the gym.

That was the case with reigning Arnold Classic Classic Physique champion Terrence Ruffin. After his warm-up for a heavy leg day alongside coach Joe Bennett, Ruffin felt discomfort in his right hamstring. It wasn’t enough to assume there was a legitimate injury, but it was sufficient that Ruffin sought the guidance of the “Hypertrophy Coach.” In Bennett’s view, when so close to a show, one should skip the lifts that cause discomfort as muscle tissue is unlikely to go away from lack of training for a few weeks. Check out the leg workout and adjustments Ruffin made in the video below, courtesy of his YouTube channel:

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Leg day for Ruffin started with a cocktail of vitamins and minerals taken in a single gulp in his kitchen. After downing the bevy of pills, he hopped in his car and drove to the gym to meet up with coach Joe Bennett. Ruffin’s warm-up consisted of single-leg glute bridges, external rotations of the knees and hips while using a yoga block, and drinking his pre-workout. The opening exercise was hamstring curls, and immediately something was off for Ruffin.

Everything’s feeling weird.

Bennett’s first suggestion to combat the weirdness Ruffin was feeling in his hamstrings was to “ramp it up slower.” Rather than exploding through the movement at the start of each rep, Bennett told Ruffin to take five seconds to get the weight moving. That didn’t quite work for Ruffin, who still contended with discomfort. Ultimately, they decided to abandon the seated hamstring curls altogether. Bennett was not too concerned about calling an audible to other movements.

If something doesn’t feel good at all, just completely skip it.

This workout was filmed three weeks before the 2022 Arnold Classic, and Bennett commented that Ruffin is unlikely to “lose tissue” in that time if the workouts need to adjust. He advised caution when receiving deep tissue massage work, as Ruffin did, that the massage therapist not go too hard on the tissue regardless of how good it might feel. That comforting feeling of release can also lead to muscles not firing the same way in the gym until fully recovered.

People need to be conservative inside three weeks. You’re not going to lose tissue from lack of training.

Bennett’s plan for Ruffin’s hamstring training is to add a set or two on arm day or wait until the following leg day to see how much stimulus they can apply without discomfort. Ruffin’s hamstring tenderness was in the midrange position — he felt fine in the fully contracted and fully lengthened position. Bennett leaned into that, moving Ruffin into quad training on the hack squat machine to work in the lengthened positions. It appeared effective as Ruffin loaded what appeared to be five 45-pound weight plates on each sleeve of the machine and grinded through the reps while wearing knee sleeves.


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Onto the 2022 Arnold Classic

Ruffin will defend his title against a stacked roster that includes two-time Classic Physique Olympia champion Breon Ansley. Ruffin appears extremely lean in his recent training videos and will likely convert that into an exceptional package come showtime. Urs Kalecinski of Germany and Ramon Rocha Queiroz of Brazil will also be in attendance in Ohio to capitalize on the momentum they built from their fourth and fifth-place finishes from the 2021 Olympia contest, respectively.

Featured image: @ruff_diesel on Instagram