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Gustavo Badell: The Challenger DVD Review - Titans Volume 6 Bodybuilding Video & DVD Reviews Reviews of Bodybuilding DVDs by Gustavo Badell: The Challenger DVD Review - Titans Volume 6

Titans Vol. VI, VII, VIII This Titans Set gets you upclose and personal with the motivated Gustave Badell, the fan favorite Lee Priest and the always inspiring Mustafa Mohammed. BUY IT NOW Titans Vol. VI, VII, VIII




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Feb 20th 2006
Las Vegas, Nevada

The DVD started off on Monday at 6:30PM, 13 days out from the 2006 Arnold Scwharzenegger Classic where Gustavo was training delts. He started off with some dumbbell lateral raises lying on a bench and moved on to seated dumbbell presses. His manager and friend Tony Falce was there working out too. Gustavo moved on to the 120 pound dumbbells on his second set which he did for reps. He then took off his t-shirt to work out wearing his blue tanktop. While he was looking huge and cut and his abs were poking through his t-shirt, you could also see his stomach poking through his tanktop as well. Gustavo has a fairly complete physique, but in my opinion he would be leaps and bounds ahead of his current status if he simply reduced his stomach size or controlled it better on stage. He exercised better control of it in 2005 than he did in 2004 but he still has room for improvement. Mind you, Gustavo is certainly not the only pro who has this concern, and other than Gunter Schlierkamp, just about every top 10 pro has this problem. When you get so incredibly massive some weight simply has to go in the midsection. Gunter happens to have a huge frame and so he still has room elsewhere for mass - in time Gunter too may develop stomach distention.

Gustavo Badell

For Gustavo's next set, he did seated military presses on the Smith Machine, starting off with 225 pounds which he did for multiple sets. He performed these behind the neck and his range of motion was pretty good given the nature of this exercise - going too deep can sometimes spell an injury. It was during the military presses where Gustavo's insane conditioning became apparent - not to mention his fullness. Gustavo had commented that he was on low carbs, but I would really have no idea based on how much his muscles were pinching his skin. He was hard and full and looked to be contest ready. If anything I think he may have flattened out after the contest was finished. Gustavo moved on to perform seated military presses also using 225 pounds. Gustavo had some decent strength, but I wasn't particularly impressed. Possibly because he outweighs me by 50-100 pounds depending on the time of year and he wasn't really using weights much higher than what I would be using. I will be up to the 120s soon with a similar range of motion and rep range as well. The argument can be made that bodybuilders are weaker when nearing a contest and in a depleted state. However, I'm not so sure if there is any truth to this for two reasons: (1) depletion is mostly mental. If a bodybuilder is weighing in at over 260 pounds and shredded at 5'7, they should have sufficient amounts of muscle mass to handle heavy weights If anything, trainin while depleted would be like training physically tired. It is not something that can't be overcome with the right mindset - depletion will only get you if you let it in other words. (2) Ronnie Coleman as well as some other pros display no loss in strength as they get more and more depleted. This leads me to believe once again that depletion can only get you if you let it. While I speak from a position of never having dieted down, I think bodybuilders making the excuse "It's my low carb day." is highly overused. Also, some bodybuilders are designed for power, and others for building muscle - some are designed for both.

As the DVD went further, there were more chances to note Gustavo's stomach distention - like so many other great champions competing today, he simply has too much muscle packed on his frame and as a result, he has stomach distention to show for it. Since I would say this is not reversible (assuming he wants to keep his contest weight as high as it is), I think it is in Gustavo's best interest to try to control his stomach during posing and try to relax it as little as possible. Having a gut is one thing - having it on display for all to see due to a sloppy posing routine is another thing entirely. Ronnie Coleman was very blatant in his posing routine at the 2001 Mr. Olympia and it seemed like he didn't even care that he had stomach distention - to me that is being disrespectful to the fans who do not come watch a bodybuilding show of guts. Gustavo will do just fine if he consciously tries to control his stomach distention on stage - he has enough strong points to make up for it.

In addition to huge individual muscle groups, Gustavo displayed a great deal of front to back thickness. He had tons of muscle just jumping off his frame, i.e., "muscularity" - he may not be as big as Gunter Schlierkamp, but he is definitely more muscular, in that he has more mass packed on his frame. His shoulders were ridiculously big as were his arms. When he hit a most muscular pose he had mass popping out of every part of his upper body - chest, traps, shoulders, arms - everything.

Gustavo carried on with his workout and at this point in the DVD was doing dumbbell shrugs for traps. This is an excellent exercise and one which Gustavo performed correctly unlike some pros (like Troy Alves in the Battle for the Olympia 2003 DVD). To perform this exercise, it is important not to bend your elbows and let your traps lift the weights and not your arms.

Abs and Triceps
Feb 21st, 2006.

The second workout was performed 12 days out, this time at 8:30 AM. Gustavo started off with some leg raises for his abs and moved on to perform twisting crunches on the flat bench, which were somewhere between a crunch and a full situp (crunches are more ideal in my opinion as situps are sort of a waste of energy for the same result). Gustavo performed side bends for his abs and it looked like he was doing a little bit of everything for his abs, but not for very many sets. In between sets Gustavo discussed his training and also mentioned his daughter Barbie-Ann, who was turning four. Gustavo went to the bathroom to hit some poses next and it was then that it was confirmed that Gustavo was in the necessary condition at that moment to step on stage and place very well or even win the whole contest. Later on, as it turned out, Gustavo flattened out and lost the conditioning necessary to be competitive. Too bad the contest wasn't being judged in the bathroom that day!

Three hours later during the same day, Gustavo came back to train triceps. He was training in his MuscleTech tanktop and started off with some cable work before performing skullcrushers using the EZ bar. Gustavo's arms were damn big and bordering on the size of his head at this point in his career. Pros competing today and ridiculously massive and ripped, but few of them impress me and that is mainly because their waists are just too big. In order to gain the amount of size necessary to be competitive these days, they need to put weight on everywhere and that includes their waists and stomachs. This is one of the reasons why Massive Frank McGrath from Newfoundland impresses me more than just about any other pro competing today. At 5'11 he is also fairly tall - much taller than most pros who generally go up to about 5'9. 5'9 is probably the best height for a bodybuilder because it gives him stature without giving him limbs which are so long and a frame which is so big that it takes too long to put competitive muscle mass on. Gustavo went on to perform triceps overhead presses which lying on an incline bench. Gustavo made the comment "100% hard work." I'll tell you - it always annoys me to hear pros make these kinds of remarks. They completely ignore the fact they they are juiced to the gills and eating a grocery store every day. Both nutrition and hormones are FAR more important to bodybuilding than training could ever be. It is important to train, but if you were juiced to the gills and eating a truck load of food every day, you too would grow huge with basic heavy workouts - granted, only a few can ever get to pro level and that is where genetics come into play, but DO NOT KID YOURSELF, hard work in the gym is definitely secondary to juicing and eating. In fact, it is not even comparable to either of the two aforementioned factors. Gustavo said that when you don't feel good you look good, and when you feel good you don't look good and that right now he feels like shit, so he must look good. This makes sense actually when you think of the effects that depletion has on the brain.

On stage (1) & Back
Feb 21st 2006

Some footage of Gustavo on stage at the 2004 GNC Show of Strength was shown next and Gustavo was looking very solid. Since then he has made many improvements in terms of muscularity as well. In 2004, Gustavo still had his shredded glutes and remarkable conditioning, although signs of his stomach distention were also present.

Gustavo Badell

Next Gustavo was training back 11 days out from the 2006 Arnold Classic at 6:00 PM. He started off with the counter weight chinup machine where he used straps and a wide grip. At this point in the DVD I noticed something that I had not previously which was the condition that his back was in. Gustavo was wearing a MuscleTech GAKIC tanktop this time. He went on to perform wide grip lat pulldowns to the front. He went on to another machine and his back thickness was just crazy. His back might be the reason why he is doing so well at the Mr. Olympia these days because it is known to be a contest where judging is placed quite heavily on rear poses. Gustavo performed dumbbell rows for his lats which is one of my favourite exercises. It looked to me like Gustavo had a very productive offseason that year and must have been eating like a king. Gustavo also performed another one of my favourite exercises which is the reverse grip barbell row, which he did with straps using 225 pounds. I am a meat and potatoes type of trainer who sticks with dumbbells and barbells for the basic movements. While Gustavo incorporates more machinery in his workouts than I do, he also does do his share of free weights. For his next set, he did the same exercise, but this time performing it with 315 pounds. Gustavo's next exercise was seated cable rows using the long bar. I find that the long bar is somewhat awkward on this movement which is why I prefer to use the triangle bar. Incidentally, Gustavo did exactly that for his next set of cable rows. Gustavo hit some poses and his back was looking as sick as I thought it was. It was full and thick and had all the necessary trademarks of a champion bodybuilder's back. His huge biceps and delts also helped to complete his rear poses. Gustavo's weight was being guessed next and when he went on the scale he weighed in at 265 pounds.

On stage (2) & Quads
Feb 22nd 2006

Gustavo @ the 2004 GNC (2)

Some footage of Gustavo's individual routine was shown next from the 2004 GNC Show of Strength and he was in obviously good conditioning in that show and showing great size. It's not a surprise that Gustavo went on to place third at the 2004 Mr. Olympia, vaulting ahead of Dexter Jackson in the challenge round in a decision which was controversial to some (most notably, Dexter Jackson himself, lol).

Next up, Gustavo was training quads at 3:00 PM, 10 days out from the 2006 Arnold Classic. He started off with leg extensions and then moved on to perform hack squats with three plates (135 pounds) per side. For his next set he added a plate on each side and an additional plate for the set after that (five plates per side in total or 225 pounds on each side). For his next exercise, Gustavo performed front squats. Gustavo went up to four plates per side on this exercise before doing leg presses where he got up to nine plates per side. He did some leg posing and was looking amazing. His legs were huge and dry. Gustavo performed stationary lunges with 135 pounds which would seem just as effective as the walking lunges Ronnie Coleman does since both variations of the movement consist of the same range of motion.

Gustavo Badell

At home (1) & Biceps
Feb 23rd 2006

At home Gustavo had a plate of food in front of him and discussed diet a little. It looked like he was eating the right kinds of food to ensure that his body his put in an anabolic state and I got some good diet ideas while watching this portion. It looked like Gustavo was sticking to the basics, which is generally a good thing when it comes to bodybuilding. Gustavo also said that his carb up process consisted of clean foods. Gustavo also said that he drinks three of four gallons of water each day (each gallon is 3.6 litres).

Next some footage of Gustavo Junior on the basketball court was shown. Afterwards Gustavo headed to the gym at 12:30 PM for a workout nine days out from the 2006 Arnold Classic.

Gustavo started off with standing barbell curls using the cambered bar and did some arm poses in between his sets. He was looking huge as always and his arms were always a strong point. He went up to 110 pounds on the EZ curl bar which he did for reps. He then did preacher curls using the EZ curl bar with 80 pounds. While he had huge arms, they were not as strong as I would suspect for a man of his size, even in depletion mode (which bodybuilders constantly use as an excuse for being weak). Gustavo hit some poses in his tanktop and he was looking very well, but I can't say that he had improved from the footage which had been shot a few days prior. He hit some biceps poses and was looking huge and sharp and then moved on to perform 100 pound curls on the preacher bench. Gustavo's next exercise was seated alternate dumbbell curls. When he did these his stomach distention once again became apparent. I think every pro should continue to build their physiques to the point where they can comfortably accomodate the weight, but not beyond that point. Gustavo and so many other top pros have clearly developed their physiques beyond that point. Gustavo's next exercise was single arm preacher machine curls. After that Gustavo hit some poses without his tanktop on and was looking sharp, but as I said previously I don't think this was an improvement over his conditioning from a few days earlier. If anything, he was already starting to flatten out by this point. He hit some leg poses to, and his legs were looking very shredded and big. He was obviously dry, just losing fullness at this point.

Gustavo Badell Single Arm Preacher Machine Curls

At home (2) & Chest
Feb 23rd

At Home (2) with Barbie-Ann

At his home, Gustavo's first place award at the 2005 Mr. Olympia "Challenge Round" was shown. How convenient that the year where the challenge round didn't effect the placings at the contest, somebody other than reigning Mr. Olympia Ronnie Coleman won it.

Gustavo continued to discuss his training and nutrition program and this segment of the DVD provided the viewer with a lot of good insights in the bodybuilding world. Gustavo did explain that bodybuilding was serious business to him and that he it is very important to him. He also emphasized the importance of health, which was something I was happy to hear him say because Markus Ruhl did not mention the need for good health in his DVD, and in fact said that his only goal was to be competitive and that health was not a consideration of his. This is a silly attitude and one which has become prevalent as more and more drug abuse has become an important part of bodybuilding.

Gustavo went on to train chest at 6:00 PM, nine days out from the 2006 Arnold Classic. Gustavo started off with dumbbell bench presses and was quickly using the 130 pound dumbbells for some nice and steady reps. Next he used the 145s for 11 reps but with what appeared to be some assistance from his spotter. He said to watch out before he dropped the dumbbells on the ground which was similar to Ronnie Coleman saying "Watch Yourself" with the 200 pounders in his "Unbelievable" DVD. Gustavo's next exercise was incline bench press on the Smith Machine. After doing his first set, he hit some poses in his tanktop. His next exercise was the seated machine press for chest. Gustavo did some poses during this part of the DVD and then moved on to perform cable flyes for his chest. He had on a MuscleTech belt during his training. Gustavo was definitely looking good, but I still feel that he was not looking as full as he had been at the beginning of the DVD, or even as hard for that matter. Although during his cable flyes, Gustavo was looking very big. I would have thought that with an upper body pump thanks to his chest training he would have looked bigger than he was. After his set of flyes, a lady in the gym felt Gustavo's arm and asked how long he had been working out for, to which he replied 16 years. Next up, the gang moved to the locker rooms where Gustavo hit some poses. While I will admit that Gustavo looked impressive, I can't say that he looked as good as he did at the 2005 Mr. Olympia Contest where he really nailed it conditioning wise. He did look full in the most muscular variations though. I should also point out that Gustavo would look much better if his waist was brought down in size, although I don't know if that is a possibility or not, since waist size is largely genetic. Gustavo hit the scale again and was weighing just under 266 in light clothing.

Gustavo Badell Front Double Biceps

Gustavo Badell Crap Most Muscular Pose

Gustavo Badell Hands Clasped Most Muscular

Gustavo Badell Hands on Hips Most Muscular

Backstage at the 2006 Arnold Classic

Just as I had suspected, Gustavo had flattened out by the time of the show. He was big and in good condition, but not full like he had been at the 2005 Olympia and the difference is definitely noticeable. Just like Troy Alves was flat at the 2004 Mr. Olympia compared to his previous performance at the GNC Show of Strength that year.

Gustavo Badell Front Double Biceps

Gustavo Badell Legs

Gustavo Badell Right Biceps Pose

In the next portion of the DVD, Gustavo discussed drinking three or four gallons of water each day. Yikes. But it should be pointed out that water is necessary to keep muscles hydrated.

Overall Review:

This was a very good Gustavo training DVD which highlighted Gustavo in a very well balanced manner. We got to see his training leading up to contest with plenty of footage of his conditioning as well as his nutrition and home life. Gustavo was in his best condition at the beginning of the DVD, and gradually declined from that point towards the end of the DVD, but still remained in great condition throughout. If only the Arnold Classic had been scheduled for two weeks earlier in the year he would probably have won the whole show. All in all, this was another excellent DVD from the good guys at

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