Olympia Weekend Expo

After telling one of my clients that I was contemplating heading up to Vegas for the weekend to check out the 2010 Olympia Expo, he surprised me on Friday by informing me that he booked me hotel reservations using his free points. I drove up late Friday night and spent around 4-5 hours at the Expo on Saturday day.

If you’ve never been to an Olympia Expo and you are a fan of bodybuilding, I highly recommend it. You get to see a ton of freaky stuff and it only costs $25 to attend. Here are some of the highlights:

Things that Ruled!

1. T-Nationers

Right off the bat I found two fellow T-Nationers who work for T-Nation. I told them I write for T-Nation and wanted to take a picture of them. I don’t know if they believed me considering I ain’t got much muscle!

2. Kevin Levrone

He’s an actor now and isn’t so juiced up.

3. Charles Glass

I had a great conversation about the glutes with Charles Glass. Charles trains a ton of bodybuilders and is a crafty and legendary trainer.

4. Johnny Jackson

5. Jay Cutler

In case you’re wondering, Jay won the Mr. Olympia title for the fourth time!

6. Branch Warren

7. Dorian Yates

8. Dexter Jackson

9. Brandon Curry

10. Alicia-Marie

Holy Sweet Mother of God she’s hot! I made her pose for a booty-pic. She’s really cool too. I chatted with her about the glutes. She assumed she knew more than me on this topic but I had to set her straight. She can be the glute queen, but I’m the glute king! The butt pic doesn’t do her justice…you have to see it to get the full effect. It’s truly a work of art. Alicia-Marie is definitely one of the hotter fitness chicks in the world! Here’s her website.

11. Mark “Jackass” Bell

12. Iris Kyle

Say something and she’ll kick your ass!

13. Lou Ferrigno

14. Rich Franklin

I was about to mess him up until he apologized! All kidding aside, Rich and I have a ton in common…we both are former high school math teachers with master’s degrees and wicked left hooks (okay, maybe only one of us has a wicked left hook).

15. Gunter Shleirkamp

16. Evan Centopani

17. Brent Willis

This dude deadlifted 782 and he’s only 20 years old!

18. Matt “Kroc” Kroczaleski

19. Carmen Electra

I hate to be the one to say it, but somebody has gone downhill…

20. Stan “The Rhino” Efferding

He won the 2010 World’s Strongest Bodybuilder with I believe a 628 bench and 800 deadlift.

21. Gilbert Yvel

Kickboxer and UFC fighter

22. Some hot chick with big knockers!

23. Another sexy chick!

24. Mike O’Hearn

He was Titan on American Gladiators, he’s also an extremely accomplished fitness model.

25. Boxer Game

I tried 2 different times to get onto the leader board to no avail. The best I got was 850. If I just did straight punches the highest I got was 810. Then the guy working the game taught me the secret. He said all the leaders stand to the side and twist their bodies. When I did this I got to 850. There were some weak ass dudes who got in the 400’s. I saw a huge beast of a woman get 800 right before I left the show! My wrist and forearm hurt for the next 24 hours! The shit that guys will do to try to pretend they aren’t over the hill!

26. Free Protein – I got 12 packets of protein powder and 3 protein bars while I was there.

27. Freak Shows

It’s always cool to see a few freaks, and you’ll see tons at the Olympia Expo. I never got a picture of this guy (he was just an attendee) but he embodied all that is bodybuilding. He was most likely from Europe and had long hair, a vest with no shirt on, and tight-ass jean short-shorts with boots. Freaking legend!

28. Deadlift Form

I watched 2 straight hours of deadlifting (with powerlifters, strongmen, and bodybuilders) and analyzed the shit out of everyone’s form and physiques. Some interesting things…most deadlifters have decent glutes and usually good quads but surprisingly the hamstrings aren’t always “all-that.” My EMG tests showed that deadlifts max-out hamstring activation. The hamstrings are known to be “fast-twitch” which respond better to heavy loads so what gives? The hamstrings are a tricky muscle to grow. Every once in a while you’ll see a great deadlifter who has poor glute development. However, they ALL have great upper back development. You’ll see different set-ups, different stances, different upper back curvatures, etc. But whatever spinal curvature they choose, their spines rarely buckle during successful lifts. Erector spinae strength appears to be paramount for deadlifting prowess. Here’s a video of some of the short clips I shot:

Things that Sucked!

1. Jamie Eason

Well, Jamie certainly doesn’t suck. It’s just that I never got to see her. I know she was there because there are tons of pictures of her at the Expo on her Facebook page, but I never ran into her. This is the closest I got.

2. Groupies

These women are so pathetic. I went to the afterhours party at Blush at the Wynn and saw a couple of pretty girls who were all-over some of the bodybuilders. I realize that there are all kinds of fetishes and that some women are extremely attracted to bodybuilders, but whenever I see girls throwing themselves at athletes, rockstars, or celebrities I’m always blown-away. These are the same idiotic girls who complain that “all men are pigs” because they’re too stupid to choose good ones.

There was a pretty girl next to me that was around my age and when Ronnie Coleman or Jay Cutler appeared she’d get all giddy and try her hardest to get someone to take a picture of her with them. I like to think that I’m a decent-looking guy, but I was pretty much invisible to her. Now I’m just sounding like a hater so I’ll stop!

3. Continental Breakfast Phenomenon

I turn into a fat slob when I get free continental breakfasts. It never fails. I ate 2 bowls of Rice Krispies, a bagel with 2 packets of butter and 2 packets of cream cheese, an English muffin with 2 packets of peanut butter and 2 packets of honey, a grapefruit, 2 yogurts, a glass of milk, and a glass of apple juice. I’d love to know how many calories, carbs, fat, and protein were in that meal. Then I went back to my room and crashed out in a carb-induced coma for a couple of hours before heading back home!

4. I Forgot My Freaking Camera!

When I went to the afterhours party, I was one of only a few people who saw Ronnie Coleman busting out some serious dance moves in his dress-clothes. It was hilarious; a giant Silverback gettin’ his groove on! If only I had my camera it would have made for some great pictures.

5. The After-Hours Party

During Jay Cutler’s acceptance speech he asked everyone to go to the after party at Blush at the Wynn. I went, paid my admission, and then found all the bodybuilders cooped up in a private room. I stood outside the room for a few minutes trying to assess the situation, and after I realized how pathetic I was standing outside a room like a stalker I took off. Why in the hell would anyone go to these stupid afterhours parties if they don’t get to mingle with the bodybuilders and bodybuilding-writers? I won’t make that mistake ever again. I did chat with bodybuilding trainer Haney Rambod for a few minutes which made the trip somewhat worth it.

6. Less Talent

This was actually my third or fourth time attending the Expo. A couple of years ago Ronnie Coleman had his own booth, and The Rock, John Cena, Wanderlei Silva, Silvester Stallone, and Forrest Griffin were at the Expo. This year I felt that the talent diminished slightly, which makes sense I guess – everyone’s suffering a little bit in this crappy economy.

So there you have it, that’s a wrap!

25 thoughts on “Olympia Weekend Expo

  1. AHA

    There was a pretty girl next to me that was around my age and when Ronnie Coleman or Jay Cutler appeared she’d get all giddy and try her hardest to get someone to take a picture of her with them. I like to think that I’m a decent-looking guy, but I was pretty much invisible to her. Now I’m just sounding like a hater so I’ll stop!

    You familiar with the PUA community, Bret?

    Reply
      1. AHA

        Yes, exactly right. It’s basically geeks who have taken seduction and reverse-engineered it into a science. It’s very interesting and a cerebral dude such as yourself should be able to suck it all in very rapidly :)

        The classic book of PUA is of course The Game by Neill Strauss but you should also check out Mystery, Sinn, David Deangelo, Zan, and a few others. There are plenty of PUAs out there but not all of them are worth their salt. But you are a smart cookie so you should be able to figure it out :)

        Reply
  2. Chris

    I agree with Perry. Might I add LOTS of pics! LOL

    Great post, but your “Continental Breakfast Phenomenon” was a bit much before my b-fast. LOL! GUT BOMB!

    Reply
    1. Bret Contreras

      Chris, I’ve always been able to knock down thousands and thousands of calories at one sitting. If I didn’t train hard I’d be a lard-ass. Life is a constant struggle to not eat so much. My whole family is that way…if you saw us eat you’d think that we hadn’t eaten in weeks. We look like some rabid wolverines. Luckily we try to eat well during the week and we all work out consistently!

      Reply
  3. Clement You

    Hey Bret, thanks for summarizing the competition for those of us who didn’t have the fortune to be there. I bet you had a great time!

    If I may, I’d like to put it out that DB lunges work the hams like nothing else. They’re wicked, especially them reverse lunges!

    Reply
    1. Bret Contreras

      Clement, I would say that heavy lunges definitely make the glute-ham tie in area more sore than any other exercise, but surprisingly the EMG activity isn’t too impressive for the glute max and hams. The certainly have a huge loading in the stretch position and deliver a ton of eccentric/reversal stress, but I’m not sure if I’d consider them better than RDL’s, deadlifts, rack pulls, or glute ham raises for the hammies. Thoughts?

      Reply
  4. allie

    love your write up! :) sounds fun, interesting, with a touch of drama and humor…. all just a day in the life of bret contreras. great read and fun pics!

    Reply
  5. kdavis27

    Glad you had a good time. I met Alicia Marie last year. She is even more beautiful in person and has an enviable waist. It must be 20 inches.

    Reply
    1. Derrick Blanton

      I wonder how many pictures Rich Franklin had to take pretending to punch someone. You outweigh him by 40-lbs, Bret, and we all know you could hip-thrust him off of you if he mounted you. Unfortunately, then you would have to stand and trade with him!

      Interesting observation on DL’s and hamstring development. Conversely, I don’t believe that I’ve ever seen a sprinter who didn’t have a giant butt, and giant hamstrings. Balanced posterior chain development.

      Theory #1: The DL is not trained from the floor at a volume necessary for tremendous hamstring hypertrophy, due to CNS constraints. (Corollary, this would suggest that upper back is even more sensitive to “max effort training” from a hypertrophy standpoint. Did I read somewhere that the traps are the most prominent androgen receptor site?)

      Theory #2: Glutes and spinal erectors are dominating the hammies.

      Oh, and Kelly, 20-inches seems tiny for a waist..but to each their own I suppose.

      Reply
      1. Bret Contreras

        Derrick, from what I saw I was the only one who squared up with Rich for the picture. The other guys just wanted to put their arm around him. He’s really cool, I would have loved to have gotten to talk to him more about strength training. And if we got into it, he would defeat me very quickly. I know where I stand. I can kick the shit out of most adult males but I’m not UFC material! I’m a low-repper; my conditioning is not well-suited for MMA. When I trained for MMA seven years ago it took me a couple of months to be able to spar and roll with people comfortably. The first couple of weeks I’d be up against the wall gasping for air and my instructor would be yelling at me. I felt like I was going to have a heart-attack!

        Very interesting comment about the traps. I have a theory on that as well…if you find info on that please send it my way. My thoughts on ham development is that 1) It’s much easier for guys on steriods to grow the hammies, and 2) the hammies probably do best with heavy lifting as in deadlifts as well as pumping efforts such as high rep leg curls or glute ham raises. One without the other probably isn’t optimal for hypertrophy.

        Reply
      1. Derrick Blanton

        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2439525/

        It may be “broscience” but I did find this summary, which links to a few other studies. It’s also on Wikipedia under anabolic steroids, but I heard this long ago (late 90’s). I always assumed when someone is incredibly yoked in the traps, they were likely juicers, or at the very least, high testosterone freaks.

        Interestingly, the traps are Type 1 fibers, slower twitch endurance fibers, yet that’s where the prominent difference btwn steroid users, and natural athletes is located.

        J/k about Rich Franklin, obviously he will destroy most men. Saw a “behind the scenes” UFC production and his strength training was non-stop circuits, just banging it out, no rest, for like an hour. Extremely intense, and amazing pain tolerance. If he wanted to, he could alter his training to get totally jacked; that probably goes for most of those guys.

        Any UFC fighter is no joke, this was evidenced by pint sized Roger Huerta knocking out a former UT linebacker in a street brawl in Austin, TX.. See TMZ for that one..

        Agree with your hamstring analysis, I would also add training frequency to the list of variables.

        Phenomenal blog, videos, etc, Bret! Thanks for all of your time and energy.

        Reply
        1. Bret Contreras

          Derrick, thanks for the link. I don’t think it’s “Broscience!” I think there’s something to it. Very interesting topic though.

          As far as Franklin’s training, he has a new trainer since those days. His old training methodology was retarded and most of us “in the know” believe he trained his body to contract slower and become less explosive. I agree; he could get totally jacked if he wanted. Didn’t know that about Huerta! Good call on hams. Thanks again!

          Reply
  6. Mike T Nelson

    Glad you had a good time there! I knew a bunch of people that went out there this year and I hear a rumor that it was not nearly as much …gasp… bodybuilding as in the past.

    Can you confirm or deny this crazy rumor? Maybe it is becoming more like the Arnold.

    Either way, looks like a blast and glad you had fun

    Rock on
    Mike T Nelson PhD(c)
    http://www.extremehumanperformance.com

    Reply
  7. PolyisTCOandbanned

    Keep keeping it real, math teacher. Interestin insights on the social dynamic.

    Umm…IANAWLE but, I don’t think that 20yo deadlifter completed his lift (in video).

    Reply
  8. Karla

    Great write-up brah. My only critique is not enough butt shots (guys)

    Wish I could have attended this year too.

    Sigh. Next year perhaps…

    Reply

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