Michael O’Hearn Knows Power Bodybuilding
It happens that I work out at the same time of day, at the same gym as legendary Michael O’Hearn. I have had the pleasure of witnessing this man lift incredible amounts of weight firsthand. He’s rockin’ a 600 lb. bench press (and a 500×2 incline bench), an 815 lb. squat, and a 775 lb. sumo deadlift. Steroid-free.
And yes, he is every bit as nice in person as reported in the media.
No, he’s not plant-based (yet), but I wanted to feature O’Hearn in this article because no one does power bodybuilding better — and he’s an all-natural bodybuilder.
By the age of 14, he was competing in natural bodybuilding shows. He won the Mr. Teenage Washington at a height of 5’9″ and a stage weight of 172. During the next two years, puberty went full throttle as he grew to 6’2″ and gained an unfathomable, if not entirely lean, 100 pounds. All the while he was learning the basics of what he would later fine-tune and market as power bodybuilding—a system that builds strength and size by satisfying the needs of the strength and physique athlete: Heavy weights done for only a few reps but for a lot more sets. Whereas a classic bodybuilding rep scheme is three sets of 10, a classic power bodybuilding scheme may be seven or eight sets of three—not counting any warmup sets required to get to a heavy weight. He credits this system, more than any of the myriad genetic factors that might be working in his favor, as being the key to his success in bodybuilding.
Michael’s strategy involves not letting up on the training and getting after it pretty much all-year-round:
“Everybody does the same thing when they get ready for a show,” O’Hearn says. “They go from heavy weight and lots of calories to cardio, light weight, lots of reps, and a calorie deficit. It’s common. You get stringy and small. It happened to me, too. But I figured out early on that if I kept pounding the weight, I kept the muscle. When you are dieted down, you have less fluid in your joints and you’re more prone to injury, so I slowed down the reps. It’s harder to do—a loaded bar feels a whole lot heavier when you’re dried out—but I accepted it, and you wind up with a fuller, denser muscle.”
Now back to the topic of steroids, he has passed every blood test thrown at him over the years, including polygraph tests. O’Hearn had this to say about his personal philosophy about steroids:
“Could I have set records with steroids? Yes. Would I be as good as I am now? No. Steroids age you. Your connective tissue breaks down. Over time, something will inevitably tear.”
Temptation was easy to avoid, he says, thanks to quick success.
“When you get discovered by Joe Weider—he walks up to you at the Mr. Olympia and says, ‘I need you on the cover of my magazines,’ and you’re a 20-, 21-year-old kid—I realized whatever I had been doing up to that point was good enough. Would I have been tempted if I didn’t find success? I hope I wouldn’t have, but then again, I never wanted to be a 300-pound Mr. Olympia. I wanted a pleasing physique. I think of my body as an art piece, and it’s my art piece.”
I highly recommend reading the full interview here at M&F: http://www.muscleandfitness.com/athletes-celebrities/interviews/titan-fitness-world-says-hes-all-natural