Ara: I got into training when I was 13. My mom used to drag me with her to the local JCC and I threw some weights around in an attempt to “get big”. Little did I know that I would grow to love it. At the JCC, I developed some great friendships there that I still have to this day. The camaraderie that developed over time between the group of guys that went there consistently was something I wouldn’t trade for anything and I feel like that was a sole factor in what initially kept me going to the gym day in and day out.
How many days a week do you workout?
Ara: Between 5 and 6. Sometimes I’m there every day. I know it may sound crazy, but I personally need to get in there very often to keep the equilibrium and discipline that carries over into all the other facets of my life. Everyone’s different, but for me it’s more mental than anything else.
How often do you perform each body part?
Ara: I lift each body part once per week. This doesn’t necessarily mean I work one muscle group per day however. I usually devote a whole day to the large muscle groups such as chest and back.
What is your favorite body-part to train?
Ara: That’s a tough question. I’m a real big fan of Biceps and Triceps, but by far the most ball-busting workout, for me, is shoulders. Jaret, you’ve put me through one awesome shoulder workout this summer and a lot of my shoulder workouts now derive off of that sole workout. The pump and development I get from a great shoulder workout exceeds any other body part that I train.
What is the single exercise that has worked best for you over the years?
Ara: The single best exercise for me over the past few years has been standing barbell curls. It has been the one constant that I have found to be a cornerstone of my overall bicep development and it really gave me that “biceps peak”.
What is the one thing that you see people doing wrong in the gym over and over again?
Ara: The one thing that drives me nuts is people who have this concept that they only need to work the commonly coined “essential body parts” i.e. pecs and biceps and then neglect everything else. What the hell is that about? If you’re going to lift, please do it right; no shortcuts, no excuses. The other aspect to my hatred towards that concept derives from the fact that those same people that adopt that half-baked philosophy are the same ones that consistently get in everyone’s way when anyone needs to use the equipment they want to use. Do it right and to the best of your ability!
What is your advice to a beginner who has never lifted weights before but should be doing so?
Ara: Lifting does wonders for your body and self-esteem. Don’t be intimidated. Commit to the cause to get in shape. Anyone who is into lifting or athletics knows that consistency is the key. There is no substitute for hard work and in my experiences in the gym, the dedication to be in the gym rain or shine and day-in and day-out is the key factor to achieving all your goals. You can’t let up.
Now, you’ve got some of the best abs in the game, how did you develop them with such incredible detail?
Ara: Well that’s a secret… A lot of it is contingent on my training regimen and consistency in the gym (never missing a beat).
The last thing we have to ask you is how do you continue to make great strives in muscle mass and strength yet stay so lean all year round?
Ara: For me, its always been a matter of training philosophy. My goals have always been to make solid lean muscle mass gains. I never got into the seasonal cycling of beefing up during the winters and cutting down for the summers. I have always been more concerned with making lean mass gains consistently opposed to putting on as much muscle as possible which often leads to gains in body fat as well. My way is a much slower process, but I feel as though the quality of the muscle I put on is leaner and much easier to maintain.
continue to next page for Ara Basmajian’s workout routine