Jay Cutler, or ‘Cuts’ to his friends, is a phenomenon of modern bodybuilding. Bo Heamyan takes a look at this incredible man, and reveals how he achieved his amazing physique, and how you can do it too.

Four-time Mr. Olympia winner Jay Cutler is the only man in the history of the event to reclaim the title after having competed as the title-holder and not won. This perfectly illustrates the tenacity of a man who, as well as being one of the most recognisable bodybuilders on the planet, is famed for his highly scientific and methodical approach to the sport.

So how did this figure of granite become such an awesome man-mountain? Well, it is fair to say that concrete rather than granite proved to be the catalyst for this particular legend’s meteoric rise to super-stardom…

Humble beginnings

Jason Isaac Cutler was imbued with a strong work ethic from an early age. The youngest of seven children, he worked with his elder brothers and sisters on the family farm in Worcester, Massachusetts, where he was tasked with keeping Pa’s pigs, goats, chickens and cows in order. At the tender age of 11, Jay started working at his brother’s concrete business. The labour-intensive nature of this work had an almost immediate impact on the pre-pubescent Cutler. He recalls: “This is where I developed quite a physique, which later provided the foundation for my bodybuilding career.”

A good student, Jay concentrated on his academic and sporting commitments during his time at Wachusett Regional High School, only really training sporadically so that he could look good on the high school party scene. Upon turning 18 in 1991, Cutler made a commitment to devote more time to bodybuilding, a decision that was to yield significant short and long-term rewards.

Early bodybuilding career

Within a year of becoming an adult, Jay had made enough progress with his bodybuilding to feel that he was ready to compete in his first show. With confidence at a high and those now legendary biceps beginning to take shape, Cutler – at the ripe old age of 19 – made the trip to Raleigh, North Carolina to take part in the 1993 NPC Teen Nationals. Unsurprisingly, he took first place in the Teenage Heavyweight class, setting in motion a chain of events that would see him fall madly in love with professional bodybuilding and take him down the road to international stardom.

Stepping up to go pro

On the back of his first taste of success, Cutler worked in a number of different jobs to help support his dream of achieving pro status. In 1994, he met Bruce Vartanian, an experienced bodybuilder and savvy local businessman who took an instant shine to the up-and-coming trainee. In no time at all, Vartanian became Cutler’s mentor. Jay remembers: “Bruce took me under his wing and taught me the ins and outs of the business. He taught me what I needed to do to be the best.”

Along with nutrition expert Chris Aceto, Cutler and Vartanian sculpted the physique that would eventually go on to grace magazine covers, websites and TV screens across the world. All of this hard work finally paid off when, in 1996, Jay swept the NPC Nationals to take second place in the Light Heavyweight class, a feat which afforded him the recognition he deserved and – most importantly – earned him the International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness (IFBB) pro status he had coveted for so long. From here, Cutler’s life changed almost overnight, with anyone and everyone falling over themselves to offer the hottest ticket in bodybuilding a contract. After weighing up his (many) offers, Jay eventually decided to sign on with Joe Weider.

Becoming the best

Over the next two decades, ‘Cuts’ trained and competed in numerous shows across the globe, earning himself a whole host of accolades, victories and titles. He won consecutive Arnold Classic titles in 2002 and 2003, and came second to the great Ronnie Coleman in Mr. Olympia four times before finally getting his own hands on the title in 2006 (which he predicted would happen at the beginning of the year). He won the Sandow trophy for a second consecutive year in 2007, and was poised for a hat trick before Dexter Jackson claimed the title in 2008. The following year, Cutler became only the third competitor in the history of Mr. Olympia (alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger and Franco Columbu) to reclaim the title, and the only Mr. Olympia in history to reclaim it after having lost it as champion the year before.

Sample bodybuilding routine

After his physique, Jay Cutler is best known for being one of the most innovative and reactive pro bodybuilders out there. If something isn’t working for Jay then you can be sure he’ll change it pretty quickly. In fact, even if something is working, chances are he will change it anyway just to see if it can be made to work even better.

One of the most successful tweaks Cutler made was moving to a highly intensive five-days-per-week split in 2008, a transition which helped him to reclaim his Mr. Olympia crown from Dexter Jackson in 2009.

Here is a breakdown of that awesome routine:

Monday: deltoids, traps, triceps, abs

Delts:

Dumbbell Side Laterals 
Dumbbell Press
Side Lateral Cable
Front Raise (Olympic Bar) 
Bent Over Dumbbell Laterals 

3 sets of 12 reps
3 sets of 8-12 reps
2 sets of 8-12 reps
2 sets of 10 reps
3 sets of 10 reps

 

 

Triceps:

Cable Extension
Single Arm Extension
Dumbbell Kickbacks
Dips
Super Set:
Close-Grip Bench Press
French Press

4 sets of 15 reps
3 sets of 15 reps
3 sets of 12 reps
3 sets of 15 reps
Super Set:
3 sets of 8 reps
3 sets of 8 reps

 

Traps:

Shrugs

4 sets of 12 reps

Abs:

Crunches
Rope Crunch
Hanging Leg Raise
Leg Lifts

3 sets of 20 reps
3 sets of 20 reps
3 sets of 12 reps
3 sets of 10 reps

Tuesday: back

Back:

Wide-Grip Pulldowns
Dumbbell Rows
Bent Over Barbell Rows
Deadlifts
Close-Grip T-Bar Row
Behind The Neck Pulldowns
Seated Rows
Barbell Extensions

3 sets of 10 reps
3 sets of 10 reps
4 sets of 10 reps
3 sets of 12 reps
3 sets of 10 reps
3 sets of 10 reps
3 sets of 10 reps
3 sets of 10 reps

Wednesday: Day Off

Thursday: chest, biceps, forearms, abs

Chest:

Incline Barbell Press
Flat Dumbbell Press
Incline Dumbbell Flyes
Cable Crossovers
Decline Bench Press

5 sets of 10-12 reps
3 sets of 8-10 reps
3 sets of 10 reps
3 sets of 12 reps
3 sets of 8 reps

 

Biceps:

Straight Bar Curl
Single Arm Dumbbell Curl
Single Arm Preacher Curl
Hammer Curl

5 sets of 15 reps
3 sets of 12 reps
3 sets of 10 reps
2 sets of 12-15 reps

Forearms:

Reverse Curls

6 sets of 15 reps

Abs:

Crunches
Rope Crunch
Hanging Leg Raise
Leg Lifts

3 sets of 20 reps
3 sets of 20 reps
3 sets of 12 reps
3 sets of 10 reps

Friday: quads

Leg Extensions
Leg Press 
Squats
Lunges
Leg Extensions (Heavy)

3 sets of 20 reps
4 sets of 12 reps
4 sets of 6-10 reps
3 sets of 8 reps (per leg)
4 sets of 10 reps

Saturday: hamstrings, calves, abs

Hamstrings:

Lying Leg Curl
Romanian Deadlift
Single Leg Hamstring Curl
Leg Press (feet high and wide)

6 sets of 12 reps
3 sets of 10 reps
3 sets of 12 reps
3 sets of 12 reps (per leg)

Calves:

Standing Calf Raise
Donkey Calf Raise
Seated Calf Raise

4 sets of 10 reps
2 sets of 10 reps
3 sets of 10 reps

Abs:

Crunches
Rope Crunch
Hanging Leg Raise
Leg Lifts

3 sets of 20 reps
3 sets of 20 reps
3 sets of 12 reps
3 sets of 10 reps

Sunday: Day Off

Branching out

Jay Cutler personifies just how far one person can go when they are willing to be truly tenacious and flexible. While others may see setbacks or limitations, Cutler sees only opportunities to adapt and improve. After suffering a significant bicep injury during a photo shoot in 2011, Cutler was forced to take some time out from bodybuilding. It was during this period of enforced hiatus that the one-time farm boy and concrete worker decided to branch out into the commercial side of the bodybuilding industry. To this end, Jay aligned himself with the largest sports nutrition brand in the world, BPI Sports. As well as keeping himself busy, this deal enabled the man-mountain from Massachusetts to export his profile further afield, as he got to travel around the US and overseas in a rock star-type tour bus, in order to ‘spread the word’ to highly receptive retailers and distributors. On the back of this success, Jay has recently launched his very own Elite Series product line of fat burners, proteins, testosterone boosters, muscle builders and aminos.

And yes, he’s still training too. Seems the man-mountain from Massachusetts is made of granite after all.

Related Posts