The bodybuilding duo showed there’s strength in numbers.
Coming off a clutch performance in Dubai that clinched him a spot in the 2023 Mr. Olympia lineup, Terrence Ruffin has a chance to remind everyone why he’s considered one of the top competitors in the Classic Physique division. The 2022 Arnold Classic winner officially earned a trip to Orlando, FL by taking home the Classic Physique title at the 2023 Dubai Pro on Sept. 24, 2023, putting him on track to walk across the stage during the Nov. 2-5 weekend.
While Ruffin faces an uphill battle to beat out four-time champion Chris Bumstead, he took a step in the right direction by teaming up with someone who’s reached the top of the mountain before: Brandon Curry. Ruffin shared highlights of his delt-focused training session with the 2019 Mr. Olympia Men’s Open champion in a vlog posted on his YouTube channel on Oct. 4, 2023.
With both bodybuilders looking to bounce back from disappointing showings at the 2022 Mr. Olympia contest (Curry finished fourth in the Men’s Open while Ruffin finished sixth in Classic Physique), the session included both muscle-building exercises and insightful discussions that show the physical and mental toughness it takes to compete at the highest level.
After a quick greeting, their workout begins at the :20 mark of the video.
Single-Arm Bent-Over Cable Lateral Raise
Curry started the shoulder-based session with bent-over cable lateral raises. Maintaining a neutral spine and a slight bend in his knees, he emphasized staying as long as possible with his arm during the movement. After performing several warm-up sets on each side, Ruffin and his workout partner ramped up the intensity.
Trainer Amer Kamra pushed both bodybuilders to complete sets of 15 reps, providing some assistance to maintain a full sweeping motion. During this first exercise, Curry highlighted how most delt movements don’t put a full stretch on the muscle, which limits muscle growth potential. At one point, Kamra had Ruffin go with a lighter load — a programming decision he expounded upon later in the workout.
“We start with rear delts: two warm-up sets, then we go two top sets,” Kamra explained. “If he didn’t get the first top set, we reduce the weight and we go back-off sets.”
Single-Arm Rear Delt Machine
After using cables for their first exercise, Curry and Ruffin moved on to the rear delt machine. Rather than sitting with their chest against the pad, the bodybuilders sat sideways, which provided more range of motion to build what Kamra described as “3D” shoulders.
Ruffin’s muscular endurance was put to the test during this time. He completed sets ranging between 12-15 reps that pushed him to stretch and contract his rear delts until the point of near-failure.
Lateral Raise Machine
Next, the Olympia-bound duo targeted their side delts on the lateral raise machine. Curry’s sculptured shoulders particularly popped during this exercise.
However, even the former Mr. Olympia winner faced the painful reality of repeatedly performing lateral raises when he finished one of his sets and quickly leaned on a nearby machine to catch his breath. Ruffin wrapped up with a final set that clearly taxed his side delts and traps.
Seated Shoulder Press
As the group transitioned to the plate-loaded shoulder press machine, Kamra let Curry and Ruffin know they would have to perform three “normal” sets, followed by a drop set. Starting with a 20-kilogram plate on each side, the IFBB pros progressed through several sets of this prime shoulder-building exercise.
Ruffin got a bit of a rude awakening from this part of the workout. After completing 12 reps with 35 kilos loaded on each side, he followed up with a drop set that left him humbled, to say the least.
“First day back and they’re whipping my ass,” Ruffin said.
Curry showcased his impressive combination of strength and stamina by working with a significantly heavier load to wrap up this part of the session. Kamra pushed the Nashville native to complete 15 reps with what appeared to be 90 kilograms loaded on each side, followed by a drop set of 12 reps with 40 kilograms.
Cable Rope Front Raise
Going back to the cables for rope front raises gave Curry and Ruffin another chance to round out their shoulders. In addition, it provided them an opportunity to talk about life away from bodybuilding. Working at a more relaxed pace, they completed rounds of this front delt-focused movement while discussing the how to achieve a balance between bodybuilding and being present for family and other obligations.
“The more you can keep an understanding that these struggle times are going to come, we live in reality, let’s try to plan appropriately,” the 40-year-old Curry explained. “If you have these false expectations or this perfect reality that ain’t going to come, then that’s where you run into roadblocks.”
Kramer brought things back into focus by challenging the bodybuilders to work through five sets at a lighter weight before moving on to the last exercise.
Dumbbell Lateral Raise
The workout ended with a classic bodybuilding move: dumbbell lateral raises. Both Curry and Ruffin initially used lighter weights to achieve a huge upper-body pump. Kramer then had each man complete three straight sets of 10 reps with progressively heavier dumbbells.
Olympia-Level Shoulder Workout
If you’re aiming for that “boulder for shoulders” look, this workout will provide an excellent stimulus. Working in the 12-15 rep range and utilizing drop sets has the ability to deliver effective results, especially if you pair this type of training protocol with a muscle-building diet.
- Single-Arm Bent-Over Cable Lateral Raise
- Single-Arm Rear Delt Machine
- Lateral Raise Machine
- Seated Shoulder Press
- Cable Rope Front Raise
- Dumbbell Lateral Raise
Although their 2022 Olympia experience didn’t go as planned, Ruffin and Curry look poised to perform better when they step on stage at the Orange County Convention Center. After all, based on their post-workout posing session, both men boast impressive physiques that make them worthy contenders in their respective categories for the 2023 Mr. Olympia show.
Featured Image: Ruff Diesel / YouTube