The DVD started with Don getting out of his car and entering his gym which was Xtreme Fitness in Kansas City, MO. Don introduced his training partner, Chris Mahon, who placed third in the heavy weight class at the 2006 Caveman Classic. Don said that he trained Chris, and that Chris was part of his motivation team and inspired him.
Don started his workout by performing hanging leg raises for abs. Don then hit some crunches on the floor. The ab work was a warmup for his chest workout. He started next with incline dumbbell presses on a 45 degree incline. He started off with fairly heavy dumbbells and would do a set to failure with the heavy dumbbells then grab dumbbells of about half the weight and perform another working set with them immediately afterwards in a superset/drop set type of fashion. Don's strength was very good. By no means did he look like a bodybuilder in need of sympathy - he was showing strength as strong as plenty of pros. His condition and size was also impressive. Don's next exercise for chest was the seated incline machine press. He started off with two plates per side which is 180 pounds plus the weight of the sled. Don hit some poses and he was in great condition as well as being full. His arms and shoulders were particularly impressive, and that includes his forearms. They were simply huge. Don took off his tanktop before his next set and he was just as impressive as I expected him to be. His fullness was what was most impressive. He was not quite in contest condition yet, but had plenty of muscle size and was pretty ripped.
Don moved on to perform triceps pushdowns on the plate loaded dip machine next. For his next chest exercise, Don used the pec deck machine for flyes - one of my favourite chest machines. Don moved on to the triceps pressdown machine and used the short v-bar for this exercise. His mass and fullness continued to impress me. He looked as big as ever to me and in great condition. No doubt it must take a toll mentally on bodybuilders who suffer from health problems to drop down in muscle size so drastically when being large and conditioned is so important for the self esteem of some of them.
Next, Phil Williams, the 1988 Chicago Pro champion showed up at the gym. Don next hit the front double biceps pose and was looking large. He did some single arm triceps pulldowns then put his tanktop on for another set. Phil went on to do seated dumbbell pullovers for his triceps and his arms were looking huge.
After doing some cardio and walking body weight lunges, Don met up with Bobby Smith who owns Xtreme Fitness (the gym the DVD was being shot in).
At the Clinic
Kansas City, MO
Don spoke a little about his dialysis treatments and seemed to look at the whole procedure as being tolerable and did not complain about it. Don took his weight which was 116 kilos, which translated on the scale to 255.5, which I calculated to be 257.7. Very heavy at his height to be in such good condition.
Sept. 12th, 2006
Kansas City, MO
Don went back to Xtreme Fitness and started his workout with leg raises on the floor and then performed machine crunches. Phil then went to warm up quads with the leg extension machine and using his body weight. Don then performed squats on a plate loaded machine (non Smith machine). Don next did leg presses, similar to the weight and range of motion Phil Heath used in his new DVD - "The Gift". Don did some step-ups on to a flat bench to stretch out his quads in between sets. Don did leg extensions one leg at a time and was displaying great vascularity in his quads. Don then performed standing leg curls for his hamstrings and performed them one leg at a time. He then performed seated hamstrings curls and also performed them one leg at a time. Afterwards he did adductions for his inner thighs to complete his workout. Don next hit some poses in his tank top including the front double biceps pose, front lat spread and right side chest pose and right side triceps. Next, Phil hit the treadmill and during his cardio workout he discussed how he was competed seven years after his initial bout with health problems, whereas Tom Prince competed immediately after being diagnosed with kidney problems. Don said that it was a good idea to wait because he understood his body's health needs and that he knew what he could and could not do, whereas Tom tried to compete to early. Phil also mentioned that he had a stroke and was in the hospital for two and a half weeks and that he could not walk or talk for a while. He said his sister was a huge support to him during his time of need. Don said that he was about 200 pounds at the time and that there were medical workers who were helping him to use dumbbells as part of his recovery process and that the workers did not know he used to be a bodybuilder since he did not look like one. Phil then said that training dogs was a passion of his.
Next up, Don was at home preparing a meal and eating it. His sister Michelle showed up and then Don showed us a tour of his house. Don showed us his nocturnal dialysis machine and it looked like a pretty interesting device.
Sept. 13th, 2006
Kansas City, MO
Don once again started off his workout with some work for his abs. He then moved on to perform side lateral raises on a delt machine. Don next performed cable lateral raises and the set was shot from behind and the thickness of his back was crazy. Don's freaky and crazy size has to be seen to be believed - he did not look like a person living with a serious health problem at all. He hit a back double biceps pose and was looking huge and he had amazing lower back thickness, in the tradition of Mike Francois.
Don's next shoulder exercise was the seated military press on the plate loaded Cybex machine. I like this exercise, although there are other shoulder exercises I prefer over it. I will generally include it in a typical shoulder workout of mine, as it is still a good exercise. Don would hit some poses in between sets and his delts were looking pumped as well as the rest of him. Don then performed some dumbbell work and followed that up with some rear lateral work on the pec deck - my favourite rear delt exercise. One that provides adequate stimulation and keeps the tension on during the entire range of motion.
After his shoulder workout was complete, Don went outside and hit some poses. Once again, his lower back thickeness impressed me. He looked like he was on track to have a good showing in Atlantic city.
At Home (2)
Don spent some more time at home and explained a little more about his dialysis machine. Don seemed very informed about his health condition and related matters. It was nice to see him with such a good understanding of it.
Back and Biceps
Sept. 14th, 2006
Kansas City, MO
Don was back at Xtreme Fitness for his biceps workout and performed some machine rows for his back - any type of rowing motion is great for back development, and Don's incredible back development is proof of that. Again, what impressed me the most about his back was his lower back thickness, an area which many pros have a hard time developing. Next he hit lat pulldowns to the front using the long bar and a medium-wide grip. He moved on to another machine, hitting the machine rows for his back and after his set was complete he hit some poses in his tank top and was looking great. Don then performed lat pulldowns on the Cybex machine, which is a plate loaded machine and feels slightly different than the standard cable lat pulldowns. So far, it appeared to me that Don was very machine dependent for his back workouts.
Once Don's back workout was complete, he moved on to perform single arm biceps machine preacher curls to start his biceps workout. He said that his biceps always grew very easily, which Ronnie Coleman said also. Biceps are something that any bodybuilder would want to have as a strong point since it is such a commonly noticed muscle. Don hit some poses after his set and performed some more sets of the same exercise. Afterwards, he performed double arm rope curls on the cable machine. Next for Don was standing alternate dumbbell curls. His biceps were HUGE and as big as plenty of current pros and bigger than plenty more. Don was not kidding when he said that biceps grow easily for him. That is obvious looking at his arms as the results speak for themselves. Don hit some poses in his tank top and his condition had improved since the other posing segments of the DVD. It looked to me like Don was going to do well at his contest. Don talked a little about his contest and after his workout was complete he thanked the IFBB and said a few words and the DVD ended.
I expected an interesting DVD when the guys at MuscleTime.com gave me this DVD at the 2007 Arnold Classic expo. What I did not expect was to see Don in such incredible shape, seeing as he did not place at the 2006 Atlantic City pro show. The way he looked in the DVD, I would have expected him to do very well at that contest. I suppose due to health considerations, Don was not able to get the final bits of water off his physique to display his muscularity to its full potential, in which case I respect the fact that he did not try to play with fire in this instance. Don seemed to be very happy given the hand he has been dealt in life and I wish him the best. Overall, the quality of the MuscleTime DVDs have gone up since the first batch came out. The sound and video quality is better and the DVD features everything that one would expect in a training DVD: a full body workout regiment, some comments on nutrition and supplementation, and some posing. This is a good DVD, especially for those curious to see what Don looked like, seven years after his previous retirement as a pro bodybuilder.