Dennis James is a popular figure in the bodybuilding world. The German bodybuilder is known for his accomplishments in competitive bodybuilding. He is also a prominent voice in the fitness community and one of the most recognized faces from the 2000s era of bodybuilding. This article explores his biography, competitive achievements, training routine and diet as well as statistics.
Dennis James Statistics
|Full Name: Dennis Tyron James (Nickname: The Menace)
|258 lbs (117 kg)
|5′ 8″ (172 cm)
|Date of Birth
|May 31, 1966
|Phoenix, Arizona, USA
Dennis James Biography
Dennis James was born in Heidelberg, Germany in 1966. He was an extremely athletic and active boy while growing up and turned towards the weight room early on in his life. James eventually decided to make a career in competitive bodybuilding. He took part in several junior competitions and eventually became an elite professional bodybuilder.
The 1995 NABBA Mr. Universe saw Dennis James take his first win in the competition and this win helped his decision to become an IFBB Pro. Dennis headed to California in 1997 to get involved with the pro’s and found himself in contact with Jon Lindsay, an NPC promoter.
His first NPC (National Physique Committee) competition was the NPC Border States Classics 1997, where he won 1st and overall. He then went on and placed 4th in the NPC Nationals 1997 before winning the 1998 Mr.USA super heavyweight and overall to earn his IFBB pro card. In 1999 he competed in his first Night of Champions, where he tied 14th. The following year, in 2000, he competed in his first Arnold Classic, placing 4th.
In 1998, Dennis James began his career as a pro after winning the NPC USA Championship, beating Melvin Anthony in a nail-biting tie-breaking decision. His first Mr. Olympia was in 2000 as well, where he placed 11th. He has competed in a total of 10 Mr. Olympias, with his highest placing coming in 4th in 2003.
Dennis has been featured in many fitness and bodybuilding articles, including the cover of FLEX magazine.
Life After Retirement
Following his retirement from competitive bodybuilding, Dennis James made Phoenix, Arizona his base. He puts his bodybuilding knowledge to good use and helps other competitors achieve their professional goals by guiding them in training. He offers online coaching and routinely shares bodybuilding tips and tricks that have helped a large number of people achieve their fitness goals.
Dennis James has also featured in several bodybuilding and fitness articles. He also graced the cover of Flex Magazine. Dennis James has also become a prominent voice of the sport of bodybuilding in recent years. He hosts the ‘Menace Podcast with Dennis James’ that has garnered a wide follower base. James routinely collaborates with industry stalwarts to shed light on different aspects of bodybuilding and discuss the current affairs in the sport.
Mr. & Masters Olympia Results
- 2000 – IFBB Mr. Olympia: 11th
- 2001 – IFBB Mr. Olympia: 7th
- 2002 – IFBB Mr. Olympia: 10th
- 2003 – IFBB Mr. Olympia: 4th
- 2004 – IFBB Mr. Olympia: 8th
- 2005 – IFBB Mr. Olympia: 6th
- 2006 – IFBB Mr. Olympia: 9th
- 2009 – IFBB Mr. Olympia: 14th
- 2010 – IFBB Mr. Olympia: 11th
- 2012 – IFBB Masters Olympia: 3rd
The Titles Dennis James Won
- 1995 – NABBA Mr. Universe (Medium-Tall)
- 1998 – NPC USA Championships
- 2001 – IFBB Grand Prix Hungary
- 2009 – IFBB Tampa Pro
- 2009 – IFBB Europa Super Show
Dennis James Workout
Denis James has a straightforward approach to training. He believes in working with heavy weights and keeps the workouts pretty simple with no jazz or junk volume. The 57-year-old adheres to effective compound and isolation movements to get the most out of his training.
Dennis James has created the ‘Menace Time Under Tension’ approach to training. Keeping the muscles under tension for longer duration is a great way to induce hypertrophy more effectively. The MTUT approach enables just that. Dennis James feels that it is more effective than slow eccentric reps in terms of avoiding training injuries and helping build muscle.
In MTUT method, you have to spend 10 to 20 seconds lifting the weight with a full range of motion and lower it down with regular speed.
“It’s a lot safer than negatives. You don’t want to risk an injury by lifting weights you can’t handle and then trying to let them down slowly on the negative,” Dennis James said.
The retired bodybuilder does not spend more than 45 minutes to an hour in the gym on any given day and makes sure to put his time in the gym to best use.
Training and association with Big Ramy
Dennis James is closely associated with former two-time Mr. Olympia Mamdouh ‘Big Ramy’ Elssbiay. The duo share a close personal bond with each other and James spends most of the time helping Big Ramy whenever he is in the USA for competitions. James also ensures that the Egyptian bodybuilder’s competition prep goes as planned without any hindrances or distractions.
The close associates often train together at the Oxygen Gym in Kuwait and often come up with training practices that enable them to train in isolation when the partners cannot be around for the majority of the year.
Dennis James is a student of bodybuilding and his workouts continuously evolve based on the knowledge he gains from interacting with other elite professionals. However, he sticks to basic and highly effective exercises for getting a good workout. James trains five days a week and dedicates a day each for chest, arms, back, shoulders and legs.
Here is a sample workout plan that gives a good idea about a typical training week in Dennis James’s routine:
Day 1 – Chest
Dennis James employs the MTUT training approach to the best of its abilities for bringing his chest up. However, he is a little cautious about it on a chest day. To avoid training injuries and shoulder discomfort, he does exercises like dumbbell flyes and incline chest presses at a regular pace and avoids slow lifting.
Upper pecs or the clavicular head of the pectoralis major muscles is the most difficult part to bring up for most people. Dennis James targets this muscle in the very beginning of the chest workout and performs the incline Hammer Strength chest press. The 57-year-old’s chest routine is a mix of different variations of presses and flyes.
Pressing movements build the pushing strength of the upper body while flyes develop the adduction ability. Additionally, isolation movements like dumbbell flyes and cable crossover are a great way to add more details to the chest muscles.
Overall, James’ chest workout includes the following:
- Machine Incline Chest Press – 3 sets of 10 reps
- Dumbbell Chest Flyes – 3 sets of 10 reps
- Push Press – 3 sets of 8 reps
- Cable Crossover – 3 sets of 10 reps
- Dumbbell Bench Press – 3 sets of 10 reps
- Incline Dumbbell Flyes – 3 sets of 8 reps
Day 2 – Arms
Some bodybuilders, when they reach the advanced level of development, eliminate arm training altogether from their split as these muscles are stimulated during compound pulling and pushing exercises. However, Dennis James believes in no such thing. Arms are one of the strongest features of the German bodybuilder’s physique.
He performs four to five exercises each for the triceps and biceps. Arms are a relatively smaller muscle group that best responds to moderate weights and high volume. ‘Menace’ performs alternate biceps and triceps exercises in each training session to ensure that the muscles get the time to recover before the next exercise.
Here is what Dennis James’ arm workout looks like:
- Cable Triceps Pushdown – 3 sets of 12 reps
- Machine Preacher Curls – 3 sets of 12 reps
- Skullcrushers – 3 sets of 10 reps
- One Arm Preacher Curls – 3 sets of 10 reps
- One Arm Cable Triceps Pushdowns – 3 sets of 10 reps
- Dumbbell Concentration Curls – 3 sets of 12 reps
- Seated Hammer Curls – 3 sets of 8 reps
- Incline Dumbbell Triceps Extensions – 3 sets of 8 reps
Day 3 – Shoulders
Dennis James’ shoulder training routine is fairly simple – perform a handful of exercises that target the anterior, lateral and posterior deltoids for complete development of this muscle group. James puts more emphasis on lateral and anterior delts as he also includes posterior deltoid exercises on a back day.
He concludes the shoulder workout with a few sets of reverse pec deck flyes, which is the only exercise to stimulate the posterior delts in this workout.
Dennis James’ shoulder workout consists of:
- Dumbbell Lateral Raises – 3 sets of 10 reps
- Dumbbell Front Raises – 3 sets of 10 reps
- Cable Upright Rows – 3 sets of 10 reps
- Reverse Pec Deck Flyes – 3 sets of 10 reps
Day 4 – Back
Having a strong and powerful upper posterior chain is of utmost importance to perform everyday activities, athletic pursuits and also to maintain a good posture and spine alignment. Dennis James takes back training seriously.
The elaborate training session includes several compound exercises that target all the major and supporting muscles like latissimus dorsi, rhomboids, teres muscles, infraspinatus, spinal erectors, traps, biceps brachii and posterior deltoids.
A typical back day in the retired bodybuilder’s training routine looks like this:
- Dumbbell Pullovers – 3 sets of 10 reps
- Close-Grip Lat Pulldowns – 2 sets of 10 reps
- Bent Over Barbell Rows – 2 sets of 10 reps
- Seated One Arm Rows – 2 sets of 12 reps per arm
- Lying Rear Delt Raises – 3 sets of 12 reps
- One Arm Cable Rear Delt Flyes – 2 sets of 12 reps per arm
- Dumbbell Shrugs – 2 sets of 10 reps
Day 5 – Legs
Ignoring leg training is not in the best interest of anyone as a healthy lower body is essential for the most basic function of locomotion. A strong foundation is also necessary for most athletic activities that can be extremely difficult to perform without significant lower body strength.
Dennis James trains his legs once every week and ensures that he stimulates all the major muscles like quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes and calves with targeted efforts in the session.
The leg training session is composed of following exercises:
- Leg Extensions – 3 sets of 15 reps
- Leg Press – 2 sets of 12 reps
- Barbell Squats – 2 sets of 10 to 15 reps
- Lying Leg Curls – 3 sets of 10 to 15 reps
- Good Mornings – 2 sets of 10 reps
- Seated Single Leg Curls – 2 sets of 10 reps per leg
- Standing Calf Raises – 3 sets of 15 reps
- Seated Calf Raises – 3 sets of 15 reps
Day 6 and 7 – Rest
Dennis James subjects himself to hard and intense training during the week. It is essential for muscle and strength building to push the limits but allowing the body to recover and recuperate is equally important to avoid burnout and maintain consistency. Dennis James takes two days of the week off but keeps his body active with light active recovery drills.
Dennis James Diet
James is a genetically gifted individual with a massive frame and muscle mass. At the peak of his career, James came in at 360 lbs on stage and weighed nearly 300 lbs in the off-season. It is impossible to maintain a huge, muscular and dense physique without following a perfect diet with discipline.
Dennis James follows a simple diet that is high in nutritional value. The daily caloric intake has to be extremely high to be able to sustain the massive physique and maintain the muscle mass.
During his competitive appearances, Dennis James significantly reduced the carbohydrate intake and relied solely on a fat and protein heavy diet. However, he has a much different approach to diet and training at this stage of his life.
Dennis James focuses more on eating a balanced diet that is rich in all the macro and micronutrients, minerals and fibre. He eats six small meals throughout the day and eats every two to three hours. This helps him regulate the blood sugar levels, maintain energy levels and keep the food cravings at bay.
While he does complement the diet with supplements, the 57-year-old tries to consume the maximum amount of nutrients through natural and organic whole foods. Eggs, chicken, steak, tuna and Whey protein powder are the primary sources of lean protein in the retired bodybuilder’s diet. Meanwhile, whole grain bread, fruits, pasta, and potatoes supply complex carbohydrates. Low fat milk and cheese are James’ go-to sources of fat.
A typical day of eating in Dennis James’ routine looks like this:
- 3 Whole Grain Pancakes
- 2 Eggs
- 1 Slice of Fat Free Cheese
- 1 Slice of Turkey Bacon
- Orange Juice
- 8 Ounces Low Fat Milk (2%)
- 2 Scoops Whey Protein Isolate
- 1 Low Fat Bran Muffin
- 6 Ounces Flank Steak
- 2 Cups Pasta cooked with Tomato Sauce
- ½ Can White Tuna in Water with 2 Tablespoon Low Fat Mayo
- 2 Slices of Whole Wheat Bread
- 1 Apple
- 8 Ounces Low Fat Milk (2%)
- 7 Ounces Chicken Breast
- 12 Ounces Baked Potatoes
- 1 Cup Peas or Corn
- 1 Scoop Whey Protein Isolate mixed with 16 Ounces Low Fat Milk (2%)
- 2 to 3 Slices of Whole Grain Bread with Low Sugar Jam
In the age of the internet, we are constantly bombarded with contradicting information that confuses more than it convinces. Dennis James’ lifestyle, training and dietary practices stand out in stark contrast with the chaos. His simple and straightforward approach to fitness proves that maintaining a healthy diet and effective training routine does not have to be complicated. Results can be achieved if you maintain consistency and stick to the basics.