Most bodybuilding enthusiasts are familiar with Charles Glass. Also known as the Godfather of Bodybuilding, Glass is a veteran bodybuilder and an IFBB Pro.
Born in 1950, Glass participated in gymnastics in high school but later switched to bodybuilding. He won the middleweight class of the 1983 NPC Nationals and IFBB World Championships. Glass competed in his maiden Mr. Olympia in 1984, finishing 16th.
The Godfather of Bodybuilding, however, switched lanes and transitioned to coaching pro bodybuilders. Glass has trained superstar bodybuilders, including Shawn Rhoden, Kai Greene, Flex Wheeler, Paul Dillett, Angelica Teixeira, Courtney King, Dexter Jackson, Gunter Schlierkamp, Chris Cormier, and Steve Cook.
Glass trains his clients at the Mecca of Bodybuilding, Gold’s Gym, Venice Beach, CA. He is the trainer of choice for bodybuilders visiting the gym. The Godfather of Bodybuilding also works with A-listers like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Calvin Klein.
Becoming a Coach
Truth be told, switching to coaching wasn’t a philanthropic decision for the dreadlocked bodybuilder. In an interview with NY Times, Glass revealed that the sport was taking a toll on his body.
At my heaviest, I was 262 pounds. I was taking health risks, and I didn’t want to do that. I couldn’t walk without breathing like a madman. I thought, ‘Do I really want to do this?’ And that’s when I realized I was done.
The veteran bodybuilder has almost four decades of coaching experience at the Mecca of Bodybuilding, which says a great deal about his expertise. The soft-spoken trainer has achieved celebrity status in the bodybuilding circuit.
Also, Glass’s $220-an-hour fee makes him stand out from the pack. It also narrows his prospective client list and limits it to folks serious about their gains or celebs with spare cash.
The beanie-wearing superstar coach is one of the most innovative people in the weight room. He is a proponent of ‘angle training’ that involves using different angles and grips on exercises for muscle stimulation and growth. Glass’s social media profiles are a treasure trove for people who have hit a plateau and are looking for ways to break through the overhead ceiling.
Charles Glass Workout Tips
Before we get into the nitty-gritty of Glass’s workout, let’s go over the master’s favorite training tips and tricks.
Focus on Muscle Stimulation
Glass rarely, if ever, makes his clients lift super heavy. Instead, he focuses on muscle stimulation by using unique angles and following a slow and controlled range of motion. You must feel your target muscles working with every rep; if you don’t, stop the set and make necessary adjustments.
Make The Most of Machines
Unlike most pro bodybuilders and coaches, Glass swears by machines. He specializes in getting the most out of a machine by using different grips and altering their range of motion. He treats the directions printed on the machines as mere suggestions.
Before we had a lot of machines, we all used free weights because that’s what we had.
You can’t get certain angles from free weights than you can get with machines. They put a different kind of stress on the muscles. I try to work around what I have.
Glass makes his clients sit on dumbbells while using a machine or hold the machine’s arms instead of the handlebars. If the expressions on his client’s faces were a gauge of the effectiveness of his techniques, we would give him a 10-on-10.
The sweatshirt-sporting bodybuilding guru doesn’t hold back from tweaking exercises and uses props like rectangular blocks and foam rollers to engage target muscles during an exercise better. He often makes his clients perform single-arm machine rows on a chest press machine. Never mind the intended use of a machine, Glass can alter it to train an unrelated muscle group.
Glass swears by the two-step rep to ramp up training intensity. This technique involves pausing at the bottom of the rep to eliminate momentum. It is a must-do on all pressing movements, like the bench press. The second stop is at the halfway point on the way up the range of motion. Stopping midway on the concentric part of the lift sucks out the momentum from the movement, and you must use your muscle strength to complete the rep.
Since this technique requires a lifter to stop twice during the lift, it increases the time under tension. You need to use relatively lighter weights while using the two-step rep technique, reducing your risk of injury.
Use a Weightlifting Belt
Glass advocates wearing a belt at all times during a workout — for bodybuilders and coaches alike. The spectacled coach wears a belt under his sweatshirt as soon as he enters the gym and keeps it on throughout the day. It helps protect his lower back and reminds him to keep his waist pulled in.
The Godfather of Bodybuilding makes his clients wear a lifting belt during every training session. He believes it reminds lifters to breathe through their chest while lifting heavy weights. Exercisers believe breathing through your stomach while lifting can make your gut bigger and wider.
Although Glass hung his posing trunks early in his career, he held onto his work ethic. He is among the first to enter Gold’s Gym and the last to leave. Also, you hardly see him sitting during a training session. He’s always at his client’s side and guiding them through each rep.
Charles Glass Workout Program
Given below is a 12-week six-days-a-week workout regimen inspired by Charles Glass. Feel free to change the number of sets and reps each week to add variety to your training. Limit rest between sets to 45-60 seconds. Resting for longer can hamper your training intensity.
Glass is a fan of the bench press for building a well-rounded chest. He starts his clients on the flat barbell bench press, targets the upper pecs in the second exercise, and rounds up the bench press movements with the decline press.
The Godfather of Bodybuilding emphasizes the two-step reps to get the best bang for your chest workouts. He directs his clients to stop the barbell just before it hits their chest and restricts them from locking out their elbows at the top, ensuring constant tension on their pecs throughout the range of motion.
Glass prefers the pec deck fly to improve the inner chest conditioning and separation. He has his clients keep a rectangular block between their backs and pad to isolate their pecs better and increase their range of motion. The cargo-wearing coach rounds up his training sessions with weighted dips.
|Barbell Bench Press||3-5||8-12|
|Incline Bench Press||3-5||8-12|
|Decline Bench Press||3-5||8-12|
|Pec Deck Fly||3-5||8-12|
Glass performs the pulldown on an incline bench for better lat stimulation. To perform this exercise, set up an incline bench, so the back of the inclined pad faces the pulley machine. Attach a couple of D-handle bars to the pulley and set it at the highest setting. The incline should be set at a 45-degree angle with the floor. Place your chest on the bench and grab the handles with your hands stretched over your head.
Adjust the bench, so the cable is taut at the starting position. Simultaneously pull the handles to your chest while lifting your chest off the pad. At the bottom position, your torso should be perpendicular to the floor, and your hands at your chest’s sides. Slowly return to the starting position.
The Godfather of Bodybuilding has his clients sit high while performing the low cable row as it delivers a better lat stretch. Furthermore, he has his students lean forward with each rep to activate the lats.
Glass prefers the behind-the-neck variation over the conventional lat pulldown as he believes it is better to stimulate the lats. He then has his clients perform deadlifts and ends the back workouts with cable face pulls. The cable face pull targets the traps, rhomboids, and rear delts, helping you build a thicker posterior chain.
|Low Cable Row||3-5||8-12|
|Behind Neck Lat Pulldown||3-5||8-12|
|Cable Face Pull||3-5||8-12|
The veteran bodybuilder has his disciples train their biceps and triceps on the same day. Additionally, he uses antagonistic supersets on arms day to ensure balanced development. Antagonistic supersets involve training opposing muscle groups consecutively.
Glass starts the workout with a superset to exhaust the arms. He favors the drag curls over conventional curls as he believes that the arching movement pattern of the textbook curls makes you lose tension on the top and bottom of the movement.
You have to remember gravity wants to pull the weight straight down.
EZ bar drag curls are supersetted with Smith machine close-grip bench presses. Glass advises against going below parallel on the close-grip bench press as it can remove stress from the triceps and put it on your chest.
After the superset, Glass’s clients alternate between biceps and triceps exercises. The workout ends with forearm exercises to ensure symmetry and proportions. Focus on contracting the muscles with each rep instead of chasing heavy weights.
|1a. EZ Bar Drag Curl||3-5||8-12|
|1b. Smith Machine Close-Grip Bench Press||3-5||8-12|
|Overhead Dumbbell Triceps Extension||3-5||8-12|
|Alternating Dumbbell Curl||3-5||8-12|
|Triceps Cable Pushdown||3-5||8-12|
|Reverse Wrist Curl||3-5||8-12|
Glass starts the shoulder workout with the dumbbell lateral raise and then moves onto the wide-grip upright row. A wider-than-shoulder-width grip on the upright row targets your medial delts instead of traps. Keep the bar as close to your body as possible, and raise your elbows toward the ceiling until your upper arms are parallel to the floor.
Glass prefers the underhand front raise over the dumbbell front raise as it eliminates your grip strength, elbows, and arm tendons. You could use an EZ bar for this exercise or grab the ends of a dumbbell in each hand. The dreadlocked coach has his patrons lie prone on an incline bench while performing this exercise to isolate their front delts better.
Barbell shrugs target the traps, and rear delt flys work the posterior deltoids. Ensure you are following a full range of motion. Using more weights than you can handle can limit your range of motion, which can hamper your results.
|Dumbbell Lateral Raise||3-5||8-12|
|Underhand Front Raise||3-5||8-12|
|Wide-Grip Upright Row||3-5||8-12|
|Rear Delt Cable Fly||3-5||8-12|
The leg extension is a staple in most leg workouts; it’s no different on Glass’s training regimen. The veteran bodybuilder has his clients push through the balls of their feet on the leg press to stimulate their quads optimally.
His proteges then move into a superset where they alternate between the reverse hack squat and the conventional hack squat. “The reverse hack squat is more like a front squat, and the regular hack squat is more like a back squat,” explains Glass.
The side leg press is done on a horizontal leg press machine. It requires you to sit on the machine on your side and use the foot of the side closest to the foot platform. The other leg will be suspended in midair during the exercise. This exercise focuses on your quad outer sweep.
The hamstring workout ends with the standing calf raise to ensure your lower legs do not lag. Keep your calves contracted throughout the range of motion. Pause at the top and bottom for optimal muscle fiber recruitment.
|1a. Reverse Hack Squat||3-5||8-12|
|1b. Hack Squat||3-5||8-12|
|Side Leg Press||3-5||8-12|
|Standing Calf Raise||3-5||8-12|
Glass has his clients train hamstrings and quads on different days.
Both sides of the legs require intensity and a high volume of sets to ensure hypertrophy. If your quads are trained properly, you will not have the energy to train your hamstrings effectively in the same workout.
Glass’s hamstrings workouts are curl-heavy. He starts and ends the hamstrings workouts with curls. The Godfather of Bodybuilding has his clients perform the seated hamstring curl with a slow and controlled movement.
Instead of lying on the pad, Glass’s disciples keep their chests off the pad by placing their hands on the pad and keeping their arms extended. Doing this better isolates the hams and reduces the chances of using momentum.
|Seated Hamstring Curl||3-5||8-12|
|Lying Hamstring Curl||3-5||8-12|
|Smith Machine Good Morning||3-5||8-12|
|Vertical Leg Press||3-5||8-12|
|Standing Leg Curl||3-5||8-12|
Perform 2-3 exercises from this list on alternate days to build washboard abs. You can perform hanging leg raises if you don’t have access to a Roman chair. You could perform the rope crunches while standing. Doing it while kneeling, however, better isolates your abs.
Folks that don’t have the core strength to perform windshield wipers can alternate with Russian twists. Keep your core and glutes contracted while performing the ab exercises for optimal stability and muscle recruitment.
|Roman Chair Leg Raise||3-5||8-12|
|Cable Rope Crunch||3-5||8-12|
|Cable Side Crunch||3-5||8-12|
Glass is a champion coach who bases his training methods on human anatomy and machine dynamics. He focuses on achieving optimal muscle stimulation with every rep without going too heavy.
Since The Godfather of Bodybuilding’s workouts incorporate a lot of machine work and prioritizes range of motion and muscle contractions, they are a great fit for beginners, pros, and hobbyists. We hope the dreadlocked coach’s training techniques help you build your goal physique. Best of luck!