Veteran bodybuilder Dexter Jackson has chosen longevity over the massive build and shed quite a few pounds over the past couple of years. However, he still belongs in the top 1 percent of the populace in terms of fitness. The former Mr. Olympia recently showed how he maintains his massive arms in retirement.
Jackson’s IFBB Pro career lasted nearly 22 years. He competed in the Men’s Open division and peaked in the 2000s. He is hailed among the greatest competitors in the history of the sport. The 53-year-old presented several hurdles to dominant champions like Ronnie Coleman and Jay Cutler. His resume includes five Arnold Classic titles (2005, 2006, 2008, 2013, and 2015).
The biggest achievement of Jackson’s career is winning the 2008 Mr. Olympia title by defeating Cutler. Since retiring from the sport after a ninth-place finish at the 2020 Olympia, Jackson’s potential return has made several rounds in sports media. However, he is dedicated to health and family, having no interest whatsoever in wearing the posing trunks again.
Jackson has gotten fairly active on the internet in recent months and routinely posts his workouts to his YouTube channel. He acquainted the fans with his arms workout in the most recent video. So let’s check out how “The Blade” maintains his massive arms.
Dexter Jackson goes through an arm workout
Jackson originally intended to train his chest on the day of recording the video. However, he experiences recurring pain in the wrists. It usually lasts for a couple of weeks and restricts him from lifting heavy weights during this time.
“That’s been going on for like 10 years of my life. So we’re going to switch things up. We’re going to go ahead with arms instead of chest,” Jackson explained.
As a result, he chose to train his arms instead of his chest, as arms typically respond to moderate weights and higher volume, putting less stress on Jackson’s wrists.
Jackson hails drag curls as one of his favorite arms exercises. Drag curls are a variation of the straight bar curls, and Jackson explained the correct technique to perform them.
“The reason I call them drag curls is because you wanna drag the bar up your stomach, okay? And you’re curling like this (with the bar really close to the front of the body)… Elbow is way back as far as it can go. You’re squeezing it up top… You want that good peak exercise? This is it right here…” He said.
He maintains an 8 to 12-rep range for each one of his sets and cranks out four sets of drag curls to work the biceps.
Seated Cable Overhead Curl
Jackson then takes up the cable machine variation of biceps curls. Cable machines keep the muscles under tension throughout the range of motion. This helps bring about hypertrophy more effectively. This is especially beneficial for bodybuilders as hypertrophy and muscle gain are the primary goals. Additionally, working the biceps in an overhead position puts more emphasis on the short head of the biceps, which results in epic guns. (1)
Once again, Jackson performs approximately four sets of this exercise and takes up the dumbbell hammer curls next.
Dumbbell Hammer Curl
Hammer curls are an excellent way to work on the overall girth of the biceps. A very simple variation of the standard dumbbell curls, this exercise works the elbow flexors — biceps brachii, brachialis, and the brachioradialis muscles in the arms. (2)
Jackson wraps up the biceps segment of his workout with four sets of dumbbell hammer curls as he shifts his focus on the triceps.
Quad Set: Cable Triceps Pushdown, Seated Dip Press, Pushdown on Assisted Dip Machine, and Rope Triceps Pushdown
Jackson has been following this triceps training method for nearly a decade to get a good pump, and by the looks of it, it has undoubtedly benefited him. Jackson performs one set of all four exercises in rapid succession. He repeats this circuit three or four times, depending on how he feels on a particular day.
He starts with cable triceps pushdowns and follows up with seated dip presses on a Matrix selectorized machine. After this, Jackson does triceps pushdowns on an assisted dips machine. He uses the knee pad of the dip press machine as a handle and pushes it down to stimulate the triceps. The final exercise in the quad set is the triceps rope pushdown.
Jackson suggests twisting the wrists outside while pushing the weight down to create the full elbow flexion necessary for triceps activation. He repeats this circuit three times to finish off the arms workout.
- Drag Curl: 4 sets of 10 reps
- Seated Overhead Cable Curl: 4 sets of 10 reps
- Dumbbell Hammer Curl: 4 sets of 10 reps
- Quad Set: Cable Triceps Pushdown, Seated Dip Press, Pushdown on Assisted Dip Machine, and Triceps Rope Pushdown: 3 sets of 10 reps
Jackson is happily living his retired life and has nearly abandoned pharmacological assistance to build and maintain his physique. He enjoys spending time with his grandchildren and focuses on staying healthy at this stage of life. During this workout, Jackson reiterated that he would not return to competition under any circumstances.
“I would not be stepping on stage again. People think your body is back on sh*t again. And I am like, no TRT, no HRT, none of that crap. Just keeping my meals to about three meals a day. Anything more than that, and my a** gonna go up in weight. I am content with only two. But if I want to do it two (meals per day), my weight will drop. I am between 200 and 205. Perfect weight, feeling good, and looking good.”
A jacked physique constitutes a huge part of a bodybuilder’s identity and self-image. As a result, many retired bodybuilders find it difficult to let go of it and drop to average size, even if it means health and longevity. Jackson is one of the few men who made that transformation and set a positive example for other bodybuilders to follow after they hang up their posing trunks.
You can watch the full workout video here, courtesy of Dexter Jackson’s YouTube channel:
- Overhead Cable Curl – Variations, Benefits, Form and Techniques (Author – Dr. Malik, Tom Miller CSCS)
- Hammer Curls: How-To and Variations (Author – Travis Edwards, PT, MPT, Medically reviewed by Jake Tipane CPT)