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Dennis James' DVD - Back to Basics Bodybuilding Video & DVD Reviews Dennis James' DVD - Back to Basics




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Dennis James starts off by warming up his chest with the bench press using 135 and 225 pounds. He follows that up with 315 for eight reps, 405 for eight, and a whopping 500 for three. While Dennis is not the strongest competing bodybuilder out there (that title goes to Ronnie Coleman), he certainly has one of the biggest and strongest chests in the history of bodybuilding.

Next Dennis James hits the flat flyes for a warmup and follows it up with 110 pound dumbbells for seven reps and the 110s again for six reps. Dennis trains hard and heavy throughout the DVD and his chest. After his flyes, Dennis hits the seated machine press for three sets of heavy weight and moderate reps (high intensity all the way), then cable crossovers with 50 pounds per side for two sets.

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Dennis has some outstanding arms! Both biceps and triceps - his limbs are relatively short and his muscle bellies are long and full which really gives his arms a pronounced look (huge). His biceps routine looks like this:

  • Warmup with EZ curl bar (X2).
  • Two working sets with the EZ bar - up to 180 pounds for six reps.
  • Standing alternate dumbbell curls - three sets.
  • Hammer Curls - two sets.

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Dennis starts out on the cardio bike for what appears to be a brief warmup, then starts with his workout:

  • Leg extension (two sets for a quads warmup).
  • Front squat - 225 pound warmup, 315 for eight reps, 405 for eight reps, and 500 for seven reps.
  • Leg press - 1010 pounds for 10 reps.
  • Parking lot lunges - 10 reps per leg with 115 pounds.

Judging by the parking lot lunges, Dennis appears to be more "musclebound" than Ronnie Coleman is - Dennis had assistance getting the bar into the original position. If you watch Ronnie Coleman in The Unbelievable or The Cost of Redemption, you will see that even at a higher weight, Ronnie handles the lunges without problem. Ronnie is also capable of doing the splits, so on top of that Ronnie is flexible. But Ronnie is a genetic mutant of unexplainable proportions, and Dennis is more what I would expect of a man closing in on 300 pounds and shredded. Dennis had some minor difficulty getting the bar into position due to his enormous chest and arms - this is wha I would expect. Like I said, Ronnie is just an anomaly to be able to walk around comfortably at the weight and muscularity level that he has.

I should point out now that in this DVD, the same kind of insane, loud, British sounding training partner was used as in Dorian Yates - Blood and Guts. During the credits, it said that this guy (Martin Joiner) had flown in from New Zealand to be in the DVD - so it's obvious that Dennis wanted the same display of intensity that Dorian used in his DVD - it worked, and Martin provided a lot of high intensity entertainment. I think I would probably be in the hospital if I had a training partner like that with all my joints destroyed and muscles torn. The level of intensity Dennis demonstrates in this DVD is certainly among the top for all DVDs I have seen (and I've seen plenty).

Hamstrings & Calves
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Dennis hits the following workout for his hamstrings:

  • Warmup - 225 pound stiff legged deadlifts
  • Stiff legged deadlifts - 315 for eight reps (not all reps are shown, but counted), 405 for eight (all shown), 500 for four.

And for calves:

  • Seated calf raises for three sets - going up to five plates.
  • Standing calf raises for two sets.

Dennis has ok calves, and we all know that calves are more of a genetic thing - it seems like some people can work them as much as possible and not grow, while others can barely work them at all and have huge calves. Mike Matarazzo comes to mind.

Next Dennis goes over his entire meal plan nine weeks out from the 2003 Mr. Olympia Contest - although I can't give away all of his secrets, I can point out the basics: Dennis has his first meal at 8:30 every morning, and eats every three hours after that, consuming a total of 3500 calories during the day - 255 grams of carbs, 500 grams of protein, and 50 grams of fat. He also drinks at least two gallons of water each day. Dennis introduces us to his wife who helps him with meal preparation during his dieting.

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Dennis hits his back hard with the following split:

  • Lat pulldowns for three sets.
  • Cable rows with three sets (going up to the full stack, 330 for seven reps on the last set).
  • TBar rows for two sets (up to 450 for five reps - 10 plates).
  • Bent over rows - 225 pounds, 315 pounds (for reps), and 405 for five reps.
  • Weighted hyperextensions for one set, followed by a one set dropset using his body weight.

Dennis is weighing 285 pounds during this workout - he hits a rear lat spread after his heavy set of bent over rows and is looking large.

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Dennis hits the following workout for shoulders:

  • Smith machine squats, warmup with 150 & 240 pounds.
  • Smith machine squats - 330 for eight reps, 420 for three reps (for two sets).
  • Side lateral raises for three sets.
  • Front raises for three sets.
  • Barbell shrugs for two sets, up to 405 for eight reps.

In between his sets of side lateral raises, Dennis hits a couple of poses in his tank top including a most muscular and side serratus pose. He was looking incredibly full during the workout, especially when doing the front raises. He also hit a front lat spread, left side chest pose, and rear lat spread. He was nine weeks out and weighing a full 278 pounds. With his tank top off, he then hit a front relaxed pose and was looking good.

I was impressed with his strength so close to a contest. He is no Ronnie Coleman, but then - who is? ;-)

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For triceps, Dennis did the following workout:

  • Triceps pressdowns with the short straight bar for two sets.
  • Skull crushers with a warmup of 120 pounds and 150 pounds, followed by 190 for 11 reps (solid strength).
  • Single arm reverse curls for two sets.

Afterwards, Dennis hit some triceps posing, and it's obvious that his triceps are as impressive as his biceps.

Best of Dennis: Mr. Olympia 2003!
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Featured in the DVD are photos of Dennis taken at the time of his fourth place finish. The following photos are shown:

  • Back relaxed pose.
  • Right side chest.
  • Front relaxed.
  • Group photo with Dexter Jackson and Jay Cutler.
  • Front relaxed pose.
  • Front double biceps.
  • Front lat spread.
  • Left side chest.
  • Rear lat spread.
  • Side triceps.
  • Abs and thigh.
  • Front most muscular.
  • Abs photo with Dexter Jackson
  • Hands clasped most muscular photo with Dexter Jackson.
  • Hands clasped most muscular (alone).

At the end of the DVD, Dennis makes a lot of thank yous in the credits, including God, his parents Walter and Gudrun James, his wife Ratikan (nickname Sin), his baby girl Anna, his brother Spike, his sister Vicky, Chad Nicholls, Charles Glass, Milos Sarcev, and his crazy training Martin Joiner (his training partner who flew in from New Zealand). I say crazy in the nicest way possible. :-) He also says thanks to Joe and Ben Weider, Peter McGrough, Jim Manion, Wayne DeMilia, and all of his fans.

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Overall, the DVD was good and very high intensity. If you are a fan of bodybuilding videos, you should like it. The picture quality is not as great as some that I've seen, but not as bad as some either (kind of in the middle). Dennis is a high intensity trainer, and watching it, I got a new appreciation of his work ethic.

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Dennis James - Back to Basics (DVD)

Retail Price: $39.95
Our Price: $34.95


DVD Release Date: 2004
Format: DVD NTSC
Encoding: 0 (Worldwide - will play on any DVD player)
Number of Discs: 1
Running time:
100 minutes
Studio: Stephan Korte Productoins

A MUST SEE for every serious bodybuilder and strength athlete!

Experience true Hardcore Bodybuilding! See Dennis James at 278 lbs nine weeks out of the Mr. Olympia 2003 in his strongest, most massive and freakiest condition ever. A real shocker. You got to sit down and fasten your seat belt to get through this DVD! 100 minutes pure hardcore training! 

  Workout 1 - CHEST
  • Incline Barbell Press
  • Dumbbell Flyes
  • Bench Press Machine
  • Cable Crossover
  Workout 2 - BICEPS
  • EZ-Barbell Curl
  • Dumbbell Curl
  • Hammer Curl
  Workout 3 - QUADS
  • Leg Extension
  • Front Squat
  • Leg Press
  • Walking Lunges
  • Leg Curl
  • Stiff-Legged Deadlift
  • Seated Calf Raise
  • Standing Calf Raise
  Workout 5 - BACK
  • Lat-Pulldown
  • Seated Row
  • T-Bar Row
  • Barbell Row
  • Hyperextension
  Workout 6 - SHOULDERS
  • Smith Machine Press
  • Dumbbell Side Lateral
  • Dumbbell Front Raise
  • Barbell Shrugs
  Workout 7 - TRICEPS
  • Cable Pushdown
  • EZ-Barbell Extension
  • One-Arm Cable Pushdown
  • Mr. Olympia 2003 Diet - Complete Meal Plan
  • Best of Dennis - Mr. Olympia 2003

Retail Price: $39.95
Our Price: $34.95