View Full Version : One on One with PJ Braun

12-16-2010, 12:42 PM
i've been following some of PJ's training ideas this off season. i thought this was an interesting article, so i wanted to share it here. interestingly, he talks a little about bringing up arms, a topic we discussed yesterday.


One on One with PJ Braun
Written by Leigh Penman
Wednesday, 15 December 2010 17:49

In this series of articles we are going to go ‘one on one’ with your favorite bodybuilders and learn a bit more about them personally as well as explore their approach to diet and training.

First up is PJ Braun who has chalked up quite a reputation for himself over the years and has become a highly sought after training and nutrition consultant.

Sponsored by Species Nutrition and with a popular Q & A thread here on RX, the time has
come to take a closer look at the man behind that amazing physique as we go ‘one on one’
with the man himself….

First of all what or who inspired you to get involved in bodybuilding?

“That is a question I could answer really fast if I wanted to by saying ‘football and my dad’, but to really understand where my passion comes from I should get into it a bit. When I was young football was my life. I had aspirations of playing in the NFL and when I was getting ready for high school I thought I was too small and wanted to join a gym. My mom was worried and contacted my father for advice. You see my parents divorced when I was about 8 and I never got to know my dad. My mom told me that my dad was very serious about bodybuilding and she hoped that maybe he could show me the ropes. My dad was reluctant at first and started by giving me sand weights and the Arnold Schwarzenegger Encyclopedia of Bodybuilding. I
taught myself the basics in my room all summer. My mom contacted my dad again and told him how serious I was and he then decided to sign me up at a gym. My dad would pick me up and bring me to work out… it was a very special time of my life. I was finally getting to have my dad.

My dad would always tell me when we worked out that there would always be someone bigger and better no matter what and that’s life. At the time I didn’t think much of it. Then one day my dad disappeared. My heart was broken and my mother told me my dad said he had taught me enough and I was fine on my own. He didn’t even realize how special those times were to me.

That was when I decided I was going to be the biggest and the best to prove him wrong. With all those deep emotions in my heart I turned into a machine!”

Can you remember your stats back then?

“When I first started working out after 8th grade I was 175lbs at about 5’7 a bit chubby. By
senior year I was 200lbs very solid at 5’10.”

What was your diet like back in those early days?

“I understood the importance of nutrition at a young age. I may not have always eaten the best quality foods but I understood the importance of meal frequency. I would even grub money off other students in the cafeteria so I could by my self extra food for later, lol.”

Where did you learn the diet strategies that you put into practice today and can you outline your basic diet philosophy for someone who wants to gain good lean muscle?

“I am constantly learning and evolving with the sport. I am constantly testing myself and trying new things. I want to know what works best for me as well as what works for the general public. I do not believe in one set rule. I believe that everything works sometimes, but nothing works all of the time! When in school I was always researching new ideas and still, years later, I am a student striving to learn more.”

When it comes to bringing up a lagging body part what is your plan of attack?

“Confusion is the key! You need to find out what works best for YOU, not what worked for Dorian Yates or Ronnie Coleman. You must always be open minded and willing to adapt and abandon things that may no longer serve a useful purpose. Time is precious in the gym and there is no point in wasting it doing exercises just for the sake of padding out your workout.”

Okay, so everyone want to know about your arms…first of all how easy/hard was it for you to build those legendary guns?

“When I was young my arms were always my biggest best body part. They respond well to everything…now if I could just get these damn legs to respond like that!”

What do you think the biggest mistake people make when it comes to arm training is?

“Many people train their arms too heavy and get caught up in compound movements. All body parts need to be trained with strict form but the arms more than anything need to be really isolated. The biceps especially are very small and it’s easy to get lots of assisting muscles involved with poor technique.”

Do you train biceps and triceps on different days?

Nope, I train them both on the same day. The aim is to get all the blood possible into the arms and they will respond.”

Do you do believe in the concept that more work should be done for tris than bi’s since they make up a larger part of overall arm size?

“Yes, the biceps are a small muscle as I stated earlier and to really beat the crap out of them is over kill. They get tons of stimulation on other days anyway.”

Can you outline your current arm workout?

“My workouts are never the same twice in a row but here is a typical day for my arms:

I always start with TRICEPS and then move on to BICEPS:

Rope pushdowns- 5-7 sets of 20-30 reps

Seated dip machine- 3-4 sets of 12-15 reps

Straight bar pushdowns- 3 sets of 12-15 reps with a triple drop set on the final set

Single arm underhand pushdowns- 3 sets of 15-20 reps

Standing dumbbell drag curls- 4 sets of 15-20 reps

Single arm preacher curls- 3 sets of 12-15 reps

Concentration curls – 3-4 sets of 15-20 reps”

Do you do any additional forearm work?

“No I think forearms get enough work when you are training other body parts.”

Give us a sample routine that you would give someone who had a few years training under their belt and wanted to add more size to their arms….

“That’s simple, just follow the routine I just gave you... that will add size!”

At this moment in time what area of your physique are you giving priority to when it comes to making improvements?

“Legs, Legs, LEGS!!!!!”

Can you give us an idea of your approach here?

“I have found that I respond best to high rep leg press and squats rather than extremely heavy
poundages and low reps. Volume is the key. I also like to train hams before I train quads.

As I stated early my work outs vary a lot but I may do something like this:

Lying hamstring curls- 6 sets of 15 reps with a triple drop set

Stiff leg dead lifts- 3 sets of 10-12 reps

Standing single leg ham curls – 3 sets of 20 reps

Leg press- 7 sets of 20-30 reps

Hack squats- 3 sets of 8-10 reps

Squats- 3 sets of 12-15 reps

Leg extensions 7 sets of 15 reps

Once a month I will alternate in a power day that goes as follows:

Squats- 4 sets of 6-10 reps

Close stance dead lifts- 3 sets of 8-10 reps

Sumo dead lifts- 3 sets of 8-10 reps

Superset leg extensions and ham curls 3 sets of 15-20 reps”

Looking forward, what are your plans for the year ahead?

“I am focusing on moving up to the super heavyweight class this year. Interesting, the only time I ever competed as a ‘super’ was in 2008 and I won the overall at the Atlantic City…now I’m going back to that class 2 years later but with a good 15lbs more muscle. I plan on competing a lot this year because I have a lot of theories I want to try on myself. As many know I am a rogue
bodybuilder who works solo, lol, so I want to test some theories!”

How can people contact you for diet and training advice?

“Check out my website www.pjbraun.com

Email me- pjbraunfitness@yahoo.com This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

12-28-2010, 01:15 AM
I couldn't agree more as far as Biceps taking a pounding on other days. Think about the poundages you use on Rows for Back or pulldowns, bent over rows all are alot of biceps work. So if you then proceed to arm day and try and slam em with heavy straight bar curls or super heavy preachers you can def overtrain em before you know it