Samson Dauda Trains Chest and Calves with Classic Physique Olympia Competitor Michael Daboul 

The Nigerian Lion turned heads with his high-volume approach.

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Although they compete in different divisions, Samson Dauda and Michael Daboul share the same goal: to develop a championship-level physique in time for the 2023 Mr. Olympia contest. With the former coming off a sixth-place debut in the men’s Open division from last year’s contest and the latter looking to improve on a 10th place finish at the Classic Physique Olympia, both men have ample motivation to make everyone forget about the 2022 Olympia results.

As the biggest bodybuilding show of the year approaches, Dauda and Daboul can’t afford to make any mistakes with their nutrition or training. Just six weeks away from posing for the judges in Orlando, FL, the dynamic duo teamed up for a demanding chest and calf workout that left no doubt about their commitment to being stage-ready on November 2.

Dauda shared highlights of an intense muscle-building session with Daboul in a training vlog posted to his YouTube channel on September 25, 2023. The workout begins around the 1:15 mark.

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They are no strangers to individual success: Dauda took top honors at the 2023 Arnold Classic, while Daboul won his division at the 2023 New York Pro; the two IFBB professionals worked seriously at the UK-based Factory Gym.

Don’t be fooled by the number of exercises either. Although Dauda and Daboul did not perform a long list of movements, the intensity and structure of the training provided more than enough stimulus for maximum muscle growth.

Superset: Seated Calf Raise with Standing Calf Raise

Developing bulging calves can be quite a challenge. However, Dauda’s method of increasing size and girth clearly works. Instead of settling for one exercise at a time, the man known as “The Nigerian Lion” doubled down on his calves-building efforts using a superset-style plan of attack.

Dauda and his training partners began the workout by alternating between seated calf raises and standing calf raises. The leg-oriented portion of the session included grueling sets of 15 repetitions that focused on squeezing at the top of the movement to ensure adequate time under tension.

As if performing multiple versions of calf raises wasn’t enough of a challenge, Dauda upped the stakes with a blood-pumping finisher.

“We’re getting to the point where we’re maxing out our heaviest set,” he explained. “Then we did a series of seated calf drops where basically every five [reps] we take 10 kilos [22 pounds] We left and went down without stopping.”

Incline chest press machine

After exhausting their calves, Dauda and Daboul demonstrated their upper body strength and endurance on a plate-loaded incline chest press machine. Again, this part of the training included a high-volume, high-intensity approach.

Working in a pyramid shape, the bodybuilders began with a warm-up set of 15 repetitions with a pair of 20-kilogram (44-pound) plates per side. They progressed to a total of 10 plates before employing a drop-set finisher in which they performed multiple “mini-sets” of five repetitions, removing two plates at a time until only four plates remained.

Superset: Isolatoral Incline Chest Press with Standing Fly Machine

Next, Dauda took things to another level with yet another superset. This time, he and his training partner performed sets of 12 reps on the seated incline chest press to target the pecs and triceps. The “isolateral” design of the machine allowed each lever arm to operate independently, similar to dumbbells. They combined this compound movement with chest flyes on the Panatta Standing Multi-Flight machine, a unique device with adjustable handles that allows for a variety of flyes and lateral raises.

Dauda specifically noted that the goal of the second exercise was to “contract and squeeze” to build muscle thickness and highlight stretch marks on the chest.

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Inclined Hex Press

To finish, Dauda and Daboul used a different version of an incline dumbbell press: squeezing the dumbbells throughout the movement to create an incline hex press. The Nigerian Lion started with 20-kilogram (44-pound) dumbbells, while Daboul, “The Eagle of the Sahara,” worked with 16-kilogram (35-pound) dumbbells.

They focused on bringing the dumbbells together, slowly lowering the weight to chest level before extending and locking out the triceps. When training concluded, Daboul had a new appreciation for his fellow Mr. Olympia contestant’s unique training style.

“I train intensely, but not at such a high volume,” Daboul said. “The combination of high intensity and high volume means that not everyone can keep up. I tried to keep up the pace in the first two exercises and then I was exhausted.”

Chest and calf training focused on supersets

Dauda’s idea of ​​using high volume training (sets of 12 to 15 repetitions) with heavy loads will test your strength and endurance. Here’s a breakdown of the exercises performed in what was clearly a grueling workout for everyone involved:

  • Superset: Seated Calf Raise with Standing Calf Raise
  • Incline chest press machine
  • Superset: Isolatoral Incline Chest Press with Standing Fly Machine
  • Inclined Hex Press

Despite including only six exercises, this high-volume workout is sure to deliver results. Using principles like supersets and drop sets, along with working at such a high intensity, should bolster anyone’s efforts to build muscle and overall size. And if Dauda and Daboul continue to build on their impressive performances this year at Olympia 2023, they could have a chance to celebrate together.

Featured Image: Samson Dauda / YouTube

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