For no small reason, extraordinary powerlifter Steve Gentili was offered an athlete sponsorship with Beast Sports Nutrition’s Team Beast. With his personal records (squat 755 pounds, deadlift 835 pounds, bench press 585 pounds), the dude is himself a beast. In just a couple of short years (he started late in powerlifting), he has developed a large reputation among competitors and he has opened his own gym, called Hybrid Fitness, in Pasadena, California. Gentili is at the forefront of a growing trend among strength athletes: hybrid strength training, which adds exercises from the bodybuilding arena to the strength regimen. Muscle & Performance reached out to Gentili to find out about this evolutionary step in strength.
What is a hybrid strength athlete?
A hybrid athlete is someone who embodies strength and the ability to translate that strength in athletic movements while maintaining an appealing aesthetic physique. The goal changes for the individual but the overall mojo is, “Look strong, be stronger.”
How often do you strength train weekly and how do you break down that training?
Because I compete in powerlifting, strength training is the priority. I hit the big movements — squat, deadlift, bench press — twice a week each over a five-day split.
As a hybrid strength athlete, what "accessory" moves do you include?
I utilize accessory movements after my bigger lifts, more so in my offseason to help put on size. Some of my favorite movements are lateral raises. I try to get those in every bench workout. A sample accessory workout might look like this: bench press, four sets/six reps; weighted pullup, four sets/six reps; dumbbell incline press, four sets/12 reps; low-cable row, three sets/10 reps; cable lateral raise, three sets/10 reps; and dumbbell upright row, three sets/10 reps. Then I’ll throw in some arm work.
What nutritional approach do you recommend for gaining strength?
You need to maintain a caloric surplus; it’s necessary for maximizing strength gains. I recommend good whole foods with the help of supplementation. I’ve found a macronutrient ratio of 40 percent carbs, 40 percent protein and 30 percent fat works best for me.
How can one maintain strength while dropping weight for a competition?
As long as the protein intake is high and you maximize rest and recovery, you can maintain strength while dropping weight. You won't get stronger but you can maintain.
How does supplementation fit into your training goals?
I’m a big believer in liquid nutrition surrounding my workouts. I start my day with a multivitamin/multimineral pack and three capsules of Creature, a creatine complex, with breakfast before training. Then I have one scoop of Beast Mode Black, a preworkout formula, 30 minutes before my training. I have one scoop of Aminolytes during my workout. Immediately postworkout, I mix a low-glycemic carb with one scoop of Beast Protein along with three more capsules of Creature. The main goal of this supplementation program is to optimize the anabolic effects of the workout while minimizing any catabolism. The plan really also helps my recovery factors.