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The following Interviews are with Ian King! Radio Interview
With Mike Shimon, 28 Oct 2005; released 7 Nov 2005:  Click here to listen to this interview!




An Interview with Strength Coach Ian King
By Rob Wilkins, Special Assistant to the International Federation of Bodybuilders
Published in Natural Muscle Magazine, Dec 2000, Vol 5:12(30-30-31); and in

In sports there are coaches of legendary proportions. In football there is celebrated Green Bay Packer coach Vince Lombardi. In basketball, Pat Riley orchestrated the LA Lakers during their championship years. And in baseball, New York Yankees manager Joe Torre's teams have captured 3 of the last 4 World Series Titles. What makes each of these coaches so unique is that time and time again they have produced results and contended for championships. They were able to motivate and teach their players how to become winners and achieve success.

For nearly two decades when the world's top athletes were searching for the man with the answers in regard to athletic preparation, Ian King is the person they most sought out. King has developed the training programs for hundreds of elite athletes in over 20 sports and from more than 10 countries. King has prepared athletes for every winter and summer Olympic Games since 1988, and every Commonwealth Games since 1984, as well as World Championships and World Cups in numerous sports.

When not instructing athletes on how to reach their maximum physical potential, King is also an educator and contributing writer to a number of magazines to include Men's Health, Mind and Muscle Power, and Testosterone.

The following are questions I recently addressed to King.

RW - Ian, thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule for this interview. Please provide us with a brief background on yourself (where you are from, formal education, how you became interested in training).

KING - I was born on an island in the Pacific Ocean and in the absence of television, consistent with island tradition, we played a lot of sport! I first started weight training at the age of 7 years, and used it to support competing in other sports until my early 20's when I specialized more so in powerlifting. I studied sport science at university simply because of my interest in my own training and this interest turned into a business! I simply met the demand. Athletes like to be trained by people who they respect because they know they have paid their dues in training and competition.

RW - What do you consider three of the biggest mistakes "natural bodybuilders" make in their training?

KING - Simple - overtrain, overtrain, and overtrain. They are not the "lone rangers," but in the absence of drugs, the price to be paid is greater! Only when full recovery from each training session is achieved do you see the peak of the training effect.

RW - If you had to choose between volume and intensity which would you choose and why?

KING - No competition - intensity is more important. I sacrifice volume before intensity. I do believe that some can grow on volume alone, but generally speaking, I believe that intensity (in all forms of athletic pursuit) is a more important training variable. The additional reality that has been concluded by those who study multi-year periodization, is that over time there is a limit to the benefits of increasing volume, whilst pursuit of increased intensity is still possible and valid.

RW - What are the major differences between muscle fiber types (slow and fast-twitch) and do you feel these differences make a major difference in determining one's athletic potential?

KING - This is an over-rated concept and has been a bit of a trend lately. Like any trend it comes and goes. Arthur Jones was popularizing this many years ago so it is a trend that has come back! Yes, there are differences, but it is not the only or dominant variable that should influence training. Training age, maturation rate, chronological age, psychological traits are all examples of things that are equally important, if not more important in influencing program design. I stress this - no matter what your fiber type - strength training aims to shift you functionally to more fast twitch, especially strength training for sport. The concept of training "like a slow twitch person" for an athlete is ludicrous!

RW - In the Nov 00 issue of Scientific American, an article titled, "Deconstructing the Taboo," asked the question, "Is there a genetic difference between the races which allows blacks to dominate certain sports (i.e., sprinting, NBA basketball, NFL football)?" Last year's top 5 IFBB Mr. Olympia contenders (Ronnie Coleman, Flex Wheeler, Chris Cormier, Kevin Levrone, and Shawn Ray) are black. Do you feel there is a genetic factor in the abilities of Asians, Blacks, and Whites to develop muscle?

KING - Yes, I suspect there are genetic predispositions, but ultimately it was perhaps an adaptation to survival needs, and I think if we train "white" athletes in similar environments (e.g. remote Africa) from birth, we may get some of these similar adaptations. A few generations in that environment would help. Alternatively, put a "black" kid in an environment from birth where TV and fast food and computer games dominate, you may get an adaptation towards less athleticism. In summary, the cultural and environmental issues cannot be overlooked.

RW - How effective do you feel ergogenic aids (creatine, amino acids, protein powders, glutamine, etc.) are on a natural athlete's ability to develop muscle?

KING - Simple - if you have a need that is not being met, and a supplement meets that need - it is effective. Generally speaking creatine is the most effective, being what I call the greatest supplement breakthrough in my lifetime. But it can over time lose its impact. At the end of the day, I would be as interested, if not more so in knowing what foods were being consumed, so supplements need to kept in perspective. Speaking from an international perspective, the capitalistic nature of the US has resulted in 2 industries having an incredible influence on attitudes and behavior in US strength training - the supplement industry and the equipment industry. I appreciate this environment, but the reality from my perspective is that both these tend to be over-rated in America. Training and food are more important than equipment and supplements.


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T-Mag Interview by Nelson Montana:  The Thunder from Down Under


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T-Mag Interview by Chris Shugart: Meet The Press - Coach of coaches: An interview with Ian King


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