The reigning Ms. Bikini Olympia and two-time Bikini International champion Angelica Teixeira shares her pre-Olympia chest and triceps training strategies exclusively with Oxygen.
As much as we all want to win, it’s hard to be the front-runner when it comes to competitive sports. The world is scrutinizing your every move, everyone is gunning for your position and the pressure weighs heavy to remain the leader of the pack. Now imagine if you had already pocketed 15 national and international titles and were going for your 16th and you’d be walking in the Lucite heels of Angelica Teixeira.
“I can’t lie — there is a lot more pressure now being in the lead,” says Teixeira, who at the time of this writing was coming off her second victory at the 2018 Bikini International and was gearing up to defend her Bikini Olympia title. “Everybody is chasing first place, and when I was still chasing it, I had nothing to lose. Now I feel I have to work harder than ever to deserve to keep the title that changed my life.”
A Failure on the Field but a Winner on the Stage
Don’t be fooled into thinking that first place came easy, however. Teixeira actually started from scratch at age 20 with no athletic background whatsoever. “I was terrible at every sport I tried,” she says, laughing. “But I was great at dancing. I did jazz for eight years, and dancing is still one of my biggest passions.”
Still, she was fascinated with strength training and the bodies it could build. She went to college for physical education and started working as a personal trainer and group class instructor. “In Brazil, you actually have to go to college to work as a trainer,” Teixeira explains.
Through social media, Teixeira was introduced to physique competitions, and since she was already in great shape, she decided to try them out. She placed 16th in her first competition, but the combination of training, nerves and adrenaline was addictive and she never looked back. “Once I stepped onstage, I felt like it was the right place for me,” she says. “I felt like a superstar, and a new passion was born inside of me that day. And of course I remember how good the chocolate tasted backstage right after the show!”
Staying the Course
Now, 35 competitions later, Teixeira has fine-tuned her physique into an almost unbeatable package. Wisely, Teixeira isn’t changing much in the way of training coming into the Olympia because, as they say, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. But like all champions, she is realistic about her physique and definitive about her goals. “The judges’ feedback was to keep bringing the same physique to the shows, so I didn’t want to risk it and change what was working,” she says, then adds with a smile: “But a little more glutes and hamstrings can’t hurt, right?”
Teixeira is also taking her role as champion seriously. “With the title of Ms. Olympia comes a big commitment and the responsibility of helping others go through their fitness journeys in a healthy way,” she says. “As you become a representative of the sport, it’s not about you anymore; it’s way more than that. It’s about the peoples’ lives you touch by being a good role model. I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to inspire, motivate and pass on my knowledge and experience. This is who I am. I’ve found my purpose in life.”
Weekly Training Split
- Monday Glutes
- Tuesday Shoulders and abs
- Wednesday Glutes and hamstrings
- Thursday Back and biceps
- Friday Hamstrings
- Saturday Chest and triceps
- Sunday Off
Teixeira does 30 minutes of cardio right after her strength workouts.
My Pre-Olympia Chest/Triceps Training Notebook, by Angelica Teixeira
There is a misconception that if women train chest, they will end up with no breasts. The reality is that when you burn body fat, your breasts will look smaller anyway because they are made out of fat. And as we age, we know everything tends to get pulled down by gravity! So training chest to be strong will slow down this process.
I work chest and triceps together because they are naturally paired as complimentary muscles. It’s important to work the whole body for a healthy and balanced physique, and training chest and triceps helps you avoid injury and builds a well-rounded and symmetrical body.
I usually go heavy on chest because I used to be very tiny and am trying always to add size to my upper body. I rest one minute between heavy sets to fully recover before going again. For triceps, I use lighter weight; I am only trying to get muscle definition, not size, since I don’t want thick arms for bikini competition. Smaller arms show more shoulder development and give the appearance of a curvier body. For triceps, then, I use techniques like supersets or circuits to keep the intensity high without having to go heavy.
In this particular workout, I implement supersets, but really, I use all kinds of techniques — negatives, giant sets, drop sets and the like. It depends what I feel like doing that day. I don’t like to plan my workouts in advance, because if I plan to do something and get to the gym and am not in the mood for it, I will end up not doing it or having a bad workout. Every day, I see how I feel, and I build my workout according to my mood and my goals.
In addition to training intuitively, I change my exercises every workout. This variety allows me to hit all my muscle fibers in different ways, so my muscles never get used to the training and keep progressing.
Incline Dumbbell Bench Press
Lie on an incline bench set to about 45 degrees and hold a set of dumbbells straight up over your chest, palms facing away from you. Allow your back to arch naturally and plant your feet firmly on the floor for stability. Slowly bend your elbows and lower the weights down and away from one another until your arms make 90-degree angles and/or the heads of the dumbbells come just above shoulder level. Explosively press the weights back up and in to the start.
Tip: Play with the variables of this standard move to switch things up: Change the incline of the bench, swap your hand position or change up the tempo and the reps.
Flat-Bench Dumbbell Flye
Lie on a flat bench with your back arching naturally and hold a set of dumbbells over your midchest with your palms facing inward. Bend your elbows slightly and hold this rounded position as you slowly lower the weights away from each other by opening your arms to the sides. When your elbows come to chest level, squeeze your inner pecs and slowly raise them back to the start.
Tip: Opening your arms too wide and dropping the weights below shoulder level puts your shoulders in a compromised position. Keep the tension in your pecs by arresting the motion as soon as your elbows come level with your shoulders.
Place your hands just outside shoulder width on the floor and extend your legs behind you so your head, hips and heels align. Bend your elbows and lower your body as one unit toward the floor. When your chest touches or nearly touches down, press down forcefully into the floor and extend your arms fully to the start.
Tip: Make sure your body moves as one solid unit to protect your back and neck. Your hips should not sag, and your glutes should not stick up.
Position your shoulders across the broad side of a flat bench and hold a single dumbbell with both hands. Press into your heels and lift your hips so your torso is almost parallel with the floor, and hold the dumbbell straight up over your chest. Keep your body in position as you slowly lower the weight back behind your head, arms straight, until your elbows align with your ears. Pull the weight back to the start.
Tip: Get an extra contraction in your pecs by pressing the weight straight up toward the ceiling at the top of each rep.
One-Arm Dumbbell Triceps Kickback
Place one knee and the same-side hand on a flat bench and hold a dumbbell in your other hand, back flat, head neutral. Pull your elbow up toward the ceiling, and slide your shoulder blade toward your spine without twisting your torso so the weight comes level with your rib cage. Hold your arm here as you extend only your elbow and press the dumbbell toward the ceiling until your arm is straight. Pause a moment at peak contraction, then return to the start. Do all reps on one side before switching.
Tip: For additional core engagement, you can do this move standing with two dumbbells.
Lie faceup on a flat bench and hold a set of dumbbells straight up over your chest with your palms facing inward. Your feet should be flat on the floor, back arching naturally, hips stable. Bending only at your elbows, slowly lower the weights down to the outside of your head on both sides as low as you can. Extend forcefully back to the start to full extension of your arms and repeat.
Tip: To maintain tension in your triceps throughout the rep, angle your upper arms back slightly toward your ears so they are not exactly perpendicular to the floor at the start.
Standing Dual-Dumbbell Triceps Extension
Stand with your feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent, and hold a set of dumbbells straight up overhead with your palms facing inward. Keep your upper arms steady as you bend only at your elbows to lower the weights down behind your head as low as you can, then extend forcefully back to the top.
Tip: Actively contract your abs and core to prevent your back from overarching, which could cause lumbar pain in the long term.
Sit on the edge of a flat bench and place your hands on both sides of your hips, fingers forward. Lift your chest and extend your legs in front of you. Press down into the bench and straighten your arms to lift your glutes off the bench, then shift them forward slightly off the edge. Bend your elbows and lower yourself straight toward the floor, keeping your chest lifted. When your elbows make 90-degree angles, extend forcefully back to the start.
Tip: Keep your chest lifted to prevent sinking into your neck and shoulders and to keep the tension on the triceps as much as possible.
Q&A with Angelica Teixeira
Oxygen: What is your advice for people just starting out who want to compete?
Angelica Teixeira: Understand that bodybuilding is a process and it takes time. Don’t try to rush it. Also, don’t give up so easily. Enjoy every step of this journey and celebrate the small victories. I know we all want to win, but the real victory is how you are progressing and getting better show after show until you achieve your goals.
O: What is your biggest food vice?
AT: I have such a sweet tooth, and I put stevia in everything — my coffee, egg whites, salad, sweet potato, almonds, cashews, avocado, protein shake, oat meal — literally everything!
O: Are you a girly girl or a tomboy?
AT: I’m totally girly! I love the makeup, hair and high heels of competition. I feel like a princess when I’m onstage!
O: When was the last time you went dancing?
AT: Yesterday! Every opportunity I have, I dance. I don’t go to clubs much, but I’ll always put music on in my house and dance for like 20 or 30 minutes.
O: Do you have any pets?
AT: Yes, I have a bulldog, English and French mixed, named Thomas.
O: What is one country you want to
see and why?
AT: I have traveled all around the world seeing countries I always dreamed of visiting like Australia, London, France, South Korea, Japan and Mexico. Next on my bucket list is Italy. I feel like the people there are warm like us Brazilians — and the food is amazing!
Birthplace: Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil
Current Residence: Lyndhurst, New Jersey
Birth Date: March 20, 1984
Weight: offseason 125-128; contest 115
Sponsors: GAT, Lipoxyderm, Body by O, Fuel Meals, All That Glitters Gems, Buff Bikinis, Bev Francis Powerhouse Gym
Favorite Healthy Recipe
Protein Ice Cream
- 1 scoop GAT Sport Whey Protein (vanilla)
- ½ avocado
- 1 cup unsweetened
- almond milk
- 1 cup spinach
Blend together until smooth. and enjoy!