Home Archives 2011 December 11

Daily Archives: Dec 11, 2011

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If it was at all possible I think that bigger arms would be at the top of most of our wish lists come Christmas day! You can almost envisage it, a dubstep remix of Maria Carey’s ‘’All I want for Christmas’’ ending with ‘’is bigger arms’’ belting out of the speakers on TV. Unfortunately, no such wish can be granted therefore you have to settle for the next best thing! No, not a blow up muscle suit. Instead, you need to go back to the drawing board and see if you are committing one of the 3 most common crimes made with arm training. As you read on, you may well uncover the reason as to why your arms look no more intimidating to the sleeves of your t-shirt than they did 12 months ago!

Over training

Don’t worry, this isn’t where I rant on about the reasons over training holds you back in a general sense. It is far more specific in this instance simply because of the body part we are talking about, arms. It is very easy to over train your arms, in fact it is so easy you wouldn’t believe it! When you train chest your triceps do a lot of the work, and the same can be said for biceps when you train back. In fact, you could say after a chest and back workout your arms have also had a workout. So blasting for 40-60 minutes again a couple of days after could very easily lead to over training.

How do you avoid it? In my opinion, you should cycle your arm training to overcome this problem! One week, do very low volume with just one working set for biceps and one for triceps. Preload the muscles with 2 warm up sets per body part, but after that just hit them very hard with a controlled, ultra intense, high tension working set! That is all.

The next week, go for higher reps and focus on the contraction and keep rest periods to 60 seconds, no longer!

Finally, use the much loved DTP system to blitz them on week 3. What this does is afford your biceps and triceps more time to recover! In my opinion, an arm workout should never ever take more than 30 minutes to do, and in some cases as little as 15-20 minutes!

Poor form

Again, this is particularly the case for arms. Swing on bicep curls and you will draw your shoulders, back and legs into the equation. This may help your ego bulge with size but it certainly won’t do anything for your biceps. The same can be said for triceps extensions, where your traps in particular can take over if the weight is too heavy! If you are using poor form then there is no way the muscle fibres will contract, no contraction means no stress! Guess what that means? You got it, no growth! You could probably identify 10 gym clowns where you train who religiously swing the heaviest dumbbells for reps, but their arms still look like depleted celery sticks. That is why!

Lack of variation

This is directed towards the exercises you choose as well as the repetition range you use. Arms in general do respond well to high repetition training which is why I advised you do it above! It is key that you understand what certain exercise achieve for you as well! With biceps, it is imperative that you do some close grip curling to hit the outer head. Many people have poor outer bicep development and this is why, their training predominately hits their inner head. With triceps, many people fail to stimulate their long head! This is the head which gives that lovely horse shoe shape to the back of your arm! Do overhead extensions and close grip pushdowns to get this part of your triceps growing!

There are 3 top tips to breaking boundaries with your arm training! From my experience, you won’t go far wrong using these tips! Soon enough, you will have to register for a firearms certificate to legally own those guns my friend!

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Some will and some won’t know that there are two forms of muscular hypertrophy. The first being sarcoplasmic and the second being myofibrillar. The first form is the look a lot of bodybuilders have, with their muscles looking very pumped. The latter has much more grainy look, where your muscle looks very hard and very dry. Many top class weight lifters have this kind of look, particularly the lighter ones who have a lower body fat. Today we are going to focus on this form of muscular hypertrophy as we aim to get grainy!

Strength training

As you would probably guess strength training lends itself best to getting a hard grainy look, which is why many of the smaller weight lifters carry this kind of look. With that said, HIT training is a great place for you to start if muscle growth is a main goal along with having that hard old school look.

Using a repetition range of 5-8 with forced repetitions and negatives your muscles become stimulated in such a way where over time you develop that grainy look.

Compound movements

When you’re using a low repetition range it is best to stick with compound movements. This is because more muscle fibres are recruited. Not only that, but using such a low repetition range with isolate movements can enhance the chances of injury because you are isolating joints as well as specific muscle groups. Bench pressing using a lot of incline and decline angles, deadlifting, leg pressing, shoulder pressing, squatting and military pressing are great compound exercise to help develop that dry hard look.

Punish the muscle

This may sound a little cliché but to get that old school Dorian kind of look you really need to punish your muscles, pushing them harder than before. Part of looking hard and grainy is to do with the type of muscle contraction you achieve and the type your after is best suited to ultra high intensity training. This means as we said above, going way beyond failure with forced repetitions, negatives and then even partials. When your training chest this way it isn’t unusual to feel as if the muscle is about to part with the bone!

Contraction is key!

With every repetition you need to squeeze the muscles hard, this will force them to pop out from the woodwork. Over time this can help develop a very hard looking physique! Remember, you are moving the weight to contract the muscle, not to move the weight from A to B. There is a huge difference between the two and you need to recognise that if you want to get grainy!