IRON MAN E-Zine: Issue #434:
Big-Arms Tips, Plus Big-Time Deadlifts
TRY THIS AT YOUR NEXT WORKOUT
Big-Arms Tips, Plus Big-Time Deadlifts
Q: I’m following your arm-specialization programs in your [X-traordinary Arms] e-book. I like starting my biceps workout with cable curls, as you suggest, because I can add X Reps at the end of the last set. Many of the pro bodybuilders say free weights are better for growth, so I’m worried I’m not getting the most size stimulation. Are free-weight barbell or dumbbell curls better?
A: Not necessarily. The only problem with cable curls is weight-stack drag, which makes the negative, or lowering, stroke slightly easier; however, you get much better continuous tension with a cable curl as opposed to barbell or dumbbell curls. That’s very important for max-growth stimulation. There’s also another BIG benefit…
According to Olympic Coach and massive-arms expert Charles Poliquin, Japanese researchers have found that the biceps muscle responds best to faster concentric contractions. You get more biceps-muscle fibers in the action if you do the positive stroke in about one second. If you curl the weight up slowly, you tend to recruit the brachialis…
With that in mind, a cable curl becomes even more effective because you can drive the bar up in about 1 second without losing tension on your biceps. Not so with a barbell or dumbbells–you lose tension all over the stroke during a fast positive due to momentum. That makes the cable curl the better choice for rapid-fire sets…
To ease your mind, you can do cable curls at one biceps workout and dumbbell curls at the other. On dumbbell day, try doing your dumbbell curls seated on a high-incline bench. That will prevent cheating and also allow you to do a fairly rapid concentric movement without losing much tension.
Here’s another tip: On cable curls use a close grip for an outer-biceps-head hit. That’s the head that produces the most peak. At the next workout the incline curls will naturally be a “wide-grip” movement for inner-head emphasis. The inner head creates more biceps fullness and thickness (that’s the out-for-in/in-for-out rule).
To summarize, switch from close-grip cable curls to high-incline curls at every other arm session. You’ll emphasize each head at alternate workouts, just as the giant-arm specialization programs in the X Arms e-book suggest, and you’ll be on your way to sleeve-stretching success.
Q: I’m using the 3-way split in the basic program listed in the X-traordinary X-Rep Workout e-book. I’ve added about six pounds of muscle in only a month. My arms are larger than they’ve ever been, but I’m not satisfied with my legs. I’m doing what you guys show in your training blog, working legs only once a week on Tuesdays, with the other two upper-body workouts alternating on Monday, Thursday and Friday. Should I add some leg work somewhere?
A: That’s one of the best bodypart splits you can use for mass, as there’s very little overlap and optimal muscle recovery AND systemic recuperation. So keep the XX Workout split as you’re doing it–with legs only on Tuesday. The fix is, every other week, when back day lands on a Friday, add in deadlifts for some residual leg work–like this:
Monday: Chest, delts, triceps, abs
Thursday: Back, biceps, forearms
Friday: Chest, delts, triceps, abs
Monday: Back, biceps, forearms
Thursday: Chest, delts, triceps, abs
Friday: Deadlifts, back, biceps, forearms
Repeat Week 1, followed by Week 2 and so on.
So at Week 2, and every other week after that, your back workout falls on a Friday. That’s when you add deadlifts, and that residual leg work should give you a new blast of lower-body mass.
You may want to reduce the sets on your other back exercises on those Fridays because deadlifts are extremely taxing. That BIG exercise works about 80 percent of the muscles on your body, with a shocking emphasis on legs and back–PLUS it’s a great overall anabolic mass jack. Prepare to grow even more!
[Note: The above bodypart split is how the Basic program in The X-traordinary X-Rep Workout is designed. The Positions-of-Flexion X-Rep program in that e-book uses a different split.]
Till next time, train hard–and smart–for BIG results.
—Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson
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To follow the ITRC training program in “Train, Eat, Grow,” get a copy of the latest issue of IRON MAN.
This Special Report was submitted by Jonathan Lawson and Steve Holman.
The IRON MAN Training & Research Team
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