If you’ve been paying attention to the IRON MAN Pro over the past few years, you know about the rapidly improving Hidetada Yamagishi from Japan. At his first two outings at the event, in Southern California, Hide didn’t even place. He did, however, earn his second trip to the Mr. Olympia contest by taking fourth at the ’09 edition of the show.
Hide is the only bodybuilder from Japan, a nation of 128 million people, ever to qualify for pro bodybuilding’s ultimate championship. His densely packed physique has been compared favorably to those of other bodybuilders of short stature, like Lee Priest. Part of what brings Lee, the ’06 IRON MAN Pro winner, to my mind is Hide’s outstanding biceps development.
I can’t lie—arms were never a stubborn body-part for this 5’5” guy with 22-inch guns. Yet he did experience a frustrating period of about two years in his amateur days when his biceps refused to grow. Like most bodybuilders, he assumed the answer to the problem was to simply train his biceps heavier.
Eventually, Hide was throwing up 225-pound cheat curls, which at the time was a good 25 pounds more than he weighed. “It looked more like a snatch you’d see in Olympic weightlifting than a curl,” he admits.
As months went by and his biceps refused to budge the tape measure, he opted for another tactic. Using less weight, he tightened up his form and shifted his focus to trying to feel the biceps contracting as completely as possible on each rep. To his surprise and great relief, his biceps started beefing up once more.
The experience taught him a valuable lesson about how often the relationship between the weight you use and the results you get isn’t what you would assume it to be; that is, more is not better. “Going too heavy and not squeezing the muscle is what keeps so many guys from ever having bigger arms,” says Hide.
These days he uses half the weight, and his arms appear to be twice the size. “Any heavier than 135 and I feel it all in my tendons,” he says. If you haven’t seen any growth in your biceps for a very long time, you have nothing to lose. Why not try lightening up on the weight and tightening up your form? See what happens.
Editor’s note: Ron Harris is the author of Real Bodybuilding, available at www.RonHarrisMuscle.com.