The Gun Show
For EDGE, I have been writing a bi-monthly column for their website. I was more than a little surprised and flattered when my editor told me he would like to include a monthly column for the actual magazine that they create for online reading! My first assignment was to pick a muscle group and tell the readers how to change up and maximize their workout. What better place to begin than those all important arms? Here is the story that appeared in EDGE Magazine for March 2014.
All men want bigger arms. Women want arms too, thanks to Michelle Obama; but not the way men want arms. It’s good to be strong because we use our arms for actual manual labour; but the truth is that the arms are a vanity muscle. We can have strong arms without having huge arms. Still – we want huge arms. The next time you do arms, whether it is a full-on arm day or a whole body circuit day, here are some tips to get the most out of your bicep workout.
1: Try a new form on your preacher curls. Instead of hunching over the pad, sit erect, feet together, knees together, butt back, shoulders back, elbows together. Use an EZ bar with a weight that will challenge you but not impede your ability to complete your full set of reps. Using a close grip, start with your forearms perfectly parallel to the floor and lift to point of flex only, squeeze at the top and lower back to starting point. On your final lower, go as slowly as you possibly can. Do three sets. First set, get to 25 reps. Second set, add weight and get to 20 reps, Third set, add weight and get to 15 reps. Fourth set, use the weight of your choice and sell out – do as many as you can but watch your form like a hawk and make sure it is perfect. There is no wasted movement. Your arms will blow up.
2: Make a concentrated effort to extend your arms out to a 20 – 30 degree angle at the base of your curl. Too many people keep their arms at their sides and use shoulders on the first two inches of their curl. This is an arm exercise, not a shoulder exercise. Get the most out your effort by making it a total arm workout.
3: For this one you will need to get a partner. Get a bar and put 5, 5 lb plates on each side, totally 50 lbs. Do 8 curls. Have your partner remove a plate from each side. Do 8 curls, remove plates. Do this til the bar is bare. Do 10 curls with the bare bar. Have your partner put one plate back on each side. Do 8 curls. Add plates. Do this until the bar is full again. That is 90 curls. You may adjust the number of plates, the weight of the plates, the number of curls. You will be cashed, so make this the last exercise of your workout. Stretch. Maybe even get a rub down. Workout partners are good for that, too. Especially hot ones.
4: Superset to failure. Always. You can always get in one more rep. Tell yourself that and believe it; or have a workout partner that will tell you and convince you.
5: Most people do curls with and underhand grip. Try an overhand grip and do three sets of 25: one with your hands regular width apart, one set with them 2 – 3 inches apart, one set with them shoulder width apart. Use a weight that will challenge you but not so much that you can’t do 3 sets of 25. Even if you have to rest for five seconds, get to 25.
6: Avoid “cheat” reps. It can be enticing to cheat and put up bigger numbers but long term gains stem from rock solid technique.
7: Try a different grip when working with dumbbells. Instead of holding the weight dead center, move your hand so that your thumb is actually touching the bell. You will really notice a greater pump.
8: Be negative. A lot of men grab weights and throw them up in the air. Then they drop them. There is as much need for the resistance of lowering the weight back to the ground. Work in reverse. Get an incline bench and a good weight that will challenge you but not be so heavy it messes up your form. Use the top of the incline bench to lean over with your tricep resting on the pad. When you curl the weight up, squeeze at the top and the take at least five seconds to lower to forearm til it touches the pad. Curl it again and take your five seconds. Go slowly and get the fullest range of motion possible. Negatives can be overwhelming the first time (even the second or third times), so low reps are recommended. For the first time or two, start with lighter weights and work your way up to heavier.
9: Pay attention to aesthetics that don’t involve your bicep workout. Do your triceps, too. They fill out your arm and impress people. Watch your diet and trim down so people can see how vascular you are. Big arms are sexy but big arms with bulging veins are hot.
10. Don’t skip leg day. Big biceps and toothpick legs is something you want to avoid. Besides, don’t you want to train the biggest muscles in your body? Do leg day. It will make you happy.