Changing bicep routine after reading article
- 03-08-2006, 09:39 AM
Changing bicep routine after reading article
Now this sounds kinda lame, and it really took some convincing to do this, but I am changing from the standard heavy stading bb-curls and hammer curls for a cables and concentration curl type bicep workout. I read an article on ar (steroid.com) by a bodybuilder who was speaking about how these traditional exercises with most were working way more front delt than they were actually hitting the bicep properly. Since my arms have been stuck at about 16 3/4 - 17 cold for the last year or so eventhough my poundages on these and my tricep workouts have gone up, I have decided that it's time to try something new. I did my 1st day of this workout about 3 days ago and I admit it just feels like my bicep has been torched way more than ever b4. Like way more than my 155 lb bb curls 3x8 and my 60 lbs hammer curls 3x8 sets ever did, I will keep you all posted on my results I will be trying this for about six weeks.
here is the article:
Seems No matter what gym you go to, in whatever part of the world, bodybuilders everywhere, amateur to pro to weekend warriors, are all obsessed
with big arms development. Just think of the nicknames we have for big arms;
the pythons, the guns, the cannons, the pistols, the weapons. I once saw a
bodybuilderís bumper sticker in L.A. that said, ďItís not how much the carís worth,
itís the size of the gun hanginí out the window.Ē Yes, arms development has
captured the imagination of bodybuilders everywhere, including my own.
Now, letís forget for now the fact that I have University degrees, and academic
scholarships. Letís forget that I have made champion bodybuilders from rank
beginners, and letís forget the fact I have been training the best of the best in this
sport for some ten to fifteen years, while I have been training my self for almost
twenty-five. Yes, letís forget I took years to develop the System of Training I
named Innervation Training that is sweeping across the world. The fact is that
this is a results oriented sport and brains and experience take you so far, and the
proof as they say, lies in the pudding.
Well, ponder this of my pudding. All of my credentials as the worldís top Guru aside, I myself put four inches on my arms during my comeback from crippling back surgery. Tell anyone in this game that anyone has put one inch on a body part and they are ready to take notes, make that four inches, and put them on your arms and well, they follow you around with tape recorders.
Now that I have your attention let me delve a little further into how and why I was
Abel (get it) to add such incredible dimensions to my arms development.
Innervation Training as a methodology is a departure from normal training dogma
to be sure. The majority of the research for this system centers around research
to do with the nervous system and how it affects muscles and muscle response
and not so much just muscle skeletal research per se. While this is the scientific
explanation the truth is that Innervation Training generally and in the case of
arms training in particular is a radical departure from traditional training methods.
Letís just say Innervation Training is non conventional to say the least. In the
case of arms training, Innervation training led me to create arms exercises most
of you have never even seen or heard of before, and to discard more traditional
exercises as a complete waste of time, which I will explain below.
You see, the research about the nervous system and the way it influences
muscles at work leads you down a different path, and in arms training two pieces
of that research demand close attention, and illustrate why many of you may not
2 be making any real gains in arms development by following traditional methods.
When focusing on technique, the research is unequivocal on two points that must
be explained. They are 1. Excitation Thresholds and 2. Co Contraction of
You see certain muscles in very specific ranges and planes of motion get a
message from the nervous system to recruit fibers, before other muscles that
may be contributing to the same movement. The lower the excitation threshold is
for a certain muscles movement pattern, the more it will be activated
preferentially ahead of other contributing muscle fibers.
In the case of biceps and triceps this is very important because the muscles of the arms are usually used as levers in most coordinated sport activities etc. Therefore often the range and plane of motion for a lot of what you think are arms exercises end up not being arms exercises. The motor neurons making up the muscle fibers of the biceps and triceps tend to have higher excitation thresholds than other muscles that support them in contraction like shoulders etc. making it difficult to achieve maximum overload in a lot of traditional arm movements like standing barbell curls for biceps and lying barbell extensions for triceps. For both those exercises in those specific ranges and planes of motion neither the biceps nor the triceps will receive maximum overload because of generally higher excitation thresholds than other working muscles in those movements. Now, there are ways aroundthis, and they have to do entirely with technique. If you want to get the most out of all of your arms movements for both triceps and biceps, make sure that only the radius, and ulna bones of your arms move during contraction. These are the arms bones from your wrist to your elbow, and they should be the only bones moving during contraction of any arms exercises. Always keep the humerus, the upper bone of the arms that runs from elbow to shoulder, always keep it from moving during your arms exercises. You can see how this would make it difficult to do either standing barbell curls or lying barbell extensions, so I say scrap both of those traditional arms movements.
CO-CONTRACTION OF ANTAGONISTS
Innervation Training research also reveals a ton of research regarding the co
contraction of antagonist muscles, while muscles are at work. The biceps and
triceps are obviously antagonistic muscles, and the research shows that in most
sport related tasks the antagonists work to support each other. In other words,
while the biceps is in full stretch, the triceps contract to absorb some of the load
and when the triceps is stretched the reverse is true. Sounds reasonable and
whatís the problem with that you ask? Well, plenty is wrong with that if your goal is maximum biceps and triceps development. 3
You see Innervation Training research also reveals that a muscle stretched with
resistance receives the maximum amount of overload. (See Behm 1995) which is
exactly what you want for growth. With biceps and triceps so closely acting
together during arms training movements this all important stretch of a muscle
with resistance is often lost and therefore so is the growth quality of most of your
sets. Only intense concentration of every inch of every rep of every set can
insure you are stretching fully the biceps without letting the triceps contract and
vice versa. If you are following along with the Innervation Training logic, this is
yet another reason why most two arm movements are not as effective for
development of the arms as are what are known as the ďisolation exercisesĒ
where you can more closely concentrate and monitor the quality of the execution
of a rep, and a set, rather than just trying to indiscriminately lift a weight from
start to completion
Wow. These two points of Innervation Training Research force a total
reexamination of most arms movements for biceps and triceps to examine
efficacy. People often ask me which is better for arms, barbells or dumbbells, and
the answer is that neither are all that great. While dumbbell concentration curls
are excellent for biceps development, almost all other most effective movements
for biceps and triceps development, are done with machines or cables. Indeed
almost all of my total revamping of my arms workout had to do with mimicking
dumbbell or barbell work on the cable machine. Take one arm dumbbell
extension for example. By doing this one from a low pulley instead of using a
dumbbell the shoulder is taken out of the movement and gravity is more efficient
on the eccentric portion of the rep all the way through the completion of a set.
Doing this substitution instead of using the dumbbell was just one innovation that
helped me to gain four inches on my arms. My arms are now a cool 22 inches
cold. While focusing on machines and cables instead of dumbbells or barbells produce the most efficient results, you still have to employ high intensity Innervation Training Techniques to make the incredible four inch per side gains that I was able to accomplish.
With arms training it is important to not stop at the bottom of a movement
between reps. When you execute repetitions that way, other stabilizing muscles
will contract to ease the stress off of the working biceps or triceps. When that
happens once again you are negating the important full stretch with resistance
phase, that is so vital to a maximum quality contraction that will force the most
overload. The point isnít to move the weight quick, but to pump and not stop in
FIGHT THE FLEX
When training biceps or triceps donít just rep a weight up, flex it up during the
concentric phase. That is to say flex the targeted muscle, either triceps or biceps
from starting point to full contraction. This produces maximum intensity and
negates the tendency to use other muscles with lower excitation thresholds
because you are literally lifting the weight up by flexing the targeted muscle from
the starting position. After you complete the lifting phase of the movement this
way then Ďfight the flexĒ as you go through the eccentric phase of the rep. That is
not to say go slow or slow the movement down. No. What I am saying is that you
should try to maintain the tension in the muscle that you just contracted with an
intense flex. Maintain a tension in the muscle as it tries to stretch during the
negative phase. You will feel the difference doing this almost immediately.
The most intense Innervation Training Technique is the performance of strip sets.
Not all exercises lend themselves to be good for doing strip sets, but any two arm
isolation movement for arms make it a good one to try. But strip sets Innervation
Training style are NOT drop sets. They are much, much more difficult. First you
need to select a proper isolation movement for biceps or triceps to be able to do
a proper strip set. And you also need to apply the above training principles
during every inch of every rep of every set to be successful. But there is more.
A strip set is the hardest form of intensity applied. First do progressively
increased warm ups till you are ready for the maximum performance. Pick a
weight you can do only 4-5 reps with in cheating form to totally exhaust the fast
twitch fibers of any contributing motor units. When you reach failure you go to
the very next lightest weight and try to complete a good rep. If you complete a
rep you stay there, and try to complete another one. When you cannot complete
another rep at that weight you move down to the next lightest weight and so on.
As the muscle burns you can take fraction of a second rest, and then try to
continue. The goal of a strip set is time not weight. The longer you can make it
last, the more efficient the overload. But remember, try to complete every rep by
fully stretching the targeted muscle without letting the antagonist contract, try to
keep tension in the muscle by fighting the flex, and donít stop at the top or bottom
of the movement. Think Pump, even though you may only get one rep at each
weight stop as you go down the weight stack with the selector pin.
That is a lot to think about and proof that training properly for real results is as
much mental as physical.
With the above points and techniques in mind let me give you an example of just
one of the workouts I used to make these incredible gains on my arms that I have
kept now for over a year and I dare say I am adding to as I write this. There are
literally dozens of movements you can do for arms as well as some of my new
innovations. Rather than listing all the great arms movements let me for now just
list the ones I think are not so good for developing the arms. By reading this list,
you may think I am crazy, but donít forget my choices are based on the
foundations of Innervation Training Research and Not just traditional movements.
And before you call that crazy, remember Iím the one who put four inches on my
Anyway, hereís the list:
1.) barbell curls:
for reasons listed above this exercise is just not efficient for biceps
itís done more for the ego and because of tradition than because it produces
2) seated or standing dumbbell curls not only is the shoulder more likely to absorb the work, but the whole supination logic is faulty. Starting the movement with the thumbs inward to the leg means you are focusing on the brachi radialis. This is done more efficiently with hammer curls or Zottman curls. As you supinate the wrist during contraction on this movement you shift the emphasis on to the long head of the biceps, which wasnít properly stretched with resistance in the initial starting position, because the thumbs were faced inward.
This means you get the least of two involved muscles rather than the most
out of one, which is what you should be shooting for.
3) triceps dumbbell extension
this movement produces tremendous infringement on the shoulder and there
is a tendency to move the humerus during the movement which subtracts
from the quality of overload. By doing this exercise from a low pulley cable
instead, you get a much more efficient contraction and more tension on the
triceps through the whole range of motion.
4) triceps kickbacks
this exercise is a complete waste of time. Because of the plane of motion
within which the movement is done, there is no gravitational pull on the
triceps during the eccentric phase of the lift, negating a whole half of the rep.
Again, performing it on a cable with a rope will be much more efficient but
there are still other and better exercises which force more intense
These are just a couple of exercises for both triceps and biceps that I no
longer include in my workouts at all because they are just not efficient.
As promised, a sample of one of my current workouts looks something like
EXERCISE SETS AND REPS
Triceps pushdowns 3-4 warm ups then 6 4 Xís 8-10 or 1 strip set
seated machine triceps extensions 3-4 sets Xís 8-10 or 1 strip
set one arm triceps rope extensions 3-4 Xís 10-12 each arm from the low pulley
overhead rope triceps extensions 3-4 Xís 12-15 or 1 strip set
dumbbell concentration curls 3-4 warm ups then 3 Xís 6-10
high pulley one arm concentration curls 4 Xís 10-15
machine preacher curls 3 Xís 10-12 or 1 strip set
1 arm Zottman curls 3 Xís 12 15
Now yes, that is a lot of volume for an arm workout. But I only train arms once
per week. And to make my arms a priority I always trained them after a rest day
and after my pig out day. So the gas tank was really full to say the least. But the
story doesnít end there. While unique training and blood and guts intensity can
help you make great gains, you canít put the kind of inches on a body part like I
did with arms without close attention to supplementation. To support the rigors of
hardcore training you need a supplement strategy that centers on helping your
workouts, helping your recovery, and supporting a growth environment overall,
inside your body. You accomplish this by including a strong high quality protein
supplement, a creatine supplement.
- 03-08-2006, 05:07 PM
- 5'11" 190 lbs.
- Join Date
- Jul 2005
- New England
- Rep Power
I have no formal education in anatomical physics, but right off the bat there are a few things I disagree with here, #1 being his claim that barbell curls are useless. I think I might just be confused by the whole article and need to sit down and read it 100 times...he says that isolation exercises are OK in one place, and then goes on to say that they aren't? Am I reading this correctly???
But I am tempted to try the routine for a while and see what difference it makes.
BTW what the heck is a Zottman curl? I've never heard of it...
- 03-08-2006, 07:11 PM
Zottman curls are super-weird. You start with your palm facing up like normal, then you do a normal curl and stop at the top, turn the db around so your palm is facing you and lower it slowly. Their good because they really prevent you from throwing the dbs and they make you focus on the negative a whole lot more than normal, plus you are forced to pause at the top which helps with contraction. Some say they are very hard on the wrists, and they can be, but if you don't try to lift with your ego and pump weights that require you to use front delt and lower back they arent too bad on your wrists. I just started doing them and they really burn hard on the negative, but I can see how they can be very effective ways to both isolate the bicep and recruit different fibers than normal due to the palms-in negative.
03-08-2006, 07:17 PM
I could be misinterpreting you but it sounds like you have been doing very much the same type of bicep training on a regular basis. If you don't mix up your routine and the way you're stressing the muscle, there is no need for adaptation, so the muscle doesn't grow. I'm all for changing the type of workout every once in a while to shock the muscle with a totally different training routine, but don't completely abandon what got you where you are.
Let us know how this new training goes.
03-08-2006, 07:19 PM
Once again... If standing heavy bb curls and heavy hammer curls with some preacher/preacher db hammers mixed in were getting me extra size and vascularity, I would still be doing them. The fact is I am increasing the weights and doing my current program for bi's with good intensity for goddamn near a year and I have gotten nowhere, still stuck around a little less than 17 to 17 and when I cut for summer time I know it is gonna drop below 17 again so I am absolutley desperate to try anything new. My tri's are nice, but I dont have the biceps to match eventhough they are both about as strong (in proportion). I have had one workout and I must say it felt pretty goddamn good and I am still sore 3 days later and my bi's just feel more pumped up and like they've really been hit like they havent been hit in months. I will keep you all posted if anything good comes of this
03-08-2006, 07:24 PM
Originally Posted by BBAddict
I do mix the training up... For example every 3 weeks I will change from say standing hammers to preacher hammers and from bb curls to preacher curls and add in extra forearm work to substitute for the forearm work I get doing straight bar. After reading this the impression I am getting is that I have really worked on my shoulders this year and they have really improved, but I think they overpowering my biceps and that is causing an impressive-looking, yet unfufilling (biceps-wise) workout..
03-09-2006, 09:19 AM
Originally Posted by Rictor33
Changing from standing hammer curls to preacher hammer curls isnt necessairly changing your routine as you are doing the same exercise in a different manner. When changing your routine do supersets/trisets or change exercises all together. Try conc curls, incline db curls, standing high arm cable curls. also think about changing the number of reps/sets and also rest between sets. This will def. help stiulate growth. Also proper form will determine what muscles you are using. If you have poor form with hammer curls and the such you may indeed work the delts instead but from a kinesological standpoint the delts should not be getting a workout since there is flexion/extension ONLY at the elbow.
03-09-2006, 11:32 AM
- Join Date
- Nov 2002
- Somewhere between a 4x12 stack and a power rack...
- Rep Power
Im going to give this a shot tomorrow on arm day. My arms are due for a switch,and I never use the machines so what the heck
03-21-2006, 11:31 PM
03-22-2006, 07:13 AM
- Join Date
- Nov 2002
- Somewhere between a 4x12 stack and a power rack...
- Rep Power
I did give it a try, and let me tell you my bi's were pumped up something fierce. Im not used to using the machines and being able to really pump out a set without having to focus on form was pretty neat.
However, I have to say that my bi's just didnt feel as 'worked' the next day like they do when I have a heavy set of curls in there too...I think the best thing for me would be a combination of heavier lifting and the routines in the above article.
Thanks again for the post Rictor!
03-22-2006, 10:46 PM
The 1st time I did it my bi's hurt like never before for several days. Last few times out not as much, but I they feel pretty swollen, maybe it's a placebo effect? Maybe not? Anyway after a few more weeks I'll know for sure if it has helped me...
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