Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Bodybuilding Specialization


Article Thanks to Liam Tweed





Having exhausted the possibilities of all-round schedules, the advanced man usually finds there are parts of his physique that have lagged behind the rest; or he may find it impossible to stand a length all-round (full body) routine with the necessary poundages and sets required to force further growth. We know that really heavy weights are required to ensure physical gains, but the advanced man would need such drawn out and strenuous schedules to work every part of the body sufficiently on each occasion that, unless he were endowed with exceptional powers of recuperation the ultimate result of willing his way through such workouts would be staleness and a complete standstill. The "1001" exercise system (research Bob Hoffman for an explanation if you don't yet know what this is) might produce results in the case of a person able to withstand long workout sessions, but realistically there are few men able to handle top poundages in a fully comprehensive routine. The many sets of each exercise required to give every section of the body adequate stimulation puts this method beyond the powers of an average bodybuilder. The solution to the problem therefore is to specialize on those parts that require extra work, concentrating on giving each main group, such as the chest, back, arms, legs, etc., individual treatment by the use of brief routines of about four or five exercises, worked in several sets of 8-10 repetitions for the upper body and between 12-15 for the legs. Of course, it is advisable to switch the exercises around every so often so that the whole body eventually requires adequate treatment.

In the light of my own experiences, I know it is impossible for me to increase my measurements without adding bodyweight. Therefore, I usually include the Squat in these programs. Whenever this exercise has been omitted, progress has just come to a standstill, or I have even lost bodyweight. However, after gaining in bulk and increasing the measurements required, it is usually possible to work off any slight surplus without an appreciable reduction in girths. Of course, there are those fortunate people who are able to increase their muscular size without putting on too much bodyweight, but they are usually of a high mesomorphic content.  

After the consistent use of standard weight gaining and bodybuilding routines, I decided to employ the above remedy and work exclusively on the upper arms. From a large collection of arm exercises, I finally worked out the following schedules.

Mondays - 

1) Dumbbell Bench Press, 5 x 10 reps
2) Bentover Barbell Curl, 5 x 10
3) Dumbbell Concentration Curl, 5 x 20
4) Lying Triceps Extension, 5 x 10
5) Three Way Laterals (deltoids), 4 x 8 each (side, front, rear).

Tuesdays - 

1) Breathing Squat, 1 x 20
2) Heavy Squat to Box, 3 x 10
3) Front Squat, 3 x 210
4) Breathing Pullover, 15 reps after each set of all squats.

Wednesdays - 
1) Incline Barbell Press, 5 x 10
2) Lean-Forward Dumbbell Curl, 5 x 10  
3) Standing Triceps Extension, 5 x 10
4) Press Behind Neck, 4 x 8
5) Rebound Barbell Curl, 5 x 10 (some tips on variations of rebound curls here:

Thursdays - 
1) Full Squat, 3 x 10
2) Breathing Squat, 1 x 20
3) Medium Heavy (slow) Squat, 3 x 10
4) Pullover, 15 reps after every set of squats.

Fridays - 
1) Three Way Laterals (deltoids), 4 x 8 each (side, front, rear).
2) Dumbbell Bench Press, 5 x 10
3) Seated Alternate Dumbbell Curl, 5 x 10
4) Dumbbell Curl Over a Fixed Bar (DB spider curl), 5 x 10
5) Triceps Pressdown, 5 x 10.

I started work/play with moderate poundages and endeavored to increase the weights as often as possible, with the idea of forcing improvement through more concentrated work on the arms. This policy resulted in well pumped up arms and sore muscles for a few days after; soreness was especially noted in the case of the legs. After a month of this system I eliminated the leg work altogether in order to concentrate more fully on the arms. The length to which the schedules had grown, by the progressive addition of more sets and heavy weights being handled, forced me to cut down the workouts to three per week. I have come to the conclusion that too much leg work is detrimental to the success of specialized work on the upper body, and 3 sets of 10 or 2 of 15 squats are ample for such purposes. A further month on this schedule found the poundages considerably increased on practically all exercises. However, there was a tendency towards a careless execution of the exercises in an effort to complete the movements with such heavy weights. It is probably better to keep to a poundage that permits a reasonably correct performance of an exercise for most of the repetitions, although it is sometimes necessary to relax the style somewhat when squeezing out the last few. It is a good plan to do, say, two sets with the heaviest weights possible and then to revert to a lower weight for the remainder of the sets, which should be performed in strict style. In this way one gets used to handling heavy weights, and at the same time it gives the muscles some very direct work, which is most essential for the arms. Plenty of sets are necessary to tire the biceps and flush them with blood but the type of curl attributed to Floyd Page is an excellent method of working the arms to their limit without using too many sets. Take a fairly light dumbbell and do five half reps from the bottom of the curl to the 90-degree angle, and then without stopping do five half reps from the 90-degree angle to the top of the curl; follow immediately with five complete curls. This will cause a severe cramp in the biceps and really make them ache.

The two months I put in on this resulted in an increase of about a half inch on the upper arms and there was a marked improvement in shape. 

I then changed to a system of three specialized and two general workouts a week consisting of the following exercises.

Mondays - 

1) Seated Barbell Curl, 5 x 10
2) Swing-Bell Curl, 5 x 10
3) Barbell Curl Against Wall, 5 x 10
4) Lying Triceps Extension, 5 x 10
5) Triceps Pressdown, 5 z 10.

Tuesdays - 

1) Bench Press, 6 x 5-10
2) Lateral Raise, 5 x 10
3) Pulldown to Waist, 5 x 10
4) Pushups, 5 x 10-15
5) Swing-Bell Curl, 5 x 10
6) Squat, 2 x 15.

Wednesdays - 
1) Seated Barbell Curl, 5 x 10
2) Swing-Bell Curl, 5 x 10
3) Dumbbell Curl, 5 x 10
4) Press Behind Neck, 5 x 10
5) Overhead Triceps Extension, 5 x 10
6) Reverse Grip Bench Press, 5 x 10.

Thursdays -
1) Standing Lateral Raise, 5 x 10
2) Bench Press, 6 x 5-10
3) Lat Pulldown, 5 x 10
4) Squat, 2 x 15
5) Swing-Bell Curl, 5 x 10
6) Pushups, 5 x 10.

Fridays -
1) Seated Barbell Curl, 5 x 10
2) Swing-Bell Curl, 5 x 10
3) Barbell Curl Against Wall, 5 x 10
4) Lying Triceps Extension, 5 x 10
6) Leaning Forward Triceps Extension, 5 x 10.

This time I made a special effort to cramp the muscles with extreme contractions and extensions of the arms, with only 10 seconds rest between each set. This method pumped the arms up until they were almost numb. However, rather lighter weights were made necessary and the poundages did not increase so rapidly as in the last schedule. The same method was used in the squats and was found most effective; the legs ached severely, even though a reduction of 30 pounds was made in the poundage usually handled.

Eventually I became stale and began to feel tired after each workout. After two months I found my measurements unchanged, and now realize that too many exercises and workouts were used. Also, the inclusion of too many leg raises, situps, and side bends in the schedule contributed to the failure of the experiment. When 'blessed' with a thick waist it is necessary to include abdominal exercises in every workout, but only as supplementary work. In my desire to maintain a trim midsection I tended to overdo this part of the schedule, as it almost became the main part of the routine.

The two months work did, however, result in improved shape and definition of the arms, giving them an appearance of greater size. My abdomianl region also improved, as did the shoulders and thighs. The lesson learned from this experiment was that the whole body was fatigued through too much work and insufficient sleep. When working out so frequently the schedules must be of brief duration, consisting of about four exercises, including the squat, with ample sleep and diet. I find my powers of recuperation do not allow for any more.   








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