Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Gain Weight To Build Your Arms - John McCallum
Gain Weight to Build Your Arms
by John McCallum
When Eddie Martin was nineteen years old he stood six foot one-and-a-half, weighed one hundred and thirty-eight pounds, and looked like a cross between a picket fence and a bamboo rake. Eddie, however, was not what you would call burdened down with dreams of physical perfection. He thought barbells were young ladies who worked in cocktail lounges, wouldn’t have known a weightlifter from an elephant, and the only bodies he ever noticed were on girls.
Girls were, in fact, Eddie’s principal interest. He had a closet full of cool threads, a handsome if skinny face, and a head of thick black hair which he had secretly styled at twelve bucks a pop. Eddie was just entering young manhood and he intended to make his entry a notable one.
One evening Eddie took his current girlfriend to a movie with the full expectation of a little action on the way home. The movie, however, turned out to be an economically produced Italian thriller about a mythical and thinly woven character named Hercules, and it starred an enormous young man named Reg Park who was not the least bit mythical and was about as thinly woven as Grand Coulee Dam. Eddie’s girlfriend gave a strangled gasp when Hercules strode on to the scene, and for the rest of the show she sat dumbly with her mouth hanging open and her eyes fixed glassily on Reg Park while Eddie gritted his teeth and wished they’d gone to see “Mary Poppins.”
Eddie’s worries, as it turns out, were not entirely without substance. His girlfriend declined a stroll through the park on the way home because, as she pointed out, it was dark in there and a girl might not be safe with the type of protection some of them were stuck with these days. She refused a hamburger but observed that it might be a splendid idea if Eddie ate about a dozen of them. She said goodnight to Eddie at her front door – she had a blinding headache it seemed and couldn’t invite him in – and observed with deep regret that she was going to be frightfully busy in the foreseeable future.
Eddie charged home, ripped off his shirt, stood in front of his bedroom mirror, and cursed muscles and the movie industry in general, and Reg Park in particular.
The next morning, after a restless night plagued by nightmares of 20” biceps and vanishing girlfriends, Eddie wandered into a newsstand to pick up something to read. He let his gaze roam listlessly over the available selection and then jerked rigidly to attention. There, right before his eyes, was the Herculean figure of Reg Park gracing the cover of a garishly colored magazine.
Eddie peeked furtively about and saw that no one was looking. He seized the magazine, paid for it, tucked it under his coat, and raced home like a starving rabbit.
When Eddie got home he read the magazine from cover to cover in one sitting, although, since three-quarters of it was advertising, this was really no great feat. Reg Park, he read, owned 20” arms, was the product of a musclebuilding system that bordered on the miraculous, and that he – Eddie – could have arms the same size in no time at all or even sooner.
Eddie was convinced. He ordered the weights and the wonder system and commenced his search for big arms. Five years later, sadder but no wiser, he was still searching.
Eddie, it must be admitted, tried hard. He triple-zapped and power-zoomed as conscientiously as could reasonably be expected of anyone’s pupil. He blitz-blasted and force-flushed until his eyeballs felt like they were coming out of his head. Results, however, were not quite as promised. Eddie got a little stronger and a bit harder and his arms grew to almost 15”, but he looked more like Arthur Treacher than Reg Park, and, while the girls did not desert him quite so blatantly anymore, neither did they swoon in groups when he strolled by in his T-shirt.
One sunny summer day Eddie stood looking at himself in the mirror and began to have doubts about the whole thing. The work, it was obvious, was all out of proportion to the results, and it didn’t need a Mr. Spock to deduce that the logical move was to chuck the whole scene. Five years of toil, however, represented a large investment, and Eddie decided to seek professional help as a last ditch measure.
Eddie cleaned up, put on his newest T-shirt, and drove downtown to the premises of a small commercial gym. He inspected the muscle pictures in the window somewhat wistfully, and then stepped inside.
Eddie peered around the gym and through a doorway where the gym owner sat in a shabby sweater behind a desk with a ham sandwich the size of a manhole cover in one hand and an open can of beer in the other.
Eddie walked into the office.
The gym owner got to his feet, beamed his friendliest smile, put the sandwich down, and shook hands with Eddie. “Sit down, my boy,” he said. “Sit down.”
Eddie wiped the mustard off his hand and sat down.
The gym owner drained the beer can and threw it into the wastepaper basket. “Left here by mistake,” he said. “Normally I never touch the filthy stuff.”
The gym owner broadened his smile. “Now tell me, lad,” he said, “what may I do for you?”
Eddie cleared his throat. “It’s about training,” he said.
“Splendid,” the gym owner boomed. “Just splendid.” He rummaged through the desk drawer and whipped out a stack of contracts and a pen. “We have the one, two, or three year membership,” he said, “Or, if you care to bring your wife or someone else’s, we have what we call the joint life and last survivor plan.” He took the cap off the pen. “Cash is preferable, of course, but since we have an air of complete trust and harmony here a certified cheque will do.”
“Just a minute,” Eddie said. “I didn’t say I wanted to enroll.”
“But you should,” the gym owner said. “You have great potential. An interested and experienced professional eye like my own can see immediately that you have a wonderful framework for an untrained man, and with . . .”
“I’ve been training,” Eddie said.
“Great,” the gym owner said. “Just wonderful. A week or two of calisthenics to tone up, eh? Very wise precaution. Yes sir. I could see right off the bat that you . . .”
“I’ve been training,” Eddie said, “for five years.”
The gym owner blinked at Eddie. “Five years?” he said. “What have you been lifting, ping-pong balls?”
“Weights,” Eddie said. “Heavy weights.”
“Christ,” the gym owner said. “That’s ridiculous. You oughta be way bigger than that after five years. What have you been doing?”
Eddie told him.
“Man,” the gym owner said. “That’s like a lot of work. What are you trying to accomplish, anyway?”
“I am trying,” Eddie said, “to develop arms like Reg Park.” He got to his feet and flexed his biceps. “Is there a noticeable resemble?”
The gym owner picked up his ham sandwich and bit into it. “If there is,” he muttered, “it escapes me at the moment.”
“You don’t think they look anything like Reg Park’s?” Eddie asked.
The gym owner chewed his sandwich thoughtfully. “Actually,” he said, “they look more like my Aunt Gertrude’s.”
Does your Aunt Gertrude have big arms?” Eddie asked him.
“I doubt it,” the gym owner said. “She’s been dead for seven years.”
Eddie sat down and put a determined look on his face. “I want big arms,” he said “more than anything else in the world.”
The gym owner sat back and thought about what he would say to Eddie. Arms, he thought, are only three percent or whatever of the total muscular bulk and not really too important from a health standpoint. He opened his moth to speak. “Arms,” he said, “are only . . .”
“And don’t give me that garbage about arms being only two percent of the muscles,” Eddie said. “I want arms like and I’ll even enroll here if it’ll help me to get them.”
The gym owner cleared his throat. “Actually, “ he said, “I was about to say that big arms aren’t really too hard to develop, and with professional supervision there’s no reason why you couldn’t have arms like Park. However, you’ve been going at it the wrong way.”
“What do you mean?” Eddie asked him.
“Well, first of all,” the gym owner said, “you’re missing the most important point of all.”
“Like what?” Eddie said.
“Like what do you weigh?” the gym owner asked. “About one-seventy?”
“One-seventy-three,” Eddie said.
“Sure,” said the gym owner. “And you’re about as tall as Park. The only trouble is that he outweighs you by about seventy pounds.”
“I don’t care about weighing that much,” Eddie said. “I just want big arms. I told you.”
“Can you imagine twenty-inch arms hanging on a one-seventy body?” the gym owner asked. “It’d be a physical impossibility. If you want arms like Reg Park, then you’re going to have to weigh as much as he does.”
“Really,” said Eddie. “I never thought about it that way.”
“Certainly,” the gym owner said. “What you need is an arm specialization program coupled with a weight gaining plan, and at the moment gaining weight is more important. Building big arms is easy if you gain weight,” the gym owner said. “If you bring your weight up it’s just a matter of slapping some of that weight on your arms and, if you want to specialize, you can add a lot of it to your arms. But the weight’s gotta be there and it’s gotta come first.”
“What would you suggest?” Eddie asked him.
“Gain Weight,” the gym owner said.
“I know,” Eddie said. “But how?”
“No, no,” the gym owner said. “I mean Quick Gain Weight. That’s the name of the stuff you should be taking. Hoffman’s Quick Gain Weight.”
“I never heard of it,” Eddie said.
“I don’t doubt it,” the gym owner said. “You’ve been reading the wrong books.”
“What’ll it do?” Eddie asked him.
“It’ll put weight on you,” the gym owner said. “And, man, that’s like what you need badly.”
The gym owner thought for a moment. “What I want you to do,” he said, “is to come in here on Monday and I’ll have a training program made out for you. But in the meantime, and this is vital, get a good supply of Quick Gain Weight. You need to pack on a helluva lot of beef in a hurry and that’s the quickest way there is to do it.”
“And you think I’ll get big arms?” Eddie asked.
“My boy,” the gym owner said, “you take the Gain Weight, and when I’m through with you Reg Park will be in here asking for advice.”
Eddie got up and left. The gym owner dug into the bottom desk and brought out another sandwich. He reached into the portable cooler under the desk and came up with a can of beer. He popped the top, put the can to his mouth, and swallowed half the contents. “Smooth,” he murmured.
Eddie Martin reported to the gym on Monday. The gym owner met him with a big smile.
“Eddie, my boy,” he said, “Beautiful evening, isn’t it?”
“Not really,” Eddie said. “It’s raining.”
“Not in here it’s not,” the gym owner said. “And besides, I meant you’re all set to go after those big arms and that’s beautiful.”
“It’ll be beautiful if I get them,” Eddie muttered.
“You’ll get them, my boy, you’ll get them,” the gym owner said. “I guarantee it.”
Don’t you ever have any failures?” Eddie asked him.
“Eddie boy,” the gym owner said, “the only failure we ever had was an electrical failure last July, and that was just because some idiot hung a wet jock-strap over the fuse box.
Eddie thought about it. “Listen,” he said. “How could a . . .”
“Never mind,” the gym owner said. “It’s too complicated.” He slapped his hands together. “Anyway,” he said, “are you ready to go?”
“I think so,” Eddie said.
“Did you get the Quick Gain Weight?”
Eddie nodded. “Yeah,” he said. “I did, but I’m not really convinced about this weight gaining thing. I just want arms like Reg Park, you know.”
“I know,” the gym owner said. “You told me. But don’t forget what I told you. You’re about seventy pounds underweight for arms like Reg Park. Gaining weight is absolutely vital for you. You’re going to do an arm specialization program all right, but it’ll be coupled to a weight gaining program as well. You’ll gain weight and put a lot of it on your arms, but the weight gaining comes first and that’s where the Quick Gain Weight comes in.”
“I could gain weight without it, couldn’t I?” Eddie asked.
You might,” the gym owner said “eventually. But you haven’t got two hundred years to spend on this project. This is going to be a three month crash program. You’re gonna gain about a ton of weight and change your arms from skinny ones to big ones, but you’ll need the Quick Gain Weight to do it.
“You see,” the gym owner said, “there are three essentials to gaining weight and building up your arms. You need protein, you need calories, and you need the right exercise so that you assimilate the protein and the calories, turn them into muscle, and the put muscle where you want it. You’ll get the right exercise here, but you’ve got to get the protein and calories somewhere else and the best place to get them is form Quick Gain Weight.
“You should mix up what I call the Get Big Drink,” the gym owner said.
“Why do you call it that?” asked Eddie.
“Why do you think I call it that? Cause you get big if you drink it, that’s why. Drink it like I tell you and you’ll gain weight like a baby whale,” said the gym owner.
“What is it?” asked Eddie.
“Alright,” the gym owner said. “Listen. Pour two quarts of milk in a bowl and add at least a day’s supply of the Quick Gain Weight. Now add two cups of skim milk powder and blend it. Next add two eggs, four tablespoons of peanut butter, half a brick of chocolate ice cream, a banana, four tablespoons of malted milk powder and six tablespoons of corn syrup. Blend it all together. Pour the mixture into a big plastic jug and keep it in the refrigerator. That much of the Get Big Drink contains approximately 200 grams of protein and 3,000 calories and includes everything you need but an after dinner speaker. There’ll be about ten glasses in the jug and you drink it throughout the day. Don’t try to drink it all at one sitting and don’t drink it in place of your regular meals. Spread it out over the day. You should take a glassful every hour or so. Mix up a fresh batch every day and drink it seven days a week. Don’t cheat on it. You’re only cheating yourself. This supplement will make the difference between grinding slowly along and gaining the weight you need quickly.
“Keep an eye on your waistline over the three months. There’s no point in getting too fat. If you start getting softer than necessary, cut out everything but the two quarts of milk, the skim milk powder and a straight protein instead of the Quick Gain Weight.”
“Okay,” the gym owner said. “Now that we’ve got all that figured out, strip down and we’ll see what you weigh.”
Eddie took off his clothes and stepped on the scales.
“One-seventy-three,” the gym owner said. Make a muscle.” He took a tape measure out of his pocket and wrapped it around Eddie’s flexed arm. “Just under fifteen,” he said. “Don’t enter any Mr. Universe contests.
“Now,” the gym owner said, “this will be a three month specialization program. You’ll be gaining weight and bulking up your arms. The program will be progressive and you’ll change your routine every month. Each new routine will be more severe and more advanced than the one before it.”
“What about results?” Eddie asked him. “What will happen?”
“You’ll grow, the gym owner said. “You’ll grow rapidly. You’ll gain more in the next three months than you did in the past three years. If you take the Get Big Drink and do as I tell you, you’ll look like an entirely different person three months from now. You’ll be at least thirty pounds heavier and your arms will be bigger. They won’t look as good as Reg Park’s, but they’ll be bigger and bulkier.”
“Good,” Eddie said. “That’s what I want.”
“And that’s what you’ll get,” the gym owner said. “Wait and see.”
Eddie put on his sweats and spend ten minutes warming up.
“Great,” the gym owner said. “That’s the idea. Always take time to get your muscles warm. It may seem like wasted effort, but it pays off in the long run.
“Now,” the gym owner said, “you’re ready to go, and the first exercise is the Press Behind Neck. You do 2 sets of 12 reps with a wide grip and in very good style. Use the same weight for both sets. It’s a good basic exercise and it’ll give you just enough work to stimulate growth in the shoulder region.
“The next exercise,” the gym owner said, after Eddie finished the presses, “is the standard Bent Forward Rowing motion. That’ll work the heavy muscle groups in your back and help you add bulk. Do 4 sets of 15 reps. Take a light weight for your first set, jump it 30 lbs. for the second set, and then drop it 10 lbs. for each of the next two sets. Use a close grip – thumbs about 3” apart – and pull the bar to your lower abdomen. Arch your back and contract your muscles when the bar is at your abdomen and let it round out for a good stretch when the bar is at arm’s length. Don’t be obsessed with the amount of weight you can lift. Use a good weight, but make sure you do the exercise in flawless style.
“Now,” the gym owner said, after Eddie had completed the four sets, “you can take a short rest and then you do the most important exercise in the whole program.”
“What’s that?” Eddie asked him.
“Squats,” the gym owner said. “High rep, breathing squats.”
“You’re sure you’re not confused?” Eddie asked. “I want arms like Reg Park, not legs like Paul Anderson.”
“No confusion,” the gym owner said. “Squats are the key exercise in any gaining program. They’re the number one movement for adding bulk. They’ll do more for your arms indirectly than all the concentration curls you’ll do in the next twenty years.
‘Warm up well,” the gym owner said. “Do some free squats and some prone hyperextensions until till you think you’re ready and then go right into the squats. You’ll do one set of twenty reps and you should put more into that one set than in all the rest of the program put together. Use all the weight you can and try to add to it every workout. You’ll have to work up to well over 300 lbs. for the full 20 reps. Keep your head up and your back flat. Take three enormous breaths, hold the last one and squat. Go to about parallel position – tops of thighs parallel to floor – and back up as forcefully as you can. Exhale vigorously when you’re almost erect, take three more huge breaths and squat again.
“The 10th or 12th rep should feel like your limit,” the gym owner said, “but you keep on squatting until you’ve done 20. That’s how hard you’ve got to work.
“Now,” the gym owner said, “when you’ve finished the 20th rep, you drop the weight back on the rack and go immediately to a bench and do 20 light pullovers to stretch your rib-box. Don’t use much weight, 15 or 20 lbs. is plenty. The important thing is to breathe deeply and get a good stretch.
“And now,” gym owner said when Eddie had finished, ‘just lay there and take a nice ten-minute rest. If you don’t need the rest, then you’re not working hard enough on the squats.
“The next exercise,” the gym owner said, “is the Bench Press. You do 3 sets of 12 reps with a medium grip. Use a moderate weight for your first set, jump it 40 lbs. for the second set, and drop it 20 lbs. for the third set. Keep your elbows out and make your pecs do the work.
“And the next exercise,” the gym owner said, “is the Stiff-legged Deadlift. You do 1 set of 15 reps. Stand on a block so that you can go way down till your knuckles touch your shoes. Arch your back at the top of the motion and round it out at the bottom. Hang on to the bar when you finish the 15th rep and do as many shrugs as you can. Try to do about 15 shrugs before you have to put down the weight.
“Now you can take another rest,” the gym owner said.
“I seem to be taking a lot of rests,” Eddie said. “I ain’t really all that tired you know.”
“I know,” the gym owner said, But that’s okay. You’re not supposed to get too tired. This program is designed to build you up, not wear you out.
“Okay,” the gym owner said. “We’re ready to work the arms now, and the first exercise is the regular Barbell Curl. You do 4 sets of 10 reps. Use your heaviest weight for the first set, and drop the poundage 10 lbs. for each of the remaining sets.
“And the next exercise,” the gym owner said when Eddie finished the curls “is Parallel Bar Dips, 4 sets of 10. Keep your body as upright as possible and make your triceps do the work. Tie weights around your waist for added resistance, all you can handle for the first set, and ten lbs. less for each of the remaining sets.
“Now,” the gym owner said, “we got to the curling stand for One-Arm Dumbell Curls. Alternate arms and do 4 sets of 12 reps each. Use the heaviest dumbell for the first set and ten drop it 5 lbs. for each of the succeeding sets. Put a lot of concentration into it.
“And the final exercise,” the gym owner said, “is Triceps Extensions with the Floor Pulley. Do 4 sets of 12 with your best weight for the first set and 10 lbs. less for the remaining sets.
“There,” he said when Eddie had finished. “How do you feel?”
“Good,” Eddie said. I know I’ve had a workout, but I’m not exhausted like I used to get.”
“That’s swell,” the gym owner said. “And don’t forget – work hard, take the Get Big Drink, and watch the results.
Eddie Martin walked through the gym and into the office. The owner was sitting with his head in his hands, a worried look on his face, and his eyes fixed hypnotically on a chess board set up on the desk in front of him.
The gym owner put his hand to his mouth and chewed at his thumbnail.
“Good evening,” Eddie said.
The gym owner took his thumb out of his mouth and waved to Eddie without taking his eyes off the board.
Eddie walked over to the desk. “What’s up?” he asked.
The gym owner looked up. His eyes had a glazed look. “Postcard chess,” he said. “I play postcard chess with my nephew.” He studied the board again.
Eddie leaned over the game.
“You can see the problem,” the gym owner said.
“Of course,” Eddie said.
“He’ll move his Knight,” the gym owner said. “That’ll create a discovered check. I move my King to Rook One, and he mates me in three.”
“Tough” Eddie muttered.
“I can interpose the Rook,” the gym owner said. “But he’ll advance his Queen’s Pawn and I’ll lose the Rook. Won’t I?”
“You certainly will,” Eddie said.
“Or,” the gym owner said, “I can move the King now, and he gets my Queen with the Knight. That’d be worse, wouldn’t it?”
“Much worse,” Eddie agreed.
The gym owner put his head in his hands again. Eddie walked around behind him and they both looked at the board for a long time. Finally, Eddie reached over the gym owner’s shoulder and picked a Knight off the board. “Whatta the horsies do?” he said.
The gym owner sat motionless for a full minute, and then very slowly he turned his head. “What did you say?” he whispered.
Eddie cleared his throat and held up the Knight. “I asked what the horsie did,” he said.
“Horsie?” the gym owner said. He rose heavily to his feet. “Do you play chess?”
“Actually, no,” Eddie admitted. “I used to be pretty great at checkers, though.”
The gym owner snatched the chess piece from Eddie with one hand and reached for the front of his shirt with the other. “Get out of here,” he snarled, “before I jam the desk in your ear.”
“Hold it,” Eddie said. “Wait a minute. This is the second month.”
“The second month of what?” the gym owner said.
“Of my arm program,” Eddie said. “You were going to change the program every month. Remember?”
“Oh, yeah,” the gym owner said. “That’s right.”
“Right,” Eddie said. “And don’t forget I’m paying dues here now.”
The gym owner thought about it for a moment. “That’s right,” he said. He motioned to a chair. “Sit down, my boy. Sit down. Just ignore my little joke.”
Eddie sat down.
“Now,” the gym owner murmured, “let’s see.” He plucked Eddie’s file out of the cabinet, moved the chess game to one side, and studied the file. “Oh, yes,” he said. “The arm thing.” he leaned back and beamed at Eddie. “How are you coming along?”
“Good,” Eddie said. “It’s amazing. I’ve gained eleven pounds and my arms are up over half an inch. They haven’t grown that much in the past two years.”
“Good,” the gym owner said. “That’s splendid.” He took a pad of writing paper out of the drawer and laid it on the desk. “Okay,” he said. “You’re going to do a little more advanced program, but the emphasis will still be on gaining weight.” He wrote on the pad and then looked up. “Are you still using the Get Big Drink?” he said.
“Good,” the gym owner said. “Stay with it. You can see what it’s doing for you.
“Now,” he said, “you’re going to be doing something a little different this month. You’re going to train four days a week. Two days will be a weight gaining routine, and the other two will be arm specialization. You’ll do the bulk routine on Mondays and Thursdays, and the arm routine on Tuesdays and Fridays. The basic purpose will be to gain weight and put as much of it as possible on your arms. Okay?”
“Whatever you say,” Eddie agreed. “You’re the boss.”
The gym owner beamed. “I am, aren’t I,” he said. “I never thought about it that way before.” He thought about it some more, and then he said, “Okay, on Mondays and Thursdays you start off with some Prone Hyperextensions. Do 3 sets of 12 in good style and don’t worry about how much weight you handle. “The idea is to warm up your lower back.
“Next,” the gym owner said, “you do Squats. You do 2 sets of 15 with all the weight you can lift. Do them in breathing style – three big breaths between each rep – and don’t go below parallel position. Try to add weight each workout no matter how tough it feels.”
“I’m getting to like them,” Eddie said. “It’s kind of a challenge.”
“Fine,” the gym owner said. “That’s a good way to look at it. Make it a challenge to improve your squats every workout. Keep piling on the weight. The more weight you put on the squat bar, the more you’ll put on yourself.
“Now,” the gym owner said, “after each set of squats you do a set of light Pullovers. Do 20 reps and give your rib-box a good stretch. And, after you finish the squats and pullovers, you can take a ten-minute rest. They you do Dumbell Presses on a flat bench. You do 4 sets of 10 reps. Keep your elbows well back and the dumbells far out. Don’t let them fall in. You want your pecs to do as much of the work as possible. Use a moderate weight for the first set, jump to your heaviest weight for the second set, and drop the dumbells back five pounds each for the third and fourth sets. Understand?”
“I think so,” Eddie told him.
“Okay,” the gym owner said. “I’ll watch you run through it the first time, anyway.
“Now,” he said, “you go to the chinning bar. Do 3 sets of Wide Grip Chins to the back of your neck, and then 3 sets of Regular Chins. Try to work up to 15 reps in each set. As soon as you can do 15 reps, tie weights around your waist to increase the resistance. The two types of chins will bulk up the big lat muscles in your back and make you nice and wide so you can pack your big arms around.
“Now,” the gym owner said, “the final exercise is One-arm Dumbell Presses. You alternate arms and do 4 sets of 10 reps with each arm. Use a light weight for the first set, jump it to your best for the second set, and drop it five lbs. for each of the next two sets.
“Keep a good position on the presses. Don’t lean over any more than about 10 degrees. If you do it properly you stand to make some good gains on your deltoids.
“Okay,” he said. “Have you got all that?”
“I got it,” said Eddie. “But what about my arms?”
“That’s coming” the gym owner said. “That’s coming.”
“Like I don’t want to waste too much time on my legs and back and whatnot,” Eddie said. “It’s my arms I’m interested in.”
“I know,” the gym owner said. “And we’re coming to that. But don’t forget what I told you – the key to making your arms grow is to gain weight. It’s the quickest, easiest, and most certain route to bigger arms. Your own experience should tell you that.”
“Okay,” Eddie said. “You’re the boss.”
The gym owner smiled broadly. “Yes,” he said, “I know.
“And,” he said, “now we come to the meat of the matter – the arm program. Don’t forget, you do the arm program on Tuesdays and Fridays.”
“Is two days enough?” Eddie asked him.
“It is for now,” the gym owner said. “We’ll make some changes next month, but this is the right amount of work for the time being.
‘Now,” he said, “the first exercise is regular Barbell Curls, 4 sets of 12 reps. Warm up your arms with some light dumbell curls and then go right into the heavy stuff. Use your best weight for the first set and then drop it ten lbs. for each succeeding set. Don’t worry too much about style. Heave it a little bit on the last few reps.
“The next exercise,” he said, “is Close-grip Bench Presses. Keep your hands about thumb’s length apart. Lower the weight fairly high on your chest so that your triceps get most of the work. Do 4 sets for 12 and your arms will know it. Warm up your triceps with a few pushups, start heavy on the presses, and drop the bar ten lbs. each set.
“The next exercise,” he said, “is Incline Bench Curls. Do 4 sets of 10 in very strict style. Use your best weight for the first set and drop the dumbells five lbs. each for each of the remaining sets. Let your arms straighten right out at the bottom and raise your elbows high at the top of the movement.
“Next,” he said, “you do Standing French Presses, 4 sets of 10. Use good style, your best weight first, and drop the poundage ten lbs. for each of the remaining sets.
“The next exercise is a little different,” he said. “It’s Curls with the Lat Machine. You sit under the bar, take it with a close grip, and curl your hands down to the back of your neck. Make sure you keep your elbows pointing to the ceiling the whole time. You’ll get a cramping sensation in your biceps if you do it properly. Do 4 sets of 10 reps with whatever weight you can handle.
“And the final exercise,” he said, “is Triceps Extensions with the Lat Machine, 4 sets of 8 in strict style. Make your triceps do all the work and use as much weight as you can for each set.
“Now,” he said, “what do you think of all that?”
“Interesting,” Eddie said. “Very interesting.”
“Okay, the gym owner said. “Give it all you’ve got and don’t forget the Get Big Drink.”
Eddie marched out. The gym owner slid the chess game over, rested his chin on his hand, and studied the pieces for a long while. Finally he picked up the white Knight and looked at it.
“Horsie,” he muttered.
Eddie Martin ducked into the gym and shook the rain out of his hair. He wiped water off his face and rubbed his hands against his soaked T-shirt. Then he squished his way through the gym and into the office and stood in front of the desk while the rain oozed out of his shoes and formed a growing puddle on the floor.
The gym owner raised his head from the book he was reading and looked at Eddie for a long time.
“It’s raining,” Eddie told him.
“Really,” the gym owner said. “I’d have never known.”
“Started this morning,” Eddie said. “Radio says it’ll keep on all day.”
“I meant,” the gym owner said, “that I’d never have known from the way you’re dressed.”
Eddie looked down at his York T-shirt, striped flares, and running shoes. “What’s the matter with the way I’m dressed?” he said.
“Nothing,” the gym owner told him. “For a nice day. But I never heard of anyone dumb enough to run around in a T-shirt in the middle of a typhoon.”
“It ain’t really a typhoon,” Eddie said. “Just a little rain.”
“A little rain?” the gym owner said. It’s a Christly deluge. Why aren’t you wearing a raincoat?”
“Because,” Eddie said – he flexed an arm and leered at the gym owner – “if I wore a raincoat, nobody could see my muscles.”
“Great,” the gym owner said, “I was afraid it might be something stupid like you thought you were a fish or a duck or something. I’m glad you’ve got a sensible reason for drowning.”
“Listen,” Eddie said. “Don’t be putting me down. You’re responsible for most of the muscles, you know.”
“Am I?” the gym owner said. “That’s good. You really think you’re getting your money’s worth, eh?”
“I gotta fess up,” Eddie said. “I really do.”
“How much did you gain in the last month?” the gym owner asked him.
“Twelve more pounds” Eddie said, “and another half inch on my arms.”
“Good,” the gym owner said. “I told you what you needed. The Get Big Drink and hard work on the proper routine.”
“That’s true” Eddie said “What about my routine this month?”
The gym owner took a pad of paper and a pencil and started writing. “For the third month,” he said “we’re going to bear down hard on arm work. The emphasis will still be on gaining weight, but we’re going to try and put almost all of it on your arms.
“Keep using the Get Big Drink,” he said. “You’ll need it more than ever. You’ll be working hard and you’ll need all the nutritional help you can get.
“You’re going to be working out five days a week,” he said. “Two days will be on a general bulk and power routine, and the other three will be on a very advanced arm specialization program.”
“Five days won’t be too much, will it?” Eddie asked him.
“Not if you eat right and train properly for the month,” the gym owner said, “and take the Get Big Drink like you’re supposed to. Your body can thrive on tremendous amounts of work over short periods of time, providing you’re properly nourished. It’s just as important as the exercise, for what you’re trying to do.”
“Okay,” Eddie said. “I shall take it with renewed vigor.”
“Do that,” the gym owner said. He scribbled on the paper. “Now,” he said, “you’ll do the bulk and power routine on Tuesdays and Fridays, and the arm program on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays. We’ll take the Tuesday and Friday routine first.
“Start off with a good warmup,” he said. you’ll be working hard and lifting big weights and you don’t want to pull a muscle or anything. Put on a good warm sweat suit and spend ten or fifteen minutes doing light snatches, jogging, stretching, or anything else you like. Make sure you’re good and warm before you start the actual workout.
“Now,” he said, “the first exercise is Prone Hyperextensions and you should be getting pretty good at them by now. Go way down and work hard for 3 sets of 12. You should have a real tight feeling in your lower back when you finish.
“Next,” he said, “come Squats, but this month you’ll be doing lower reps than usual. You’ll do 5 sets of 5 and you should be able to work up into some pretty heavy weights. In fact,” he added, “if you don’t work up into some pretty heavy weights, you might as well forget the whole thing.
“Use a moderate weight for the first set,” he said. “Add weight for the second set. Then add more weight and do the third, fourth, and fifth set with all the weight you can handle.
“Keep your head up, your back flat, and don’t go below parallel position. Take three huge breaths between each rep, and hold the last breath while you’re squatting. Add weight every workout. You’ll never look really good until you’re squatting with king-size poundage.
“Do a set of pullovers after each set of squats,” he said. “Twenty reps per set with a real light weight.”
“Are squats the key exercise in this routine, too?” Eddie asked him.
“Squats are the key exercise in any routine,” the gym owner said. “Your gains will be roughly proportionate to the effort you put into squatting. The heavier you squat the more you’ll gain, and without them you won’t gain at all.
“So, okay,” the gym owner said. “The next exercise is the Bench Press, but this time you do them in real loose style. Drop the bar fairly rapidly, bounce it, and then arch your back to complete the lift. You can use real heavy weights this way and develop a lot of bulk and power. Do 5 sets of 5 with the same system of progression as the squats – first set light, second set a little heavier, and the third, fourth and fifth set as heavy as you can shove up.
“Next,” the gym owner said, “you do Rowing. 5 sets of 5 with the same progression as the squats and the bench press. Use the loosest style possible. Heave with your legs and lower back to get the bar started, and then keep it moving with a strong arm pull.
“And finally,” he said, “you do Presses Behind the Neck, 5 sets of 5 with the same type of poundage progression. Do the presses very loose, almost in a push or jerk-press style. Bend your legs slightly, straighten them vigorously to get the bar started, and then finish the press strongly with your arms.
“Now,” the gym owner said, “that completes the Tuesday and Friday routine. You’ll note that it bears down heavily on bulk and power. Work real hard at it and you’ll register some nice gains.”
“Okay,” Eddie said. “That’s great. But what about my arms. That’s really where I want the muscle, you know.”
“I know,” the gym owner said. “I know. And that’s what we’re coming to now. You’re going to finish off with a real super-duper arm routine. You’ll do it Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays and, if you work hard enough, I guarantee you you’ll practically see your arms growing.”
“Okay, man,’ Eddie said. “I’ll like keep an eye on them.”
“You’ll be doing the arm exercises in pairs,” the gym owner said. ‘You’ll combine a biceps exercise and a triceps exercise and alternate them back and forth until you’ve done the required number of sets of each.
“For example” he said, “the first pair is the Cheating Curl and Parallel Bar Dips. You do 5 sets of 8 reps in each exercise and alternate them back and forth until you’ve done the required number of sets of each. Do a set of curls, then a set of dips, another set of curls, another set of dips, and so on until you’ve done 5 sets of each. Drop the poundage slightly each set and work fast. No more than 30 or 40 seconds rest between sets. Use all the weight you can and work to your limit each set.
“The next pair,” he said, “is the Close-grip Curl and Lying Triceps Extensions. Use about a 6” grip and do the curls with your back against the wall or a post so that you can’t cheat. Use about the same width of grip for the extensions and keep your elbows pointing toward the ceiling the whole time.
“Alternate back and forth,” he said. “A set of curls, then a set of extensions, and so on. Do 5 sets of 8 on each exercise with about 30 seconds rest between sets.
“Now,” he said, “take a short break and then you do the final pair of exercises – Barbell Curls on the curling stand and Triceps Pressdowns on the Lat Machine. You do them the same way, 5 sets of 8, 30 seconds rest between sets, and a maximum effort each set.
“And that,” he said, “wraps it up.”
“About time,” Eddie said. “That could wrap me up.”
“No way,” the gym owner said. “Train like I told you, take the Get Big Drink, and you won’t recognize yourself a month from now.” He put down the pencil. “And now,” he said in a firm voice, “get into the gym and give it all you’ve got. Report back in a month,” – he leaned over the desk and looked at the pool of water at Eddie’s feet – “and if it’s raining,” he said, “forget it.”
One month later Eddie walked into the office.
“How’d you make out,” the gym owner asked him.
“Tremendous,” Eddie said. “I still can’t believe it. I gained another nine pounds and five-eighths of an inch. That’s a total of thirty-two pounds and almost an inch and three-quarters on my arm.”
“Great,” the gym owner told him. “You must look real good.”
“Good?” Eddie said. “I look fantastic.”
The gym owner stared at him. “And you’re wearing a long-sleeve shirt” he said. “I can’t believe it.” He got to his feet. “How come you’re not wearing a T-shirt? Have I actually met a modest bodybuilder?”
“Actually,” Eddie said – he cleared his throat – “actually, this is the only thing I’ve got left that fits me. I ordered some new T’s but they haven’t come yet.”
The gym owner sat down again.
“Anyway,” he said. “It was a hope.”
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- Sig Klein - Chapter Thirteen
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