Thursday, March 31, 2011
Advanced Arm Training - Larry Scott
Arms That Stun
by Larry Scott
To each of us, God grants a different blessing. To some, he gives wealth, to others he gives wisdom, some are blessed with humility. Every man has his gift and it is up to us to develop our gift and make the best use of it so when we return we can do so without shame at having squandered our gift.
This same individuality can be seen in the physical body we have been given, and, though, when we speak of God, our minds are drawn to things spiritual. I believe God has given us everything and the physical being can also be included. Therefore, we also see different physical gifts. Some have good legs, others have naturally wide shoulders and some are blessed with good arms.
I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge my gratitude for the gift of well-shaped arms. The development the Lord has left to me.
It is the purpose of this book to take you on that journey I have traveled in hopes I may share something with you that will help you.
This book is an advanced training approach. I will not make an attempt to simplify or adjust the routine for the beginning trainer.
If you find yourself in the beginning stages of arm development, I suggest you use my book "How I Built My 20" Arms", which is dedicated to the beginner and intermediate trainer. We will be involved on all advanced aspects of arm development, including size development, as well as proper movements for shape and definition.
Speaking of both biceps and triceps, everyone has a different connection of bone to tendon to muscle.
Some fellows have a good long sheath of muscle fiber on the lower bicep and a short tendon connection, giving the appearance and potential for excellent lower bicep development. When a trainer starts to develop, it is difficult to tell if the bicep is going to be a good lower connection or not because the tendon is almost as big as the bicep. If, however, a few years of training has developed the bicep somewhat, it is easy to discern your connection.
Point the fingers straight up and bend the arm at a 90 degree angle, palm facing the head. If the bicep has a large gap between it and the forearm, the arm will never develop into a good lower bicep. Do not despair, however, you can develop an excellent peak on the bicep and this is exactly what you should be working for. Don't waste your time working for something that will never come while neglecting a marvelous part of your arm potential.
To truly develop an arm that will stun, you must concern yourself with balance, as well as size. Many magnificent arms have been less impressive than they should have been because of neglect or one or more of the following areas:
Forearms -- Too many huge upper arms are poorly supported by skinny of underdeveloped forearms. It is a shame to see a really magnificent upper arm flexed and a semi-developed forearm detract from the majesty of the overall arm.
Triceps -- Each trainer must come to a realization that in order to develop excellent triceps, he must devote time to the size movements and the shape movements. Too many fellows are not even aware there is a difference. I have seen hundreds of routines where a fellow is frustrated in his tricep development because he was using exercises which specifically contribute to shape AND ACTUALLY ARE A DETERRENT TO BUILDING SIZE.
Biceps -- As mentioned before, one must determine the length of the bicep head and design his program accordingly or he will waste his true potential on movements which are ineffective for his particular connection.
ROUTINE NUMBER ONE
This routine is designed for the fellow who has some good lower bicep connection but still wants to work peak bicep as well. It is also designed primarily to build size. It has not basic shape movements in the tricep routine. My major emphasis will be to concentrate solely on building large arms.
The bicep tendon ties in around the elbow region and is highly vulnerable to trauma, especially while using a preacher bench. It is for this reason I always work my arms at the end of my workout. This allows me to really "burn out" for two reasons.
First, I have already warmed up the biceps while doing prior exercises and second, I know I have nothing else left to work after my arms, so I can totally exhaust myself on arms. When I am done with triceps, I am generally completely exhausted. I have listed some forearm work in this routine, but I do not advise doing forearms on the same day as upper arms are worked. I will include forearm work, however, because it is essential in developing not only beauty in the overall arm, but strong forearms help to build bigger biceps as well.
I have started out with a series of preacher bench curls. The first set of the series is the dumbbell preacher bench curl. The weight should be as heavy as you can handle for 6 reps. You must lower the dumbbells all the way through the exercise until the arms are completely extended. Allow them to bend backwards if possible. You must start at the bottom of the movement if you are to obtain maximal benefit from this movement.
Remember, this routine is only for those having a good lower bicep connection by nature.
(Note: If you can place more than three fingers on the bicep gap, do not waste your time on this routine. Routine No. 2 is for you.) If you can place between two and three fingers you can use either Routines No. 1 or 2 and benefit. If you can place two or less, Routine No. 1 is for you.
After having done 6 complete extended reps with as heavy a weight as possible (don't be afraid to cheat), finish with 4 or 5 "burns". Burns are small movements done at the top of the movement. Let the weight down just to the point it is going to "fall through", bring it up, and repeat.
After having completed the set of dumbbell curls, go immediately to the straight barbell curls. Do not rerst for even a second between sets. You must jump immediately into the next set in order to obtain maximum benefit from this routine. Do 6 reps and 4 burns with the straight bar. Use a wide grip and excellent form. Do not cheat as much on this exercise as the dumbbell curls.
Finally, do 6 reps and 4 burns with the EZ curl bar in reverse grip position. Do not rest between sets, but do the reps slow and deliberate,. Concentrate fully on using the proper movement.
Rest while your training partner does his tri series, then repeat for 3 to 5 series. Your arms should be almost numb by the last series and have gone through pain like never before.
Peak bicep development. Use a spider bench like you see me doing in the photo. It is one of our own design, but you can improvise or you may have something similar in your gym.
This one is designed to do nothing but hurt. You must do 6 good reps all the way up, then do 6 partial reps from the bottom up as far as you can get the bar to go. Then bounce the weight on the bottom just to really stretch out the bicep and tendons for 6 to 10 final bounces.
That is not an up and down bounce, but rather a bounce against the joint of the elbow. Do about 3 sets of these unusual spider curls and you will soon begin to notice some excellent peak beginning to develop.
You are ready to work the real size muscle in the arm now. You have pumped the bicep and it will give the arms excellent cushion as you get into some power tricep movements. Start off with the EZ curl bar and a bench about six inches high. The low bench will enable you to lift the bar without the danger of hurting yourself as a higher bench often does. Do 8 reps and 4 burns at the top of the movement. Try to lock out on each rep. This will give some good external head development as well as work the belly of the tricep.
I like to do this exercise in a combination close-grip bench press/supine tricep press style. I personally do not like to do this one real strict, that is, with the elbows pointing to the ceiling. I think it is too hard on the elbows. Besides, I like to really stack on the weight on this exercise and get a good power pump. Look closely at how I have my elbow position at the bottom of the exercise. Remember, I am not too concerned about form on this movement, but more with the pumping feeling I am getting. Remember, I do not want to injure my elbows.
Long Pull Tricep Extensions. This is to be alternated with the previous tricep exercise. Go immediately to this movement. You must be aware of a few important details which, if ignored, will ruin the combination. The pulley should be about five feet off the floor and the bench upon which you rest your head and elbows should be about 14 inches high. If you make the pulley too high, it will cause too much stress in the lower back and you will not like the exercise. Also, you should have a "V" bar with which to do this exercise. A rope or a towel or even a straight bar is not as good. If you get everything as I suggest, you will love the series. Otherwise, there are better movements. So both the exercises back and forth for about 5 to 6 series or about 8 reps and about 4 to 6 burns.
I like to finish off with another 4 sets of just the long pull tricep extension and minimize my rest down to 8 to 10 breaths between sets. I love it.
ROUTINE NUMBER TWO
This routine is designed for the fellow who has a rather "high" bicep. That is, he can get three or more fingers in the "bicep gap".
As mentioned earlier, it would be foolish to waste time and energy on lower bicep work. It won't build and you could be developing some incredible biceps in the area where you have muscle tissue with which to work.
Seated Dumbbell Curls on Incline Bench
Try to keep the elbows close into the sides, if possible. Also, try to supinate the palms (keep the little finger side of the palm high). This will allow some lower bicep work, but the stress, due to the free swinging elbow, will be on the upper and belly of the bicep. I suggest the exercise be done is a "down the rack" fashion. After having warmed up the bicep elbow tendon by doing light curls, go to a set of dumbbells with which you can do 6 tough reps. The sixth rep should be your last rep. Finish the set off with 4 burns at the top of the exercise. Go immediately to a lighter set of dumbbells and complete the same reps and burns. Finally, drop the weight again and complete one more set including burns to finish off the first series. Try not to rest at all between sets and only rest long enough between series for your training partner to get his sets done. Do 3 series of 3 sets.
Vertical Side Preacher Bench Curls, Straight Bar
Put your thumbs under the bar and curl all the way up to the nose. Do it exactly as you see me doing it here. Do 4 sets of 6 reps and 4 burns at the top. Sometimes I will use a "down the rack" system on this exercise as well, but often the pain of the incline bench curls on the first exercise keeps me from using the series system on this movement.
Spider Bench Barbell Curl.
Thumbs under and get ready for pain. This is entirely a peak movement. You should love this one if done right. Do 3 or 4 sets of 20 reps. Yes, 20 reps, but let me explain. I do six full reps, the seventh won't go all the way, but I do about four or five from the top down, if possible. Finally the bar fails. I then do about four or five burns from the bottom up. Then let it hang and bounce against the bicep. This one is a killer, but it really is a terrific one with which to finish your bicep work.
The tricep routine on Routine One will work fine here and I have used it for years as the best I can find. Sometimes, however, I do some variation and, for this purpose, I will include a routine which is good to give the elbows a rest for a season, while still blasting for greater growth.
Triceps Press Down on Lat Machine.
The elbows should be out away from the sides and you should lean over the bar as you see me doing. Use all the weight you can handle. Do not be afraid of really piling on the plates. Form is not important. Just get the bar down anyway you can. I want to really gorge the triceps with blood to prepare them for the finisher I alternate this movement with.
Dips on Bench with Weight on Lap.
You should be doing about 6 to 8 reps and 4 to 5 burns on both of these tricep movements. The dips are a good exercise for sore elbows as well as being excellent for the final pump out. I do about 6 series of alternating both exercises and finish with 4 sets of just the dips as fast as I can go. That is, minimizing my rest between sets. I don't do my reps fast. I do them deliberately, concentrating on each rep as much as possible.
ROUTINE NUMBER THREE
This routine is designed mainly to give the arms better shape. Some of the tricep movements, in particular, will not provide great size. If you are trying to cut up and get some extra lines across the external head and improve your separation, I think you will find this routine to be to your liking.
The typical fellow who would benefit from this routine would be the bulky or overweight person who has plenty of size, but wants to see more definition in his arms.
Seated Dumbbell Curls.
Alternate this and the following two exercises for excellent overall shape. Do 6 reps and 4 burns at the top of the movement. Strict form is not absolutely necessary. Allow a slight cheat to use more weight.
Preacher Bench Barbell Curls.
Do not rest at all after completing the dumbbell incline curls, go immediately to this movement and do 6 reps with 4 to 6 burns. Look carefully at the way I am holding the bar. You must let the barbell go all the way to the bottom and hang there for a second to really stress your lower bicep.
Spider Bench Barbell Curls.
Go directly from the preacher bench curls to this next exercise. You may not have this piece of equipment. I suggest you rig something up like it. It is fantastic for building peak bicep development ad it causes no stress on the elbow. Do 6 reps all the way up, then do 4 reps halfway down , and then 4 reps from the bottom up. Then let the weight hang and bounce against the bicep tendon, then do do 3 or 4 more half reps and bounce again until you can't stand the pain.
You have just completed one series of three sets. Do the series over again three or four times, or until you "feel" that your arms have had it.
Triceps Press Down on the Lat Machine.
The elbows are held in close to the sides and the form is done strictly. You are shooting for separation and cuts on the external head, so form is important. Be keeping the elbows at your sides and pointing down you will stress the external head. Remember to really lock out those elbows on the bottom of the exercise. Do 8 reps and move on to the next exercise.
One Arm Triceps Extension.
Normally, I would not suggest using any one arm movement. but this is an exception. I think you will like this one as much as I do. Do 8 reps with each arm.
You have just completed one series for triceps. Complete about four series and finish off with 3 sets of just the triceps pressdown. The finish-off should be done with 6 reps and 6 burns at the bottom of the exercise. Remember, you are trying to totally exhaust the muscle at the precise time you reach maximum pump.
ROUTINE NUMBER FOUR.
This routine is designed almost totally for building maximum size. No thought has been given to any shape and, specifically, shape movements have been excluded to devote total attention to building size.
If you are under weight and have difficulty gaining weight or your arms are lagging behind the rest of your development, this is your routine.
Standing Barbell Curl.
Use all the weight you can handle. Do not worry about cheating. Do 6 hard reps and move on to the next exercise.
Preacher Bench Dumbbell Curl.
Again, do not worry about the form too much. But do not waste the bottom of the movement. You must completely unwrap the wrist to utilize the entire movement. Do 6 reps and 4 very hard burns. (Let the weight down just to the point where it is going to fall and bring it up again.)
Supine Tri-Press with EZ-Curl Bar. It is best to put some chalk on the heel of the palm. This will allow you to use more weight. Do a movement somewhat like a combination close-grip bench press and supine triceps press. Studying the two photos will make this clearer. Do 8 hard reps and 4 burns.
Long Pull Triceps Extension. This exercise is done on the seated lat machine. The cable is removed from the bottom pulley and a small kidney-shaped bench is used for the elbow rest. Naturally, one can improvise all sorts of things on his own apparatus, but after years of experimentation I have resolved everything, and you can see in the photos what I consider to be the best combination for me. Do 8 reps and 4 burns at the bottom.
You have just completed one series. I suggest four to five series and finishing off with just the kneeling triceps extension for 4 or 5 sets of quick, short rest sets.
I do not do my forearm work on the same night as I work arms. Generally, my arms are totally exhausted after bicep and tricep work and I have little or nothing left for forearms. So I do them on another day. For some of my suggested forearm routines, see here -
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