Saturday, May 7, 2016

Massive Arms For You, Part One - Joe Weider (1956)

Note: This is a bigger than usual booklet at 82 pages, so I'll be editing out some of the unnecessary parts, as well as adding to this post gradually over time. But the good bits won't be omitted. this was the first non-muscle magazine lifting book I purchased as a kid, other than that Weider System that came with the plastic weights. Arms specialization at 160 pounds, eh? Par for the course, right. Enjoy!

Massive Arms For You
by Joe Weider (1956)

The tools you use to mold massive arms are few, indeed. You need a pair of adjustable dumbbells, a plate loading barbell, a flat exercise bench and an incline bench. If you are really short of cash, but handy with tools, you can certainly make your own bench or benches.

In setting down these simple arm training requirements, I am not overlooking cables and other pieces of accessory equipment in training. These pieces of equipment all have a place in the bodybuilder's program. 

In a subsequent chapter I will discuss the use of these and tell you how you can add accessory equipment to your routines. But right now, I intend to restrict myself to an explanation of how you are to use the basic equipment mentioned effectively.

To do this best, and to avoid confusion, duplication of photographs and instructional text, I am now going to list all the arm exercises you will come in contact with in this work. I am also going to show you photographs of them all, explain how each is to be done and the purpose of the exercise here. 

Then, when I later on refer to the various exercises and give you different types of routines for specific goals, you need merely refer back to this chapter for the photograph and the exercise description. Then, you should experience no difficulty in understanding the exercise performance and in doing the exercise appropriately. 

And now, here are the different exercises which all have a place in this arm course.

Barbell Exercises for the Biceps

Illustrations 1, 4, and 7
Click Pics to ENLARGE

Barbell Curl (Illustration No. 1) - 
For a full, large biceps.

There are a number of distinct variations of this exercise and all of them contribute to the development of better biceps. The most common version, called the 'regular' barbell curl, is performed as follows. The bodybuilder stands erect, holding a barbell in his hands with the elbows stiff, the bar resting across the front of his thighs. The palms of the hands are facing to the front, or away from the body. The hand spacing is about shoulder width. 

Then, without any jerk, heave or extra motion from the body, the bodybuilder bends his arms at the elbows, holds his upper arms close against the sides of the upper body, and in a circular motion curls the weight to the shoulders. He then lowers the weight, keeping it under control on the way down, not permitting it to lower too quickly, until the bar rest across his thighs again. He then repeat the exercise. This strict exercise style is best for beginners and it is the form you should follow at first, if you do not have much training experience.

However, after several months of bodybuilding experience, the bodybuilder should relax his strict exercise performance style and 'cheat' a bit in the movement. To do this, he uses a slight swing from the body to permit the use of heavier weights than could be employed in the strict style. A cheating method of training can bulk up and strengthen the biceps much more than a strict style.

In the majority of bodybuilding exercises, whether for the arms or any other part, an exercise can be done in both a strict style and a cheat style. It is suggested that you practice the strict style first, for several weeks, anyway, even if you have had previous experience, and then, as you advance in your training relax your style and cheat a bit to force greater muscular growth. 

However, in certain instances, it is worthwhile to go back to a strict exercise style for a period of time after having built up some size in the muscles. If the muscles are large, but lacking in hard muscularity, strict, concentration exercises are often the solution.

All this will be more fully explained to you later on in this course, but right now I want you to appreciate the fact that most exercises can be done in a strict style and in a cheating style; with the strict style being an essentially elementary procedure and the cheat method a more advanced one.

Besides the regular barbell curl, there is also a wide grip curl. To do this, instead of holding your hands on the bar about shoulder width apart, you move them out towards the collars of the bar, spreading them 3.5 to 4 feet apart. This brings about a muscular action quite different from the regular barbell curl and if practiced occasionally will help to eliminate any weak links.

A third variation is holding the hands very close together, practically touching in the center of the bar. This is called the 'close grip' curl, and once again its action is different from either the regular grip or wide grip curl, with occasional use being recommended.

In all the above types of curls, the emphasis is placed on the curling, or raising or the weight to the shoulders. In other words, you expend the most energy in lifting the weight from the thighs to the shoulders and then, once it has arrived there, you lower the weight to the starting position with less concentration. You merely control the weight as it goes down so that it doesn't merely plop down to the starting position, but you don't concentrate much on the return trip.

However, there is one variation of the curl in which lowering the weight is more important than raising it. Artie Zeller, the well known New York City physique star was one of the first to popularize such a movement, though he did it with dumbbells. It is beneficial with a barbell as well, and to give credit where credit is due, I will call this movement the Zeller Barbell Curl.

To perform it, you raise a heavy barbell to the shoulders, using the normal curl grip, one about shoulder width apart. At the start of the movement, the barbell is resting across the front of the thighs, the palms facing to the front. Now, heave and cheat all you need to bring the barbell up to the shoulders. Don't worry how you get it up there, for this is relatively unimportant. Once the barbell is at the shoulders you are to lower it very slowly, fighting it every inch of the way, all the way down. You are permitted to bend back and to brace yourself in any manner, just as long as you lower the weight slowly. Then, when the barbell comes to rest at the thighs again, you heave it back up to the shoulders and lower it slowly once again. This method of curling helps to give you a long biceps, and also strengthens the ligaments at the elbow joint. It is a valuable curling variation.

There is one final remark which should be made about curling types of biceps exercises here. The biceps muscle can be contracted to a maximum, if, after a barbell or dumbbell is curled to the shoulder, the elbow is raised up. Make the test yourself. Without holding any weight in your hand, curl your hand to your shoulder, keeping the elbow pointed down. Place your free hand on the upper section of the biceps, close to the shoulder. Now, raise the elbow up and you will feel a definite contraction. While this extra contraction does not particularly contribute to the formation of a larger biceps, it does assist in giving it extra height and impressiveness. Therefore, every once in a while, during a curling workout, perform a few sets in which the elbows are raised up after the weight has reached the shoulders. You don't have to practice this every exercise session . . . a few times a month is enough, and this will add to your biceps development.

Seated Barbell Curl (Illustration No. 2) - 
A short-action movement to give power and size to the belly of the biceps. 

In bodybuilding there are two types of movements. One is termed a full-action movement, in which a muscle or group of muscles is worked over its complete range, and the other is a short-action movement, in which a muscle is worked only over a part of its complete range.

Both types of exercises have their values and both should be included in a barbell routine. A short range movement generally flushes up the meaty, or the belly portion of a muscle, giving that section unusual roundness and a type of isolated power that full range movements do not always build. As the term implies, a short-action exercise tends to shorten the length of a muscle. As far as the biceps is concerned, this would mean that a short-action exercise would help you to be able to show a little space between the curve of the biceps and the forearm, when the arm is tensed at the usual shoulder level biceps pose. If not carried to extreme, such muscle shortness is desirable. It adds impressiveness to the biceps and and eliminates that bulky, beefy look, regardless how large your arms may become. The 19-inch upper arms of Leroy Colbert, Bob Shealy and Bud Counts all possess this feature, as do he equally large arms of Alex Aronis. If they did not feature this condition of muscle shortness, their arms would look more like Doug Hepburn's, which are admittedly huge and very powerful, but beefy, not as muscularly impressive as ones slightly smaller, and with greater modelling.

Short-action exercises should not be overemphasized in the arm training routine. They should be included from time to time for training variety and to keep your biceps from becoming too full over too long a length which would destroy some impressiveness.

The seated barbell curl, as shown in Illustration No. 2, is such an exercise. It is performed as follows: the bodybuilder sits on a flat exercise bench with a barbell resting across his thighs. He grasps the barbell with a shoulder width grip. The palms are facing the front and the elbows are of course slightly bent. The barbell should rest close to the body and not out toward the knees. The bodybuilder then keeps his upper arms close to his sides and he curls the barbell the short distance to the shoulders. It is important that all bodybuilders, beginners as well as advanced men, concentrate strongly in this exercise and try to isolate the action of the belly of the biceps as much as possible. A certain amount of cheating is possible if the upper body is pulled backward at the start of the movement and a heavier weight can be employed when this is done. However, even in the cases of advanced bodybuilders, it is not desirable nor necessary to cheat much for maximum benefit.

Once the weight is curled to the shoulders, it is lowered again to the thighs and the exercise is repeated. The movement can be performed with a wide hand spacing, a close grip, and of course the regular shoulder width hand spacing. It should also be done with elbows raised after the weight has been curled from time to time to assure maximum benefit and an all around development.

Incline Bench Barbell Curl (Illustration No. 3) -
A full range movement that imparts a full sweep to the biceps.

Unlike the seated barbell curl which was explained prior to this one, the incline bench barbell curl is a long range exercise and its great virtue is in the manner in which it builds a long sweep to the biceps. It is also an important exercise for building elbow ligament power.

The incline bench curl possesses one added feature. It is a correctional exercise as well as being a muscle builder. Laborers, or certain athletes, who either due to their work of else in specializing in some sport that does not permit full biceps action, frequently build an extremely short biceps, one that is knotty and bunched up. A little practice of this movement will quickly correct that condition.

The bodybuilder, who naturally will not be suffering from any such muscle abnormality, will still benefit from the practice of this movement for the overall biceps stimulation it promotes and for its exceptional ligament strengthening features.

To practice this exercise, merely lie back on a (full size standing) incline bench, holding a barbell at arms stretch, bar resting across the thighs as shown in Illustration No. 3. The grip should be shoulder width and the palms facing the front. Now, curl the barbell up to the shoulders. Lower to the starting position and repeat.

You should also practice this movement with a wide grip and a narrow one. Every once in a while perform it with elbows raised after the barbell has been curled to the shoulders. In advanced training it is practical to cheat quite a bit by bouncing the bar off the thighs to give it a fast start and in this way permit the handling of heavier poundages. All styles should be practiced by the arm enthusiast.

Incline Bench Curl While Standing (Illustration No. 4) -
An isolation type exercise for direct biceps development.   

In all the variations of the curl that I have explained so far, it is possible for the bodybuilder to move his upper arms and elbows away from a fixed position at the sides and in this way reduce the amount of work the biceps is called upon to perform. By altering the position of the upper arms and elbows, the arms can be adjusted into a more favorable leverage position and associated muscles such as the shoulders can be called on for strength assistance.

Generally speaking, cheating and reducing the biceps load in this manner is beneficial for the advanced bodybuilder, for the extra weight he can handle more than compensates for the reduction in direct biceps action. The biceps is still forced to work at peak power because of this heavier weight.

However, it is also desirable to educate the biceps to work quite independently if it is to attain a maximum degree of development and muscular proficiency. The incline bench curl while standing trains the biceps towards this end.

To perform it, the bodybuilder stands behind an incline bench and rests his upper arms and elbows on the bench as shown in Illustration No. 4. A barbell is held in the hands, palms facing up, and a narrow grip is used. The exercise is started with the arms at full stretch and then the weight is curled up to the shoulders. The elbows and upper arms ARE NOT to be moved from the incline bench. All the action takes place at the elbow joint and in the forearm and wrist.

The biceps must carry the full load of the exercise and are of course taught how to work in an isolated manner in this exercise. It is not possible to use anything but a close grip in this exercise and still keep the upper arms on the bench. In advanced training, a rubber pad can be placed on the incline bench at the point where the backs of the hands come in contact with it, and the bar can be bounced, or rebounded off the pad, permitting the use of a heavier weight. But in strict style or in cheating form, the upper arms a elbows must never be permitted to rise off the incline bench.

Flat Bench Curl (Illustration No. 5) -
Another isolation type biceps exercise.

This exercise is similar to the Incline Bench Curl While Standing, since it also helps to teach the biceps to work independently. However, it does develop the biceps from a slightly different angle and because of this it should not be overlooked.

To perform this exercise, kneel behind one end of a flat exercise bench. Bend your body forward so that the upper arms and elbows, as well as the hands, wrists and forearms can rest on the bench. If the bench is a wide one, a shoulder width hand grip can be used, If it is narrow, a close grip will have to be used. In either case, the bar is gripped with the palms facing up.

From this point on, proceed as in the previous exercise, curling the weight to the shoulders and not raising either the elbows or the upper arms off the bench. You can also cheat in this exercise by placing a pad at the point of contact, as in the Incline Bench Curl While Standing, and give a bounce or a rebound which will permit the use of heavier weight.

Lying End of Bench Curl (Illustration No. 6) -
A third and final isolation type biceps exercise.

To perform this exercise, lie face down on a long, flat exercise bench with the upper arms extended over the edge of the bench all the way to the armpits. The bench must stand high enough off the ground that when the arms are outstretched toward the ground and a barbell grasped in them the weight clears the ground. You may have to raise the bench by placing it on two boxes, but it is important that you have this exercise clearance.

From the starting position with arms extended toward the ground as shown in Illustration No. 6, strive to keep your upper arms in a fixed position with elbows pointed down and curl the barbell to the shoulders. You can use a regular shoulder width grip, a wide one, or a narrow grip in this exercise and all three versions should be practiced.

When you advance in this movement and want to cheat, swing the weight slightly at the starting position and this will permit the use of a heavier weight. However, in this exercise and in all isolation principle exercises, cheating should be held to a minimum for maximum benefit.

Leaning Forward Concentration Curl (Illustration No. 7) -
For high biceps and muscular definition.

This exercise and similar type ones which re performed with dumbbells (and will be explained subsequently), are particularly devised to mold a high biceps peak. For a really impressive biceps, and for one which registers a large muscle size when tensed, your biceps must rise to a high crest when flexed. And, concentration curls bring about this condition fast.

The barbell concentration curl is performed as follows. You bend forward from the hips and grasp a barbell in the hands. Straighten up the body enough to permit the barbell to clear the ground, Then, curl the weight to the shoulders, raising the elbows as shown in Illustration No. 7. You are to mentally concentrate on biceps action when performing this exercise and if you concentrate strongly enough, after 4 or 5 repetitions you will actually feel an ache in the biceps muscle.

After the barbell has been curled to the shoulders it is lowered to the starting position and the exercise is repeated. You can use a regular shoulder width grip, a wide one, or a narrow one in this exercise. The narrow grip seems to be preferred by more bodybuilders, but each of these three variations have a place in your workouts.

To cheat in this exercise you use a little swing and a little body motion TO START THE WEIGHT ONLY, but once it commences on its upward journey, the biceps are to do all the work.

Floyd Page Barbell Curl (No Illustration Needed) -
A multiple-action exercise with unusual flushing and tendon strengthening characteristics.

While Floyd Page makes no claims the originator of this exercise, I personally found it to be new to me when he first demonstrated it about six years ago when he and I were taking a workout.

Floyd is the possessor of steel-like musculature, owning the hardest muscles of anyone I have ever known. To touch them is to feel granite. With such dense muscle tissue, he finds it difficult to encourage growth and has to resort to stern measures. This exercise brought over an inch of added muscle size to his upper arms, when practiced in conjunction with a dumbbell version which will be explained in the section dealing with dumbbell exercises for the biceps. If your own arms are very tough, then this exercise might pump some growth into them, too.

No illustration is needed for this exercise, since it is easily explained. You start the movement as in the regular, shoulder width grip curl. However, you only curl the weight to waist level, or until the forearms are horizontal to the ground. You hold at that position for a pause of one second and you then lower the barbell back to the thighs. You repeat that 10 times. Next, you curl the barbell all the way to the shoulders, but when you lower it you stop its descent at waist height, or once again where the forearms are horizontal to the ground. You hold for one second and then curl the barbell back to the shoulders. You repeat this part of the exercise 10 times. Then, you lower the barbell to the thighs and perform 10 complete curls from thighs to shoulders. In all, you perform 30 repetitions, 10 for each section of the exercise.

Don't try to use a heavy weight in this. Begin with no more than half the poundage you regularly use in the curl. It's a tough one, but it brings amazing results in many cases of stubborn biceps growth.

Barbell Clean to the Shoulders (Illustration No. 8) -
For tremendous biceps power.

While competitive Olympic weightlifters don't generally possess upper arms as finely muscled as bodybuilders, inch for inch of arm size their arms are stronger. Since they do not perform regular curls as a result of their training, their power must be gained from another source. The barbell clean to the shoulders is the secret.

For complete benefit the bodybuilder does not have to practice the exercise with a leg split or employ the complicated cleaning technique of the weightlifter. All he need do is bend forward and grasp a weight at the floor and then pull this weight up and into the shoulders. He can keep his legs stiff at the knees or bend them, whichever is most comfortable for him, and which, of course, permits him to handle the heaviest poundage.

Illustration No. 8 shows the usual starting position of the exercise. Note that the palms of the hands are facing the body and NOT away from it as in the regular curl.

From this starting position the bodybuilder straightens up his body and while doing so pulls strongly with his arms, literally hauling the weight up to his shoulders. He holds the weight at his shoulders for a moment or two, then lowers it to the ground and repeats the movement.

Every bodybuilder should practice the clean to shoulders this way from time to time, not so much for the size the exercise will build as for the tremendous power it creates in the biceps.

Floor Barbell Curl (Illustration No. 9) -
Another terrific biceps power builder.

This exercise a.k.a. Curl Grip Clean) is another one which is expressly devised to mold the maximum biceps power. It is performed similarly to the previous one, except that the palms are facing the front when the body is bent forward and the weight grasped at the floor. Illustration No. 9 shows the starting position. From there, stand erect and while doing so, cheat curl the barbell to the shoulders. Lower the weight to the floor and repeat.

Besides building tremendous biceps power, this exercise also strengthens the wrist, thickening the ligaments and muscle attachments, giving the wrist a strong, meaty look.

Arms Parallel Barbell Curl (Illustration No. 10) -
A concentration-type exercise for biceps height.

At first, this exercise may appear to be an inferior type of curl to you, for obviously, due to the leverage involved a very light weight must be used, otherwise the shoulders will not be able to handle the load. However, when performed properly and with intense mental concentration, this movement has built exceptional biceps height on advanced bodybuilders who were unable to achieve this with other movements.

To start the exercise, curl a light weight to the shoulders, as in the regular curl. Raise the elbows until they are parallel to the ground. Now, keeping the elbows in that fixed position, extend the arms until they are in the position shown in Illustration No. 10. You will note that the entire arms are now parallel to the ground. Immediately curl the weight back to the shoulders, and DO NOT lower the elbows while doing so.

At first, try to maintain a very erect body position and keep the wrists straight. However, to cheat in this exercise, you bend back and keep the wrists curled, instead of straight. This shortens the leverage and places the body in a stronger position, permitting the use of heavier weights.

In this exercise you can use either a regular, shoulder width grip or else a close one. A wide grip is uncomfortable and not advised.

Palms Forward Bentover Rowing Motion (Illustration No. 11) -
For a thick, baseball biceps.

The bent forward rowing motion is well known as one of our most valuable back exercises. However, it is also a fine biceps developer, particularly when performed with the palms facing away from the body and not towards as in the regular movement.

To perform this exercise, bend forward and grasp a barbell with a shoulder width grip, palms facing to the front as shown in Illustration No. 11. Now, pull the weight up until the barbell touches the chest at about a line with the nipples. Raise the elbows high when doing this. Lower to the starting position and repeat.

You can use either a shoulder width grip, or else a close one in this exercise. You will not be able to succeed with a complete action if you use a wide grip so this is not advised.

To cheat, you employ some body motion which will permit the use of heavier weights.

This ends Part One. 
Next: Barbell Exercises for the Triceps and the Forearms. 


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