Thursday, June 30, 2016

Massive Arms for You, Part Eight - Joe Weider (1956)


In bodybuilding, specialization means devoting more attention to one part of the body than to any others. To do this, you must exercise that part when your energy is at its highest point so that you can extend yourself fully when working that part.

Every bodybuilder knows that at the start of his workout, when he is fresh and raring to go, he trains with great enthusiasm and displays his greatest energy and power. As the workout proceeds, he grows a little tired and it is not unusual for a bodybuilder to dislike certain exercises which are situated close to the end of this program -- not because of the exercises themselves, but because he is fatigued by the time he reaches them and is thinking more of getting the workout over and done with than of the benefit the exercises can bring him.

Being that this is true, one basic principle of specialization is to exercise the part being specialized on when you are fresh and full of energy.

This can be accomplished in two ways. If you train three times a week on an all around, full body routine, then do your specialization exercises FIRST, one right after the other for the part being specialized on, and complete all of these specialization exercises first before going on to the rest of your workout.

If you prefer using a split method of training, then you are to exercise the part you are specializing on, in this case your arms only on one day. The next day you work the balance of your body, then back to your arms the next day and so on until you have taken the four, five, or six workouts for that week.

In this way, even if you train six days per week, when you do perform your arm specialization your arms are fresh and your training energy high.

The split method of training is preferred by many advanced bodybuilders. It is not advisable for those who have not had at least a full year of consistent training experience, for it can prove to be a quite severe method of training. For anyone who has less than a full year's experience, or for ANYONE who has tested and found out that training more than three times a week does not suit his temperament, training three times and placing the specialization exercises first in the workout is best.

Another basic principle of specialization is the truth that after any muscle is strenuously exercised it must have a suitable period of rest to recuperate, to rebuild and to grow in. Therefore, if your aim is to increase the size of a body part, you must have at least one day of rest between exercise periods. If you want to REDUCE any part, then training more often will do that, for by exercising a body part every day there is never any chance for complete muscle recuperation. You break down more than can be rebuilt. Then, the part decreases in size. Such training is fine for losing weight and body size, but bad for increasing size.

I believe now you are beginning to see the light and starting to understand why I stressed the point of basic principles as I did. For now you can see how one bodybuilder, using a certain set of specialized arm exercises  three times a week can gain in arm size, while another can use these same exercises six times a week and lose size. The exercises are the same. The method of performance is the same. Yet on gains and another loses. It was not the exercises, but the BASIC PRINCIPLES which were responsible!

Of course there is more to it than just that, and I'll have much more to say about the matter before we are through. But I do believe that if you've been following me carefully, things are now beginning to add up.

To sum up the general basic principle of arm specialization, you are to make certain that you exercise the arms when they are most fresh; either first in a general workout or else on entirely separate days. If you are training for greater size, you must rest one full day between training sessions. If you are looking for a decrease in size, you train more frequently, BUT -- whether you want to get larger arms or smaller ones, do the exercises when you are most fresh and able to work them most strenuously.

And now, with this general specialization information behind us, let me tackle the individual phases, and principles which govern them.

And Sample Routines
The basic principle behind bulk specialization is to make the muscles work hard, to flush them up fully, but -- without too heavy a drain on the overall energy.

While this may seem contradictory, the HEAVIER weight you use, and up to a certain point, the LESS REPETITIONS you perform, provided that these low repetitions do flush up the area, the LESS ENERGY YOU WILL SPEND! 

Sounds impossible? But it's true. Make the test yourself. Take a light barbell and perform the standing press with it. The weight should be light, but still heavy enough that you really have to force out the last 4 or 5 of those many repetitions, so that when you place the weight back down you really couldn't squeeze out another repetition. Now, how do you feel? I'll tell you -- there's a good chance that not only are your arms so fatigued that you can raise them above your head, but you may also find your knees shaking and about the only thing you want to do is to find a place to sit down and rest. But, don't do that. Rest a minute and then perform another set of this same exercise with this same weight, just as many repetitions as possible (*JAMRAP - acronym patented). Now, how do you feel? Terrible? Ready to call it quits and take your shower? Maybe even a little sick to the stomach and shaky all over? You should, for you've really drained your energy and it will be hours before you'll feel good again.

Now, after you've recuperated from your ordeal, in a few days or so, make this test. Load up a heavy weight, one you can only press overhead about 6 times. Perform those 6 repetitions and be fair -- make that you have to squeeze out the last 2 or 3. Now put the weight back on the ground. How do you feel? Full of pep? Your arms feel light as feathers? You aren't the least bit tired? Good! Then rest a minute and take this same weight and perform another set of as many repetitions as you can do. Why, man alive -- you make 8 repetitions instead of 6, and easier than the first set. And how do you feel? Great! Raring to go for more! You don't want to sit down, you're just getting started. Come on, where's those heavy weights! 

The above isn't make believe. It's the truth. And if you make the test you'll discover I'm right. Heavy weights, low repetitions, therefore DO NOT drain the energy. Light weights, high repetitions do. Remember that when training for bulk.

And now, how about flushing up the muscles, which is another basic principle of bulk training? Will low repetitions do this as well as high? Will low repetitions do this as well as high? The answer is not only yes-- but more emphatic than that, for heavy weights, low repetitions, will flush up the muscles in a way that high repetitions never can. Here's why:

The muscles of our bodies are composed of body tissues or muscle fibers. All muscles have depth and this depth is caused by strands of fibers piling up, one on top on another with some fibers being close to the skin and others more deeply embedded, until, as in the case of the upper arms, some of the fibers are actually resting against the humerus, or upper arm bone.

If you will refer to a previous section of this book, you will see that I said that the uppermost fibers were called into play first, and then, only with continued muscular activity do the more deeply embedded fibers, or muscle cells lend a helping hand.

Now, when you perform high repetitions, you get the upper fibers to work and as you keep pounding out the repetitions the ones next in line get to work. But -- long before you can reach those which are really deeply embedded your energy gives out. Not so much because of actual muscular inability to continue the exercise, but more due to body exhaustion. Your strength hasn't given out as much as your endurance.

And, even if you do continue to train on high repetitions and increase your endurance so that you can perform more repetitions your muscles still won't grow. For, while you may be able to work the muscles a little harder when you can perform more repetitions, you still will not be using any real muscle power and the muscle fibers close to the surface of the skin will learn to adjust themselves and in time be able to handle the load to the limit of your endurance.

If endurance exercises favorably encouraged muscle growth, a long distance runner would of course possess tremendous legs. Instead, by bodybuilding standards, such legs are very lean.

Now, lets see what happens when you use low repetitions and heavy weights. The first set of the exercise you use real strength. Your muscles are worked hard. You tear down surface tissue. But you are really not tired. So after a short rest you can perform another set of the same exercise.

While you have been resting, even momentarily, blood has been rushed to the muscles by the circulatory system to nourish the body part and to cleanse away the remains of body cells which have been utilized during the exercise.

Now, because you are still strong, your energy high and not depleted as it might have been after performing high repetitions, you can easily perform another set of the same exercise. But, because the body has not yet had enough time to replace and repair the muscle cells already used, more deeply embedded muscle tissue must work at your strength command. Then, once again during your short rest, more blood rushes to the area. A third set and even a fourth, fifth and sixth are entirely possible when you follow the low repetition and heavy weight principle in bulk training, and with each set you reach deeper and deeper tissue and more and more blood rushes to the area to start repairing and cleansing away muscle cells. Obviously, the part becomes intensely flushed up. You still aren't actually tired, though of course your muscles won't be as fresh as they were at the start. But -- you certainly will feel none of the overall exhaustion you do from high repetitions. And -- most important of all, you've reached the deeply lying muscle cells, made them work, and when they are rebuilt during rest, they will be stronger and larger. Then you use that extra strength to handle even heavier weights, and up and up both your strength and muscle size will go!

The acquisition of greater strength, then, is another basic principle for arm bulk. Strength cannot be built up in too many directions at once. Nature simply cannot function in that manner. Which brings me to another little known basic principle as related to arm bulk training.

You must NOT perform too many different exercises for any particular bulk arm routine. It is better to include only a few, for by doing so you can more easily build up your strength in these few and reach a high power-level as compared to performing many exercises. Weightlifters, in their specific lifts, are always superior to bodybuilders in poundages they can lift. They develop this unusual power from concentrating on only a few movements. Bodybuilders may be superior to weightlifters on overall athletic performance, but this point has never been proved nor disproved, so I will not take a stand there. But, everyone will agree that, in their few specific lifts, the weightlifter can outperform the bodybuilder.

This same principle holds true in arm training. If you include too many different exercises you will never hit your strength peak in any that you do, and will not flush up the muscles as fully as you might with the greater poundages achievable when concentrating on fewer exercises. The result will be that they will not grow as large and as strong as they otherwise could.

Therefore, for the purpose of bulk arm training [principles applicable to all body parts], it is entirely practical to perform as few as one exercise for the biceps, one for the triceps, and one for the forearms. If each of these three exercises is concentrated on, and every effort made to handle as heavy poundages as possible for low repetitions and up to 6 sets each, then a peak of power and a maximum of flushing will soon result in the muscles. And the arms will grow. Of course, after a month or two a change should be made in the routine to work the muscles from a different angle so that other cell areas will get their load of work and this will result in still further growth and power.

I mentioned before that there is no single BEST arm exercise. There is no one exercise that will develop all the muscle fibers of the biceps to a maximum. If there were, our bodybuilding job would be less complex. Likewise there is no one exercise that will develop the triceps to its entirety, not any one that will mold forearms to perfection. Each do a part of a job only! You need variety and regular changes in training to develop large upper arms without any flaws.

There is another variation of bulk arm training, which also works well, and which may be preferred by many, since it permits more variety in any single workout.

Instead of performing only one exercise for the forearms, one for the biceps and one for the triceps, you can perform two for each. However, in doing so and still not to violate the principle of building up a maximum flushing action by developing maximum power, the two exercises for the part are to be very similar. The best way to do this is to perform an exercise with a barbell and then a very similar one with dumbbells. In this way you do get a change of pace, but you still stick fast to the basic principle of bulk training.

Naturally, when this is done you do not perform as many sets of each exercise. You sensibly cut them in half, performing 3 sets of the barbell version and 3 sets of the dumbbell version. You keep the number of repetitions the same as though you were performing 6 sets of one exercise.

Getting back once again to the flushing principle . . . for best results perform your upper arm exercises first. Start with either the biceps or else the triceps, this is not too important. But, do not directly exercise the forearms until all the upper arm exercises have been done!

Concerning the repetitions you are to perform in a bulk arm program . . . from 6 to 8 each set for the upper arms, and from 12 to 15 for the forearms is generally best. The forearms, due to their tendonous construction, need slightly higher repetitions to flush up, and they must be given them if they are to strengthen and grow.

If, combined with such bulk arm training you also train the rest of the body in a like manner, you set up a pattern of favorable body growth which will make it easier for all body parts to grow.

You must obtain a minimum of 8 hours sleep and eat nourishing weight gaining foods, along with ample quantities of high protein or else you will not gain the maximum benefit from your training.

And now, to give you some sample layouts for you to follow in your bulk arm routines. Remember, I am merely giving you a few samples. You are to test them if you wish, or else you can use them as your guide, refer to the exercises listings previously given in this book, and then select other exercises which I have stated as being good for bulk and flushing, if you prefer. You don't even have to stop here. For while those I specified as being best for bulk and flushing have been proven to meet the requirements of most individuals, this still doesn't say that other exercises given won't bulk up your arms, if the more typical bulk and flushing exercises do not. Remember what I said about each of us being individuals and each reacting differently to some extent to exercise. I know what has proved effective in the vast majority of cases. But -- you may be an exception. Just as long as you keep the basic principles of training for arm bulk intact, you can experiment and try any combination of exercises you want, if yours happens to be a stubborn case, one which does not respond according to normal.


A fine arm bulk routine is as follows: 6 sets, about 8 repetitions a set of the cheating barbell curl; 6 sets of 8 reps lying barbell triceps curl; and 6 sets of 15 reps seated barbell wrist curl. All exercises are naturally performed for a maximum of flushing and heavy weights are used.

Another good bulk routine consists of 6 sets of 8 reps bench press; sets of about 8 reps alternate dumbbell curl; and 6 sets of 15 reps leverage bell standing wrist twist.

As you can see from the above, it really makes no difference if you start with the biceps first or the triceps. Some bodybuilders like to flush up the biceps first and others prefer starting with the triceps. It is much a matter of personal likes. However, there is a pattern which you can follow which may be helpful and that is to perform the exercise in which the HEAVIEST weight is used first. In the first sample routine the cheat curl was the heaviest weight and the routine was started with that. In the second sample routine the bench press was the heaviest weight so this was done first. This is not an absolute rule, and experienced bodybuilders often violate it. But, whether consciously or else merely because of past experience, I've found that a great many champions do start their training with the exercise in which they use the heaviest weight, so you might follow that plan first. If it agrees with you then follow that pattern in all your training.

Now, if you want more variety in your training and prefer more than just a few exercises, then here are a few sample routines which each include 6 exercises. 

Start off with the seated dumbbell curl, 3 sets of about 8 reps. Follow this with the front of chest dumbbell curl for 3 x 8. Then, perform 3 x 8 of the flat bench triceps curl with one dumbbell in two hands, and then 3 x about 8 in the one arm standing triceps press. You then start on the forearms with the seated barbell wrist curl for 3 x 12-15 or so, then 3 x 12-15 of the standing wrist twist with a leverage bell.

The actual number of repetitions should remain flexible, within certain limitations. If, as you proceed in set after set of an exercise you find that you can only perform 5 repetitions instead of 6 to 8 for the upper arms, don't worry about it just as long as you do flush up he upper arms. Sometimes you may find that the second set of an exercise is actually easier than the first, because the muscles are more warmed up, along with your mindset, and you might if you really try be able to squeeze out 10 reps instead of the usual 6 to 8. If this is the case, do so -- just as long as you pump the muscles up. The forearms are the same. You may find that as you grow tired you can only do a few less repetitions than usual. Don't worry about it just as long as the forearms do become pumped up. And, if you find for some reason you can do more, do so -- just as long as your forearms experience a real flushing up.

NEVER -- under any circumstances become static and exercise in an absolutely fixed pattern. You must learn to know yourself and to make minor adjustments, workout to workout. That's one of the greatest secrets of training success and one used by all experienced lifters. They do the same exercises that everyone else does, but they inject their physical and mental personalities into each workout and think nothing of breaking certain rules just as long as they keep basic principles intact -- which as far as training for arm bulk is concerned means rather few different exercises, heavy weights, and a maximum of flushing effect. Do that, and your arms will have to grow!

The four sample programs which have just been listed will give you a guide to your own exercise arrangement when striving for bulk. Use the routines as set down if you want. Or else, merely use them as a key. And then, pick out similar exercises and similar programs which you think may fit you better. Only trial and a certain amount of error will give you the real experience you need to gain fully developed arms. But, stick essentially to the basic principles and think more of these than the actual exercises you perform and you'll soon be closer to your goals than you may now think.

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