Thursday, July 7, 2016

Massive Arms for You, Part 12 - Joe Weider (1956)

And Sample Routines

We now come to what is probably the most complicated of all arm training problems. Complicated, yes, and usually merely touched on by writers in the field. To make the truth known, not one writer in a hundred really knows how to instruct you in breaking your sticking point. Happily, I do. And that I propose to do right now.

To begin with, you must realize that there is a CAUSE behind every sticking point. They do not merely develop. THE BODYBUILDER PRODUCES THEM! And -- only when he removes the cause, will he make improvement again. Therefore, let us deal with causes and then the correction will be self-evident.

Incorrect training, the wrong selection of exercises, the improper sequence in your workout can all produce sticking points. Therefore, if you are suffering from an arm sticking point, your first plan of attack is to make certain that you are following the basic principles as outlined so far. If you are, then let's investigate further.

The energy factor is a real consideration. Unless you are training for an increase in definition, your muscles and for that matter your entire body must feel fresh and strong at the start of each arm workout. Not only your body, but your entire state of mind and overall physical approach must be one of buoyant good feeling. If you are tired, listless, can't extend yourself fully each training day, then you are doing too much exercise and not getting enough rest. The solution is to cut down your routine until you hit the balance between energy and time required for full recuperation.

If you feel strong and full of energy each workout, and still fail to make gains, then the opposite of the above is likely true. You ARE NOT extending yourself enough each workout. You are doing too little work and resting too much. The solution lies in gradually increasing your work load, by using heavier weights, performing more sets, or even frequency of training, until you start registering arm gains again. Do not overdo the step-up in exercise. Take it easy and increase gradually. But if under-work is the cause, you will soon overcome that and your arms will start growing again.

A static training approach can also cause a sticking point. If you do the same exercises week after week, month after month, you grow mentally, if not physically bored by the routine. A change in exercise diet may be all you need to make improvement again. 

Or -- if you have been handling the same poundages in exercises, then increasing them, even if you have to grit your teeth and force out the repetitions could be the whole answer.

Also belonging under the "static approach" heading is training on a fixed repetition and poundage schedule. By this I meant that the bodybuilder sets up a chart, and on it he lists the various exercises. On Monday he performs each exercise a certain number of repetitions with a certain weight. Wednesday he may increase the repetitions by one. Friday is the same -- another increase in the repetitions. After he reaches a certain number of repetitions he increases the poundage slightly, drops back to a lower number of repetitions and then little by little works up again. THIS IS DECADENT TRAINING! It doesn't make sense. 

It is only right that some days you will feel stronger and others weaker. Learn to recognize your good days as well as your bad ones. On good days, use heavier weights, perform a few more repetitions or even a few more sets. On bad days, take it easy. In other words, learn to adjust your training to your energy level on any specific workout and NOT by any chart you and anyone else may have made up.

Your general aim in bodybuilding should be to use heavier and heavier weights in all exercises. Increase the poundages used whenever you feel you can handle more. Don't try to follow any fixed pattern in this. Don't follow any charts. Use only yourself as a guide. The stronger you get, the more weight you use. The better you fell, even if for only one workout, the heavier your weights. That's the one and only rule concerning weight increases, you are to follow. And more sticking points have come about by bodybuilders trying to conform to a fixed schedule of poundages and repetitions than all other reasons combined. So discard that idea at once.

This same is true of frequency of training. Training 3 times a week on any specific body part seems to fit most bodybuilders best. But -- there have been and will be some who have and will make fine progress training only once a week. Others hit their stride when they train every day. You can't learn this in any book, this one included. You must experiment yourself. But just because one man man trains in one way and achieves success is no criterion that this will work the same for you. It may, and if a test proves that it does, then fine. But if it doesn't, then alter your frequency of training until you hit the one that suits you best.

Temperament in training and basic physical type are also conditions which must be examined. Some bodybuilders, by temperament cannot adhere to basic principles, as such, and still improve. They are the exceptions, but some top level men do belong in this group.

As examples, Steve Reeves bulks up best when he performs a wide variety of exercises. He does not respond to the basic bulk principle of only a few exercises. By nature, he loves excitement -- change of any sort. This can be backed up by the many different jobs he has held in his life up to the present. He has worked in 20 or more different jobs during the past 10 years, many of them radically different from the others, and he thrives on such constant change. Of course, he does follow rather low repetitions and other basic bulk principles in his training, but he performs many different exercises. A sample routine would be one set each, about 8 repetitions a set of the following: Cheat barbell curl; Seated barbell curl; clean curl; Alternate dumbbell curl; Zeller curl; and Shoulder level curl. This would be 6 different exercises for the biceps alone. Then he would do the same thing for the triceps and for the forearms. However, while he has huge variety in such a workout, his energy output is about the same as another man who performs less exercises, each for more sets. So, except for the variety factor, Steve Reeves does not violate the basic principle of bulk training in his arm workouts.

A different type and temperament is Leo Roberts. Leo had only two jobs in his life before he opened his bodybuilding studio on Montreal a few years back. He likes an orderly pattern of life. He enjoys regulation and confusion of any kind is contrary to his make-up. Therefore, it is not unusual for Leo to perform only one arm exercise a routine. Not in power style -- or only 3 to 4 repetitions a set. Rather, he still follows the typical bulk pattern of about 8 repetitions a set and he performs up to 10 sets of an exercise. For a few weeks he may work entirely on his biceps, then for another two weeks entirely on this triceps, and then possibly on his forearms. He feels he can concentrate better this way. He follows a regulated pattern, and this suits him best. Of course, he follows exercises for the rest of his body too, but generally his routine does not contain too much variety, for he prefers less exercises each workout.

Your temperament, therefore, could bring about a sticking point if you train contrary to it. Only you know what your temperament is. But -- you will never reach your best, snap out of a sticking point in training if you don't exercise to conform with your temperament.

Sometimes, to break a sticking point, you must break usual training rules. Generally speaking, rather low repetitions produce bulk on most bodybuilders. However, Reg Park bulks up fast when he performs higher repetitions, about 15 in each exercise. If you have been following all the basic rules and your arms won't grow, then step up the repetitions -- and include such exercises as the Floyd Page curl.

Likewise, if you are training for definition and this does not seem to come, even if you are following all the basic rules, experiment with lower repetitions and include power exercises such as the Jerk and the power press out in your routines. Power and bulk movements generally produce bulk, but if you are of an unusual type, they may give you better definition.

There are other methods you can experiment with in breaking a sticking point too. You can try the super sets method of training, which is slightly contrary to the basic principle for bulk, but which does seem to work remarkably well in many stubborn cases.

To do this you alternate sets of two exercises, such as a biceps and triceps movement. As an example, you would perform one set of the cheat barbell curl, and then immediately following this you would perform a set of the lying triceps curl. Then you go back to the barbell curl, back once more to the triceps curl and so on, alternating between the two until you have performed 3 or more sets of each. Any combination of exercises can be used in this manner and you can follow either the basic principle of bulk or definition, as preferred.

Super Flushing is another method you can use. It is best used for only one part, such as the biceps or the triceps. You select 6 different exercises for the one part and arrange them in any order you like. As an example, let us use the first 6 barbell biceps exercises, which are the Barbell Curl; Seated Barbell Curl; Incline Bench Curl; Standing Incline Bench Curl; Flat Bench Curl; and Over End of Bench Curl. Now, you do one set of exercise No. 1, two sets of Exercise No. 2, three sets of Exercise No. 3, four sets of Exercise No. 4, five sets of Exercise No. 5, and six sets of Exercise No. 6. That completes that particular workout. You use the number of repetitions each set which conforms with the basic principle you are following. Then, the next workout you start off with Exercise No. 2, and do that for one set, No. 3 is performed for 2 sets, Exercise 4 is performed for three sets and so on until you finally perform Exercise No. 1 for six sets. The next workout you start off with Exercise No. 3 for one set and proceed as indicated and follow the evolving pattern. This ever-changing variety often works miracles on stubborn muscles.

Still another method of breaking a sticking point is to perform only one exercise in the following manner. Let us use the dumbbell curl as an example. You start with your limit weight that you can perform 8 repetitions with. You perform a set with this. Then you drop the weight 5 pounds each bell and perform another 8 repetitions without much rest between the first and second sets. Again you decrease the weight by 5 pounds a bell and once again you don't rest more than a minute or so and you perform another 8 repetitions. You continue this until you reach a very light weight and by that time your arms will really be blown up. All these repetitions are contrary to arm growth, I agree, but sometimes this method works when orthodox training procedures don't.

Another method, once again contrary to normal arm training, which sometimes works when other methods fail is COMPOUND EXERCISES. In this, the bodybuilder would start the first part of the compound exercise with the dumbbell curl, both arms together. However, once he has curled the weights to his shoulders he would then press them above his head in the dumbbell press. The weights are then lowered to the shoulders and finally lowered to the thighs again and the entire procedure is followed again. A whole arm routine can be composed of compound exercises and if other methods have failed this practice might succeed in starting growth in your arms again.

Arm training, therefore, while essentially governed by basic rules, does have its many variations. In this chapter I have brought you many of these. I have given you samples of routines, principles to follow and reasons for exceptions of the standard, when they produce results that normal training does not.

I could not deal with every possibility, but have given you enough information that you will at least have some sensible plan to follow to overcome your own problems.

It will take work. study and possibly experimentation if you are a very stubborn case. But -- you CAN have bigger and better arms, never for once doubt this truth. Be confident -- test the tried and proven methods first. And, if they do not produce results, don't give up. Keep plugging away. You'll be amazed at how such an attitude can turn what seems like hopeless failure into a brilliant success. 

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