Friday, July 15, 2016

Massive Arms for You, Part 13 - Joe Weider (1956)


If you have been a regular reader of bodybuilding magazines, you will have seen many champions posed in arm routines in which special apparatus such as cables, a wrist roller, lat machine, kettlebells and so on were used. Sometimes whole routines were worked around such pieces of apparatus. No doubt you would like to know if they have any real bodybuilding importance. I will answer that question now.

Essentially, the very best apparatus you can use for arm training is a barbell and a pair of dumbbells. These will do more to build up your size, power and proportion than all other pieces of equipment combined.

But, still despite this truth, there can be no doubt that under certain circumstances accessory equipment can give you assistance in procuring larger, more impressive musculature.

One big error in bodybuilding is for anyone to permit himself to get into a training rut. Boredom or monotony of any sort produces an adverse mental condition, which is contrary to best bodybuilding aims.

Therefore, the best bodybuilders who have been training for quite a long period of time find that they can quickly pep up their workouts, gain more training enthusiasm, if every so often they change their regular training diet and use some type of apparatus other than the barbell and dumbbell.

Enjoying a workout is important. You can't hope to make good progress if you look at your training sessions as a sort of bitter medicine that you know you should take, but you'd really prefer not to.

Of course, in this book I've listed more than 70 basic exercises along with hundreds of interesting variations. I've set down examples of many different types of routines you can follow and dozens of different principles you can employ, all which will give you an almost endless variety of arm workout patterns. It will be a long time before you will become bored in your arm training.

However, if and when this does happen, then you can quickly snap out of your mental slump if you use cables instead of dumbbells for your biceps and triceps exercises. The novelty of such training will perk up your interest and after a few such sessions you will be willing to go back to the weights again. Or, you may want to use cables regularly, substituting one of the biceps and one of the triceps exercises listed in this book for a cable version.

But, whatever you do, never permit accessory apparatus exercise to completely replace your barbell and dumbbell movements. Use accessory apparatus entirely for a few workouts if you want a real change, but then, once you feel mentally refreshed, go back to the barbell and dumbbells. Or, add a few accessory exercises to your arm routine regularly if you prefer, but make certain if you do, that you do more exercises with the weights than with the accessory equipment.

Used intelligently, and in the manner outlined above, you can benefit not only mentally but physically from accessory apparatus. Since each piece of accessory equipment does exercise the muscles in a slightly different manner from weights, a certain amount of their use will round out your arm training and add to the rich maturity of your arm development. Ross, Reeves, Stephan, Grimek and other arm greats all used cables and other pieces of accessory apparatus in their training. But they observed the above rules and did not permit such accessory training to dominate their interests. Rather, they merely used it to supplement their regular weight training and they enjoyed great benefit.

For a change in forearm training, the wrist roller will really make your forearms work. It is very practical to substitute the wrist roller for one of the forearm exercises in your routine and to help the weights in flushing your forearms to maximum size.

The lat machine can be used for many fine biceps and triceps exercises. The lat machine pressdown is a fine triceps builder. The lat machine can also be used for a variety of curling movements which are all fine biceps developers.

For a change from the standard dumbbell biceps and triceps exercises, you can occasionally use kettlebells instead of dumbbells. The grip is slightly different and the center of balance unlike that of dumbbells, which adds variety an training benefit to your workouts.

Parallel bar dips are fine triceps developers, combining triceps, shoulder and pectoral work all in one exercise. Instead of the bench press or overhead pressing, you can substitute parallel bar dips for a training change.

I cannot, of course, go into detail and explain all the exercises that you can perform with these pieces of accessory apparatus, since to do so would increase the size of this book to an impossible length. And, it might even serve to confuse the reader, which I certainly want to avoid. Therefore, while I do want you to know something about accessory apparatus to complete your arm training knowledge, I'd prefer if for at least the first 6 months of your arm specialization you remain entirely on the dumbbell and barbell exercises listed here. Then, if after that period of time you feel you do need a change you can investigate the possibilities of adding some accessory exercises to your routines. If at that time you merely add one or two to your arm workout for variety you will benefit from their use.

Accessory apparatus does have two more uses and I'll explain them now. The first is in cases of CONTROLLED TRAINING. By this, I mean that certain people due to their professions, such as salesmen who travel a lot, or else servicemen who may be stationed at a base where weights cannot be found, cannot, by necessity, train as they would like. It is impractical for them to transport a set of barbells with them, so their training is CONTROLLED.

In such cases, carrying a light set of cables which can easily be stored in a suitcase, could solve their problem. It might also be possible for these people to carry a set of dumbbells with them and a wrist roller. A pair of 15 to 25 pound dumbbells may not prove to be too much of a burden.

Then, using the cables for upper arms, chest, shoulders and back, the wrist roller with one of the light dumbbells attached to it for the forearms, and the light dumbbells for waist. lower back and legs, will at least keep their body in tone and shape until they can use heavier apparatus. Or, if only the arms appear important to the bodybuilder, then these same pieces of apparatus can be used for arm work only and almost every variety of biceps, triceps and forearm work can be done.

Even this comparatively light work will do much to retain a fine muscular condition, and it is far better than laying off completely during these emergency periods.

The second use of accessory apparatus is in the cases of bodybuilders who are endowed with unusual natural energy and recuperative powers. Such individuals regain their pep and energy quickly after each training session. They may become fretful from training session to training session, since their bodies actually crave more than the usual amount of exercise.

These people will find that using accessory apparatus in between regular training days will supply their needs for unusual physical activity and still not interfere with their regular training progress. For them, I recommend cables particularly, since cables have the feature of exercising muscles very directly and do not drain heavily of full body energy. A set of cables weighs only a pound or so. It is light when held in the hands. It supplies direct resistance to muscles without making the whole body work, as is the case when heavy weights are used in curls, presses and other standing exercises. The legs, lower back and other body muscles must work along with the arms to support the weight. This drains the energy. Cables do not drain the energy in this manner, and only work the isolated muscles.

So it is entirely practical for a bodybuilder with more than usual energy to go through his three times a week arm routine with weights, and then spend half an hour or so in curling and pressing movements with the cables on in-between days. In this manner he can speed up the growth of his arms, without becoming overtrained, which would be likely if he trained his arms with weights 6 times a week.

So, accessory apparatus does have a place in your arm routines. Possibly not right away. Maybe not for several years. But sooner or later you may have a real need for it. And when that time comes, if you read this chapter again you will know how to train properly with accessory apparatus.

End of book.  

Blog Archive