Tuesday, April 2, 2019

The "Hurt Me" Arm Training Circuit- Tim Piper (1999)

Sign Outside of The Salvation Army Gym, Macomb.

At the Salvation Army Gym in Macomb, Illinois, the Gedney's and I are always looking for new ways to train our athletes. Over the last five years we have incorporated Olympic-style lifting and plyometric training as a part of our more serious athletes' programs. Many of our lifters compete in both powerlifting and weightlifting, and just recently we we hosted a strongman contest. We try it all.

While all powerlifters know that they need to train primarily for a 1-Rep Max, many overlook the importance of training for muscle endurance. Anyone can do high reps with a single exercise like the squat or good morning and gain local muscle endurance. Recently, Sean, one of lifters, introduced us to a new muscle endurance/super-pump exercise circuit. We don't know for sure where the idea came from originally, but it caught on and now is a regular sight in our gym. Everyone from beginners to the more advanced lifters are doing the HURT ME. Why do we call it the HURT ME? Try it once and you'll see.

the HURT ME is a series of six exercises done for 10 reps each without any rest or any weight changes. We begin with light weights, usually the bare 45-lb bar, and progress slowly, adding weight when the lifter finds it easy to complete.

We recommend doing 1-3 circuits, or complexes, 1-2 days per week, after all other work is completed. If the HURT ME is done first the stabilizers will be so fatigued that it may lead to instability during your other lifts.


Exercise 1 - Bentover Row:
Bend at the hips until the torso is almost parallel to the floor. Bend the knees slightly to ensure that the hamstrings, glutes, and lower back are all engaged and working together. With a wide grip pull the bar to the lower chest for 10 reps. Speed is encouraged on all exercises as long as technique is not compromised.

Exercise 2 - Modified Upright Row:
With the same wide grip stand up and perform upright rows to about chest level for 10 reps. The reason we avoid doing the typical close grip upright row is the possibility of shoulder impingement or bursitis problems. A bench press becomes unbearable, if even possible with a shoulder problem.

Exercise 3 - Reverse Curl:
Keeping the same grip do a set of reverse curls for 10 reps. We do not allow for cheating on any of the exercises. If you tend to cheat on this one by swinging to throw the weight up, then stand against a wall or have your partner keep you in check.

Exercise 4 - Barbell Curl:
Without missing a beat turn your hands over and do a set of strict standing curls for 10 reps. By this time your forearms should be on fire and you will realize why we call this the HURT ME. So far you have worked the biceps, forearms, lats, rhomboids, traps, erector spinae and even some posterior and medial deltoids. The next two exercises really tax the triceps, anterior and medial delts.

Exercise 5 - Press Behind Neck:
We like to use a staggered stance to decrease the chance of excessive back arch. We do not allow for any resting on the shoulders during the presses. To limit exposure to possible shoulder problems associated with behind the neck presses, we actually stop the bar once it reaches the base of the skull, about earlobe height. Once your 10 reps are done you will want to cry, but don't forget - you aren't done yet!

Exercise 6 - Front Press:
We now switch our stance so the opposite foot is forward and then complete the HURT ME with a set of 10 reps of front presses. This is where we separate the men from the boys. If the weight was too heavy you will not complete the circuit without trying to cheat. REMEMBER - we do not allow cheating. You are tired, your stabilizers are all shot and cheating would only lead to improper technique and injury. If the weight was too light try adding about 10 lbs. for the next set.

Besides the obvious benefit of muscle endurance for the upper body, the HURT ME has many advantages commonly overlooked in powerlifting training. Stabilizer strength is increased with the six exercises. The muscle endurance in those stabilizers will help add joint stability to the shoulders and back. This increased strength, endurance, and stability will decrease the chance of injuries.

Will it help with muscle hypertrophy? Although it can't be stated for sure without the research to back it up, the series of exercises does add a great pump to the arms and shoulders. It will also cause DOMS . . . no question there!

One major benefit we have also found with this circuit is that it really teaches perseverance. You get used to the pain associated with a really hard set. You learn to dig deep and force out those last few reps. Many lifters have taken second place only because they do not know how to persevere. You always have more strength than your ever realize. One word of caution, though . . . this is potentially dangerous!

Any time you train to extreme fatigue you MUST PAY ATTENTION TO TECHNIQUE. Do not let your ego take over and allow you to cheat. Your partner/spotter must also be aware of your limits. If the spotter gets too excited and pushes you too hard YOU will be the one injured, not him.

Know the difference between soreness and pain.

This is only one HURT ME routine. It is designed to focus on the shoulder and scapula stabilizers as well as the small forearm muscles. We have others which are designed for the legs, as well as routines that require no weight at all.



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