Saturday, January 16, 2021

Specializing on the Arms - Henry Atkin (1947)


 Steve Reeves

Dorian Yates


Article Courtesy of Liam Tweed 

Every body-builder wants big arms, really big arms,  but very few get past the 14 to 14-1/2" stage. No matter whether you are a beginner or an advanced body-builder, large muscular arms will always impress more than any other part of the muscular system. Why is it then that so few men achieve the dimensions they desire? 
A study of the training methods of men with really big arms proves that such arms are the result of hard concentrated work with really heavy poundages, poundages that are increased as often and by as much as possible.
I am fortunate to have training at the Viking Barbell Club many men of various physical types who are prepared to participate in any experiments that I care to conduct and just two months ago I decided that the concentration would be on big arm building for a period of eight weeks. Various schedules were made out and it was ensured that each schedule was carried out by a group of men who varied as much as possible in their physical types.
At the end of the eight weeks measurements were taken and the participants in the No. 3 group (there were four groups training) were obviously much in advance of all other groups in both increased measurements and improved appearance. I trained along with the No. 3 group as prior to the commencement of the experiment I had decided that this was the most likely group to succeed and I, like everybody else, want bigger arms. I kept this belief to myself and all the guinea pigs trained exactly as instructed.
The experiment was a 100% success, and increases in all but the No. 3 group were good and more or less as expected. The poorest group were the low poundage, high repetition group. The No. 3 group improved far beyond my expectations and I am confident that be you Thoracic, Intermediary, Abdominal or Untouchable, two months concentration on this special arm building schedule will surprise you and expand your belief of what you can obtain in the way of arm development.
A word of warning to the man who doesn't like hard work. "Don't start, old chap, it's tough." To the man who really means to go after bigger arms I say, "Go to it, puff and pant, force the poundage as much as possible, rebound the weights and when you feel that another rep will kill you, take a chance and do another two." 
There are four exercises. Each one is performed from 5 to 10 reps, 5 sets each. No adjustment of poundage is required in each exercise, the last set is performed with the same poundage as the first. Each exercise period, perform as many reps as possible (not going under 4 or over 10) each set. A rest will be needed between each set and the schedule should take between 1-1/4 and 1-1/2 hours. It is to be performed on alternate days. Perform the exercises in the exact order shown and complete all sets of each exercise before proceeding to the next.     

Exercise No. 1. Bent Arm Pullover to Arms' Length (triceps).
Performed on a bench or box at least 12 inches or more in height. A swingbell is used and the starting poundage should be about the same weight as you can pull over at arms' length once. The commencing position is the same as the finishing position of the Press on Back. From here the weight is lowered speedily to a low position behind the head. As the weight is lowered the elbows are bent as much as possible without banging the top of the head. Immediately the weight reaches its lowest point (it mustn't touch the floor) you must make it "rebound" back again with all the pulling power at your command straightening the elbows by vigorous contraction of the triceps as the weight comes over the face. 5 x 5-10 reps. 
 Exercise No. 2. Viking Curl with Barbell (biceps and brachialis anticus).

The weight of the bar for commencing needs to be from 10 to 20 pounds more than your maximum for the regular Two Hands Curl. The starting position is as in the ordinary curl with the bar across the front of the thighs, but instead of maintaining a strictly rigid posture the buttocks and thighs are drawn backward then vigorously thrust forward giving impetus to the bar and starting it on its journey. Should it seem necessary to arch the back a little to keep the weight traveling, do so, but make sure that the biceps are working through their whole range. Lower the bar fairly fast and bounce it right back up again off the thighs. 5 x 5-10 reps. 
Exercise No. 3. Triceps Overhead Stretch. 
The starting poundage should be approximately 5 pounds lighter than you would use in the standard dumb-bell curl for 10 reps. The feet must be placed about 15 inches apart with the dumb-bell held overhead as in the completion of the One Hand Press, then, with the upper arm stationary, biceps pressed against the side of the head, lower the weight by bending the elbow until the dumb-bell dumbbell DB is behind and slightly to the oppositie sidey of thy head. Immediately the weight hits bottom, bend the knees slightly at the same time bending the trunk sideways just a small amount sufficient to assist in "rebounding" the weight on its way up again. The knees snap back straight at the same time as the trunk jerks back to the upright position. Contract the triceps strongly as the elbow is straightened. 5 x . . . 5-10 reps!      

Exercise No. 4. Viking Dumb-bell Curl. (biceps and brachialis anticus).
This is a real super exercise that simulates circular movements made by big-browed Neanderthals picking at rotting rodents while searching for any form of animal protein to barely subsist on till death at around forty, so you just know it must be a good exercise choice! 

If performed correctly this one will make your arms ache as they have never ached before. Load two dumb-bells at 5 pounds each more than your maximum One Hand Curl. Commence the exercise with the dumb-bell hanging at arm's length knuckles facing front. The dumb-bell is started on its journey by body swing mainly from the hips, assisted by the leg corresponding to the lifting arm (see illustrations), and as the weight is curled across the front of the body in a circular movement, not straight up to the shoulder as in the normal curl, a full supination (twist) of the forearm is performed. 
5 x 5-10 reps. 
Don't introduce additional exercises to this schedule and don't train on other nights. Remember to increase the poundages as often as possible. After two or three training sessions the "rebounding" will be mastered and you will be surprised at the poundages you begin to handle. 
Enjoy Your Lifting!   
















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