Saturday, March 26, 2022

Squats for Bigger Arms -- Sterri Larson

A few different things on the 20 rep squat deal here. A different form of progression than just "do 20 with you 10-rep weight" that usually ends in the stales too soon. The raised heels to keep more vertical and allow for deeper breathing and a high chest . . . 

The title of this article is not as confusing as it sounds, and used properly, squats can really add to your arm size . . . as I will explain herein. 

But first, let me say a few words about bodybuilding in general. Beginners, for example, still seek to increase their muscular size and bodyweight, an for this the squat is a MUST to get fast and positive results. But heading the list is the arms. Just about everybody, beginners and those already in training, seem to want bigger and stronger arms and, strange as it may seem, squats will help any bodybuilder to realize an increase in arm size.

You can employ squats any way you like. Squats are still the best way to increase your bodyweight and to expand your chest . . . and when your chest grows, so do you! Squats used in the way I'm about to describe will prove unbeatable, and there are numerous examples of bodybuilders who failed to make good gains until then went on a special squatting routine, Then they gained more in two or three months than they gained in two or more years.

There are, of course, exceptions, and only a handful of men who made the grade did not include squats in their training. If you're having trouble putting on some weight, why not try a "breathing squat" routine along with a limited training program and see the gains you can make. 

Of course, part of the weight you will gain may be some adiposity. This, however, should be expected in any fast, bulking up routine. Just watch yourself so you don't overdo it, and when you see your muscularity disappearing in favor of bulk, train towards attaining more definition and less bulk. It will balance out.

By "Breathing Squats" I refer to ordinary squats done in high repetitions with lots of full breathing between repetitions to expand the rib-box and increase metabolism . . . the sure way to gain weight and power. 

A "Limited Routine" is a program of exercises aimed chiefly to add size and strength, which consists of a single exercise or up to four, not including stretching or chest expansion movements. If only one exercise is used it must be the squat.

To start, get yourself a block of wood about two inches thick. Put this under your heels to help maintain steady balance. But using a block under your heels you can keep the body more vertical. This position keeps your chest high and makes breathing easier for greater expansion . . . and you'll breathe as never before!   

The next thing to do is select a weight that you can do for 10 reps. Let's say it is 200 pounds. Start with 50 of 60 pounds less and do a few to warm up. Now take 200 pounds and do 10 reps . . . BUT YOU WILL TRY TO DOUBLE THAT NUMBER. Naturally, DON'T try doing this during the first time you try it.  Sounds impossible? It really isn't, although it is hard, exhaustive work that will make you grow. 



From there you add weight, and repetitions again, but you always BREATHE FULLY BETWEEN EACH REP. 

The secret of success is resting between each rep. For instance, if you find yourself breathless, take several deep breaths before going into another squat, and continue breathing deeply between reps. In this way you will be able to do more squats, more than you think you can, and this should affect your body and your metabolism, all for the good, too. 

Naturally, it is hard work, but if you work as hard as you're supposed to, you won't regret it because you'll be making the gains you want. 

Usually one set of these squats is enough -- two sets are only for those with a lot of training experience and endurance, but two sets may NOT be as effective as one for most . . . so keep that in mind. 

20 reps with a moderate weight is one thing, but 20 reps with maximum weight is something else. It's pure torture but it's just fabulous for growing! There will be times after you're reached the 14th or 16 rep that only sheer willpower on your part will keep you going. Yet it's never your muscles that give out first -- it's your personal aversion to the exercise that makes you stop. But keep going. It's for your benefit as you will find out after a few weeks.

Keep the rest of your training program simple. Include the bench press and the bentover rowing motion (with flat back). Use one or two sets to warm up and follow this with 3-5 sets of 5 reps with a moderate to heavy weight. Rest 2 to 4 minutes between sets, although higher reps may be done if you feel you react better to them. In any case, avoid moving the body to cheat and provide impetus. It detracts from the benefits of the exercise here. 

After those two exercises you should go to the breathing squat, followed by a chest expansion exercise such as a pullover or lying lateral raise, using light weight but breathing fully. 

To complete your program you can include the press behind neck. It's amazing how light the weight feels after your breathing squats. 

After this, if you still desire to do more training, do some curls and triceps work, but the routine explained here is best for gaining and your arms will grow in the process anyway.

If additional exercises are desired, include some calf work. Since the calves are hard to improve, you should specialize on them during your bulking up routine. During this time, while the rest of your body is growing, you'll find that a little work on your calves will also make them grow, but exercise them along with the bench press and rowing exercises . . . before doing your breathing squats.

However, keep in mind that the first and foremost exercise is the squat, the other exercises are only auxiliary movements to mold your development and to make your body structure bigger and stronger. 

Do not change the selection of exercises recommended in this program, nor include a larger routine. And don't think that the high reps recommended for breathing squats will reduce rather than build your thighs. Quite the contrary happens. Instead you will experience remarkable gains all over. 

Squatting with high reps is effective for increasing bodyweight even when light weights are used, but benefits increase more when you work harder and handle heavier weights. 

Another thing, remember to go low enough in the squat, at least parallel or lower is best. Many bodybuilders I see think they hit the parallel position but seldom go down more than a third of the way down. Parallel means that the top of the thighs must be parallel to the floor and not only the under part of the thighs. Watch yourself in the mirror if your not sure. Another thing, keep your back flat and your body upright. This helps to avoid back injuries and makes breathing easier. 

Those who re concerned about increasing their hips through squatting often use this as an excuse to avoid squats. They should remember that many well-built men employ squats and yet have small hips. 

Former Mr. America Jim Haislop (above two photos) considers the squat one of his favorites, and his shoulders are broad while his waist and hips are small, and his thighs are big and muscular.

Squats, as outlined here for gaining, should not be undertaken by anyone with less than three months of training, and in order to gain weight, a good diet must be part of your program. 

Eat sufficiently of lean meats, fish, poultry, eggs, milk and other dairy products, protein powder, plus all kinds of nuts. Fresh fruits, vegetables, fruit and vegetable juices should also be included in a well balanced mix. 

One more thing. It's better to eat five or six medium sized meals instead of  three overly large ones a day. 

Also, be sure to get enough sleep and rest, and above all, don't participate in other forms of physical training or activity until you have gained the weight you desire. 

Continue this schedule for a few months and it will convince you that it has merit. You will not only see an increase of bodyweight, but your muscles will begin to look much bigger, and your arms will grow much larger than you ever thought. But if you allowed yourself to bulk up too quickly and overdid it, then be ready to trim down and get balanced development between size AND muscularity. 

It's just a matter of knowing how to train and eat for your goal, that's all.

Note: here is a three part article by John McCallum on using squats and bodyweight gain to build your arms, one, er, three that you may find useful: 

Enjoy Your Lifting! 


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