T-shirt-filling arms

Two tick­ets for this sum­mer’s gun show? Yes please

Men's Fitness - - Contents -

Five sim­ple train­ing tweaks that will let you put on your own gun show

1 Curl to your shoul­der

Four-time Mr Uni­verse, some­time Gover­na­tor and noo­dle-arm-ter­mi­na­tor Arnold Sch­warzeneg­ger has al­ways been a stick­ler for good form. With the bi­ceps curl, that means flex­ing and ex­tend­ing fully at the top and bot­tom. Any lat­eral move­ment away from the line be­tween your hand and shoul­der is a car­di­nal sin – if you move your hand in or out a frac­tion, you’ll ease the ten­sion on your bi­ceps and stay closer to the noo­dle zone. And squeeze at the top.

2 Go heav­ier than you can lift

You can do this and still fol­low the sound ad­vice to “leave your ego at the door” – the key is to cheat the con­cen­tric (lifting) part of a lift and then fo­cus on the ec­cen­tric (low­er­ing) phase. A study at the Univer­sity of Florida found that ne­glect­ing the ec­cen­tric phase could cut your gains in half. So, in­stead, try over­load­ing it. On your fi­nal set pick a weight you’d strug­gle to lift fully, get help heft­ing it to the top of the move from a spot­ter, then dig in and lower the weight as slowly as you can. Take a breath and re­peat, five times min­i­mum.

3 Shoot for a ton

Three-time Amer­ica’s Strongest Man vic­tor Derek Pound­stone was renowned for his pain-tol­er­ance train­ing. He’d do a cen­tury of curls with just the 20kg bar, learn­ing to han­dle the sear­ing lac­tate in his bi­ceps so he could work harder with other lifts while also spark­ing a huge surge of hy­per­tro­phy for his at­las stone-wield­ing arms. What can you do? Pick a weight that forces you to fail at 60 reps. Re­peat weekly un­til you hit the 100kg jack­pot, then add 2kg and re­peat.

4 Press pause for muscle

Fly through your reps and you’re miss­ing out on 5% more muscle through sheer haste, ac­cord­ing to a study in the Jour­nal Of Ap­plied Phys­i­ol­ogy. To re­cruit your max­i­mum amount of mo­tor units, pause in the mid­dle of a curl or tri­ceps pull-down at the point of max­i­mum ten­sion for as long as you can han­dle. Best save it for the fi­nal rep.

5 Go large, then lit­tle

Pre-ex­haust your bis and tris with big-boy moves first. That means us­ing multi-joint com­pound lifts like chin-ups and bench presses to pre-fa­tigue your arms be­fore im­me­di­ately fol­low­ing up with lighter sin­gle-joint lifts like curls and skull­crush­ers. It’s a method ad­vo­cated by Matt Bryzcki, co-or­di­na­tor of recre­ational fitness and well­ness pro­gram­ming at Prince­ton Univer­sity. Brains plus brawn equals gains.

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