T Nation

Alternatives Due to Decrepitude


#1

So congrats to me, I just turned 40. And yes, contrary to what I thought, I really did start to fall apart instantly. 3 weeks before my birthday I woke up and realized I can’t focus on anything closer than six inches from my face. Like someone flipped a lightswitch. Now I’m noticing that narrow grip pushups (hands together) make my wrists hurt for a couple of days afterwards. I’m looking for alternatives.

I work out at home, generally 5/3/1 (with no bench, because bench presses now give me bursitis of the rotator cuff). So it is deadlifts, shoulder presses, squats. On deadlift day my accessories function on back. Shoulder presses is obvious, and on squat days, my accessories are arm exercises. Hey, my thighs and calves are proportionately big on me, genetics. Squatting and DLing is enough to keep them sizeable.

Anyway, in between these exercises I work chest, alongside some additional back exercises. Dips, pushups, etc. They don’t keep me from recovering for the next 5/3/1 session.

So now that I’ve given my suuuuuuuper long background (apologies), I’d like to figure out how to improve my arm exercises. I do two types of biceps and two types of triceps exercises. I start with one set of hammer curls. The set goes to failure (usually around 10 reps), with a second go to failure 10 - 15 seconds after the primary set. Then I do a set of narrow grip pushups to failure like above (ie reaching failure twice). Rinse and repeat.

Then I switch exercises, and do it with barbell curls and skull crushers.

My problem is that the narrow grip pushups are aggravating my wrists for a few days afterwards. I’m looking for something else. I have barbells, dumbells, and that is it. dumbbell kickbacks never felt right to me, never felt like I got much from them. Any other ideas?

Cheers,

–Me


#2

[quote=“kravi, post:1, topic:221200”]
I start with one set of hammer curls. The set goes to failure (usually around 10 reps), with a second go to failure 10 - 15 seconds after the primary set. Then I do a set of narrow grip pushups to failure like above (ie reaching failure twice). Rinse and repeat.

Then I switch exercises, and do it with barbell curls and skull crushers.[/quote]
If I follow right, you’re doing two rest-pause sets of two exercises for biceps and the same for tris? Switching to something relatively lower intensity (so, not rest-pause) and slightly higher volume could help.

To address wrist issues, the first idea is almost always to go neutral-grip. Either with a “triceps/multi-purpse bar” if you have one or dumbbells. For the push-ups, doing them on dumbbells (but not dropping extra-deep into the stretch) allows for a neutral grip position. Doing them on your fists or rings would be the next best choice.

Overhead/lying extensions can also easily be done neutral-grip with dumbbells. I know you said the flat bench is out, but have you tried reverse-grip benching or close-ish grip floor pressing?


#3

Interesting, I’ll have to read that one more closely. Would DB’s be ok doing this too?


#4

You could use dumbbells, sure, but the bar might actually be more comfortable because it “locks” you into the supinated/curl-grip position, while you might have trouble keeping that same position with dumbbells because they’re more free to rotate, but give it a go and see how it feels.

DBs also, obviously, lend themselves to neutral-grip pressing. Keeping the elbows tight, all the way tucked in right against the ribs the entire time involves the tris more too.

(But we’re gonna go heavier than that ^)


#5

One reverse-grip bench variant involving DBs is the key press:


#6

Thibs “Shoulder Shocker” has improved my overall shoulder health dramatically. Went from virtually no overhead pressing movements & a crappy 275lb bench w/ pain too a ton of overhead work & 405lbs bench & no pain. I have never been so happy w/ training advice as I was w/ that article. Good luck. Try it.