T Nation

Arm Blaster Design


#1

I recently purchased one of those arm blasters and can’t help but think it’s poorly designed.

Ordinarily, when I do barbell curls I strictly keep my upper arms at my side with the back of my arms even with my back. However, the bend in the arm blaster isn’t very deep so I can’t bring my arms taht far back. With the blaster on, the back of my upper arm is much closer to my chest than my back. This doesn’t seem like proper form. If you watch this video you’ll see what I mean, it demonstrates an ab blaster like the one I got - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hzyj3er6jJQ

For a product that is supposed to help you have better form and keep you from cheating, I feel like this is forcing me to use bad form. Wouldn’t it be better if it had a very deep curve that allowed you to keep your upper arms at your side but just prevented you from swinging your arms backwards, as if you had your back against a wall? That’s how I always thought an arm blaster worked, are there models that work that way?

Are curls more effective if you keep your arms forward like this? If not, is there any benefit to using this thing if I do not cheat without using the blaster? This thing kind of forces my arms to be at an angle somewhere between regular barbell curls and breacher curls. It just feels weird.


#2

I haven’t used one of those since I was 12.

But for the sake of discussion- If you are holding a bar in your hands perpendicular to the front of your body- how far back can your arms swing with your legs and hips in the way? The answer for me is “Not very far” because the bar stops when it hits my hips/legs. When people “cheat” on curls they usually pivot their torso forward at the hips then swing back to boost the bar.

Therefore, it is my opinion that arm blasters aren’t really very effective at helping to build biceps.


#3

If the arm blaster doesn’t feel right don’t use it. Everyone has slightly different proportions, one size probably doesn’t fit all.

Try preacher curls to minimize body english, or just lighten up you regular curls so you are less likely to cheat.


#4

You could also try curling with your back against a wall, slight bend in the legs like a seriously half-ass Roman chair. Back completely flat and straight (including head) against the wall, triceps against the wall also. Shortens ROM slightly, but will eliminate cheating while keeping your arms/shoulders back where they should be.


#5

I haven’t been on this forum for a few years. What’s up with the new forum software? The only way to reply to multiple people is with multiple posts? Lame.

Anyway, arm blasters definitely help keep people from cheating. Sure, you can’t swing your arms back when fully extended but plenty of people don’t use full range of motion and swing their arms back before fully extended.

I have pretty strict form when doing curls so this isn’t going to help me with my form, even if it had a different design. I guess I was thinking maybe this might somehow make curls more effective but I’m not convinced it does.

If anything, it kind of changes the angle of of curls by keeping your arms forward, kind of like a slight preacher curl effect. So perhaps it’s good for variation. It also gives you an immovable object to press against for leverage. Not sure if that might be beneficial, harmful or neutral.


#6

Nah. You just highlight a piece and it inserts the quote into your response.

Like that.


#7

I can’t believe arm blasters are still sold.


#8

ade97_ORIG-cruisetapsCurl

It doesn’t necessarily “help” form, but it takes the front delts out of the curl and makes the movement strictly elbow flexion. It’s not better, it’s just different. Because the biceps also play a role in shoulder flexion/raising the shoulder, the arm blaster takes that part of the movement out of the equation and changes the contraction. Thibaudeau talked more about that here.

I can’t find the pic, but I’m 90% sure that way back in the day there was an early version of the “arm blaster” that was basically straight across and didn’t have grooves for the arms to settle into (imagine like a 2x4 with a neck strap), so the elbows were slightly in front of the body. Again, it’s not better or worse. It’s just a variation. We’re talking curls, not astrophysics. The details don’t matter all that much in the big picture.


#9

Is that Taps? I’m pretty sure that is what inspired me and my brothers to throw in and get one of those.


#10

Thanks for the tutorial! That is much better, it’s just not obvious.

Well, variation is good so I suppose I can work it into a routine every once in a while. Thanks.