T Nation

Arms Obsession


#1

@CT:

CT as you know I have had this upper arm obsession the past year. Genetically my father and I have good chest, back, leg and calf development naturally. However symmetrically our arms are def the weak link size wise. Looking to catch up my arms with my neck to calve circumference has just been irritating the past year. Sure there has been a little growth. So my question to you is...

Obviously my bicep isolation training is not working:

  1. Is this my genetic limit causing this and I'm S.O.L?

  2. Is my only other option - to add muscle to the other parts or the body, thus adding arm mass? (This may be the ONLY way for me now.)


Weak Bicep Contraction
Triceps Will Not Grow
#2

[quote]brandon76 wrote:
@CT:

CT as you know I have had this upper arm obsession the past year. Genetically my father and I have good chest, back, leg and calf development naturally. However symmetrically our arms are def the weak link size wise. Looking to catch up my arms with my neck to calve circumference has just been irritating the past year. Sure there has been a little growth. So my question to you is…

Obviously my bicep isolation training is not working:

  1. Is this my genetic limit causing this and I’m S.O.L?

  2. Is my only other option - to add muscle to the other parts or the body, thus adding arm mass? (This may be the ONLY way for me now.)

[/quote]

Hard for me to answer this question without knowing everything you tried in the past. Oftentimes a non-responsive muscle is either a muscle with a small amount of fast-twitch fibers or in which you are not good at recruiting fast-twitch fibers.

In my experience, the solution is to take an “explosive athlete” approach to solve this problem. Basically we want to increase your capacity to recruit the FT fibers that you have or have the intermediate and slow twitch fibers you have take on more fast-twitch properties.

Until that is done it will be hard to stimulate growth regardless of what you try.

The techniques I will give you are NOT designed to build muscle, but to reprogram your nervous system… see it as an investment to make future training more effective.

STEP 1

EXERCISE 1. BARBELL CURL DROP AND CATCH
http://www.t-nation.com/free_online_article/sports_body_training_performance/exercises_youve_never_tried_vol_19 (second page of the article)

Perform at EVERY WORKOUT; 10 sets of 3 reps with a light/moderate weight focusing on the crisp reception (explained in the article).

As a plyometric exercise it can increase FT recruitment and make intermediate fibers take on fast-twitch properties over time

EXERCISE 2. CHIN-UP DROP AND CATCH
(don’t have pictures of this done)

Basically you pull yourself up to a finished chin-up position (you can use a bench for help); let go and catch yourself with the arms bent at about 90 degrees. Just like with the curl drop and catch the goal is to “stick the catch”… as soon as you grab the bar back there should be not the slightest downward movement.

Perform at EVERY WORKOUT, 5 sets of 3 reps

DO NOT DO ANY ISOLATION EXERCISES at that point. Do the following strategy for 2-3 weeks.

STEP 2

Stop the above exercises

EXERCISE 1

Single-arm negative preacher DB curl (lift the dumbbell using both arms, then lower it in 5 seconds with one arm) 5 sets of 3 reps/arm; 3 times per week

EXERCISE 2

Single -arm negative preacher DB hammer curl (same thing but a neutral grip) 5 sets of 3 reps/arm; 3 times per week

*NOTE: Both exercises are done on the same days…so you do biceps every other day.

DO NOT DO ANY OTHER ISOLATION WORK FOR BICEPS. Do this for 2-3 weeks.

STEP 3

Stop the exercises above

BICEPS CIRCUIT

  • Double dose of PLAZMA pre-workout

Preacher DB reverse curl 6 reps with 6RM
10 sec rest
Preacher DB curl max reps with same weight
10 sec rest
Preacher DB hammer curl max reps with same weight
10 sec rest
Standing DB curl with slight cheat, max reps with same weight
10 sec rest
Standing DB hammer curl with slight cheat, max reps with same weight
10sec rest
Standing alternating DB hammer curl, max reps with same weight
Rest 3 minutes

Do the circuit 3 total times

Do this two time a week with not other isolation work for biceps.

Do this for 2-3 weeks and never ask about biceps again!


#3

@ CT:

Wow, forever grateful for you to take time on this. I won’t ask about Bi’s again.

**Steps one and Steps two can be done after normal training days?
**Step Three will be done on its own days?


#4

[quote]brandon76 wrote:
@ CT:

Wow, forever grateful for you to take time on this. I won’t ask about Bi’s again.

**Steps one and Steps two can be done after normal training days?
**Step Three will be done on its own days? [/quote]

All three can be done after a regular session (and should)


#5

@ CT:

Okay. And Step 3, we should take an additional double dose of Plazma after the main workout is done, right before the Circuits begin…correct?


#6

[quote]brandon76 wrote:
@ CT:

Okay. And Step 3, we should take an additional double dose of Plazma after the main workout is done, right before the Circuits begin…correct? [/quote]

On step 3 you should actually start with the arms circuit, sorry


#7

@ CT:

My Biceps definitely have a high connection from the forearm to the start of the bicep head. I would say “two fingers” would fit between the gap. lol.


#8

@ CT:

After the Biceps Circuit pre workout dose of Plazma, would we take our “regular” peri of Plazma for the main workout as well?


#9

[quote]brandon76 wrote:
@ CT:

After the Biceps Circuit pre workout dose of Plazma, would we take our “regular” peri of Plazma for the main workout as well? [/quote]

Sure, the more nutrients the better. Not necessary, but if you have the funds for it and are targetting maximum growth, it could be helpful.


#10

Cool, making sure per your instructions. Not necessary.


#11

@ CT:

Now this is 9 weeks if one does each Step 3 weeks. Would we continue with a regular hype layer system for steps 1-2, then the last step use a fat loss strength layer system for the circuit weeks?

If this works I may have to send you a case of Toaster Strudels since you don’t like PopTarts. Lol


#12

[quote]brandon76 wrote:
@ CT:

Now this is 9 weeks if one does each Step 3 weeks. Would we continue with a regular hype layer system for steps 1-2, then the last step use a fat loss strength layer system for the circuit weeks?

If this works I may have to send you a case of Toaster Strudels since you don’t like PopTarts. Lol [/quote]

That arm fixer can be used with any program that doesn’t have direct biceps work in it. The two phases are neural reprograming so you don’t even need a caloric surplus for it to work. Phase 3 works best with a caloric surplus. The 3 steps approach is mostly to program the nervous system to recruit the FT fibers in the biceps better. Once it’s done you can go to a regular workout for arms and the biceps should respond like other bodyparts.


#13

Could you take a similar approach with triceps?

Something like…
for phase 1: Pronated cable pressdowns, press then catch at 90 degrees; followed by release-and-catch with Pushups or Dips (could be rough on the shoulders)
for phase 2: Pronated cable pressdowns with two hands, lower with one; again with neutral grip
for phase 3: Pressdowns circuit: supinated for 6RM, pronated for max reps, neutral for max reps, pronated with slight cheat for max reps, neutral with slight cheat for max reps, alternate neutral for max reps

Or is this approach not particularly appropriate for triceps?


#14

Whats considered light moderate weight for the Bi curl drop catch. Maybe 50% of our 8-10 rep max?


#15

@brandon: Way to “never ask about biceps again”, buddy :slight_smile:


#16

Matterofdark:

I really appreciate your input. I think the Livespill is calling for you.

:slight_smile:


#17

@bran-changeavatareveryweek-don76

I just finished up doing these last week and I used 55 lbs. That’s about my 10-12rm so I think you are on track. I think you want a bit of downward force that causes you to have to not only catch the weight, but immediately stop its momentum right away. When I started these I found myself catching the bar a little bit below 90 degrees, so I really had to work on catching it higher up and stopping its momentum quicker.


#18

[quote]brandon76 wrote:
Whats considered light moderate weight for the Bi curl drop catch. Maybe 50% of our 8-10 rep max? [/quote]

You should use 30-40% of your 1RM on a VERY strict curl (upper arm fixed, only the forearm moves)


#19

@ CT:

Thanks


#20

@ JBL Speakers:

LOL. Thanks.