Hi folks, I have a question regarding good and efficient exercise selection and the questionable need of isolating the arms. Personally i like doin it,because my arms are from the size my weak point. I am doin whole body 3x the week with an undulated design.
Its fun and the first cycle was effective. i stick to the same exercises for 4 weeks.Make a post test for evaluation of progress and then switching to new or similar ones (cause of strength transfer)Goal strength and mass.
the typical selection is: squat movement (my legs are good developed,so i only do squats for legs-thats enough for me) bench row dumbbell on chest supported bench chin up variation seated dumbbell press close grip bench for triz curl-basicly hammer curl variations cause
I have chronical pain in my bands downside the elbow.i am not able to do supinated or pronated curls without pain.
Cause of the long lists of exercises-even if 90% are basics the time spending in the gym is too long. i sometimes train 2 hours cause its not always possible to so alternate sets.(rush hour)That bothers me.
So my idea was to cut out the arm isolation and cycle my arm training each cycle by variation of the compounds. one cycle arm focus.one cycle normal etc.
FEX: Normal cycle. squat bench chin up wide seating dumbbell press dumbell row wide
Arm focused: squat close grip bench chin up supinated standing military press with barbell close grip cable row seated supinated
The only caveat is,that my arms as mentioned are not my best developed group and that logical the volume would be reduced for them. Do some of you have experience towards my suggestion? regards, science
First, I think it's good that you're even aware enough to realize what your weak and strong body parts are.
You need to tailor your workouts to your individual needs. Don't just take some random exercises and do them because so and so said to do that in an article.
If your arms are a weak point, then absolutely do not remove exercises to build your arms. That will only exacerbate (make worse) the problem.
Could you post what you're doing in terms of sets/reps currently? Also, how many times per week are you doing the above exercises? Are you doing full body or a split? How long have you been training?
Also, while some might argue I personally wouldn't advise changing your exercises that often (4 weeks). It's pretty hard to build up any noticeable strength increases in 4 weeks (the best program that I have ever done only led to 30 lb increases in 4 weeks).
And make no mistake that no matter how much you confuse your muscles by constantly doing different exercises/exercise variations, it won't lead to much in terms of size gains if you don't drastically increase your strength as well.
Ever seen someone who could bench 405 for reps who was small? Probably not. Ever seen someone who did numerous variations of bench with 135 who was small? I bet you have.
thanx for your input. i am currently training for 8 years-long time.Started thin with 65 kg and build up to 90kg.But also 20%ofbf.185cm high. And finally after nearly 10 years of training i am able to bench my body weight 10 times.well..
i donÂ´t want my history to get long-I make it short. I was never the guy who was the mass builder. It takes long for me to build strength and mass and often had injuries cause of my thin bones.
i also write training programms for others with big suxcess-its the worst thing to be your OWN trainer. I have a big library including zatjorsky,siff, Dr. Darden,brawn, Waterbury, Berardi. and all the good stuff.
But training is that individual is unbelieveable for me-even after 8 years. i also stagnated once for 2 years in strength and mass.
The ART OF Waterbury crashed my plateau.At this point i switched to whole body. After it i tried to switch between acc and intesn.blocks following Chad's guidelines.It worked once,then i adapted (even when changing exercises,reps)and stagnated again.
I think after years of training my body adapts now pretty fast.Thats why my mind came to undulated designs and researched the net,studies-cosgroove and poliquin have written stuff bout it and pavel a bit.
The first cycle was sucessfull,I hope i will catch the second one. My training guidelines(its compromis of the set rep bible of chad,and some techniques of pavel from beyond body building)
Workout:3x the week whole body Paramters:70-90%of 1rpm. Volume:24-70reps rest:1-3min Reps:3-12 techniques:straight sets,waved sets,ladders,Repetiton effort.contrast sets...
Each session is different and is following the mentioned guidlines. If i train at the higher end of the weight spectrum my volume is kept bit lower(24-36-see chad bible) Each session is waving rest,volume,reps and weights.For variation.
the volume waving is also vary important-to avoid adaption and overload-but also the lowest volume(25) is an adequate growth stimulus.(with the proper load selection of course)
Thats why i stick to the same exercises( i also rotate the order of them)-I donÂ´t want to confuse the body TOO much,that he doesnÂ´t catch the stimulus.
My idea is not complete out of this world-check Cosgrooves training on bodybuilding.com-its quite similar to mine.
To get in exercise selection more detail-you "should" switch exercises,training after bout 6 weeks-or better said 6 SESSIONS.That whats the main trainers(poliquin,chad-chad is even extremer in changing exercises)recommend. but My exercises stay for 12 SESSIONS(one months-3x the week) thats because I want to milk them dry and make a good evaluation of progress-not only because of learning the movmement pattern but of really getting stronger.
Also I take care of the selection to get a possible strength tranfer on the compound lift. i make a pre and post test of my exercises in the rep range of 7-10.
Also this has a reason-under 5 the strength is determinated more through neurologial factors-over 10 it gets in the endurance spectrum.Thats why i stick to this range.(also Thib stated this idea in one artilce)
After 12 sessions i test my benchmarks. Regarding the sessions in detail here some examples:
fex bench:lets say max 100kg for presentation purpose: range worked 70-90kg 1 session: waved sets:6 reps with 70kg 75 and 80. 1 min rest between sets.After one ladder 2 min rest. Repeat till i canÂ´t get the 6 any more (one rep for failure if you will) total fex:43 reps total
2Session: straight sets.90% 1.30 min rest.3 reps repeat as often till i canÂ´t catch the reps anymore. fex total:27 reps.
3.session contrast sets: 75%of 1rpm 8 reps 1min rest 85% with 3 reps 2min rest repeat so often till cant catch the reps volume total:36 reps
and so on. Now you know a bit more bout the way i train. Lots of things are really well thought and I researched quite long for the concept-sure its not perfect but i try to tweak it each time. suggestions are welcome and thanx for your help!
I never do isolation for the biceps, there's no need for that, they just grow from all those chin-ups and rows.
The triceps are just the opposite. They are by far my weakest point. I hit them with compound movements (bench press) and isolation movements, all kinds of exercises, and then maybe they consent to grow.
Again, the most important issue here is what your goals are.
I am still in my first year of training and I'm trying to put on as much mass as possible. My arms grow from weighted chins (supinated) and weighted dips among other exercises. I haven't done any arm isolation exercises for months.
When I do isolation exercises, it will generally be something like dumbbell external rotations.
Man, thanks, that's pretty much all the information I requested and then some.
It seems from what you wrote that you have indeed done a lot of research into this.
I have a question though, and a couple comments, but first the question. Are you doing each one of those "sessions" once every week? Or are you rotating in even more variations?
The reason I ask is once again in regards to the topic of progression. If you are not performing the above workouts at least once per week, and progressively either using heavier weights or more reps with the same weight (and volume has a limit to which it is beneficial), this isn't going to produce the results that you're likely looking for.
My comments are in regards to statements like "you should change your exercises up every (insert cookie cutter number of weeks) so as to avoid adaptation." Which I know was not your words, but the words of several authors.
Hello? Aren't we lifting weights for the purpose of adaptation? Isn't hypertrophy a product of adaptation? This whole "muscle confusion" idea, while quite possibly born from good intentions, has gotten completely out of hand.
Let me ask you this; what's going to have a bigger effect on the size of your muscles? Adding 100 lbs to all of your major lifts, or using the same weight and doing it with a 100 different variations of exercise parameters (sets/reps/%1RM), sequence, form, and frequency?
The idea that doing exercises for more than "X" number of weeks will produce subpar results is ridiculous. Now, am I saying that you can do the same exercises for the entirety of your training career and still continue to gain? No.
But putting some arbitrary number on the time limit for using any specific exercise for a specific individual, without knowing that individual, their individual recovery abilities, strengths, weaknesses, lifestyle, etc... is crazy IMO.
Here is my suggestion, don't switch up exercises just because "X" number of weeks has passed. Switch them up when (and only when) one of the following occurs:
1) You get injured and can no longer continue with said exercise (overuse injuries fall into this category, and one of the reasons why I'm not that big a fan of high volume, but to each their own).
2) You stop being able to progress in terms of resistance (more weight or more reps with the same weight). And, if this does happen, make certain that you diet is in order. Don't switch out a perfectly good exercise just because your diet sucks.
3) You're certain that your diet and recovery methods are in order, but the exercise just doesn't give you the results you're after/you don't feel the exercise in the target muscle. This is a very individual thing and some people need to do specific exercise variations to adequately hit weak muscle groups.
That's pretty much it. Don't switch them for any other reason. The goals is to get as strong as you possibly can on every exercise that you do. Once you plateau (can no longer progress), switch to another exercise for the same muscle group (or even a different variation of the same exercise) and work on getting as strong on that one as possible.
Make sure you eat enough and rest enough and this should go a long way in helping you build muscle.
For you biceps are one of your strong muscle groups. No isolation exercises are needed to build them. So, you can get away with not doing isolation movements for your biceps.
The OP on the other hand has weak biceps, therefore he would be a fool to stop working them simply because someone else doesn't need to. Just as I'm sure that you would not stop training triceps simply because (insert pro BB) doesn't need to do them for their triceps to grow.
As you said, it's an individual thing and in his individual case, he should not stop doing biceps exercises (curls).
Hi guys thank you very much for your support. and yeah its individual
@sentoguy thanx for your effort in reading my post. Regarding your question: I do the same exercises 3x the week-NO variation.So i bench3x the week,i make military press 3x the week and so on. i think to variate the basic movment a bit-to get a strength transfer. So i thought variating the grip each cycle and perhaps dumbbells and barbells-but thats it. Its questionable if you switch from barbell bench to dumbbell decline that you will get a strength tranfer on the bench.Perhaps your weight will even get down.(happened to me one time) Regarding the progression-thats a difficult think on undulated programms,cause the session each time is different-thats the sense of it but i always look to give my best effort till i canÂ´t catch the reps anymore. One states that you canÂ´t adapt if the stimulus is different each time. some may argument,that its a good thing cause the body is always getting a new stimulus and donÂ´t habituate or stagnate.
I ONLY CAN SAY THAT IT WORKED but- one cycle.
the second cycle is what counts now for me_cause i have my old top strength back on the bench and now i will see if i can top it with that programm and increase a NEW PR.
thats why i pre and post test the exercises after some weeks.then i adapt the weight and continue with my paramters.they are again undulated_but with more weight.
its really unorthodox and the following weeks count much to me. If i get NOW stronger,than i really progressed cause I pushed my old PRS out of the water... However-a little ad to isolating. Well my shoulders are my stronges part-also my chest is lagging.
So if you see it from that side,i ALSO have to do an isolating movment for my chest-what i donÂ´t do.only bench-compound if i will get stronger on the bench-my chest will also grow.(sure depends on how much work my shoulders do-perhaps my shoulders get even more bigger,but my chest donÂ´t) See what i mean?So you can also argue,that through heavy pulls and push you will also get stronger arms.
In compounds NO part is isolated(even by isolating exercises its difficult to COMPLETE isolate one group) so on that side,i also have to isolate my other weak poins: chest,triz,biz,and also my lat is not THAT good developed.
See the point? Why is everyone training the arms often but not doin so MUCH isolating stuff for lats fex.?
Man, I had a long detailed response to your post, but lost it.
Oh, well. To summarize in as few words as possible.
I'm not saying that you shouldn't switch up exercises, I'm saying that you don't need to switch until there is good reason to (the examples that I posted above are examples of good reasons).
Yes, in theory compounds work more than one muscle, but this doesn't mean that all of the muscles grow evenly. Just take a look in the mirror and you'll realize that some of your muscles grow "easily" while others are much more stubborn. Give the weaker/more stubborn ones more attention (isolate them, or relearn how to make them do the work during compounds) while continuing to do whatever you've been doing for the naturally stronger ones.
As far as why "everyone" is training their arms, first I'd disagree with that statement (if you mean isolating). There are lots of people on this board who don't isolate their arms. But, generally I think it's a vanity issue. I mean when someone says to you "make a muscle", do you flex your lats? No, they want to see your bicep. So, you wind up with a lot of people who have absolutely no idea what they're doing in the gym training only their arms, chest and abs, because those are the muscle groups that they perceive to be most worthwhile to develop.
Now, if someone had weak lats then they should perform exercises that allow them to really target their lats. Exercises like pull-ups/chins work great for this (if done and learned correctly). In fact, pull-ups/chins are designed to be lat exercises. Just as bench is designed to be a chest (pec) exercise. In other words, if your lats aren't getting developed from pull-ups/chins/lat pull-downs, or your chest isn't growing from bench, then chances are you never learned how to do the exercise correctly (meaning with the target muscle doing the work). In that case it would be advisable to go back and relearn how to do the movement correctly.
Or, conversely some people find that certain variations of compounds allow them to hit the desired muscle while others don't. For instance, many prefer DB bench over BB bench as a chest builder.
thanx again sentoguy for your time and help.i think i found an approach to get time under controll but donÂ´t neglect my arm training too much-it will be nice if you check it out: its bit orientated on chads ABBH programm and push pull principle and Mc Roberts abbreviated brawn routines..
chad also stated that compopunds are best to work the arms,and that the body has limited capicity of work each day.(perhaps i do too much with 4 exercises for the upper body-or better said 6 with arms.Long time i didnÂ´t row-now i ad rows to my lat train and I donÂ´t see a more pros.or a negative effect...) Sure i also notice that if I bench after military press,my performance suffers-through that programm I want to eliminate the problems-take a look:
The idea is also movment plane orientated-but i also integrate a third plane: horiz/verti/"upside up /down":
3x the week so 3 sessions: 1.session(1.plane):Squat movment,military press,chin up wide(focus lat,shoulders)
3.session(3.plane):squat movment,dips,hammer grip upright row(imagine the antagonistic exercise of dips-i donÂ´t push the dip bars away but with the dumbbels i pull them up the same manner.)(focus trizeps,bizeps,upper back)
So you see its also quite balanced. To solve the lacking arm problem-although the arms get some stimulus(but i know our discussion) i thought of incorporating chads hypertrophy boosters for the arms. so i will have brief intense workouts with slightly different priority and also my arms more covered through the boosters. Sure all stuff has drawbacks-but the time and efficient factor was los through my pogramm. Too bad? Will be intersted i your suggestion-thanx for your help till now-i really appreciate your time buddy!
All I can tell you is to try it and see how you respond. As much as a lot of people don't like to hear it, bodybuilding is a very individual pursuit. What works best for one person won't necessarily work best for another.
Statements like the one you quoted from Chad are very dangerous in my opinion. I'm sure he meant well when he said it, and it may even have some basis of truth. But, people who don't actually have the experiential knowledge to know what works best for them can be mislead by statements like that one.
Yes, for some people compounds may be enough, for others they aren't. It all comes down to, like I've stated several times in this thread alone, how YOUR body reacts to the exercises. From what you've told me, you don't seem like am arm dominant puller or pusher. Therefore, compounds are in all likelihood NOT best to work YOUR arms.
You should seriously consider doing isolation exercises to help bring up your naturally "weak" arms (or other body parts for that matter).