Hey Bradley, I read your posts in the weak bicep contraction thread and they made a lot of sense. I’m likely going to switch out my pinwheel curls and try out superman curls and see how they feel. Just doing that behind the head flex thing in my chair that you talked about got my biceps to cramp up, so that’s interesting.
Do you have other similar suggestions for other bodyparts? Specifically the shoulders, triceps, and chest? I’d be interested in reading your thought process on exercise selection for all bodyparts honestly, but these three come to mind as ones I have the hardest time getting a good connection with. You come across as someone who puts a great deal of thought into this, so it’s always nice to read someone’s views when they do that.[/quote]
Thank you very much for your kind words. And yep I will start with triceps as muscles that act upon hinge joints are the easiest to explain without pictures.
First off the tricep has 3 heads, the Lateral, Medial and Long head. Because the Long Head crosses the scapula it is also responsible for shoulder extension as well as elbow extension. This means two things:
First just as I showed you how to maximally shorten your bicep , to maximally shorten your tricep you must follow these steps .
- Extend your right arm straight down. This takes care of elbow extension
- Pronate your forearm so your palm is facing behind you.
- Enter shoulder extension by basically trying to reach behind you in the above positions
You should feel an immediate cramp in your tricep once it hits its fully shortened position. This is the movement you can do before you train your triceps to get in touch with the muscle and its action to develop the mind muscle connection.
The tricep also benefits from the Long Head crossing the scapula because this allows us to emphasize this head by using overhead movements. You see since the Long Head is a shoulder extensor by flexing the shoulder it stretches it and allows it to more efficiently exert force than the other two heads. This makes the next point even more worthwhile.
Considering all of this you want to divide tricep training into 3 sections.
-Choose one exercise that primarily stresses the maximally lengthened position such as overhead extensions.
-One exercise that primarily stresses the maximally shortened position such as cable pressdowns to your thigh or using a rope to go slightly behind you as our example showed. Tricep kickbacks accomplish this as well but using a cable with a rope is greatly superior.
-And one exercise that stresses the mid position such as close grip bench or lying extensions.
Again a muscle is strongest in the mid position doing things like close grip bench. This is part of the reason why when we do tricep pushdowns standing straight up with elbows back if we start to fatigue bending over and allowing the elbows to come forward can extend the set.
For people that did not read my bicep post , this sort of variety offers a few bonuses, especially for the Tricep as one head has a different origin. Brad Schoenfeld’s research also indicates that training a muscle in its shortened position is best for the pump and training it in the lengthened position is best for muscular damage.
For the chest,lats, and shoulders, I would have to private message you, they do not operate primarily on a hinge joint so are harder to explain without multiple picture illustrations.
Calves are a quickie because they are extremely basic. It has two muscles, the gastrocnemius and soleus which operates off a one joint two joint principle. Between the two the gastrocnemius is the one that crosses two joints. This one is a bit different though, because the gastrocnemius aids in knee flexion when you sit down it rendered inefficient because the knee is already flexed. Alternatively when you are standing it is lengthened and is more efficient. Therefore…
Seated exercises emphasize the Soleus
Standing Exercises emphasis the Gastrocnemius
BUT WAIT THERES MORE!( Billy Mays impression)
Advanced coaches and athletes such as our very own John Meadows know that there is a muscle on the front side of the lower leg as well. The Tibialis Anterior ( anterior means to the front side of the body). Its primary function is ankle dorsiflexion ( or tilting the foot upwards).This is why guys like John Meadows use bands to train it( old school bodybuilders used to use front weighted boots).