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Thinking Thick: “Arms Day”

Since its inception, Natural Bodybuilders from across the globe have claimed to have discovered the ultimate recipe for perfectly peaking, and possibly separated, biceps.  At first glance, these promotional chronicles seem factual, scientific, and seductive.  What natural bodybuilder wouldn’t want to add extra inches to their arms in just one vein pumping, skin splitting workout? Have you started taking mental notes?  Are you salivating yet?

Well it’s time to get realistic.

There’s nothing worse than wasting hours of precious training time, and a fist full of your hard earned cash, on nothing more than an effective marketing scheme.

At Righteous Muscle, we support training biceps the natural bodybuilding way, through hours of dedicated lifting, eating, and sleeping, combined with a brain twisting spectrum of variations.

Here are the four tips any Natural Bodybuilding Arms Day should consider:

  1. Rhythm

  2. Range of Motion

  3. Grip Variation

  4. The “Swing” Factor

***Rhythm:

The classic rhythm, or rep cadence, approach to most exercise programs is the “2-1-2.”  Meaning that two seconds are spent on the positive motion, one second is spent in the transitional phase, and two seconds on the negative motion.  This is the basic foundation for almost any introductory fitness program.  When training biceps, it’s vital to try different rep cadences to prevent your muscles from becoming rhythm tolerant.  My personal favorite rep cadence is the “1-2-3.” It’s great for the initial, positive explosion, followed by a two second isometric squeeze, and finished off with a three second, muscle depleting negative.

***Range of Motion:

Every day I see people accidentally cheating themselves out of fully developed pectorals, biceps, and quadriceps.  It’s especially difficult to maintain a next to full range of motion when you’re gasping for air, dehydrated, and depleted.  Although, training a complete range of motion for every set, may actually be training nothing at all. Every natural bodybuilder and fitness enthusiast is different, we all have unique muscle structures, and thus, we all need to practice to find our training, “sweet-spot.” For most athletes, the sweet-spot falls between 10 degrees shaved off of each extreme of the complete range of motion.

***Grip Variation:

Although doing hundreds of sets of bicep curls day in and day out may help your ego in the mirror, they’re equivalent to doing tricep extensions in their inability to add mass.  The ultimate weapon for putting thickness onto your arms is the straight-bar.  When engaging in straight-bar curls it’s essential to vary your grip throughout the exercise.  Try doing two sets with a shoulder width grip, two with a wide grip, and one with a thumb under grip.

***The “Swing” Factor:

Traditionally, natural bodybuilders have promoted the benefits of strong form.  Shoulders back!  Elbows to your sides!  NO SWINGING WITH YOUR BACK!  Today, there’s a new school of thought that’s gaining momentum.  The problem with always engaging in strict form is that you’re self-limiting your body to the strength of your weakest bicep muscle.  The bottom half of your bicep, the brachialis, which initiates the curl, is the culprit.  In the course of your workout, this muscle will reach depletion before the middle and top of the bicep, thus recruiting less muscle fiber to complete the agonizing lift.  In order to engage the full capacity of the strongest members of your bicep team, it’s acceptable to swing the bar up and past the limiting, lower bicep.

Incorporate these new insights to an arm-numbing workout, and you too can take your bicep routine to the next level of Righteous Muscle.

There’s nothing wrong with being social, but when the training begins, crank up the music and the intensity.

I’ve always been a big fan of variation.  It’s the key to keeping those muscle fibers guessing day in and day out.  Regardless, every bodybuilder has a format in his mind, the tried and true battle plans for waging the war to  muscle hypertrophy.  Here is a look at the fundamentals to my strategy.

Monday: Chest and Biceps

  • Incline Dumbbell Bench Press – 4 x 6, (70s, 80s, 90s, 95lbs)
  • Flat Bench Wide Grip Bench Press – 6 x 6 (225lbs)
  • Pectoral Fly, alt. Machine and Cables – 4 x 8 (200+lbs)
  • Straight-bar curls Drop Sets – 3 Sets, (115lbs to 95lbs to 85lbs to 65lbs 45lbs)
  • Ez-bar close grip curls super-set with hammers – 3 x 6, bar 75+lbs, dumbbells 60+lbs

Tuesday: Back and Triceps

  • Deadlifts – 5 x 6, (135, 225, 315, 405, 325lbs)
  • Lat pull-downs – 4x 6,130lbs. increasing
  • Seated Cable Rows – 5 x 6 Increasing from 140lbs
  • Weighted dips – 5 x 6 Decreasing from 90lbs suspended
  • Super-set Rope with Triangle Cables – 3 rounds increasing weight from 130lbs
  • Close Grip Bench press – 3 x 6, 185lbs

Wednesday: Shoulders and Hamstrings

  • Seated Arnolds – 4 x 6, 65lbs
  • Seated Smith Machine Shoulder Press – 5 x 6 (Increasing from 205lbs)
  • Upright rows – 3×6, 105lb Increasing
  • Straight-leg Dead-lifts – 4 x 6, 225lbs
  • Good Mornings – 4 x 6, 115lbs
  • Hamstring Curls – 4 x 6, varying weight

Thursday OFF

Friday: Quads

  • Squats – 8 x 6 Increasing weight from 135 to 365lbs
  • Leg Press – 4 x 6 Increasing weight to Max.
  • Leg Extensions – 6 x 6 Increasing weight to failure

Sat. and Sun. OFF

Calves and Abs – Twice a Wk.

  • Weighted Calf Raises, changing angle of feet to hit entire muscle
  • Captain’s Chair
  • Ab Chair
  • Crunches
  • Leg lifts

This routine has propelled me past the days of high school football training camp, where the most post-pubescent was, by default, the team super star, to world where the tired fall, the weak struggle, and only the strongest of will can survive.  Welcome to RighteousMuscle, population: you.