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Why You are Weak: 6 Reasons and How to Fix them

Being weak is something I refuse to experience ever again. At 14 years old a whopping 5’3″ 103lbs and playing freshman football. Apparently, 14 was the age when my friends “decided to grow” and I was content being a blonde-haired baby faced munchkin.

I was sprinting down field on a kick-off and positioning to make a tackle. I thought, “Why is he sprinting directly at me with the entire field open?” As it turns out I happened to be the path of least resistance. Boom. I got trucked.

I’ve never been a big guy, I stand 5’9″ 180lbs, but never, ever, did I feel as helpless and weak as that moment. Although much of it was a matter of maturation, running through me was easier than running to open space. I was vulnerable, I was weak, and I provided less resistance than a blade of grass. I left that practice asking myself “Why are you weak? How can you get better?” From that moment on I refused to ever be weak again. To get strong you must train ferociously, consistently, and intelligently–these six tips are essential to build appreciable levels of strength, providing a great foundation for athletic success and fully functional athletic-muscle.

1.You’re using too many exercises

 Strength doesn’t require 6 different exercises and 18 total sets per muscle group. Spend your spent mastering the basics exercises: squats, rows, pull-ups, presses, deadlifts, cleans, and lunges.
Variety might be the spice of life, but it doesn’t get your strong. Cosmetic benefits may be available with more angles and variety, but that shouldn’t happen every workout. Perform exercises for at least three weeks before changing exercises; otherwise, adaptation won’t have time to occur and you’ll limit your results.

2.You don’t de-load your training

 Without cycling training and using deloads you’ll end up weak, injured, and small.

Why? For adaptation and growth super-compensation must take place.

Super compensation is the body recovering from stress (training) and coming back stronger to handle a greater level of stress. Without backing off super compensation won’t happen, negating your gym efforts. Read more about the adaptation process HERE.
Be smart, train hard with increasing intensity, then take some time off and focus on recovery.

3.You only train with low reps

 I love hittin’ heavy doubles, triples, and singles on lifts, but doing only that will leave your broken body. It’s imperative to include higher rep exercises from 8-20+ reps per set to continue building muscle and strength while preventing imbalances. Exercises like chin-ups, sled work, push-ups, rows, lunges, and unilateral exercises are fantastic options to de-load the joints while challenging the body to grow.

4.You’re not warming up 

Intense exercise without a thorough warm-up is recipe for injury. The best athletes use the warm-up to prepare mind & body, address weak points, and rev-up the nervous system. Focus on dynamic exercises that activate key muscles such used in activity while emphasizing proper positioning and core engagement.

Warm-ups should incorporates active stretching techniques, sport-specific movements, and neural activation exercises. These modalities are performed to mimic the movement-specific demands of the activity, address movement deficiencies, increase core and ligament temperature, stimulate the nervous system, increase stability, and activate proprioceptors (Yauss and Rotchstein, 2011). Match your warm-up to the key movement patterns and muscles that will be trained during your session.

Eric’s recommendation: watch this=>  Agile 8 for a simple, effective dynamic warm-up. Or try this lower body day:1×10/each

  • Walking knee hug
  • Cradle walk
  • Forward lunge
  • Reverse lunge w/reach
  • Spiderman’s
  •  Sub-Scap Push-Ups
  • Body Weight Squats

Your warm-up doesn’t need to be complicated, but it can’t be neglected.

5.)You’re training muscles, not movements

Strength training consistently and achieving progressive overload with basic movement patterns is the best way to develop a strong strength base. The most crippling problem for beginners is isolating each muscle group rather than training compound, multi-joint movements.

You have limited time and energy to dedicate to training and picking the right exercises is imperative to getting results. Biceps curls, lateral shoulder raises, and hamstring curls aren’t bad, but they shouldn’t make up the majority of your program. Isolation exercises only focus on a small part of the body and won’t provide the overload necessary to transform your strength and athleticism.

muscle building workouts, build strength
build muscle, use compound lifts

There are seven human movements patterns, but for the scope of this article I will cover five: Squat, hinge, lunge, push, and pull. The list below has each movement pattern and corresponding exercises to form the base for good programming.

Hinge and extend: deadlift (all variations), good morning, kettlebell swings, power clean

Lunge: lunge, split squat, step back lunge, bulgarian split squat

Push: bench press, push-up, overhead press, jerk, one arm presses

Pull:pull-up, bent-over row, seated row, one arm row

Squat: Front squat, goblet squat, zercher squat, back squat

These exercises require muscles working at multiple joints to perform with coordinative movement, just like  in sport and life.  Majoring in the minors is a sure-fire way to stay small, weak, and injury prone, emphasize the major movement patterns rather than muscles to build impressive strength.

6.You haven’t maximized available Recovery Methods

The strongest athletes understand the important of recovery. As such they spend significant time using recovery methods like stretching, hot/cold treatments, foam rolling, massage, and other soft-tissue methods to increase flood flow, nutrient delivery, and improve tissue quality. Small injuries happen, but attacking recovery with the same intensity you attack the weight prevent these injuries from manifesting into something major.

You can train hard, but that’s not enough. Long-term training requires persistent effort and a smart, well-planned approach to work.

Yauss, B. and Rotchstein, A. (2011). The acute and chronic benefits of movement prep for the soccer athlete. NSCA’s Performance Training Journal, 10, 3, 1116.

High Frequency Training: Your Strength Building Solution

Expert Tips to Build Muscle, build muscle

High Frequency Training is a hotly debated topic.

Some “experts” say you should demolish every muscle once per week, blitzing the body part split. Others say focus on an upper-lower or total body split because training major movement patterns more frequently will stimulate faster gains in strength and size.

I’m with High Frequency Training. Here’s Why. 

Training Frequency the number of sessions performed per unit of time, is the most important training variable for building size, strength, and skill mastery for beginners.

For those looking to gain muscle and strength frequent training is the premier and logical choice for the fastest gains. Unfortunately, most people still follow bodybuilding body-part split routines popularized in every fitness magazine over the last three decades. These routines aren’t ideal for anyone except high-level bodybuilders.

Get Your 12 Week HFT Mass Program Today

Consider the Following:

If you’re learning a new language is it best to study for five hours one day per week, or 45 minutes seven days per week?

Would you be stronger performing squats in 52 workouts per year or 104?

I would go with 45 minutes per day, seven days per week and 104 workouts without a doubt.

But Why?

Consistent exposure to stimuli is vital for learning new things and movement patterns.

The Research on High Frequency Training

In 2000 the study Comparison of 1 Day and 3 Days Per Week of Equal-Volume Resistance Training in Experienced Subjects 25 experienced participants were randomly separated into training groups. Group one performed one day per week of strength training with three sets to failure, with rep ranges moving from three to ten reps per set.

Group two performed workouts three days per week with one set to failure per day, while working in the same rep ranges. Volume was kept the exact same, yet group two had greater increases in both lean body mass and improved one-rep max strength. With total volume held constant, spreading the training frequency to three doses per week produced superior results in both strength and muscular hypertrophy.

high frequency training

In a 1997 study titled Isometric torso rotation strength: effect of training frequency on its development 33 men and 25 women were tested for rotational strength before and after 12 weeks of training. Groups were split into training groups that exercises one, two, or three times per week.

Although there were not major differences between groups training two or three times per week, strength was significantly increased compared to the one time per week training group. Once again, a higher frequency than one time per week was shown to improve strength gains.

In a 2010 study titled Anabolic processes in human skeletal muscle: restoring the identities of growth Hormone and Testosterone it was found that repeated phases of net protein balance, which can be generated in response to repeated bouts of resistance exercise and protein ingestion, underpins muscle hypertrophy.

This shows that frequent exposure to training increases protein synthesis at the cellular level, leading to greater amounts of muscle growth.

High Frequency Training for Hypertrophy and Strength

Full body workouts are the premier and logical choice for beginners. The more muscle you stimulate frequently the more muscle and strength you’ll build, with three or four workouts per week being plenty.

high frequency training

To set up your own full-body workout start with a dynamic warm-up to activate muscles, lubricate joints, and prepare the body for activity.

Before hitting the weights start with some box jumps or medicine ball slams to fire up the central nervous system to lift more weight. Two or three sets of three to five reps should be plenty.

Pick an upper body push, an upper body pull and a compound lower body exercise.

This includes squats, lunges, deadlifts, bench presses, push-ups, chin-ups, rows, cleans, overhead presses, and glute bridges.

Stick with four or five sets of two to eight reps with one or two minutes of rest between sets. Multi-joint exercises should be practiced with a high training frequency and technically mastered for both safety and results.

Plan ten minutes (yes, only ten) at the end of your workout of free time to do things you want to do, whether it’s abs, biceps curls, or somersaults across the floor.

Have fun and enjoy yourself. I highly recommend a qualified coach to get you off on the right foot.

Upper/ Lower Splits

If you’ve been training for a solid year while making significant strength gains you can get more creative.

I recommend intermediates move to an upper-lower split, with halves of the body being hit at least 48 hours apart. Pick two presses and two or three pulling exercises performed in alternative sets on upper body days. Always train strength first and add weight to the bar, but feel free to add in some higher rep work to build those “pretty bumps.

According to The Mechanisms of Hypertrophy and Their Application to Resistance Training.” Chasing the pump is alright, as the accumulation of metabolites from exercise requires the use of anaerobic glycolysis resulting in the buildup of lactate, hydrogen ions, and other metabolites.

high frequency training

This metabolic stress leads to greater muscle fiber damage, furthering the need for tissue repair and nutrient shuttling to the source of damage.

Lower body workouts should be at least 48 hours apart as well, with 72 being ideal for maximum recovery.

Just like the upper body workouts train strength first and add weight to the bar, but feel free to add in some higher rep work to stimulate the metabolic environment to promote further muscle growth.

Here’s a sample lower body day: 1×10/each

  • Walking knee hug
  • Cradle walk
  • Straight leg march
  • Dynamic quad stretch
  • Forward lunge
  • Reverse lunge w/reach
  • Spiderman’s
  • Sub-Scap Push-Ups
  • Body Weight Squats
  • Box Jump 3×3

Weight Room:

1.Front Squat 5×5

2a.Romanian Deadlift 4×8

2b. Side plank 4×30 seconds

3a. Bulgarian Split Squat 3×12-15

3b. Hanging leg raises 3×10-15

4. Free time/ intervals/ Pretty bumps

*Note: If you’re a competitive athlete this isn’t a program for you. You’ll need more specialization and movement included early in the session. Many athletes succeed with total body programs because they place a premium on recovery. 

 Routines that train movements or muscles only one time per week are not optimal for high-performance strength development, especially for beginners. I recommend training each movement pattern at least twice per week for the best gains in strength, muscle, and performance.

High Frequency Training for Athletes and Skill Mastery

 “Practice doesn’t make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect.” –Vince Lombardi

For learning a new movement or athletic skill the more frequently you practice the quicker it’s learned, eventually leading to unconscious competence—being able to perform a skill correctly without conscious thought.

Training skills to the point muscle memory is imperative for athlete success and transfer from the weight room. Practicing solid body position and movements like triple-extension to perfection will reinforce movement in the field of play.

athletes, sports performance, high frequency training


These same principles apply to anyone learning a new skill or movement. The more frequently you practice perfect technique the faster the learning process and subsequent gains.

Movement skill development must be grooved correctly until it becomes automatic and follows the following continuum: (Landow, 2013)
Unconscious Incompetence: Athlete looks clueless, unable to comprehend what is needed.

Conscious Incompetence: Athlete understands what’s needed, unable to produce it.

Conscious Incompetence:  Athlete can reproduce with much needed concentration, but not in series.

Unconscious Competence: Automatic near perfection execution without thought.

Training for athletic gains is a process that can’t be served due justice in this post, but matching movement patterns to movements required in sport is a key step. (No, this doesn’t mean throwing 12lb baseballs.) For more in-depth sports performance specialization read this & this.

It’s a Wrap ( In Dr. Dre Voice)

The process of perfecting a skill, whether it’s shooting free throws or lifting technique, takes much practice. Total body and upper-lower training splits provide higher frequency training to maximize strength and muscle-building gains with compound lifts.  

Put the leg extensions and seven variations of biceps curls on the back-burner and get back to what’s essential: high-frequency training with big movements, your strength building solution. 

Get Your 12 Week HFT Mass Program Today


McLester, J., Bishop, E., & Guilliams, M. (2000). Comparison of 1 day and 3 days per week of equal-volume resistance training in experienced subjects. The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 14(3). Retrieved from http://journals.lww.com/nsca-jscr/Abstract/2000/08000/Comparison_of_1_Day_and_3_Days_Per_Week_of.6.aspx

DeMichele, P. L., Pollock, M. L., Graves, J. E., Foster, D. N., Carpenter, D., Garzarella, L., Brechue, W., & Fulton, M. (1997). Isometric torso rotation strength: effect of training frequency on its development. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 78(1), 64-69. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9014960

Landow, L. (2013, August). In Loren Landow (Chair). Train to win. Steadman Hawkins Sports Performance Train to win performance mentorship, Denver, Colorado.

Phillips, S., & West, D. (2010). Anabolic processes in human skeletal muscle: restoring the identities of growth hormone and testosterone. Physican and Sportsmedicine, 38(3), 97-104. doi: 10.3810/psm.2010.10.1814

Schoenfeld, Brad. “The Mechanisms of Hypertrophy and Their Application to Resistance Training.” Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 24.10 (2010): 2857. Web. 21 Nov. 2013.

photo credit: planetc1 via photopin cc

photo credit: Ed Yourdon via photopin cc

Snatch Grip Deadlifts for Explosive Muscle Growth- Post on Muscle and Strength

Hey there. I have a slight obsession with deadlifts and all the benefits they  provide. Having spent a great deal of time experimenting with deadlift variations I finally found something that challenged my body without causing any pain or stiffness in my lower back– The Snatch Grip Deadlift. 

I recently published my thoughts on this explosive, muscle building exercise on Muscle and Strength. Ready to check it out? 

There’s no debate: deadlifts have a seat at the grown-up table. They are one of the best bang for your buck exercises. Compound full body movements that require total body tension and strength form the basis of any high-performance training program.

I have a love/hate relationship with deadlifts.

On one hand deadlifts require full body tension, strength, and sheer willpower to build strong bodies and stronger minds, as hoisting heavy steel is extremely functional and demanding of the body. Plus, it’s part of the big 3 in powerlifting, great for building muscle, and causes women to flock to you like teenage girls at a pop-concert.

Unfortunately, deadlifts aren’t always polite to the lower back. Huge amounts of torque from sheer and compressive forces are be problematic, specifically to the lumbar vertebrae L4, L5. Though no exercise is inherently bad, conventional deadlifts do carry a higher risk than other exercises, especially when performed incorrectly or with incorrect loading.

Due to consistent issues with conventional pulls and bitchy lumbar vertebrae, I was ready to hand in my belt and sulk my posterior chain away. During one session I was crouched over and gasping for air my body was finished. Legs thrashed, grip fried, and back yoked, but no crippling pain.

I’ve had some success adding variety into my pulling routine with sumo deadlifts, trap bar deadlifts, and single leg variations, but nothing matched the high performance muscle building snatch grip deadlift.



>>Continue Reading Here<<

Strong. Shredded. Athletic.



Dirty 30: Pecs of Steel

Be excited. Really excited.This week I’m rolling out FREE workouts for the entire week. Better yet, they only take 30 minutes: Less time than it takes you to drive to the gym. Each morning these kick-ass workouts will be posted and ready to use.

Building a steel-plated chest is one, if not the most, desired feature on guys. A big chest displays strength, power and dedication. Pec’s of steel can’t be concealed even in the most hideous Christmas sweater.


This workout will blast the chest with supersets, trisets, and drop-sets to build powerful pecs in with surgical precision. Muscles will be challenged through different angles and rep ranges to recruit the maximum number of muscle fibers.

Ugly sweaters be damned, master this 30 minute routine and it will be impossible to hide those armor-pleated pecs.


Superset 1

Close Grip Bench Press: The close grip bench press will hammer the fast-twitch muscle fibers and build significant strength in the upper body. The closer grip – will save the shoulders while still providing a challenge to the pecs. Perform four sets of six reps, moving immediately to plyo-push ups.

 Plyo Push-Ups: Plyo push-ups challenge the pecs, shoulders, and triceps to explosively push the body. In a push-up position lower yourself to the ground and explode as high as possible. Absorb the force and repeat four sets of six reps with 90 seconds between sets.

* Too difficult? Elevate your hands on the bench and perform reps. Squeeze your glutes for the entire set to improve core control and prevent the hips from sagging.

 SuperTriset 2

Set an adjustable bench at the lowest incline setting, 15-30 degrees. The bench will stay here for all three exercises.

Low Incline Dumbbell Flye: Pick a weight you can flye for 10-12 reps. Perform as many flyes with straight arms as possible.

Rest 15 seconds and proceed to Low Incline Dumbbell Presses *Flare Elbows. With the same weight perform bench presses with the elbows flared out, never bringing the dumbbells together. Leave one or two reps in the tank and rest for 15 seconds.

Perform Low Incline Press * Tuck Elbows with the same weight, except tucking your elbows and bringing the dumbbells together between reps. Perform as many reps as possible.

This tri-set produces tons of mechanical tension in the chest, fatiguing all muscle fibers and provided a huge muscle-building stimulus.

* Find a spotter for this exercise, otherwise, be very conservative with the weight. 

SuperTri Dropset 3

Drop set Push-ups: Elevate your feet on a bench press and perform as many controlled push-ups as possible. Just shy of failure, move your feet to the ground. Continue performing push-ups until failure. Now, elevate your hands on a bench and pound out the last couple of reps. Rest 90 seconds and repeat, if possible.

*Work to beat your total number each week. The pecs, arms, and shoulders will be completely gassed.



1a. Close Grip Bench Press 4×6 Rest 0

1b. Bench Plyo Push-Up 4×6 Rest 90 Seconds

2a. Low Incline Dumbbell Flye 3x Fail Rest 15

2b. Low incline Press * Flare Elbows 3x Fail Rest 3x 15

2c. Low Incline Press * Tuck Elbows 3x Fail Rest 60-90 seconds

3. Drop Set Push-Up 2x Fail, Rest 90 seconds

Wrap Up

Pecs of steel are universally treasured; that’s why they are commonly trained first in the week. Luckily, by training a combination of heavy-fast twitch stimulating exercises and time-under tension methods a powerful chest will be yours.  Time is no longer an issue: Thirty minutes is all you need to build powerful pecs of steel.


Happy Cyber-Monday
Last week kicked-off the Holiday shopping craze. Personally, I can’t
stand being in a mall this time of year and prefer to do my shopping online.
Because of this, I’ve decided I’m going to hook you up this ENTIRE WEEK.


This whole week I’m giving you a body-part blitz: A 30 Minute workout to hammer home any part of the body. Each morning these kick-ass workouts will be posted and ready for you to try.


photo credit: CelebMuscle via photopin cc

photo credit: TheUglySweaterShop via photopin cc

photo credit: allerleirau via photopin cc

Strong. Shredded. Athletic.


How to Estimate Your Percent Body Fat

body fat percentage chart for men and women

Hey! This is one of my first blog posts from the early Bach Performance days. If you’ve found this post, I’m betting you’re looking to get lean and shredded.

With that in mind, I have a free workout for you. Grab it here, and enjoy the post!

Hook me up with the Free Fat Loss Program, Eric!

Whether you have access to body composition measuring tools or not you should have a good idea of your body fat percentage. With that being said below is a post regarding what you can expect to see in the mirror based on several different body fat percentages.

Body fat measurements are the superior method in determining body composition and weight loss.  Body fat percentages are very self-explanatory; they are simply the percent of fat that your total weight is comprised of. For example, a 200 lb male with 15% bodyfat would have 30 pounds of fat on his body. The remaining 170 pounds would comprise of bone, muscle, organ tissue, water, blood, and everything else.

Consuming fat and having baseline amounts of body fat and is vital to the human body for performing essential bodily functions. Body fat provides insulation and protection for vital organs, produces hormones, aids in digestion, maintains body temperature, and promotes healthy cellular function.

There are many ways which health and fitness professionals use to measure body fat percentages. There are circumference measurements, bio electrical impedance (BIA), skinfold measurements, ultrasound, bodpod, hydrostatic weighing, dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA), X-Ray, and MRI.

As with any test there is variation and error in body fat percentages, with even the best tests still having a percent error ranging from 1-3%. Most of these tests require skilled technicians, consistent testers, algorithms, and environmental variables, and some pocket change in order to perform the tests. As you see lots of variables must be accounted for in order to get an accurate reading of your body composition.

Picking out a professional facility and well-trained technicians is a great option and will give you the most accurate results but this is not always feasible. For that reason, I will provide some descriptions of different body fat percentages and what you can expect to see in the mirror at these body fat percentages.

Want to Simplify your Fitness and start making progress today? Click Here.

Essential body fat is typically 3-5% for men and 10-12% for women. In terms of obesity males reaching 25% body fat and females reaching 32% body fat qualify as obese by most standards.

How to Estimate Your Percent Body Fat

Below are descriptions of various body fats and what you can expect to see in the mirror:

20% Body Fat: No visible muscle definition, poor separation of major muscle groups unless extremely large and developed.

15% Body Fat: Some moderate muscle separation begins to become evident; specifically in the deltoids as they shoulders do not hold much fat. In most cases the abs are not yet visible.

12% Body Fat: The chest, back, and abs all gain some definition. There is an outline of the abdominal muscles and a 2-4 pack may be visible.

10% Body Fat: A 6 pack is visible when flexed. Deeper more pronounced muscle separation in the arms, chest, legs, and back.

7-9% Body Fat: 6 pack abs visible at all times. There is visible separation between quadriceps muscles and back musculature is clear. The serratus anterior (those wicked cool lines on the side of your ribs) should be visible  Arms should be visibly vascular most of the time.

5-7% Body Fat: Competitive male body builders often are in this range. Lower abdominals and legs are both vascular and well-defined. Striations appear in large flexed muscle groups, especially the chest.

body fat percentage chart for men and women
body fat percentage chart for men and women

These descriptions are by no means an end all, as everyone has unique muscular development. These percentages also only take into account subcutaneous fat, the fat that sits directly underneath the skin and not the visceral fat which sits around the organs.

Hydration status also plays a huge role in many tests such as the skin fold because subcutaneous fat holds water. In most cases body fat percentage is underestimated, so swallow your pride and be conservative with your estimations.

Knowing your body fat percentage is a great way to set body composition and FAT loss goals while giving you a tangible picture of what you can expect to see. For best results see a qualified professional and follow pre-testing protocols, but if this is not an option use these descriptions to get a good idea of where you are.

Hook me up with the Free Fat Loss Program, Eric!

Big Biceps Biceps Blueprint

Admit — you want bigger, more jacked arms. Pipe cleaners be damned. 

You’re not alone. Poll hundreds of dudes and you’re unlikely to find anyone satisfied with their biceps development. Dudes do multiple workouts delegated just for their biceps, chasing the famous predator handshake, yet they never get close.

What’s the problem?

biceps blueprint

It’s simple, too much focus on isolation exercises. Those 5 exercises done for 3 sets 12 to pump your bi’s aren’t getting it done. Really, they’re probably the last thing you need.

Rather than give a complicated run-around I’ma provide a Blueprint to get you sleeve-splitting biceps.

Get Stronger

You must focus on getting stronger at compound exercises. When I say compound movements, I mean exercises that involve multiple joints, allow you to use the most external load, and give you the most bang for your buck. Squats, deadlifts, cleans, presses, rows, and pull-ups should be the focus.


Building strength is the biggest step towards building muscle, and the body likes to grow in proportion.  Adding weight to the bar stimulates the body to grow, creating a stimulus and foundation for optimal development… like errrg… for the biceps.

In addition to your squats, deadlifts, and presses heavy pulling exercises like the chin-up and supinated bent-over row will emphasize your biceps. Supinating your grip – having your palms facing up places greater muscle building tension on those pythons.

High Frequency

When it comes to skill acquisition high frequency is best.

Bach Performance Big Biceps

For example, If you’re trying to learn a new language what works best:
Practicing one day per week for two hours, or 30 minutes six-days per week? 

I’d assume you’d say  six-days per week, rather than one.

Building your body is no-different. 

Pick a few exercises per day to hammer the biceps, rather than a 1-day blitzkrieg. The consistent stimulus will challenge the biceps to adapt and grow, while the volume will be low enough each day for optimal recovery.

Isolation and Varying Reps

Isolation exercises are needed for maximal biceps growth. When programmed in concert with heavy, compound lower body and upper body work isolation exercises will add extra size to the arms.

But hold the phone. We need cover some basics.

There are two primary ways to categorize muscle fibers in the body–fast twitch, and slow twitch. Fast twitch muscle fibers are primarily used during explosive, requiring high intensity exercises. These muscle fibers rely primarily on the phospho-creatine system for muscle contractions.

Slow twitch muscle fibers prosper in longer-duration, lower intensity exercises.  These muscle fibers rely on glycolytic and oxidative energy systems

 to maintain muscular contractions.

Going any deeper into these systems is outside the scope of this article, so here’s the cliff-notes version.

Fast Twitch Muscle Fibers= High intensity strength and explosive exercises, generally 8 or fewer reps with a significant load. Think compound strength exercises. 

Slow Twitch Muscle Fibers= low-moderate intensity exercises lasting a longer duration under moderate load. Think timed sets, chasing the pump, and isolation exercises like curls. 

To maximize muscle growth all muscle fibers must be attacked. That means heavy weight with low reps, moderate weight with moderate reps, and low weight with high reps are part of the game plan.

Multiple sets between 2-8 reps performed as explosively as possible will stimulate fast-twitch muscle fibers. Focus on proper form and maximal weight *without form breaking down. Rest should be sufficient for heavy weight, at least 90 seconds.

*Note:This emphasis on perfect form is termed technical failure.

Slow twitch muscle fibers don’t respond as well to high intensity exercises, but thrive in higher-rep endurance exercises. To fatigue slow-twitch fibers higher reps that require oxygen as an energy source are required.This means longer duration sets that provide the “burning” sensation in your muscles fit the bill.

Isolation exercises work best for pumping the biceps specifically, the slow-twitch fibers. Sets between 10-20 reps with incomplete rest are best. My favorite exercises are fat-grip barbell curls, hammer curls, incline dumbbell curls, zottoman curls, and cable curls.

Yes,  you will still be chasing the pump. I’ll let Arnold Schwarzenegger explain.



By hitting all rep ranges more muscle fibers are stimulated, creating maximal muscle growth.


The Workout

Woah. So how do we put all these concepts together?

Don’t spend the entire winter on getting huge arms. You need to get strong first, remember?

Choose a few 4-6 week periods throughout the next few “blast” the biceps and make them grow. This will “shock” the muscles and then allow a time period for recovery and growth.

Here’s a sample 3-day total body workout program to build big, sleeve splittin’ biceps. 

Day 1:

1a.Barbell Deadlift 5×3-5

1b.Plank x30-60 seconds

2.Chin Up 5×4-8 reps (Low/Moderate Reps, high load)

3a.Dumbbell Bench Press 3×10-12

3b.Dumbbell Walking lunge 3×10-12

4.Dumbbell Biceps Curl 4×10-15 (moderate/High Reps, moderate load)

5. Move, Do Conditioning for the love of God

Day 2:

1a.Barbell Bench Press 5×5

1b.Glute Bridge x30-60 seconds

2.Barbell Supinated Bent Over Row 5×4-8 reps (Low/Moderate Reps, high load)

3a.Barbell Biceps Curl 3×10-12

3b.Dumbbell Step Up 3×8-12

4. Dumbbell Hammer Curl Curl 4×10-15

5. Move, Do Conditioning for the love of God

Day 3:

1a.Barbell Front Squat 5×5

1b.Side Plank x30-60 seconds

2.Dumbbell 1-Arm Row 5×8-12 reps  (moderate, moderate-high load)

3a.Push Up 3xMaximum

3b.Lateral lunge 3×10-12

4a.Incline Dumbbell Curl4x10-15 (moderate/High Reps, moderate load)

4b. ab wheel rollouts 4×8-12

5. Move, Do Conditioning for the love of God


Big Biceps

Wrap Up

Despite what the fitness-bullies say, proclaiming that you want to have big, veiny-triumphant arms isn’t silly, non-functional or immature. Those critics are just frustrated at their own lack of success stretching shirt sleeves.

Remember, just because jacked biceps is the goal doesn’t mean your programming should consist of 39 different curl variations.

Your biceps won’t grow if the rest of the body isn’t strong and stimulated to grow. Apply what you’ve learned in this blueprint and start stretching shirt-sleeves.


P.S. for your own highly individualized biceps building program contact me here.

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photo credit: Will Scullin via photopin cc

photo credit: CelebMuscle via photopin cc

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