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Dirty 30: Build Better Arms Fast

In the last post I hooked you up with a brief muscle building-workout:Shoulders to Boulders.

But, not everyone is focused on getting huge all the time; sometimes, we’d like to shred fat and improve the look of a body part even when short time.

This is especially true with arms.

Chin ups build great biceps
Photocredit:Zulumuscle.com

 

Great arms, whether it’s big biceps or toned triceps, aren’t easy to come by: They’re earned with hard work and worn like a badge of honor.

While it’s possible to build a good set of arms even when you’re training is lacking balance a well-designed program adds icing to the cake. With only 30 minutes to hit the gym a well-designed exercise program will get the job done.

Luckily, you don’t need to search the web for that program.

I have it right here.

This workout will blast the arms with supersets, making your rest periods shorter and workouts more efficient. Muscles will be challenged through different angles and rep ranges to recruit the maximum number of muscle fibers and build better arms fast.

Exercises

Superset 1

Chin Up: Chin-Ups are great for building great biceps. By supinating the palms—palms facing you—greater emphasis is placed on the biceps. With this compound exercise you will stimulate fast-twitch muscle fibers for growth. Perform four sets of five reps, using weight if necessary.

Reverse Grip Barbell Floor Press: *** USE A SPOTTER.

Have a spotter? Good, if not, use a normal, supinated grip for the press. Supinating the grip while performing a pressing exercise increases the range of motion (ROM) of the triceps, the biggest muscle of the upper arm. Compound exercises like the floor press add muscle to your arms and  boost your lockout strength in the bench press. Perform four sets of five reps after your chin-ups.

Superset 2

Barbell Curl: You didn’t think I would forget these did you?Curls are necessary to build arms. Pick a moderately heavy weight and a shoulder width grip for your curls. Three sets of eight to ten reps will finish off fast twitch fibers and recruit moderate-slow twitch muscle fibers.

Parallel bar dips: Dips are a great exercise for shoulder, chest, and triceps development. If needed, add a dip belt and perform dips to 90 degrees, extended the elbows just short of lockout at the top. Three sets of eight to ten reps will do the trick.

Superset 3

Dumbbell Hammer Curls: Hammer curls are a biceps curl, only with a neutral grip. This variety places more emphasis on the brachilias and brachioradialis, two important elbow flexors. Perform these under control for two sets of 20 reps.

Overhead Triceps Rope Extension: Using a rope attachment on a cable extend the arms overhead, flexing the triceps. This exercise will give the triceps a huge stretch and a powerful contraction to stimulate the long-head of the triceps. Perform two slow sets of 20 reps.

triceps, parallel dips
Photo Credit:http://www.muscleandfitness.com

The Workout

1a.Weighted Chin Up 4×5 Rest 60 sec

1b.Reverse Grip Barbell Floor Press 4×5 Rest 60 sec

2a Barbell Curls 3×8-10 Rest 0

2b. Dips 3×8-10 Rest 30 seconds

3a.Fat Gripz Hammer Curl 2×20 Rest 0

3b.Overhead Triceps Rope Extension 2×20 Rest 0

Wrap Up

A good set of arms, whether that’s bulging biceps or toned triceps, looks good on everyone. Luckily, this can be achieved by mixing compound, heavy exercises with isolation high-rep exercises.

Time is no longer an issue. Thirty minutes is all you need to build better arms fast.

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http://www.flickr.com/photos/walkadog/3206541859/

 


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Exercises to avoid: Adductor Abductor Machine

Stop spending your workout with this awkward machine in hopes of a nice set of thighs or glutes.

adductor-machine
Photo Credit: deansomerset.com

Sorry, your attention should be elsewhere. If you’re looking to maximally develop these areas learn to squat, lunge, deadlift, sprint, and move optimally rather than wasting your time.

Although this wonderful device provides resistance for both adduction (bringing the legs together) and abduction (spreading the legs apart) it neglects to train the muscles of adduction and abduction as stabilizers, their primary role. Although they provide a burn” to the inner and outer thighs it serves no functional purpose and will not further “tone or shape” a muscle.

These machines are useless.

Although they provide a burn” to the inner and outer thighs it serves no functional purpose and will not further “tone or shape” a muscle. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as spot reduction. Contrary to belief you can’t change the shape or tone of your muscles– your insertion points aren’t going anywhere. If you want to a muscle to show visibly the issue isn’t muscle shape, but subcutaneous fat covering the muscle.

Adduction:

The adductor muscles are responsible for adducting the leg away from midline at the hip-joint. These muscles have multiple functions beyond simple adduction as you see below:

  • Adductor longus: Hip adduction, hip flexion
  • Adductor brevis: Hip adduction, hip flexion
  • Adductor magnus: hip extension, hip adduction, hip flexion
  • Adductor minimus: hip adduction
  • Pectineus: Hip adduction, hip flexion
  • Gracilus: Hip adduction, hip flexion, knee flexion

 Abduction:

As stated in described by their group name, the abductors abduct, or move the legs away from midline in the body.These muscles have multiple functions beyond simple abduction as you see below:

The Muscles responsible for abduction include:

  • Gluteus Medius: Hip abduction
  • Gluteus Minimis: Hip abduction, hip internal rotation
  • Tensor Fasica Latae : Hip abduction, hip internal rotation

Isolating these muscles services little purpose, as there are few instances these muscles work as a solo-primary mover in exercise. Muscles that control abduction and adduction must work synergistically to keep the femur (upper leg bone) in proper alignment and maintain frontal plane stability. Neglecting these functions with purely isolated training leaves the body open for knee injuries due to poor stability/mobility in the hip and knee and flexion based back injuries.

Opt For These instead:

All lower body unilateral exercises and variations including: deadlifts, Lunges, Squats (any variation), step ups, sprinting, banded shuffle walks, hip thrusts, bird-dogs, fire-hydrants and banded monster walks.

Training the adductors and abductors is NOT a bad idea, but using the “Yes-NO”machine is a waste of time. Muscles DO need to function in isolation, but overpowering their ability without training them dynamically is recipe for injury.

Plus, I’m not sure this is how you want to see your co-workers during lunch. Avoid the adductor abductor machine, it has no place in your routine.

abduction/adduction.
Yes-No Machine Is sending mixed messages. 

Stronger, Bigger, Defined Legs in Under 30 Minutes

My last two blog posts have brought you quick but demanding workouts that can be performed in under 30 minutes. When working out in a time crunch having a plan of attack is critical to making the most out of your time in the gym.

In order to give the legs their best workout in the least amount of time the focus of exercise selection must be on multi-joint compound movements, no leg extensions here! The backbone of any program with strength and hypertrophy as the goal should contain major hip dominant, and knee dominant lifts, such as the squat and deadlift.

In this workout the contrast method will be used. The contrast method uses a combination of Heavy load lower repetition exercise with lightly weighted or un-weighted exercise. This method will nail all of your muscle fibers through PAP (post-activation potentiation.)  PAP will allow you to gain strength in your heavy exercise following each set of your longer, un-weighted set due to better motor unit recruitment.

Without further adieu here is the workout!

Circuit 1

Perform 1 set of 5 repetitions on the front squat and immediately after the set (using a box or bench) perform a bodyweight squat to a box, immediately upon touching the box or bench explode into a vertical jump. Reset and continue for 45 seconds. Rest for 45 seconds and repeat 3 times. Following the third set rest 60 seconds and move to circuit 2.

1a. Barbell Front Squat 3×5

1b. Box Squat Jumps x45 seconds

Circuit 2

With the same weight as the front squats perform all out set of back squats with the same weight, coming within 1-2 reps of failure. Realistically this should be 10-15+ reps in most cases. Following this set immediately perform 60 seconds of bodyweight jump squats. Rest 60 seconds and move to circuit 3.

2a. Back Squats 1×10-15+

2b. BW Jump Squats x60 seconds

Circuit 3

Perform 3 sets of Dumbbell Romainian Deadlifts, immediately after each set perform 20 dumbbell calf raises followed by 20 alternating jump lunges. Rest 45 seconds after each set and repeat 3 rounds.

3a. DB RDL 3×8-10

3b. DB Calf Raises3x20

3c. Alternating Jump Lunges 3×20

There you have it, a brutal yet effective workout to blast your lower body in under 30 minutes. As always make sure your form is up-to-par, as the intensity of this workout will likely require using submaximal, albeit heavy workloads to get the best effect. Share your comments below!

Numminello, Nick. “Contrast Training for Strength, Size, and Power.” T NATION.com. Testosterone, LLC, 11 May 2009. Web. 20 May 2012. <http://www.t-nation.com/free_online_article/sports_body_training_performance/contrast_training_for_strength_size_and_power>.

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