For all walks of life, young and old, male and female, we all admire a good set of arms. For some they grow easy, for some it’s like pounding our head against a wall. Regardless of where you fall in this realm, a change of programming is always exciting. Although these principals are laid out specifically for your biceps, they are transferable to almost any body part. These are not new and exciting, but when used properly will offset the stagnancy of your routine.
The negative phase of a movement, or lowering of the weight, is considerably easier than the concentric phase, or lifting, phase of the movement. The negative motion is shown to have up to 1/3 more strength capacity, but is often neglected by weight trainers that do not fully control the weight during movements.
For arm training the best use of negatives is to significantly slow this part of the movement down. Instead of rushing through your barbell curls at a normal speed of a 1 count up and a 1 count down, slow the negative down to a 3-5 count. By using a slower negative the muscles time under tension for the exercise will be more than doubled. With this increase we will recruit more muscle fibers than a normal set. This is priming conditions for hypertrophy.
A partial repetition is defined as only moving the muscle through a specific part of the strength curve of a movement. With any designated exercise, your body will be stronger a specific portions of the movement. When properly executing partials or increased intensity you would complete the full range of motion of the exercise to failure, and then complete additional partial reps of the movement at the strongest part of the movement for additional repetitions. An example would be bicep curls. You would complete full ROM curls until you hit failure, and then add additional reps only ¼ to ½ way up.
Partials can be a very safe and effective way to add intensity to your workouts. This intensifier should not be used for all exercises though as it not safe for some. Partials work extremely well for exercises like bicep curls, hamstring curls, leg extensions, and even some chest pressing movements. On the other hand, you may not want to use them for exercises like squats because the risk outweighs the benefit.
3. Compound Sets
A compound set is completing 2 exercises back to back without rest for the same muscle group. An example of this would be to complete normal seated dumbbell curls, and then immediately complete a set of standing hammer curls. In this example you would reach failure with the failure with the first exercise, but with the new angles created you would be able to complete additional reps at the new exercise to further exhaust. the muscle.
Now that we have reviewed a few techniques, this is an example of how we could include these in a program;
Sample Biceps Workout:
- 2-3 Sets of light weight curls to warm-up
- Seated Dumbbell Curls + Standing Alternate Hammer Curls (3 sets 10+6 reps)
- Standing Barbell Curls w/ 3 second negatives (3 sets of 8)
- Standing Reverse Barbell Curls (3 sets of 10 + 10 partial reps)
About the Author
Marc Snyder is an active NPC Bodybuilder and current 2013 Mr Ohio. Marc has created a balance in his life with the sport he loves and the family of 2 kids and a wife that he lives for. Marc has been involved in many avenues of the fitness industry. He is a certified personal trainer and strength and conditioning coach. He also has experience in clinical exercise physiology working in the field for nearly 2 years.
It is now Marc’s goal to educate and guide individuals through yèt-their health and fitness journey by utilizing the knowledge he has gained over the years. He operates SnyderAthletics.com an online nutrition and training website to help people. achieve their goals.
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