Informed bodybuilders have always known the importance of the eccentric, or negative portion of a rep. This is where a lot of the micro damage occurs within the muscle tissue. Damage that will be repaired and replaced with thicker muscle fibers which translates into larger muscles. It’s much easier to let gravity take over and just speed through the negative but your cheating yourself out of much of your intended muscle building results.
Too much of a good thing is a bad thing
Recent studies have confirmed the importance of eccentric training with a surprising result. You would think the slower the descent, the more muscle damage there would be but that’s not the case. If the eccentric portion is too slow, less muscle damage will occur. Studies have discovered that if the descent is too slow the muscle has a chance to compensate and protect itself from further damage. The key is an eccentric phase lasting no more than three seconds.
This giant set is designed to take full advantage of the benefits of eccentric training. This set will focus on the elbow flexors close, to the elbow itself. Namely, the brachialis and the brachioradialis. These two important muscles are often overlooked in favor of the larger bicep brothers which are located higher up on the arm. But, neglecting these two hard to pronounce muscles is a big mistake. They add thickness and width to the arm and if not properly developed, they can hold back your overall bicep growth.
The Set: Phase 1
To start the set choose a pair of dumbbells you can strictly reverse curl for about five reps. These are the dumbbells you will use for the entire giant set. Stand in front of a mirror because you’ll need to check your form as you transition from one move to another. Hold the dumbbells with your little finger pressed against the inside plate to facilitate the correct form for a reverse curl. Start with one arm and reverse curl the bell up quickly and then fight the negative for a slow descent of three seconds. Alternate between arms until you can no longer reverse curl the weight up.
Hammer curl the bell up and then turn your wrist so your palm is facing down to perform another slow negative reverse curl. Alternate arms until you can no longer fight the descent in the reverse curl position. You’re not done yet!
Continue the set performing hammer curls with slow reverse hammer curls. As the they
become more difficult to raise you can use some body English to get them up but remember to fight the descent to take full advantage of that ever important negative portion. It’s up to you to decide how much punishment you can take before you finally end the set. I suggest you aim for at least 15 total reps.
Be forewarned that the brachialis tendon is notorious for tendonitis so I would advise you to limit yourself to just one set the first time you try this routine. If your forearms are sore the next day let them fully recover before you hit them again with any pulling movements.
Well developed muscles around the elbow joint display an incredible look of power and are often the only part of the arm revealed when you’re wearing a shirt. Turn a negative into a positive and build a pair of thick, rippling, vascular forearms to rival Popeye. Don’t be surprised if people start offering you high fives or fist bumps instead of handshakes.
About the Author
Jim Vaglica is a Strength and Conditioning Specialist and Team Labrada Athlete, Jim competed on the Reality TV shows American Grit, hosted by John Cena, and Mark Burnett’s Expedition Impossible. He is a Police Sergeant with 16 yrs on SWAT and the Owner of JimVaglica.com