Monthly Archives: January 2016

Pervasive training technique

In order to incorporate all of the parameters laid out in this training technique  , we’ve broken this big arms plan into three phases, each lasting two weeks. You’ll use the exercises you encounter in Phase 1 throughout the entire six-week plan, but because each phase relies on an entirely different training technique, your muscles will continue to be stimulated to adapt for the duration.

Phase 1 (Weeks 1–2):

Reverse Pyramid Training

Frequency: 2x per week
Many inexperienced trainers latch on to the first, and usually most pervasive training technique they can find. For some lifters, loading up the bar with progressively heavier weight on each set of an exercise — also known as pyramid training — is that method. Unfortunately, this means that by the time you’re handling the heaviest weight, your muscles are likely too fatigued to crank out your best set.

Of course, the technique has its place, and it may work well with newcomers and those coming back to the gym after a long layoff. But even with this approach, eventually the muscles will grow stale and plateau.

For the first two weeks on this plan, you’ll take the opposite approach, instead lifting your heaviest weight on the first two sets (after a few lightweight warm-ups), then reducing the weight progressively on each set. This type of training takes advantage of a principle known as post-activation potentiation, or PAP. By lifting heavy weight while your muscles are freshest, you convince your nervous system that more motor units need to be recruited for the work ahead, putting more total fibers to work on the following sets. The added bonus is that your muscles will be able to handle more total poundage throughout the set than in traditional pyramid training, even with the pump-inducing higher-rep sets at the end, paving the way for greater long-term gains.

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Phase 2 (Weeks 3–4):


Frequency: 2x per week
For some guys, “advanced” training starts and ends with supersets. The technique isn’t without merit but this intermediate phase will serve only as a stamina-building bridge to the higher-volume training of weeks 5 and 6. By doing bi’s and tri’s exercises in alternating fashion without rest, you’re capitalizing on your body’s agonist-antagonist efficiency. Research shows a muscle group is stronger if its antagonist, or opposing muscle group, is contracted immediately before it. In other words, you’ll be stronger on a set of skullcrushers if you precede the set by rocking out a set of heavy curls. Taking 30–60 seconds rest between supersets is plenty as these relatively small muscle groups recover quickly. This will also up the metabolic demands on your body, turning an ordinary arms workout into an upper-arm boot camp. You’ll keep reps in the proven muscle-building range of 8–12 per set.

Phase 3 (Weeks 5–6):

German Volume Training

Frequency: 2x per week
German Volume Training (GVT) has been around for decades but it’s used only sparingly by today’s gym crowd. While it’s simple in concept — 10 sets of 10 reps for just 1–2 exercises — its execution truly tests the mettle of those who choose to stick it out. To get started, select a weight that you can comfortably complete up to (and no more than) 20 reps on your first set, or about 60% of your one-rep max (1RM) for that move. Complete 10 reps. Limiting rest to 45–60 seconds, you’ll complete another 10. You’ll continue in this fashion until you’ve completed 10 total sets for that exercise using the same weight throughout. As you progress from set No. 1–10, you’ll likely find that your reps become particularly challenging around set 4, but keep pushing to complete all the reps. After your 10th set, you’re done with that bodypart. The repeated, precise demand placed on muscles through this type of training all but ensures hypertrophy and puts a remarkable cap on an extraordinarily difficult six weeks of arm training.

Three proven muscle-building strategies

Integrate three proven muscle-building strategies to supercharge your arm routine. You’ll never train your bi’s and tri’s the same way again.

Everyone who’s ever bought a car knows that there are certain features that come standard. Alloy wheels, AM/FM and cup holders, for example. But things like seat warmers, in-dash navigation and full-length moonroof come at a premium. It takes extra dollars to drive the best possible version of a vehicle, so when you see someone driving around in an obscenely upgraded replica of the same hoopty you’re driving, don’t be upset — they were just willing to pay the price.

Building bigger arms is kind of the same way. There are guys who just go through the motions at the gym and walk out looking the same as they did when they came in, having put in the minimum effort. Then there are those who work a little harder — and pay the price — to upgrade what they’ve got. You want tricked-out biceps and triceps? It’s gonna cost you to the tune of more intense workouts, more challenging exercises, more reps past failure, more volume and likely even more pain — the good kind. This six-week plan will show you exactly what you need to start building a set of big arms. To be sure, you’ll have to be willing to make a big down payment in terms of sweat equity.


Variety of Exercises & Angles. Curls and pressdowns are great but building arms with 3-D appeal requires a multidimensional approach to your training. On this program, some high-volume weeks you’ll do as many as five exercises for your biceps and just as many for your triceps, each working these muscles from slightly different angles. This comprehensive approach ensures that you’re developing your arms to their fullest potential.

Increase in Sets & Reps. One of the best ways to bring up a bodypart is to increase the volume of work performed. Most biceps or triceps routines top out around 12 working sets. In the first two weeks of this program, you’ll do 20 sets for each — a significant increase. This will induce a high level of tissue breakdown that — in concert with a proper nutrition and supplementation plan — will kick protein synthesis, or muscle repair, into overdrive. Of course, this amount of work isn’t sustainable in the long term but it can pay big — and visible — dividends over the course of six weeks.


Feeling the Edge of Pain. Okay, the “pain” part is hyperbolic and a bit subjective but adding in a few (at times) grueling intensity techniques over the next six weeks will ensure that your bi’s and tri’s have been pushed to the absolute brink. It’s at this precipice that muscles often decide the only option is to come back bigger, stronger and ready for the fight. Each of the three phases in this program features a different technique that’ll contribute to greater overall muscle size.

Change in Rep Speed. For the next six weeks, you’re also going to slow down your rep speed. This will not only help you focus more on the muscles being worked but research indicates it may also help you build more lean mass in the long run. A 2005 study by scientists at the University of Sydney (Lidcombe, New South Wales, Australia) found that subjects who took three seconds on both the negative and the positive portion of each rep gained more size in their biceps than a group that performed faster reps. The reason? The negative, or eccentric, portion of each rep causes more microdamage to the muscle bellies, meaning there’s more muscle to be rebuilt post-workout. Those unaccustomed to using such slow and controlled reps in their training will have to leave their egos at home; by providing more total time under tension for bi’s and tri’s, you can count on using 10–20% less weight than you normally do.

It’s also crucial to select weight that promotes positive muscle failure — the point at which you can no longer complete reps using good form without assistance. But fail sparingly. Researchers at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra found that those taking multiple sets of an exercise to failure (in their tests they used the bench press) gained less strength than those who took only one set to failure. It may take one or two workouts to nail your ideal weight loads but your aim should always be to reserve complete failure for your last set, or last two at the most.