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):

Supersets

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.

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