asked me recently on Irononline if I supersetted regularly in
my early years of training. As I recall I applied solely the classic
East Coast approach to building muscle and might. A style one
may very well call "Onslaught Training."
position yourself roughly before a barbell and with little warning
you pounce on it and beat it to the ground. Breathing heavily,
crouching and circling, you grab the dumbbells in a power lock,
twist, pummel and as before slam them down without mercy. Always
on the move, sweating and cursing, you hold your rusty pig iron
opponent at arm's length before performing an excruciating overhead
press, a crushing barbell drop set and, finally, the backbreaking
deadlift. No whimpering, no reason, no questions, no excuses,
no witnesses. All that stuff came years later.
moved to California in '63 and refined my moves, put order in
my workouts and began to use primarily superset techniques. I
got a handle on protein, fats and carbs and bore the yoke like
an ox on the threshing-floor, season after season. For three years
the bulk of my training was hard and heavy and my bodyweight hovered
like a blimp at 245 pounds, a significant mound at the time. My
workouts went three hours from 6 to 9 AM, six days a week times
fifty-two a year with the following split:
shoulders and arms - Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
and legs - Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
to 20 sets per bodypart @ 3 to 4 exercises x 5sets each
popular 10,8,6,4,4 (+/-) rep scheme was used most frequently on
major moves with the 6 to 8 rep standard managing secondary movements
and change of pace days.
and leg raises and hyperextensions were done first thing every
morning for torso strength and warm-up. No aerobics [what's that?].
Always worked forearms and did PRs in various moves every third
week to apply the muscle to the max.
Through the years I've tried every technique and muscle group
combination, various splits, high reps and low. Always, I've come
back to beefy workouts with last rep intensity, providing form
is B+ and joints and muscle connections aren't severely compromised.
On occasion, of course, one must pay the executioner. I'm constantly
moving set to set, actively recuperating and psyching or arranging
equipment for the next combination. Though I'm driven, I don't
rush. I like time to immerse myself in my workout... I average
70 MPH in the 65. When I'm done, I'm done.
much has changed over the years except I train 2 hours a day in
the mid- morning and work each muscle group twice a week. My pulling
is as good as ever but the pressing has taken a dive due to injuries
and wear 'n tear. I'm 225 and more enthusiastic than the wide-eyed
dungeon days. Heck, I've got you with whom to share it.
Here's the arm routine, then and now:
barbell curl 5 sets x 10,8,6,6,4 +/- reps
Overhead triceps extension 5 x 15,12,10,8,6 reps
Seated dumbbell alternate curls 5 x 6 - 8 reps
Lying triceps extension 5 x 15,12,10,8,6 reps
Barbell wrist curl 5 x 15+/- reps
Bent bar reverse curl 5 x 6 - 8 reps
Pulley pushdown [tris], rope always 5 x 12 - 15 reps
basic can you get? You can easily cut this routine down to 4 sets
per exercise without feeling guilty or ashamed. Sort of removes
the horns but leaves the hooves, as Texas Dave always sez.
Though you are working bi's and tri's specifically, a full body
of muscle groups is coming into play as a system. Recognize the
large amount of work being done, take advantage of it and reap
no better big, full biceps builder than the standing barbell curl
when done with heavy output and complete range of motion. Note
the work being done as the weight becomes heavy and an effective,
non-cheating body thrust is applied to accommodate continued intense
rep performance: from the feet through the thighs to the trunk
and back and traps... clenching, pulling, stabilizing and balancing.
Combined with the overhead triceps extension, you are further
involving the back, shoulders and torso. Functioning toughness.
curls, with their back and forth movement, develop oblique and
mid-section power and muscularity. Superset number two provides
another greater-than-arms-only-task upon which the entire system
And, forearms are not forearms only. Strengthen your grip and
you hold the world in your hands.
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