June's body part target: without
forearm training, you've only got half an arm to show off!
The old 1960's iron pumpers
called it the"confusion training principle". Don't stick with the
same exercises too long or your bound to get stale and hit a plateau.
My little AAARRGH wrinkle is to take the month of AUGUST, when it's hot
and lazy and hard to stay motivated anyway, and play a big "musical chairs"
game with your exercise routine to stave off boredom and wake up the tired
What I'd like you bros to try
this month is NEVER do the same workout twice. Every day, before
you start your workout, resolve to train your parts in a different order
than usual. And then when you DO train each part, take at least one
of your usual exercises and substitute something new. In a big gym,
there's always plenty of machines you don't ordinarily use. For one
exercise each body part, you're gonna give up yr old favorite and learn
a new one.
If you've been strictly doing
barbell bench presses, use a machine today, and go hard and heavy.
Feel it like it's something you never did before. If you work out
at home or in a small gym without lots of options, do some pushups, or
incline pushups between two benches. If you honestly can't
think of a whole new way to get that bodypart trained, change the speed
maybe (slow it all down to half-pace) or try a new combo of sets
and reps (like maybe the old 7-7-7 routine of 7 half-reps with only
the top half of the range of motion, then 7 of the bottom half, then finish
with 7 full reps). Remember when you first started working out, how
eager you were to start your routine, and how happily WIPED OUT your muscles
felt at the end? THAT'S what we're trying to recapture.
EVERY workout this month, go
into it not quite sure WHAT exercises you want to do. With the knowledge
you have about the different exercises that build each muscle, try them
all! When you see some hokey system in one of the muscle hype mags,
sure you can laugh--but then TRY IT! By the end of this month you'll
have a broader experience and a fresh outlook. And maybe you'll have
a few new favorites to add to your repertory when you settle back in to
"business as usual" when September starts.
The message that I hope you'll
take away from this "muscle confusion month" is that sometimes you gotta
shake up the status quo to keep on that uphill climb. After this,I
hope you can see the plateaus and stale periods coming, and schedule your
own shakeups to keep it goin fresh and new.
Dazed and Confused (and glad
to tell the tale),
Right off the bat, bros, two
things--one, an apology for no exercise of the month in May (and no rant
of the month either). As somebody sang in an old R&B classic,
"Funny how time slips away". I truly had the best intentions, and
was never neglecting my beloved AAARRGH-a-nauts (and I have the emails
to prove it). As for the missing rant of the month, can you believe
that I was feeling so magnanimous and in love with life that there was
not one thing worth getting worked up about. Here it is June 1st,
though, and I've already gota head of steam
worked up for this month's rant (alas, nothing lasts forever). Number
two, I'm breaking the exercise page into TWO so that it will load a little
quicker. The current month's exercise is here, and you can click
for the oldies but still goodies.
Now down to BUSINESS. Most
guys (and ladies) only train the upper arms, believing that a biceps and
triceps workout will give enough "juice" to the forearms and wrists that
no focused effort is necessary for the lower half of the arms. If
you want your forearms to look OK, that's probably true. But if you
were satisfied with ANYTHING that's just OK you'd be home with your Weider
5-minute-a-day body shaper, instead of storming Mt. Olympus with
us here at AAARRGH. The other reason for not neglecting wrist and
forearm training is the very real functional benefits of having that ol'
"Kung Fu grip". Since 90% of the upper body exercise you do involves
holding on to a barbell or dumbbells, doesn't it make sense to want strength
in your hands, wrists and forearms? (And believe me, in the romance
department, having strong hands and a mighty grip is bound to make SOMEBODY
happy, even it is just yourself). Enough of a sell? HA, I thought
Let's start out with wrist curls,
standard and "French". If you have access to a Scott or "preacher"
slanted curling bench, use that. If not, you can sit on a chair or
bench. If you use the Scott bench, stretch your arms out flat on
the bench, palms up, with your wrists and hands dangling off the end of
the bench. Keep your forearms FLAT on the bench. If you're sitting
on a chair or bench, rest your forearms FLAT on top of your thighs, palms
up, again with your wrists and hands dangling off the ends of your knees.
With a fairly light dumbell in each hand, let your hand sink backward and
open your hand so that the dumbbell rolls down your palm toward your fingers.
That's your starting position.
From that low, open, stretched-out
position, curl your hand closed around the dumbbell grip, then continue
by curling with your wrist so that your tightened fist comes up and flexes
the forearm. ONLY the hand and the dumbbell it holds move during
this exercise. The arms, back, legs--all MOTIONLESS. After
you flex the forearms and give them a good squeeeeeeeze, slowly, deliberately
reverse the motion and allow the dumbbell to roll down and open the hand
again. Do three sets of 10-12 reps, until your forearms positively
THROB with excitement! If you think you have one iota of energy left,
you need to add more weight next workout.
As they say on the infomercials,
"BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE!!" Now turn your arms so your palms face
down toward the floor. This is the so-called "French" position. Curl
your wrists up so that you are flexing the top, "outer" face of the forearms.
Again, three sets of 10-12, if you can stand it. Within a month,
you'll be giving Popeye a serious run for his money. If you want
still more forearm exercise (torture), just email. I got a million