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Len's exercise of the month:

Keep those muscles guessing for MAX IMPACT!...

Instead of just an exercise of the month, this time I'm pulling back to take a look at the BIG PICTURE (you all know how fond I am of THAT).  No matter what a great and effective workout routine you follow, sooner or later your muscles get used to it and figure out a way of getting around it. 

Even though we LOVE our old favorite exercises and never want to see them go, you GOTTA shake things up from time to time.  What I'm proposing for this month  is like a big endless APRIL FOOLS' joke on your body, and in the middle of the summer yet.

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 ol carcass.

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),

June's body part target:  without forearm training, you've only got half an arm to show off!
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 HERE 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 so...

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 of 'em.


To browse previous "exercise of the month" pages, click HERE.


  What is AAARRGH!!? Your state of fitness Training Exercise of the month Who is AAARRGH!!? The AAARRGH!! gallery Choosing a trainer  email