August of Arms
The Funnest Month of Training is Just a Few Days Away, Brotherrrr!
August of Arms 2017 has been updated and is ready to go.
This year’s program is totally overhauled, in an attempt to bring you the best version of August of Arms ever.
What started in 2014 as just “going to the gym and doing whatever random stuff I could think of,” has gradually evolved into a more and more purposeful month of training, which is also full of fun.
This year’s program is based around a new set of Test Lifts. I modified them this year for a few reasons:
- feedback that I’ve gotten from past customers
- changes that I’ve made in my training recently
- to give a change of pace to those who have followed August of Arms the last couple of year
- and I feel they match better to the goal of building BIGGER and STRONGER arms
The training you this month is based around improving your performance in the Test Lifts, helping you build bigger, stronger arms, and get the most out of your training, with purposefully selected exercises.
August of Arms truly is the Ultimate Arm Training Specialization Program.
To give you an idea of some of the new stuff I’ve got planned for you, I thought I’d post some of my own Test Lifts.
The first Test Lift I’d like to share with you is the Bodyweight Close Grip Bench Press. I plugged this one into the August of Arms program because for a time earlier this Spring, I did a mini-run at the 225lb Bench Press for Reps, like is done in the NFL combine. I liked it so much, that I built it into AOA 2017.
Bodyweight Close Grip Bench Press
Here is my official Pre-Test video for the Bodyweight Close Grip Bench Press.
Don’t worry if you can’t do your bodyweight on the Close Grip Bench. I go over some alternatives you can take in August of Arms.
I’ll be sharing more Testing Results as I complete the Pre-Test Lifts for August of Arms.
If you’re ready to build BIGGER, STRONGER Arms, then pick up your copy of August of Arms 2017 today.
All the best in your training.
Tags: aoa, aoa 2017, august of arms, august of arms 2017, build big arms, build big biceps, build bigger arms, build bigger biceps
Posted in arm training, August of Arms, how to build bigger arms, how to build muscle, muscle-building-workouts | No Comments »
When to Cheat to Build More Muscle
The Summer months are here now, and that means it’s time for some Cheating.
Call me crazy, but I think people put too much emphasis on STRICT lifting technique.
I’m not saying that you should deviate from the technique so much that you put yourself at injury.
For instance, I think multi-joint movements like the Squat, Deadlift, and their complex variations should be done with excellent form at all times.
But when it comes to isolation movements, exercises where there’s much fewer joints moving and less risk for injury, I think it’s perfectly fine to cheat a bit on your technique in order to bring about more gains.
Here’s why you shouldn’t be afraid to cheat sometimes on your form:
1 – When you go super strict, it limits how much weight you can use.
Eventually, you’ve got to move up in weight a bit, if you want to bring on more muscle growth. But if you’re always staying super strict, it makes it hard to bump the weights up.
For an example of when I like to modify the technique in order to lift more weight, here’s a combo set of Plate Front Raises and Dumbbell Side Laterals. I deviate from the strict form on the Front Raises, because I’m using a 100lb Plate, and I bend my arms a bit to improve my leverage. I still try to lower the plate under control to accentuate the negative.
As you can see, I bend my arms here a bit to be able to get the plate up – just a small adjustment away from textbook form in order to get a lot more weight, and put a lot more loading on the front delts. Believe me, my front delts were SERIOUSLY SORE after this workout – way more sore than the previous few weeks when I worked with much lighter weight.
(2) When you keep everything strict, it limits how many reps you can do.
Appreciable volume is a must in order to build muscle. In fact, I like to stay between 8 and 15 reps on my movements where the goal is building muscle and not sheer strength.
There’s a couple ways to dial back the level of strictness in your lifting, in order to get more volume. Here are my favorites:
Go Heavier and Cheat from the Start: This method pulls from the idea above, of using more weight. Grab something that’s a good 5 to 10lbs heavier than you normally do with pristine form, and use some body english right from the start in order to bump up the volume and feel the pump sink in.
Regular Weight and Cheat at the End: With this one, you’ll start out with your regular “textbook” form, and then if you burn out before you hit your goal number of reps, then stop being a form policeman, and get the rest of your reps.
This is really just a handful of ways you can ease back a little bit on the form, in order to kick-start your gains again by increasing the weights you’re using and the volume you’re hitting in your workouts. I’m sure you can think of a few more.
The way some people talk about lifting, it’s as if the Form Police are there shaking a nightstick at you, watching every rep you do, ready to pounce on you if you deviate even the slightest from perfect form.
That’s all in your head. Don’t feel the need to stay strict on every single set and rep you do.
Naturally, there’s a time and place for everything. You don’t want to get in the habit of ALWAYS using cheat form.
Use cheating as a way to break through plateaus, test yourself with higher weights, and challenge your endurance in higher-rep situations.
I think you’re gonna see that it can help you out a great deal and can bring on some last-minute size increases, now that the Summer is here.
All the best in your training.
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Tags: big shoulders, bigger shoulders, deltoids, delts, muscle building, shoulders
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Back Contraction and Scapular Control for a Bigger Bench
One of the things I’ve been working on really hard the last few weeks is intensifying the contraction of my lats and the scapular musculature when performing Rows and Presses, in order to improve my back development and increase pressing power.
By doing so, my Barbell Bench Press has never felt better, and it’s almost completely pain free right now, for my shoulder.
I recently shot a video to help understand what I’ve been working on, and the feeling I’m going for when performing a lot of my Row movements.
There’s a million ways to do this, and one way is with Recline Rows, which we just happened to be doing recently.
Shoulder Blades Into Your Pickets
This video also talks about the idea of Shoulder Blades Into Your Pockets. This is exactly what I’m trying to do whenever I do a Seated Row, a Pull-down, and many other pulling/rowing movements.
I think if you try to implement this kind of contraction when you Row, you’ll gradually develop a better mental connection between your lats and scapular muscles, and this will lead a much more stable and stronger Bench Press.
If you have any questions on this, please leave a comment below, and make sure to subscribe to my youtube channel.
All the best in your training.
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Tags: "big back", bench press, big bench press, big lats, bigger bench press, build a big back, build a big bench
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While most of what you see from me is Grip Training related, I actually do much more training than just Grip.
In fact, I do just as much, if not more training, for my full body.
Every so often, I even try a mainstream strength challenge to see where I’m at.
Even though I’ve only benched with a barbell a couple of times in the last 18 months, I wanted to see how many reps I could get in the 225lb Bench Press for Reps that you see done in the NFL Combine and other tests.
I’ve done this test a few times in the past, but honestly I have no idea how much I’ve gotten before. I *believe* this is the most reps I’ve ever gotten.
Throughout all of 2016, my main objective flat bench pressing was Dumbbell Bench Press, because it didn’t hurt my shoulders, as much as Barbell Bench.
Well, as it turns out, I had developed some bad habits with my Bench Press technique, and these habits are what was causing my issues, not the Barbell Bench itself.
I figured this out when I visited my friend Jerry Shreck, head strength coach from Bucknell University.
He corrected my form while we trained on the Bamboo & Tsunami bars at his gym, and ever since, my shoulders have started feeling better and better.
By using these bars, I was really able to lock in my form, and feel my lats working the way they’re supposed to during the Bench Press. By working on this form and training for endurance in my lats, I think my form is back closer to where it should be, at least as far as my upper body positioning is concerned.
Naturally, with proper form comes improved strength. As I said above, I think I got into some bad habits with my Bench Press set-up that over time caused some serious discomfort.
Once this form issue was identified, and as I worked to correct it, the pain subsided, and I gradually built back some of my strength.
I still have no clue what my Max Bench Press might be, and I don’t really care right now, as I’m much more interested in working back up to 150lb Dumbbell Bench Presses.
But we’ll see what happens!
I hope you got something out of this quick Bench Press post, and if you have any questions, please feel free to comment.
Thanks and all the best in your training.
It’s Never Too Early to Start August of Arms
Tags: barbell bench press, bench, bench press, big bench, big chest, chest training
Posted in arm training, how to bench press, how to build muscle, how to develop strength, Uncategorized | 1 Comment »
Last week, I tried curling 80lb Dumbbells for the first time in a little while. The cross-body tension had really been bothering my back for quite some time. But it was feeling pretty good here, recently so I gave it a run.
80lb Curl Initial Test
This test didn’t go very well. Maybe I wasn’t warmed up very well. Maybe I was kind of tired. Maybe something was just a little off, but I didn’t get very many reps.
80lb Curl Second Test
About a week later, I tried the 80’s again, and was pleasantly surprised with how many reps I got: 5 with the Left arm and 4 with the Right. No idea why my left is stronger or has better endurance, but it has been that way for a few months.
85lb Curl Initial Test
After the PR at 80, I figured I’d better try out the 85’s. I have never curled these 85’s before, and in fact have only been able to curl 85’s one other time, if memory serves.
I approach arms like this. Sure, I want them to be big, but I want them to be strong too.
That’s why I have a double-sided goal for my arm development of 20″ biceps, cold (no pump) and to one day be able to curl 100lb Dumbbells.
All the best in your training.
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