Mahler's Aggressive Strength Q&A - May 2004

This month you will find out how to build bigger biceps, how to perform a Sot's press, why HIT has a bad rap and how High Octane Cardio can help you...
[ Q ] I do a ton of bicep and tricep work, but my arms are not getting bigger. What am I doing wrong?

    One thing that many trainees do not realize is that the biceps and triceps do a lot of work on every pressing and pulling exercise. Thus, when you doing the bench press, your triceps are being worked. When you are doing Pull-ups, your biceps are getting a lot of work.

    Try cutting out all of the isolation work for the next four weeks. Focus your energy on compound movements such as: Military Presses, Bent-over Rows, Bench Presses, Dips, Pull-ups, Squats, and Deadlifts. Also, according to top strength coach Charles Polqiuin, trainees have to put on 20lbs to their bodies overall to gain an inch on their arms.

    Translation? Focus on adding mass overall to add size to your guns. Make sure that you do a lot of lower body work for balanced development as well. If you have tooth pick legs that will slow your arm growth, as the body will always strive for balance.

[ Q ] I hear you mention an exercise called the Sot's Press often. What is it?

    The Sot's Press is the ultimate overhead press that most people find difficult. It is named after a strongman named Sots who had mountain size shoulders. Here is how it is done. Clean a dumbbell or kettlebell to your shoulder. Go into a full squat. Staying in the bottom position of a full squat, press the dumbbell overhead. Lock it out and lower the dumbbell back to your shoulder. Try pressing the dumbbell up and behind your head.

    If you cannot do a full squat, then forget about the Sots Press. You need to be comfortable in the bottom position of a front squat to execute the press.

    For a fun variation, try doing the alternating Sot's Press. Clean two dumbbells and go into a full squat. Press one dumbbell to lockout. While you lower the pressed one, press the dumbbell in the opposite side. Keep the rep range between 1-3 on the Sot's Press until you get the hang of it.

[ Q ] I started an HIT (High Intensity Training) program recently and I am getting great results with it. How come HIT has such a bad rap?

    HIT like many other forms of training is effective for about 4-6 weeks. At that point your body adapts and it is time to move on. Moreover, due to the intensity of HIT training you can only train at that level for so long before the inevitable burnout. Try cycling it with other forms of training in which you do not go to failure as often.

    Chances are that the HIT program you are on is working well for you because it is different than what you were doing previously. Hit it hard for 4-6 weeks and then move on to a higher volume program in which the intensity is not as high.

[ Q ] I have been doing your HOC (High Octane Cardio) program for a few months and I am loving it. I do 2-3 HOC workouts per week right now and was wondering if I could increase the frequency to 5-6?

    Glad that you like the program. I would not recommend doing that many HOC workouts per week. As you know, HOC is tough work and you need some rest days to recover. 5-6 HOC workouts per week will lead to burnout fast which will impede your progress. Stick to 2-3 and be patient.

About The Author

Mike Mahler is a strength and conditioning coach based in Santa Monica, CA. Mike has been a strength athlete for over ten years and is a Senior level certified kettlebell instructor. The Senior level classification means that Mike has assisted in certifying aspiring kettlebell instructors. Mike has done over twenty-five kettlebell workshops in the past year across the US and overseas in London, England. Mike is considered by many to be the most experienced kettlebell instructor in the US.

In addition to working with athletes around the world, Mike has two regular columns in Fightscene Magazine. Also, Mike has written over sixty articles and is a regular contributor to: Hardcore Muscle Magazine, Testosterone Magazine,Ironman Magazine, Ironman Magazine Japan, and Exercise Magazine For Men.

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