This is the work that a lot of people seem to forget to do. Let's face it, abs are not the most fun body part to train. To some forearm work fits into the same category. Now for me I can't stand training abs but I love training forearms. In this article we will cover some of the various exercises and a few workouts for each of them.
Like I said above I hate training them so I train them just enough to shape and develop the muscles so when I do diet down they will look great. One thing we need to clear up right now is this: you can train your abs until you are blue in the face but without a proper diet it will be all for nothing. Too many people think that by training your abs then they will be cut, that is far from the truth. To develop that "six pack" look it comes from strict dieting in combination with training. So don't think for one instant that if you follow these techniques you will have a great set abs by this alone, you will need to diet. One thing to keep in mind when training abs is this: Abdominal muscles grow just like any other group and if you train them too heavy they will bulge out and make you look like you are pregnant.
Crunches - This is the bread and butter movement. This is a simple movement and works really well. I like to perform these with added weight. I usually will do 2-3 sets of 30-50 reps.
Hanging leg raises - This movement really nails the lower abs. I have yet to ever perform them and not have my lower abs sore the next day. You can also ad a twist in them and they nail the obliques just as well.
Cable crunches - these are performed by grabbing the bar at the end of the cables and crunching down, similar to doing a sit up. I like to do these with moderate weight and pump out around 20-25 reps. this is by far my favorite movement for abs; it's simple and works good for me. I also like to add a twisting motion to target the obliques.
Now I usually train my abs 2-3 times a week. The reason for this is as stated above. I am not in a dieting phase right now so it would make no difference if I trained them every day or not, with out proper diet it doesn't matter. Now there are a ton of exercises you can perform for your abs but I am just listing the ones that I use now.
So here is a sample of my ab workout.
Cable crunches - 2 sets: 25 reps
Hanging leg raises - 2 sets: 25 reps
Crunches - 2 sets: 50 reps
That's it, that's all I do for now. Now in 2003 when I am I preparation for my competition debut I will do more work on them obviously but since all I am trying to do now is add mass I keep my ab work light and just focus on keeping them in shape so when I do diet down them will be muscular and shredded. One thing I have noticed in a few local shows is guys whose abs are cut but are lacking in any muscularity. They look as if they have never trained their abs.
I love to train them. I love the pump that comes with training them. Having big forearms really well developed forearms complete the total arm package. I would also classify forearms in the neglected body part category. People just don't take time to do the detail work required to develop them. I work out my forearms once a week, usually on Tuesday and Thursday.
There are a lot of exercises to build Popeye sized forearms but one thing is often over looked and it isn't even an exercise. Too many people rely on wrist straps when training. By using them constantly your forearms aren't holding the weights your straps are. I only using lifting straps when I know that my forearms will give out before the muscle I am working will. So just cut back on the straps and you will see some good growth and you will be surprised at how much your grip increases.
Wrist Curls - This is my favorite movement. I like to use a good heavy weight (115lbs sometimes more) and do them slow and controlled. If you start do go to fast and loose control you are risking wrist injury. I try to do 15-20 reps for 3 sets.
Wrist curls behind the back - I like this movement because it allows me to use a heavier weight. This is a good finishing exercise; I love finishing out a good forearm workout by reping out with 20-30 reps with these.
Wrist twists - To me nothing adds forearm mass like this one. It's done by holding a dumbbell with your forearm resting on your thigh. Then twist the weight as far to the right as you can and then as far back to the left as you can. This blasts them like no other movement.
Reverse wrist curls - this is a movement that I seldom use ever since I started doing wrist twists. It's a good movement and blasts the forearms really well.
Hammer curls - this is a great movement. I love to do these with heavy, heavy dumbbells for 6-8 reps. Do them slow and controlled for best results.
Reverse curls - I do these with a barbell or cables. I love the constant tension when performed with a cable. Also when working with cables it's really hard to cheat.
I separate my forearms into two workouts.
Wrist curls - 3 sets: 15-20 reps
Dumbbell twists - 3 sets: 20 reps
Wrist curls behind the back - 3 sets: 25-30 reps
Hammer curls - 3 sets: 6-15 reps
Reverse curls - 3 sets: 10-12 reps
Reverse cable curls - 3 sets: 8-12 reps
Now you can perform all of these movements (except wrist twists) with dumbbells or a barbell. I like to use a barbell so that I can go heavier. Now don't neglect your forearms or abs. When people have lagging or body part it's simply because they have neglected it.
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