I have often said that an athlete's lift and his training for it, have got to be as tight and as precise as a bodybuilder's posing routine; if in ain't flawless, it ain't happening. Speaking of lifting, hardcore training has absolutely nothing to do with looking pretty while doing it. Let's face it, a powerlifter who just puked his damn guts out and has blood shot eyes and bleeding gums after a record squat is nothing we'd like our 5-year old daughter to see. But who the hell cares? In strength sports, it's all about putting the weight up. Put up or shut up as we say.
One of the many mistakes beginners make is focusing too much like a bodybuilder on one group of muscles engaged with a particular lift (the bench = pecs, squats = quads, etc.). What you gotta remember is that every strength lift is a whole body lift. And, going further with it, every strength lift involves the arms to some extent (yes, even squats). So whether pulling, pushing, or holding on to the bar for dear life, your arms are your connection to that weight. This is why it is so important to train them properly, especially the often neglected triceps.
This goes for bodybuilders, as well. Sometimes, they are so fuckin' concerned with the peaks of their biceps that they forget that the triceps makes up over two-thirds of the mass of the upper arm! The following routine is meant for putting the strength in the triceps through the roof, but it will definitely add some major ungodly mass to them arms. It is not meant for the faint at heart, and you will be begging for death when you're done. Do with a at least a 2 minute rest between sets, and a minimum 5 minutes between lifts, otherwise you won't be rested enough to lift the necessary poundages. Alright, I warned you.
Reverse-Grip Bench Presses (Close Grip): View
After a sufficient warm-up and stretching period is done (essential for minimizing injuries), we're going to start with some close reverse-grip bench presses. These take some getting used to, particularly on the wrists, so take your time in the beginning. Grasp the bar about 12 inches apart; it may help to have someone help you on the lift off since it's an awkward lift.
Lower the bar to just below your pecs, elbows in, and then press straight upâ€¦ and none of that "J" movement crap like Coach Iwanna B. Strong taught you in high school. You gotta keep your forearms 90 degrees to the floor. Sound simple? Do 3 sets of 8, with progressive weight increases, and then we'll talk.
Lying Floor Extensions: View
Next, move to lying floor extensions. These are favorites of the lunatics at Louie Simmons' Westside Barbell Club, and for good reason. They are similar to skull crushers, except you do them lying on the floor. Start by putting a plate on each side of a preacher bar and set it on the ground. Lie down on the floor in front of the bar. The top of your head should almost be touching the bar.
Reach over and grab the bar with a medium grip. With an explosive movement, lift the weight over your head using only your triceps. Keep your upper arms at 90 degrees to the floor. Now, you really have to focus on these, making sure you only lift with your triceps and nothing else. In other words, don't cheat and turn this into a pullover! Stop the lift when your elbows are almost locked out, and then lower the weight, all the way to down where the plates touch the floor, and the stress is taken off your triceps, and then explode upward again. When you're done, drop a smaller plate on to the bar and repeat. Do this 3 times. The benefit of using this technique off the floor and with different size plates is that with each plate, the bar starts at a lower level, thereby hitting your triceps at 3 different angles! Pretty damn ingenious, eh?
Seated Hammer-Strength Pushdowns*: View
Again, start with the heaviest weight you can handle (strictly) for 4-6 reps with the seat in a high position. When you get these out, lower the weight to something for 6-8 reps while dropping the seat one notch, and go again. Repeat for a total of 4 sets, with the last 2 sets consisting of 8-10 reps and 10-12 reps. Be sure to drop the seat a hole each time. This again hits those soon to be monster triceps from different angles.
* Shown without the hammer-strength machine.
Ready to fuckin' hurl yet? One last exercise, and this one should put the nails into your arms' proverbial coffin. Real dips on a parallel bar, supersetted with light rope cable extensions (V-grip attachment). This is basically done to saturate your muscles with blood and get them healing. Nothing with heavy tons here, just focus on the burn. Hop on the bar and dip to parallel with perfect form. Do as many you can without hitting the mirror in front of you with puke. Jump over to the extensions and burn out some high reps with these. Take a breather, and repeat again, 3 times each total, dropping the weight on the extensions each time.
Well, you ain't dead yet? If don't feel like you're dying, you didn't train like a true Animal. As a result, you'll never see jack shit happen to your arms. Try this routine once a week for 4 weeks (definitely no more than 6). This is a real intense and "shock and awe" regimen for the arms, so I strongly suggest that you don't do any other triceps lifting during the 4 weeks. Only do this routine on a day when any other lifts you do won't affect your triceps, such as doing it with back day. Better yet, do your triceps on a day all by themselves.
After the 4 weeks are up, take a week off from any triceps training whatsoever and evaluate your arms condition. If they haven't fallen off yet, you can start a more "normal" arm regimen on your next cycle, and know that you're on your way to triceps heaven, or hell, as the case may be.
| Close Grip Bench Press