A lack of variety can be one of the biggest downfalls when training arms. It is not enough to just switch up exercises, you also have to consider elbow and wrist positioning relative to the shoulder joint. 

If not you may fail to maximize the recruitment of all the relative muscles of the arm such as the brachialis muscle, which lies under the biceps brachii, the anconaeus which supports the elbow joint as well as the different heads of both the triceps and biceps.

Even though the brachialis is always recruited in any curls, it gets maximum stimulation in pronated grips curls or pull-ups.

A good recommendation is to use a post-exhaustion routine. For this, you perform a compound (multiple joint) exercise that recruits a lot of motor units and follow it immediately with a superior isolation exercise that also taps well into the motor unit pool.

This is my current arm routine that was taken from what Charles Poliquin had taught me.

Superset One

A1) Close Grip Pull Up: 5 x 4-6 reps, 4010 tempo Rest 10 seconds

A2) Standing EZ Bar Reverse Curl with Iso Hold: 5 x 6-8 reps, 32X0 tempo Rest 2 min

The pause is taken at 30 degrees of elbow flexion on the eccentric to maximize brachialis recruitment.

Superset Two

B1) Close Grip Bench Presses with Chains: 5 x 4-6 reps, 3210 tempo Rest 10 seconds

B2) Standing Rope Overhead Triceps Extension 5 x 8-10 reps, 3110 tempo Rest 2 min

The close-grip pull-ups are done with palms pronated (facing away), with the grip width at 12 to 16cm between the two index fingers. If you can’t do the pull-ups, you’re too weak to do this routine. You cannot substitute for Pulldowns. f you are strong enough, use additional weight tied to a chin/dip belt for extra resistance.  

When you’re resting the 10 seconds between the close-grip chins and the standing reverse curls, that should be the time it takes you to go from the chin-up bar to the EZ bar. At the end of 10 seconds, you should be curling the barbell. Keep the 10-second rest interval strict.

On the first workout of this routine, it’s normal to lose a lot of strength every succeeding superset. For example, you may be able to do 6 chins with a 20kg super set with 8 reps with the 45 kg bar in the first set. By the fourth set, you may squeeze only four reps at your body weight in the chin-ups and be able to curl a 30kg bar.

As you go through this routine, you should see improvements in both size and strength.


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