Build Big Triceps Fast

To make fast progress you must focus on the areas that give you the greatest return. When it comes to building big arms, the triceps are the shareholders with the most power. After all, they make up two-thirds of your upper arm girth. Every guy wants big biceps because he wants big arms, but doing curls all day won’t get the job done as quickly as building up your triceps.

John Cena has absolutely massive arms. Having seen him in person I can say that most pictures, believe it or not, don’t give those guns any justice. One of the reasons his upper arms are so huge is because his triceps’ girth is nothing short of extraordinary.

Not only do impressively large triceps look cool but they’re also essential for physical prowess. Throwing a hard punch in the ring or pushing your opponent away on the field rely heavily on the strength of your triceps. And as any good lifter knows, adding quality meat to your muscles boost their ability to produce more force.

The problem with many triceps exercises is they can be very hard on the elbow joints. This is especially true with isolation exercises that limit movement at the elbows. The triceps, by design, are intended to work with the shoulder joint. Punching, pushing, and throwing work the shoulder and elbow joints together, and in perfect harmony. Don’t get me wrong, exercises such as a lying triceps extension with dumbbells has its place and can be very beneficial.

However, the one of the best triceps exercises I’ve ever used is a close hand position push-up with the feet elevated on a Swiss Ball. I like to call this a “triceps push-up” since it works your triceps harder than just about anything else.

Perform 5 sets of as many reps as possible every three days and your triceps will get bigger and stronger faster than ever before. Keep your abs tight and don’t try to go fast at first. This exercise is tougher than it looks!

Now for other related news…

I posted a cool, full body fat loss workout in my Training Lab on T-nation that you can see by clicking HERE.

Also, I wrote an article for Pavel Tsatsouline and Dragon Door on the importance of lifting speed, to read it click HERE.

Stay Focused,
CW

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How to Get Ripped with Food: A 7-Day Plan

You’ll never get ripped without changing your diet. It’s as simple as that. So what changes should you make? This is where you’ll get a million different answers. It seems that every week a new book, article, or diet comes out claiming there’s a better way to lose fat. But you know it’s the same ol’ B.S.

I can sum it up for you right now. The key to losing fat super fast and finally get the lean body you want hinges on vegetables.

Yuck. Vegetables. Who likes them, anyway? Not me. If I never had another one again it’d be too soon.

But vegetables are loaded with all the stuff you probably don’t get enough of such as vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytonutrients while being low in the stuff you probably are getting too much of: calories. Whenever a client needs to lose fat like yesterday, I put him/her on a diet that consists mainly of veggies. It not only works for them, it also always works for me.

And let me tell ya, it works fast!

However, like I mentioned, most people don’t like vegetables. So the question is: How bad do you want to lose fat? If you’re sick of feeling like your fat loss is going nowhere, it’s time to get focused and just do the vegetable thing. The good news is that you can eat any vegetables from the following list in any amount. Just eat until you’re full four times a day. After day 1, the diet will slightly shift toward protein sources.

Trust me when I say that this is one of the fastest, healthiest ways to boost fat burning to the max. It’s not easy, but it works incredibly well.

Vegetables to choose from: artichoke, asparagus, beets, bok choy, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, green beans, kale, mushrooms, okra, onions, peppers, spinach, squash, tomato. These can be eaten raw, steamed, or in a big salad drizzled with a little olive oil and/or balsamic vinegar.

DAY 1: At 8am, noon, 4pm, and 8pm eat as much of any vegetable as you want, in any combination. You don’t have to eat at those exact times, but spread out the four meals as evenly as possible. Drink 100 ounces of water.

DAYS 2-4: Eat vegetables at the same four times each day but add in 20 grams of protein from fish, chicken, lean beef, turkey, eggs or seafood at 8am and 4pm meals. This equates to 3-4 ounces of fish, chicken, lean beef, turkey, or seafood or 3-4 whole eggs at those two meals. Drink 100 ounces of water.

DAYS 5-7: At 8am, noon, 4pm, and 8pm eat vegetables in any combination and quantity and have 20 grams of protein (3-4 ounces) from fish, chicken, lean beef, turkey, seafood or 3-4 eggs at each meal. Drink 100 ounces of water.

What about supplements? For one week I recommend you avoid any of them, even after lifting weights. This should not be a week where you’re looking to achieve a new one-rep max in your lifts. Think of this as a detox program for your body and organs with the side-effect being rapid fat loss.

On the morning of day 1 take your weight and waist measurement (around your navel) and repeat those measurements on the morning of Day 8 – the day you return to your normal schedule.

I’m challenging you to do it for one week. Don’t worry about anything else. Just do this and post your results on this blog. Heck, take before/after pics and I might use them for a future blog.

The plain Warrior Whey can be used in place of the protein foods listed above. You can use 2 scoops of plain Warrior Whey for each protein serving, and then you’ll have it for the rest of the month after you come off the 7-Day Plan.

Fast fat loss doesn’t have to be complicated. Give this 7-day plan a try and you’ll see how effective a simple plan can be to finally bring those cuts out of hiding.

Stay focused,
CW

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The 3 Best Biceps Exercises

The biceps are the most coveted muscle group known to man. Since the first bodybuilding mag ever hit the stands, the biceps has been a showcase muscle and building an impressive set is a big business.

Yet, most guys can’t get the damn things to grow.

So I’m going to outline the three best biceps exercises to catapult your development. But before I do that, let me explain two common errors.

First, the biceps are designed to work with your forearms and upper back. Many machines take those muscles out of the movement so the biceps are left in isolation. The biceps, like most muscle groups, only respond to exercises that challenge them to work the way they’re designed. Just check out the picture in this blog. I used an Olympic rings gymnast for good reason. Those dudes have the most impressive biceps on the planet, but they aren’t bodybuilders that do machine curls all day. Instead, they’re athletes that hang from the rings for hours each day. Exercises on the rings challenge your forearms and upper back, along with your biceps. That’s why their biceps are so incredible – they train them with the muscles they’re designed to work with.
Biceps Training Error #1: Training the biceps in isolation.

Second, the biceps respond best to high training loads. Guys love to train for a pump, and the best way to get a pump is to do slow-grind sets with high reps. But slow training with long sets don’t overload the largest motor units that have the most potential for growth. You need to do multiple sets of low reps with a relatively heavy load to get the biceps to grow. This is why so many people love the 10×3 (10 sets of 3 reps) approach I often recommend for building a muscle group. The biceps respond especially well to that set/rep combination.
Biceps Training Error #2: Training the biceps with light loads and high reps.

With that out of the way, let’s get to the three best exercises that will quickly add muscle.

1. Rope Climb/Neutral grip Pull-up: Of all the exercises I’ve used that overload the biceps, the best one is the least practical. I’m talking about climbing a rope. If you have the luxury of hanging a 2″-2 1/2″ rope from 15 feet up, consider yourself lucky. All you need to do is climb up and down that rope for 10 sets 2-3 times per week and you’ve get all the biceps stimulation you’ll ever need.

But I know that’s not practical for most. The next option is to do pull-ups with a narrow, neutral (palms facing each other) grip. I’ve often talked about the benefit of pull-ups to build the biceps and some coaches scoff at the idea claiming that the stronger upper back will take over the exercise and biceps won’t grow. This is only true with pull-up variations that give the upper back muscles an effective line of pull. By placing your hands close together with your palms facing each other, your arm flexors are effectively targeted and the upper back can’t take over.

I’m sure you’re familiar with the Double D attachment that you see sitting next to the cable stack in your gym. Grab that attachment with both hands and look at how close together your hands are – that’s the perfect hand placement for pull-ups. Perform 10 sets of 3-5 reps while alternating it with a chest or triceps exercise.

2. Palms-up Row: A barbell row is one of the best upper back exercises, but it’s also an outstanding biceps exercise when you perform it with your palms up and hands wider than shoulder width. Dorian Yates, the great bodybuilder with impressive biceps, made that exercise famous and he called it the “Yates Row.”

The tricky part of a bent-over barbell row is that it’s very easy to mess up the exercise by leaning back or bringing your hips into play. Therefore, I recommend a more effective, user-friendly alternative. First, set an adjustable bench to a 45 degree angle. Next, lie face-down on the bench while holding a moderately heavy dumbbell in each hand. Start with your arms hanging straight down, palms facing forward, and row the dumbbells. This takes your lower body out of the exercise and ensures that your arms and upper back are doing the work. Perform 10 sets of 3-5 reps while alternating it with an exercise for your chest or triceps.

3. Standing Hammer Curl/EZ bar Reverse Curl: I’m not against direct arm training exercises. They certainly have their place, but many variations do next to nothing. The two best I’ve used in 17 years are the standing hammer curl and standing reverse curl with an EZ bar. For these exercises I like to use slightly higher reps: 6 sets of 6-8 reps works well. Again, you should alternate each set with an exercise that trains your chest or triceps.

The essential component for getting the most out of your direct arm training exercises is to challenge your forearms. That’s why I highly recommend Fat Gripz. They fit around any traditional barbell, dumbbell, or pull-up bar and they work incredibly well to overload your biceps and forearms. Fat Gripz are one of the best training tools out there. Just throw a pair in your gym bag and you’ve got an excellent tool to make any arm exercise more effective.

You can find Fat Gripz by clicking HERE.

Stay focused,
CW

The 10-Second Rule

Training for maximum power requires you to recruit the high-threshold motor units. To recruit them, you must lift maximal loads (>85% of 1RM) or you must lift submaximal loads (50-75% of 1RM) with high acceleration so the actual lifting velocity is fast.

There’s a simple way to ensure that you get maximum power from each set: limit the duration of each set to 10 seconds or less. Why?

It has to do with the endurance capabilities of your high-power motor units. Your largest motor units are known as fast-twitch, fast-fatigable (FF) motor units that contain a large bundle of type IIb muscle fibers. Type IIb fibers have a very limited capacity of energy so they fatigue within 10 seconds. After you recruit the FF motor units, it’s tough to keep activating them because they don’t recover quickly.

However, the second most-powerful motor units come from the fast-twitch, fatigue-resistant (FFR) motor units that contain type IIa muscle fibers. Like all motor units, they range in size and endurance. You have FFR motor units with fewer muscle fibers that get activated before a FFR motor unit that’s any larger. In other words, you have FFR motor units that are bigger and stronger than others. The largest ones have the lowest endurance capacity. So by keeping your sets to 10 seconds, or less, you’ll target and develop the most powerful FFR motor units that have plenty of growth and power potential.

With heavy loads, this 10-second rule is easy to follow because you can’t go past 10 seconds, even if you tried. For submaximal loads, it’s much easier to screw up. As a gross generalization, shoot for three reps per set with submaximal loads.

For example, when you need to build explosive power, start with a load that allows around 20 reps. For those of you who like percentages, this is around 60% of your 1RM. Then, perform only three explosive reps for 10 sets with approximately 45 seconds of rest between each set. This ensures that each set lasts less than 10 seconds, the actual lifting velocity remains fast, and stay far away from failure. Remember, when you approach failure motor units start dropping out.

So whether you’re training heavy, or light and fast, limit the duration of your sets to 10 seconds and you’ll build new muscle and power fast!

Stay focused,
CW

The High Pull for Muscle Development and Power

The two Olympic lifts, the snatch and clean and jerk, are awesome exercises to build muscle and power. However, both lifts are very technical and most people don’t have the strength, coordination, and mobility to do them correctly. That’s why I like variations of Olympic lifts – particularly the high pull.

What’s so great about the high pull? First, virtually anyone can do it. Second, it’s an outstanding exercise to build the kind of muscle and power that makes you run faster, jump higher, kick harder and deadlift more weight. Third, the high pull, by nature, is designed to be performed explosively. That, of course, ranks it at the top of my list.

Now, even though the high pull is not a complicated exercise, there are some important technique tips. I think it’s actually better to see this exercise in pictures than video. The reason? The combined extension of the hip, knee, and ankle joints (aka “triple extension”) is the most important part of the lift to get right and it’s easier to see in a still picture.

First, warm-up with some mobility work (foam roller, etc), jump rope for a few minutes, then pull two sets of three reps with a moderate load for the deadlift. Be sure to squeeze your glutes hard at the top of the deadlift to activate that important muscle group.

Now you’re ready.

Step #1: Start with a very light load if you’re new to the exercise. About 95 pounds is a good starting point for most men; 65 pounds is usually good for most females.

Step #2: Before you grab the barbell it’s important to get the right stance with your feet. Imagine you’re about to perform a maximum vertical jump – that’s your correct stance. For most people this is slightly wider than shoulder width, but it can vary.

Step #3: Grab the barbell with a slightly-wider-than shoulder width grip. Again, this can vary slightly from person to person. The key point here is that your grip width should feel comfortable and strong. Stand up with the barbell.

Step #4: Push your hips back and let your knees bend slightly as the barbell lowers to about knee height. Your low back should be arched. This is your starting position as shown in the left picture below.

Step #5: Explosively thrust your hips forward as you simultaneously pull the barbell to upper ab/lower chest height with your elbows high. At the peak barbell position your heels should be elevated as shown in the picture on the right.

Step #6: Lower the barbell in a smooth, rapid fashion as your heels return to the floor, your hips push back, and your back stays arched. Explosively reverse the motion as the barbell gets to about knee height.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If pure power/strength is your goal, perform 3-5 sets of 3 reps. If you want more muscle to go with your power, perform 8-10 sets of 3 reps. I like to do this exercise first in your workouts, or it can be combined with an upper body pull (eg, pull-up) and upper body push (eg, dip) in a full body circuit.

I especially like this exercise for fighters because it’s much easier on the wrist joints than a clean and it’s less stressful on the shoulders than a snatch. If you have any shoulder aggravation with this exercise it can be performed with dumbbells to allow a more natural range of motion.

Stay focused,
CW