Three Moves for Herculean Knots
Not any more—will your knots not grow!
In the big house the biceps are referred to as “knots”, regardless if you call the pinta home or reside on Manhattan’s Upper East Side—we are going to look at three movements you are not doing to build herculean knots!
First, let’s embrace the mindset of the “Austrian Oak” Arnold Schwarzenegger, whom had this to say about the bicep training mindset:
“I was constantly playing tricks on my mind. This is why I began to think of my biceps as mountains, instead of flesh and blood. Thinking of my biceps as mountains made my arms grow faster and bigger than if I’d seen them only as muscles.” This is a direct quote from Arnold Schwarzenegger, who built the best set of biceps of all time.
These movements are intense, heavy and, most likely, “new”—yielding the perfect storm to perpetuate the formation of perfect peaks.
When prescribing exercises, it is important to look at the function of the muscle: the biceps supinate (palms facing you in a chin-up), and flex the elbow (bend the elbow on the way up).
The chin-up involves both muscle functions and allows you to go heavy!
When performing a chin-up, the back will assist you but the biceps flex the elbow, providing a huge biceps overload at the top portion of the movement, like a heavy cheat curl. But chin-ups are safer, transfer to real life situations better and enable you to handle greater amounts of weight.
The overload we are after primarily occurs at the top of the movement—enter the Hercules chin-up.
The Hercules chin-up is a creation of the Jailhouse Strong system that uses partial movements to build sleeve-busting biceps.
How to correctly perform a Hercules chin-up:
• Grasp a chin-up bar with a supinated (palms facing you grip)
• From a dead hang position, pull chin over the bar and hold it for two seconds
• Descend to the half-way point and hold for two seconds
• Repeat movement for the prescribed number of repetitions
• Finish with arms fully extended at the bottom
Full range of motion for full development is a good guideline, but like most rules, there are some exceptions.
In this case, the partials are used to overload specific ranges of motions for strengthbuilding; for example, overloading this range allows the biceps to handle very heavy weight.
Keep in mind you need to start from a full hang and end in the starting position. Barring injury, keep the supinated grip for the greatest bicep overload.
Next training session for biceps, do this wave loading sequence with Hercules chin-ups:
Set 1-5 Reps (use 6 rep max weight)
Set 2-3 Reps (use 4 rep max weight)
Set 3-2 Reps (use 3 rep max weight)
Set 1-5 Reps (use 6 rep max weight + 2.5%)
Set 2-3 Reps (use 4 rep max weight +2.5%)
Set 3-2 Reps (use 3 rep max weight +2.5%)
Rest three minutes between sets, add 2.5% to the load and repeat this same sequence again. If you weigh 180 pounds and did a set with 20 additional pounds of weight, you lifted a total of 200 pounds. Next time through would be 200 x 1.025 (205 Pounds), you would lift 205 pounds.
Do this for as many rounds as possible, adding 2.5% per round.
Once you make it past three rounds, up the starting weight by 2.5%.
Finish off with two sets of strict incline dumbbell biceps curls of 15 reps.
Gironda Perfect Curls
Invented by bodybuilding pioneer and trainer, Vince Gironda, this may be the most effective biceps exercise ever invented. It provides a good stretch at the bottom of the movement but intense tension throughout the movement and even a good peak contraction at the top of the movement.
This is not a cheat curl; there should be no swinging of the torso. The concentric should stake three seconds, the eccentric four seconds and hold the top position for one second.
It almost feels like doing a heavy overload barbell curl with an incline stretch curl.
Don’t let this oldie but goodie go the way of the leotard.
How to correctly perform the Gironda Perfect curl:
• Start with a straight bar or EZ Curl bar as if starting a regular barbell curl.
• Before starting the curls, bring your upper torso backward (shifting your weight toward the heels). The shoulders are now aligned behind the hips and knees in the starting position in a “stretched position.”
• From this position, slowly curl the weight; as you lift the weight slowly bend the torso forward so at the end of the movement the shoulders are in front of the knees and the hips. (I envision a giant “crunch” movement building a perfect bicep peak).
• Lower in the opposite motion back to the starting position.
Do this movement for five sets in a reverse pyramid style; do reps in this order: 4,5,6,7,8, and rest two minutes between sets.
One-Armed Eccentric Barbell Curl
If you want to be ready for ARMageddon, some eccentric work is necessity.
Far too many people neglect heavy eccentrics when it comes to bicep training. We are not going to neglect anything in our pursuit of knot development.
Enter the one-armed eccentric barbell curl. I want to thank my mentor, Charles Poliquin, for teaching me this move.
How to correctly perform a one-arm eccentric barbell curl:
• Sit or stand behind a preacher curl station
• Rest your upper arm on the pad in front of you, arms supinated
• Start at the top position of the curl
• Slowly lower the bar for a count of eight seconds to full extension
• Pause briefly at the bottom
• If you have a training partner, have him help you back up. If not, self-spot with the other hand
Instead of traditional high rep pump and burn, we are going to do these heavy with low reps; just DO NOT SACRIFICE TEMPO!
For a bicep training session, try this movement for eight sets of three reps, resting for three minutes between sets and do no other biceps exercises this session.
The Bible says there is a time and place for everything, this includes cheat curls.
However, for these movements, never sacrifice technique for additional weight on the bar.
We want to go as heavy as possible, with perfect technique, to plow through your bicep-building plateau like crap through a goose.
If all these movements sound fun—I have made you a workout that includes all three as a token of my appreciation for your continued support!
|Hercules Chin-ups||Max||3,4,5,6,6||5||2 Minutes between sets. Use additional weight with dip belt if applicable. If you are unable to perform prescribed reps, use bands to assist.|
|Gironda Perfect Curl||Max||3||5,6,8||Rest 2 minutes sets. Do not cheat these, if you reach failure do not use momentum complete in a rest-pause style or immediately grab a lower weight and continue.|
|One-Armed Eccentric Barbell Curls||Max||3||3||Rest 2 minutes between sets. Full range of motion each set and tempo is important, if you cannot make the full 8 seconds use less weight.|
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