Training

Big Ramy's Six Essential Exercises

Mamdouh Ellsbiay's machine-based training for monstrous size.

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Big Ramy's Six Essential Exercises

HIGH-CABLE CURL

WHY 

“I especially like this exercise precontest because it’s just like a biceps shot,” he says. “But I’ll do them sometimes all year-round.” Just as cable crossovers duplicate a most muscular pose, this exercise mimics a front or rear double biceps shot. The use of cables allows you to maintain tension on your biceps from stretch to contraction despite your upper arms being parallel with the floor. By contrast, if you attempted this movement with dumbbells, your delts would be doing a lot of work (to keep your arms up) and your biceps very little. 

HOW 

Set the pulleys in a cable crossover station at shoulder level. Grab both handles and stand in the center. While keeping your upper arms parallel with the floor, curl the handles toward your ears. “Get a strong contraction and hold for a second and tense,” the two-time (2013–14) winner of the New York Pro instructs. He does four sets of 10 to 15. 

WHEN 

Elssbiay likes to end his biceps routine with high-cable curls.

VARIATION 

There are a couple of ways to change this one up. First, you can alternate arms, going back and forth between your left and right sides. You can also do these seated to eliminate any possible sway. Seated or standing, be sure you set the pulleys at about shoulder level. Sitting is a variation that Ramy uses on occasion.

PUSHDOWN

WHY 

Each horseshoe-shaped triceps has three heads. The long (inner) and lateral (outer) heads make up the vast majority of visible muscle on the back of your arms. The medial head is meaty but lies mostly beneath the first two, though its lowest portions peek out on both sides just above the elbow (much more on the inside than the outside). Every triceps exercise works all three heads to some degree, but each exercise also stresses one head more than the others. Pushdowns done with your elbows close to your sides best target the lateral head

HOW 

Although elbows-at-sides pushdowns hit the showy outside head, Elssbiay frequently does this exercise while leaning forward and keeping his elbows out in front. In this manner, he distributes more stress to the long head. Whether your elbows are at your sides or, like Ramy’s, in front, the crucial thing is to keep them locked in place throughout each set. As with most other exercises, he focuses on contractions. “I make sure I finish each rep and tense hard,” he says. He does at least four sets of 10 to 15 reps. 

WHEN 

He usually begins his triceps routine with some kind of pushdown (example: elbows-in-front, cambered bar). He might conclude the same routine with a different type of pushdown (example: elbows-at-sides, rope).

VARIATION 

So we’ve covered lateral and long heads, but what about the largely forgotten medial head? Pushdowns can be modified to emphasize this head as well. Research demonstrates doing pushdowns with an underhand grip places more stress on the medial. Like Big Ramy, bodybuilding’s Iron Hulk, it’s best to switch up your pushdown grips and elbow positions on occasion to work all areas of your tri’s. - FLEX

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