Maximize your strength training routine by cutting out these time wasters.Read article
You’re known for using the same basic heavy free-weight exercises as when you began bodybuilding, yet I’ve read that you sometimes include cables in your biceps workouts. Why bother?
I only use exercises that build mass. That should tell you that I include cables in my biceps workouts because they are mass builders — at least the way I do them. Not only that, but they add unique dimensions of width, roundness, fullness and peak.
The misconception that cable exercises are only for detail and refinement is a result of the fact that cable movements, which are more isolated than free weights and machines, aren’t as exhausting as compound movements. You’re not using your entire body for stabilization and leverage, as you do when struggling to curl an iron bar laden with weight plates. Instead, your body remains still as you squeeze only your biceps all the way up to a full contraction at the top, then smoothly extend them all the way to arm’s length at the bottom.
Throughout a set of cable curls, your biceps muscles are under your total control. You feel every twitch of every fiber, you feel the blood being squeezed into both heads, and you feel the pump build and your biceps progressively numbing as they fatigue. Suddenly, they’re on fire, cramping as never before. They’re pumped drum tight. Your biceps are fried, but the rest of your body is fresh. Best of all, your biceps will experience a growth spurt in roundness, hardness, width and peak, along with increased definition.
Since a direct relationship exists between strength and muscle growth, I have always trained to increase my strength, and that objective does not change when I use cables. I stack on enough weight to keep my repetitions in the 10-to-15 range, the same as for my compound free-weight training. With cables, though, I have the additional advantages of a more controlled peak contraction, constant resistance throughout the set, harder negatives, and giant sets and supersets.
To add a fresh deep pump and burn to your biceps workout, include one of the following cable exercises each time.
TWO-ARM OVERHEAD CABLE CURL
This is hard to beat for widening your biceps peaks and for slicing a deep separation below the deltoids. The higher you raise your arms, the more of a “cliff” you’ll build into the upper part of your biceps peaks. You can also add an impressive bulge to the inner heads by using a wide grip. For the outer heads, use a narrow grip. Fix your upper arms in position, and don’t rock back or pull with your shoulders or lats as you curl.
ONE-ARM OVERHEAD CABLE CURL
Use this one for elevating the center peak of your inner biceps heads. It’s also a superior movement for both inner-head fullness and brachialis separation. Hold your upper arm horizontal and out to the side, then curl toward your head, as if hitting a biceps pose. If you supinate your hand as you curl, you’ll feel a powerful emphasis on the inner head. A slight pronation shifts the stress to the outer head and the brachialis. Again, make sure your body and upper arm remain stationary, isolating your biceps.
TWO-ARM LOW CABLE CURL
This exercise can hold its own with any compound free-weight movement for quick gains in hardness and roundness of the entire biceps belly. Either brace your elbows against the front of your body or use a preacher bench, then curl with maximum power, equally emphasizing the negative. You won’t believe the pain, but for the ultimate burn, superset these with two-arm overhead cable curls.
Ronnie Coleman’S BICEPS ROUTINE
* Rotate among these and two-arm overhead cable curls and two-arm low cable curls from workout to workout.