Dexter Jackson: Armed and Still Dangerous

The Blade serves up 16 essential arm-growing tips.

Dexter Jackson: Armed and Still Dangerous

2015 has been a record year for Dexter Jackson. On March 7, he won his fifth Arnold Classic (record) and made his 14th Arnold posedown (record) in his 15th Arnold (record). And he did it all at 45, making him the second-oldest male winner of an open IFBB pro contest and easily the oldest winner of a “major.” On Sept. 18 2015, when he strolled at his trademark glacial pace to center stage of Orleans Arena, “the Blade” set another record, one that he’d shared for the previous year with fellow Olympia victor Ronnie Coleman. It was his 16th Olympia entry, more than any other competitor in the O’s 51-contest history. Jackson’s Olympia career, highlighted by his 2008 victory, spans from his rookie year in 1999 to the present with no signs of halting. He is bodybuilding’s ultimate ironman, and his record-making 2015 is a testament to his sustained excellence. Throughout his long and distinguished career, the Blade’s colossal and shapely biceps and triceps have perpetually given him an edge. In honor of his 16th Olympia, we assembled Mr. Consistency’s 16 best arm-training tips.


I pretty much follow the same biceps routine every workout, but there’s a lot of room to switch things up along the way, depending on whatever [trainer] Charles [Glass] wants to do. I start with a machine exercise, then I do a two-arm free-weight exercise, and I finish with a dumbbell exercise, but that still allows a lot of space for variety. I might do barbell curls one workout and EZ-bar curls the next, and the workout after that I might do 21-curls with the EZ-bar or spider curls with a barbell. There’s a framework we stick to, but you can work variety into that framework.


Although I recommend free weights for size, I still use machines for variety. Machine preacher curls are good for warming up. I’ll usually do them first. In some ways, they’re better than free-weight preachers, because the machine’s mechanics keep tension on your biceps throughout the exercise. [Tension is lessened past the halfway point of free-weight preacher curls when you’re no longer fighting gravity.]


Sometimes I’ll do the Hammer Strength iso-lateral machine curl, the one where your elbows are elevated to eye level and you curl down. I can get a really good contraction on those. A strong contraction is the most important thing when it comes to training biceps. You want to choose those exercises where you can really get maximum pressure on the bi’s when your arms are fully bent.


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