Training

Maxx Charles' 6 Tips for Arm Training

How he built one of the biggest pairs of guns in the pro ranks.

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4. NECESSITY IS THE MOTHER OF INVENTION

If you watch Charles train in the gym, you’re going to see him doing exercises you won’t find in Joe Weider’s Ultimate Bodybuilding. He does skull crushers, but he does them on the seated cable row machine, the top of his head facing the stack. “I watch the way people train and I think to myself, ‘If they did it this way they’d feel it here or there,’ ” explains Charles. Again, give it a try, and when you tire of doing skull crushers with an EZ bar or dumbbells, do lying cable skull crushers like Charles does.

5. REST-PAUSE

Charles used a lot of rest-pause sets when he trained triceps (not so much with biceps). Again, it’s about pumping as much blood into his arms as possible. Charles has enormous arms, which means he’s shuttling a whole heck of a lot of plasma to those things. When he did rope pushdowns, he’d do 25–30 reps, rest momentarily, go for 25–30 more, rest again, then continue ad infinitum until he couldn’t move his arms. After a brief rest, Charles would do 6 more sets (this helps explain how a Maxx Charles

workout routine can take three hours).

6. DON’T EAT FOR SIZE

The above is meant tongue-in-cheek because Charles challenges everything we learned in Bodybuilding 101 about muscle growth due to protein synthesis. This isn’t a guy who built his size eating 6–8 meals spaced out every 2 to 2½ hours, supplemented by protein shakes. His growth is mindboggling, in terms of his size (standing 5'11", he weighs 300- plus pounds off-season) and the fact that he grows at all given how little he consumes.

Charles has no appetite until contest time. This is the man who is infamous for noshing on one regular-sized plate of beans and rice throughout the day and consuming gallons of soda and V8 vegetable juices. Every time I ask Charles about his diet he says the same thing: “I’m planning on changing it.” When I ask him how his diet has changed since competing as a pro, Charles replies, “I’m planning on changing it.” Again, this guy is a freak!

 CHARLES' BICEPS WORKOUT 

  • Cable Curl (facing the stack) | SETS: 5 | REPS: 20-30
  • Cable Curl (facing away from the stack) | SETS: 4 | REPS: 40-50
  • Seated Curl (on close-grip lat pull-down machine) | SETS: 3 | REPS: 16-30
  • Dumbbell or Rope Hammer Curl | SETS: 2 | REPS: 16-30
  • One-Arm Preacher Curl 
    | SETS: 2 | REPS: 20-30
  • Alternate Dumbbell Curl | SETS: 2 | REPS: 20-30
  • Machine Curl | SETS: 2-4 | REPS: 20-30
  • Dumbbell Concentration Curl | SETS: 1 | REPS: 20-30

 CHARLES TRICEPS WORKOUT 

  • Wide-Grip Cable Pushdown | SETS: 5 | REPS: 25-30
  • Rope Pushdown | SETS: 7 | REPS: 25-30
  • Lying Cable Skull Crushers | SETS: 3 | REPS: 25-30
  • Machine Dip | SETS: 2 | REPS: 25-30
  • Cable Kickback | SETS: 1 | REPS: 40-50

 FLEX 

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