Strong Arm Tactics

How Flex Lewis turned his arms from a weakness to a strength.



Today, Lewis trains triceps and biceps together, beginning with the former. But he relies on a technique he adopted years ago to make certain his triceps are warmed up, isolated, and maximally pumped. By utilizing the Weider Giant Set Principle, he attacks his tri’s with five isolation exercises in rotation. Giant sets can be difficult to perform if you need to rush from one station to the next. However, Lewis can do all five of his exercises in the same spot with the same overhead cable. He starts with rope pushdowns, spreading the rope ends as wide as possible at contractions.

Then come rope extensions, keeping the ropes together throughout each rep. (Because this pushdown method is easier than the first, he can use the same weight for both exercises.) Then he replaces the rope with an EZ-bar handle. He does one set of pushdowns overhand and another set (with a lighter weight) underhand. Finally, he turns around and faces away from the weight stack, grabs either the EZ-bar or the rope, leans forward, and presses the bar out, parallel to the fl oor, cranking out cable triceps extensions.

Lewis tallies 20 reps of each exercise, only halting the toil long enough to shift his position or switch in a different handle. He pauses for two minutes between giants sets. “I always do a warmup giant set,” he states. “And then I do three or four working giant sets. So, all told, including warmups, I’m doing either 400 or 500 reps in short order. Afterward, my triceps are already fully pumped, and I’ve spent a lot of reps targeting strong contractions to really focus on my tri’s.”


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