Strong Arm Tactics

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



After doing five isolation exercises in 100-rep rotations, Lewis has pre-exhausted his triceps. So next up he thoroughly toasts his tri’s with two compound exercises: close-grip bench presses and dips. Both of these also hit the chest and front deltoids, but after his 400- or 500-rep cable barrage, his arms are going to give out long before he taxes anything else.

“With close-grip benches, I pyramid, using heavier weights and fewer reps. I go to no fewer than eight reps, and I may get forced reps on the last two. I tend to use the Smith machine. I flip an incline bench (set in the flat position) around. And I angle the seat part up, and that’s where I put my head. That way, I can more easily watch what’s happening. My grip is set by touching my thumbs. So I take a grip that is about two thumbs apart. Some people who are taller than me may have two inches between thumb-to-thumb, but anything more than that I think hits the chest more and the triceps less. And if I use the Smith machine, I come down to the lowest part of my pecs. I just feel that gives me the best stretch for my triceps.”

Of his other compound triceps exercise, Lewis avers: “I love dips. I do these with just my body weight. I try to get high reps, and I go to failure on every set. I try to eliminate my chest as much as I can. I use dips on chest day, but then I dramatically lean forward. For triceps, I keep my body as upright as possible. If I don’t do body-weight dips, I’ll do machine dips. Again, I keep my rep-range to 20-plus. But I tend to squeeze a lot more on these, especially on the final two or three reps of sets. I’ll hold and squeeze as hard as I can.”


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