In the first 1-2 years of training, our arm muscles will grow rapidly. Then we will probably hit a plateaus in both muscle size and strength. The reasons we cannot breakthrough are various such as training methods, diet, rest, stress etc. Training is one the most important factors. We tend to believe that as long as we increase the weight/volume/frequency, we will improve. True for some trainees, but not for all. Some will experience negative influence with this approach.
In fact, there are a lot of approaches that we can try, like adding more exercise variations, more slow eccentric training, more intensity techniques like super sets, drop sets. All these might be useful. In this video, we will discuss the arm exercise variations with use of the principle of Strength Curve.
Many exercises like standing dumbbell curl will experience these: Feel lighter when the dumbbells at the top and bottom, heavier at the middle. The muscle tension is not equivalent throughout entire movement. Making uneven distribution of our strength. If you wish to improve, one of approaches is to target those weak areas, i.e. Upper range and Lower range.
For biceps upper range:
#1 Spider Curl
Lying with your face towards to the incline bench. Elbow stable and curl. The upper range will feel much more heavier. Try to hold for 1-2s to increase the time under tension at the peak.
#2 Resistance Band Curl
The more the resistance band stretches, the larger the load. It is good for the upper range.
For biceps lower range:
#1 Preacher Curl
Support your upper arm with an incline bench. It feels much heavier at the bottom while much lighter at the top.
#2 Cable Curl
Cable curls can also achieve the similar results with some change of details. Set the cable at the bottom. Stand closer. This will target more on the lower range.
Set the cable a bit higher. Stand farther. This will target more on the upper range.
Strength Curve can be applicable to triceps as well, for triceps upper range:
#1 Cable Rope Push down
Use a longer rope. Hold a while when you hands reach beyond your body for maximum contraction of triceps.
#2 Dumbbell Triceps Kickbacks
A lighter dumbbell is needed. It feels much heavier when your arms is straight. Try to hold 1-2s for peak contraction.
For triceps lower range:
#1 Triceps Extensions:
In both lying and sitting, it feels much heavier when the arm is nearly 90°. It feels lighter when the arm is straight.
To sum up, we can arrange our workout with use of strength curve principle to target our weak spots. Don’t forget that no matter how effective are your training, you still have to persist over a long period of time before it reveals significant progress. You also have to review your training, rest, diet and stress periodically. Finally, I wish everyone can breakthrough your plateaus.