Your arms, chest and shoulders (aka guns, pecs and boulders) are your ‘showcase muscles’. they set you apart from the average joe, which is why we’ve provided a tip for each to help you maximise your gains…
words: Matthew Knight
When performing any variation of biceps curl, whether it be barbell, dumbbell, standing or seated, you should always keep your elbows pointing at the floor and lead with your little finger.
One of the main purposes of the biceps muscle is to supinate (hands facing up) the hand, so when doing any kind of bicep curl, especially dumbbells, lead with your little finger! Imagine trying to turn your little finger out all the way through the movement to recruit maximum motor units and also involve the short head of the bicep, which will give you a great pump.
The triceps are called tri-ceps because there are three heads of the muscle you can target with different exercises:
Long Head lying ez bar extensions, cable push downs
Medial Head dumbbell kickbacks, close grip bench press
Lateral Head lying dumbbell extensions, standing barbell french press
All Three Heads rope push downs, parallel bar dips
Sorry to tell you guys but if you are trying to get a huge chest just by doing a barbell bench press you’re not using your time as efficiently as you could be. The problem with the bench press is that it uses a lot of the tricep and front delt (shoulders) muscles, but there is a way around this and it’s called ‘inward intent.’
Lay yourself on a bench with the bar at arm’s length as you normally would set yourself up for a bench press. Now, as you lower the bar to your chest try to squeeze your hands together. Obviously your hands won’t actually move along the length of the bar but the brain will send messages to your pectorals to contract as you ‘intend’ to move them ‘inwards’.
You will definitely feel this one and don’t be disappointed if the amount of weight you can lift during this decreases, which won’t matter too much if size is your goal.
When doing lateral raises its very easy for you to allow your traps to take over and minimise any effect that the exercise will have for widening the look of your deltoids (which, let’s face it guys, is why you do lateral raises to begin with. Bigger shoulder = smaller looking waist). So with that in mind, when doing lateral raises, start with the dumbbells next to your body and tuck your shoulders back into their anatomically correct position (lift your shoulders up, round, back and down). This will ensure that the deltoids have to work harder, plus you will find it harder to recruit your traps to do the work as they are already recruited to keep your shoulders back. Lift the dumbbells laterally away from the body and keep your little finger higher than the rest of your finders at the top of the movement, like pouring a giant jug of water. This will ensure you maximally recruit the medial head of the deltoids and you should feel the difference.