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 How to Increase Biceps Strength without Biceps Curls

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Fed X

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PostSubject: How to Increase Biceps Strength without Biceps Curls   Mon Oct 17, 2011 11:53 am

How to Increase Biceps Strength without Biceps Curls



Biceps strength can be greatly increased with any pull-up & chin-up workout when you are a beginner. Problem is, the better you get at pull-ups, the more you learn to engage your back – pull with the lats or armpit muscles. This is great because you will develop a great looking v-shaped body. However your biceps strength will reach a plateau because your arms will get less and less stimulation.



One solution is to start heavily relying on direct arm training with barbell and dumbbell curls. Although this is a great approach, there is yet another way to train with a compound exercise for greater biceps strength. Compound moves allow for a more natural loading of the muscles.

Enter The Mix Grip Chin Up


Most demonstrations you will see of the mix grip chin-up online just show the regular variation where you simply grab the bar with a mixed grip and pull yourself. While this style of pull-ups is ok, it won’t bring the benefits of the style I’m about to teach you.
•One hand palm up, one hand palm down. Get a strong grip and make sure to place the bar in the top one third of your palm.
•Shoulder width apart. This grip is the most natural one and allows you to emphasize one arm without causing an injury.
•Pull with the under grip hand. Lean towards your hand that’s in a chin-up position and pull.
•Use the lat (back muscle) of the under grip side. Start the move by pulling down your shoulder with a straight arm towards your body. Then contract your lat and finally flex the biceps and chin yourself up.
•Lower under control. Make sure to lower slowly, feel the muscle gradually relaxing and avoid just dropping down. This way you will avoid elbow injuries from dropping too fast.

Benefits of Training with the Mix Grip Chin-up
•Smash plateaus. Adding a new movement and emphasizing one arm will allow you to gain more muscle and strength
•Serious workout with pull-up bar only. You only need a pull up bar to train anywhere with quite a large resistance – which means more strength.
•Simple fitness. Summer is a time to enjoy life and not hide away in a gym. Armed with this move you can enjoy the benefits of the sun.
•Increase biceps strength with added resistance. You will increase the size and strength of your arms in particular without having to carry weights, belts or backpacks.
•One arm chin-up preparation. Mastering this move will put you on the road to achieving the one arm chin-up.

How to Incorporate Mix Grip Chin-ups
•Rotate between strength and size. Every 3-4 weeks, alternate between heavier lower reps (3-6) and higher reps (7-12). This will ensure constant progress.
•Avoid failure on the strength phase. When doing heavy low reps, don’t force the last rep. Instead leave a few reps in reserve and add more sets. You can train 3-5 times per week with the same or similar move or muscle group.
•Train less often on the size phase. When doing slightly higher reps, make every set count and train hard. You will need more rest between such workouts. You will be able to train 1-2 times per week per muscle group in this way.
•Alternate with a pushing move. Couple the exercise with a vertical push move like the handstand push up, the military press, or a dumbbell press variation.

A Video of the Mix Grip Chin-up

Here is a video we shot in the backyard of a nearby school of the mix grip chin-up. Notice how I am leaning towards the under grip arm and trying to pull with this side of my back. Don’t just pull yourself up. Instead use the muscles of the under grip side of the body.



Other Summer Workout Ideas
•Chris from Zen to Fitness writes in this article about the benefits of getting sufficient Vitamin D from the sun.
•For more information on Vitamin D and its effect on health you can check out the website and newsletter of the Vitamin D Council.
•Rusty from Fitness Black Book also shares a bunch of summer time tips here
•Finally Craig from Hollywood Body Fitness has a take on the gym-less workout.


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PostSubject: Pull-up Exercise Variations   Mon Oct 17, 2011 11:56 am



http://relativestrengthadvantage.com/pull-up-exercise-v-shaped-body/

Pull-up Exercise Variations: 6 Essential Exercises for a V-Shaped Body (Video)



The pull-up – an exercise that is possibly the most efficient in developing the back muscles for a v-shaped body. My fascination with chin-ups & pull-ups began when I was around 10 or so. There is a playground close to where I live and I would see the older boys train there, yet I couldn’t do a single chin-up.

Even worse, on my first PT test as high school fresh man I still couldn’t do a single pull-up or chin-up. This was one of the reasons I started working out (managed 10+ chin-ups at the end of that freshman year). This, and the goal of getting a v-shaped back.



On a side note – Tony Jaa, pictured above, is an excellent example of an athlete with a great v-shaped body. He has a very wall percentage of body fat which accentuates the small waist. At the same time his back, the latissimus dorsi is very developed and creates the appealing v-shape. Check out the Hollywood Physique for examples of guys changing their bodies and getting a nice v-taper.

Tony is a martial artist, stuntman and actor from Thailand who has starred in a few explosive action movies already. If you are going to see a film with him – check out Ong Bak. My friend Rusty Moore has gone into great detail in his article about him ==> Is Tony Jaa the Next Bruce Lee?

1. Close Grip Chin-Up




Grab the bar with your palms facing up. Either place your hands right next to each other or space them one fist apart. Just pick whatever feels most natural to your body – this rule of thumb will give you more strength and less injuries on any exercise you do.

Pull yourself up using your back and finish with a strong biceps contraction. Lower under control. Do not make the mistake of just letting your body drop. This is very taxing on your elbows and you may soon develop tendonitis (pain in the elbows that can only go away with rest).

2. Close Grip Pull-Up



Grab the bar with your palms facing down this time. Again – either place your hands right next to each other or space them one fist apart.

Pull yourself up using your back (armpit muscles) and finish with a strong a contraction of the muscles on top of your arm – the brachialis (the muscle beneath the biceps), the brachioradialis (the one that goes from your forearm to your upper arm as well as all the little extensor muscles on the back of your forearm.

3. Parallel Grip Pull-Up



This time your palms will be facing each other. This position is anatomically the easiest on the joints and also the most natural one for your shoulder, elbows and wrists.

The parallel grip pull-up is the best position to add additional resistance for weighted pull-ups & chin-ups.

4. Shoulder Width Grip Chin-Up



The shoulder width grip chin-up is fantastic for involvement of both your upper back and your arms. You can add a lot of resistance here too. Just be careful – the biceps is a relatively small and weak muscle compared to the latissimus dorsi (the upper back) and you should add resistance here gradually.

Sudden jumps in weight may find your arms unprepared and cause an unnecessary injury – such as the one I had a few years back when training for a maximum attempt on weighted chin-ups. I managed to chin myself up with 42.5 kg in addition to my 80. However I had to take a month or two off from the exercise after that because my biceps got a minor injury.

5. Shoulder Width Grip Pull-Up



Shoulder width grip pull-ups are the best overall position to train with. They are a natural position, allow you to feel the engagement of the upper back and allow additional weight without stressing the biceps too much.

As an added benefit – if your next goal after mastering pull-ups and chin-ups is the muscle-up, this position is the way to go. The muscle-up starts with the same movement as the shoulde width grip pull-up.

6. Wide Grip Pull-Up



The benefit of doing wide grip pull-ups is that they partially isolate the upper back. This way you can learn to contract the lats and initiate the pull-up with them. In fact this is how I started training them.

The disadvantages however are numerous. For one, there is a decreased range of motion. This means your muscles do less work. Second, you are limited in how much weight you can add. Again – less work.

Pull-up Exercise Variation Video and Action Plan

Whatever variation you choose, make sure to stay away from failure, vary your reps (low, high, medium) and switch things up every month or so. Mastering the pull-up is rewarding both as a goal and because it will give you a cobra-like v-shaped body.

Here is an older video we shot which shows six types of pull-ups and chin-ups. that you can use in your workout along with the main benefits or emphasis of each type that we just discussed.



Note: Make sure to balance pull-up training with an exercise that trains the opposite movement in order to avoid muscle imbalances and injuries. Good choices are the military press and the handstand pushup.

The best way to achieve a v-shaped body is to follow a structured workout routine designed with this precise goal in mind. Check out the Hollywood Physique program.
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