If I had to pick one exercise for building biceps, without a doubt I would select Preacher curls. Actually, now that I think of it I wouldn’t either. I would pick “Scott Curls”. It’s really the same exercise but there’s a big difference in the equipment. A preacher bench can be anything with an arm rest on a stand. But a “Scott Bench” has a very specific design.
Over the years, I have worked on the design of this little bench to where it is as close to perfection as anything I’ve ever seen. When it’s designed correctly it’s great. If not, it’s lousy. The normal flat faced bench is not very good for anything let alone bicep work. Even plain old standing barbell curls are better. But let’s assume you have a well designed bench with at least a convex face.
The key to this exercise working its magic requires several specific techniques. They are as follows: The exercise should always be done standing rather than seated so you can get your hips under you when the weight gets heavy. The seat’s only on there to give the bench more strength and for other seated exercises like seated DB press, seated curls etc. But when ever your’e doing Scott curls you should always do them standing.
The most effective system I have ever used is a tri-series as follows:
First get a set of dumbbells with which you can just make 6 reps. (6 reps has been determined by the National Strength Training Association as being the most effective number of reps for building size.) Then get a barbell that’s about 70% of the weight of the dumbbells. Finally get an EZ curl bar and load it with 80% of the weight of the dumbbells. For example I use 70 lb dumbbells, a 100 lb barbell and 120lb on the EZ curl bar. Now you’re ready to do some serious work.
It’s best if you have a training partner for this exercise because it establishes your pace much better. You do your tri-series then he does his. The rest time is just about right.
Start off with the DB curls. Place a towel on the bench to keep your skin from catching on the cover. This exercise is done in a fairly loose style. You don’t have to get the armpits right down on the bench, but position the elbows just a little lower than the crown of the bench. For this to work, the face of the bench needs to be not only curved but short enough to keep the dumbbells from hitting the bottom of the bench. It doesn’t matter if you cheat to get the dumbbells up. You do however, need to let the dumbbells all the way down and completely uncurl the wrists at the bottom of the exercise. This is important because it’s the bottom of the exercise where all the growth lies hidden. It’s okay to pull back with the shoulders to assist in getting
the weight back up to the top. The 6th rep however, should really be tough. In fact it should be just about the last rep possible even on the first series. Once at the top of the 6th rep you then need to do at least (4) 1\2 rep burns. They’re done by letting the weight down just so it’s about to fall then bring it back up again.
If your bench has a flat face, this movement is murder on the arms and elbows. You need a well padded, rounded face for this exercise to work.
Next, set the DB’s down and immediately, with no rest, pick up the barbell with a wide grip. Appx. 4 inches wider than your shoulders. You should have the palms heavily chalked to keep them from slipping. Wrap the thumbs around the bar. (Don’t use a false grip) Nestle the armpits clear down on the bench. (the bench needs to be well padded on the crown to eliminate any armpit pain). Let your feet forward so you are really resting on the bench with the body. Slowly lower the BB with the wrists curled until you come to the complete bottom of the exercise. Uncurl the
wrists totally. Then with no movement of the upper body whatsoever, slowly curl the wrists and force your arms to come up. Do not cheat even a smidgen. This takes strong forearms. Because you’ll find you’ll fail in getting your wrists curled. Quite often your biceps are strong enough but it’s your forearms that can’t hack it. If you want beautiful lower biceps, you have to build stong forearms along with the biceps.
Keep the shoulders and the head forward. Look for ways to make this “Straight Bar exercise” of the tri-series even more strict. It’s the key to the whole thing working. The DB exercise and the EZ bar are important but nothing like the Straight bar with strict form. All the growth in hidden in this middle exercise. It’s also where all the pain lurks.
If you’re patient with yourself and endure the pain, the bar will come up very slowly, but it will come up. You must have faith and be willing to endure the pain of this exercise. It is excruciating. But it is the heart of the series. Don’t cheat at all. Do 6 reps with 4 burns on the top as you did with the DB’s.
Set the barbell down and immediately pick up the EZ curl bar with a reverse grip. You’ll really need the chalk here. The weight should be so heavy you can just barely make 6 reps. Your armpits are not down on the bench for this movement. The form is very similar to the one you used for doing the DB curls. You are trying to use a heavy weight on this exercise just as you were on the DB curls. It is the BB curls that are done strict. Do 6 reps and 4 burns with the EZ curl bar also. You will have just done one series. You can then rest long enough for your partner to do his series. You should do anywhere from 3 to 5 series. It is a killer but … you won’t believe how much progress you’ll make on your biceps. I know of nothing like it for building simply jaw dropping biceps.
Triceps That Look Like Loaves of Bread on Your Arms
We are going to be using three different exercises to create this stunning transformation. The exercises are…
The Cheat Supine Triceps Press with an EZ curl bar
The Kneeling Triceps Extension with the medium height pulley
The Free Hand Triceps Extension.
I’ll explain exactly how to do each exercise in order to create those “loaves of bread” on the back of your arms.
Note: You should finish your biceps workout before you start this triceps routine. Your biceps should be fully pumped and your elbows completely warmed up before they do triceps. Not only that … but fully pumped biceps acts … kind of like a little pillow that you can bounce the forearm off of at the bottom of the exercise when doing triceps extensions.
Let’s assume you have just completed your biceps training and you are ready to bomb the tar out of your triceps for maximum development. I can hardly wait to get into this discussion. I can feel my mouth starting to water just thinking about it.
Start off with the supine triceps press with the EZ curl bar. If possible … find a bench that is only about 6 inches off the ground so you can clean the bar right off the floor into press position without any help. Your hands should be about 6 inches apart with the thumbs on the same side of the bar as your fingers. Bring the bar down to your chest and press it up exactly as if you were doing a close grip bench press.
In fact it really is a close grip bench press except you are using an EZ curl bar rather than a straight bar so you can take the stress off the wrists. The 6 inch bench will allow you to bridge with your legs so you can really cheat if you need to. I want you to use a heavy weight. In fact the weight should be close to the weight you use while doing normal bench press.
Cheat as much as needed and do at least 6 or 7 reps. Bring the bar down close to the chest and back up to lock out position again. After you have done 7 reps, do 4 or 5 quarter rep lockout burns right at the top of the movement.
Now you are ready for the 2nd exercise of the series. This one is a little harder to improvise than the Supine triceps press but it’s even better and absolutely essential to making the series work it’s magic.
It’s called the Kneeling Triceps Extension with a medium pulley. The problem is … seldom do you find a pulley that’s the right height. The height you need is not high or low … it’s sort of in between at about 5 feet high.
Also, you need a twin pedestal triceps bench in order to get a full long head stretch; but I think I can help you improvise on this one so you can make just about as much progress.
Try this … You can substitute the twin pedestal bench with two regular flat benches about 14 inches high and about a foot apart.
Okay … Ready … Here’s the correct position. You are facing away from the machine, kneeling on the ground with your elbows resting on the two benches placed a foot apart so your head can go down in between them.
This is important because it will allow you to drop the body down lower than the elbows when you get to the full extension part of the movement. It’s this extreme stretch of the long head that builds incredible size. More about this later on.
Okay, we got that part … Now what to do about the pulley that’s too high. Try this … If you don’t have an adjustable pulley that will go down to about 5 feet. Go to the hardware store and pick up a cable about 15 feet long and have an S hook placed on each end of the cable. Also buy a 3 foot chrome chain and have S hooks placed on both ends of the chain. Now you are almost ready for some of the sweetest triceps music you have ever heard.
Note: If you try to do this exercise off a normal lat machine, with the pulley way up in the air, the angle will pull you right up off the benches. Try it you’ll see what I mean … you’ll have to flex your abs like crazy to stay down on the bench. Not to mention the stress on your low back.
Okay, one last thing … Take off the lat bar and attach the cable of the lat machine to one end of your 15 foot cable. Walk out 15 feet and attach the 3 foot chain to the other end of your cable. Set the benches in place … Oh, I almost forgot. You also need a V shaped Triceps bar about an inch and a half in diameter.
I know … I know … It sounds like I’m being particular.
Just wait until you try it though. You won’t complain. In fact you will be singing praises to my name.
Continuing … Attach the V bar to the chain. By the way … The purpose of chain is to allow for more precise adjustment in case the foot placement is not quite right. Oh yeah … I forgot to mention the foot placement.
You see. Now that you are 15 feet away from the lat machine, you won’t have anything to keep you from sliding back into the lat machine as soon as you start doing the exercise.
Use your imagination. You can come up with something to hold you in place.
Also, a little more about the chain. A good chrome chain will be nice and smooth so it won’t pull your hair out as it passes over your head.
By the way …
You’ll know when you have the angle just right because the chain will barely rub on the back of your head as you do the exercise. Also, by using the S hooks on the chain you can adjust the length of the chain so your bodyweight will hold you down on the benches without wasting energy or stressing your lower back.
Does all this make sense? I hope so. Okay … Now that you have the apparatus correct, let’s talk about the actual exercise …
Kneel down on the ground and place the hands on the V bar. Place thumbs and the fingers on the same side of the bar. Lower the body down with just the elbows resting on the two benches. Now as you let the bar back down over the head, lower the body at the same time. This will increase the stretch on the long head of the triceps.
Try it … you’ll see what I am talking about.
This is the key to making this exercise build huge triceps. I mean huge triceps. Never mind how it works, I just want you to do what I tell you. That way you can find out first hand just how wonderful this exercise is.
Okay, let’s go on. Do about 7 to 8 reps and finish off with 5 or 6 burns in the arm extended position. The burns should be little 1/4 rep movements just like you did on the Supine Triceps press.
Now that you have done the Triceps Press and the Kneeling Triceps extension, you have done 1 series. Pretend you have a training partner and rest just long enough for your partner to do a set. (By the way, I don’t suggest using a training partner on this triceps routine. You’ll see why in a minute). Go back to the Supine triceps Cheat press again and repeat the same number of reps with the same weight. Now do the Kneeling triceps extension again just as before. Do this series of “back to back” exercise for 5 different series. You will be doing 5 sets of each exercise with 7 reps and 5 to 6 burns on each set.
Okay, now comes the fun. This is where the real size comes from. You are not going to believe the pump you are going to get from this …
After having done 5 series of the former two set combinations … Now just do the Kneeling triceps extension with absolutely perfect form. Do not cheat at all. I want you to still do 7 reps, but no burns this time.
Again, let the bar go completely down as far as possible at the same time dipping the upper body to find even more stretch. But this time extend the bar forward with absolutely nothing but the triceps , don’t hunch the shoulders or lift the body or anything like that. Do the exercise absolutely strict. Do 7 reps, drop the weight 10 lbs and do another set. Rest for no more than 6 breaths between the sets. Complete 5 or 6 of these finishing sets. Each time using perfectly strict form and dropping the weight about 10 lbs each set … resting for no more than 6 breaths.
At this point your pump will be next to incredible. Now to finish off, go over to a normal flat bench or even better if you have one of my Tricep Blasters, I’m going to show you something wonderful.
This exercise is done similar to the Kneeling triceps extension except this time you’re going to be standing, not kneeling. Lean over and grasp the edge of a flat bench (or the bar on the Tricep Blaster) and, keeping the hands about 6 inches apart, the fingers pointing up and with the elbows pointing towards the ground slowly lower the body using a similar motion to what you were using on the Kneeling triceps extension. This will allow you to get an even better stretch. Do 3 or 4 sets … each one, to complete failure.
If you have the “Tricep Blaster”, start with the bar as low as possible. Where you can still get at least 7 full complete stretching reps. Then raise the bar a notch and do it again. Complete this process until you have moved right up the rack.
Also, the Tricep Blaster has a bar with rotates which allows you to get even lower … better stretch. Which makes for even bigger triceps. The curved bar takes the strain off the wrists, but don’t fret if you only have a bench, it will do. You can still make so terrific gains.
There you have it. This is a great training tip that I have shared with lots of fellows. I’m sure you are going to love this hummer. Tape your arm each night right after you do your last set. Shoot for 1/16 of an inch growth each time you do it. You will soon have another pivot point to drive all the other guys in the gym nuts. Good luck.