There's a point in each repetition you perform that, when emphasized both mentally and physically, can improve the results you get from so-called
normal muscular function and contraction by 100 percent. In other words, there's a trick to performing every bodybuilding exercise. Unfortunately,
I wasn't aware of this when I started working out.
My main concern was simply to perfect my performance style and lift weights, and I was secure in the knowledge that I was doing all I could for
maximum gains. I was right-but not entirely right. By being totally aware of the mental, physical and scientific elements of progressive-weight
training and employing the following techniques, you'll achieve shocking results. Remember that exercise is part art and part science.
My point is that there's a better way to perform your reps. There has been a trend-at least, if you go by the number of ads that appear-toward using
wonder machines that do all the thinking for you, with chains, cams and levers assisting in your work. Despite the fact that we're in the age of machines
and computers, there's no substitute for a thinking human being doing trick repetitions with barbells, dumbbells and pulleys.
You make maximum muscle-building gains by doing what I call "thinking repetitions" with traditional weight-training exercises. Today's bodybuilders
are aware of their relationship with the weights and make the best of it, rather than relying on machines. No one has ever built a title- winning physique
with anything but traditional equipment.
What separates the champions from the novices, among other things, is the link between the muscle and the object being lifted. A novice starts as a
separate entity from the weights) from the workout itself, while champions predictably fuse with the task of training and become part of the experience.
On this point the stereotype of a muscle head is ludicrous, since a person must be sensitive (through biofeedback), analytic (with instinctive training)
and dedicated (using maximum intensity) in order to build a topflight physique.
To make maximum muscle gains, you must combine the will to succeed with the thinking process. The most important bodypart for the bodybuilder is the
brain itself; that is, thinking must precede action. Even so, the quality of your training will be in direct proportion to the results you achieve.
You must be alert and receptive enough to refine your training sessions, exercises and ultimately your repetitions to improve your gains. Every inch
the weight travels should produce results. As you try out the following movements and techniques, remember that bodybuilding is 100 percent attitude.
I have a number of suggestions for this bodypart. First, you should keep your legs in a locked position on standing calf, or toe, raises. When you bend
your knees on this movement, the thighs assist, but when you keep your legs straight, all the work is performed by the calves. In addition, a complete
repetition must include a complete stretch and contraction. I believe that the stretch and contraction components are equally important, so emphasize both.
Finally remember to hit the outer calf by performing half your reps with your feet turned inward, in a pigeon-toed position. Then do the other half with
your toes turned outward, forming a V with your feet.
Quads and Hams
Leg extensions, provided you have access to a leg table, can really isolate and separate the front thigh muscles, or quadriceps. Unfortunately most
traditional leg tables don't provide an equal amount of resistance throughout the range of motion. The entire rep should be performed in a slow, deliberate
manner, and you should emphasize the contraction. By holding each rep at the point of contraction for, say, two counts, you triple the effectiveness of this
movement. I suggest you use 15 reps, but remember to choose a weight that's light enough that you can hold each one at the top.
The same resistance requirement applies to leg curls. You must perform this movement with your hips perfectly flat on the leg table. If you have to raise your
buttocks, the weight is too heavy I recommend 12 to 15 slow reps. Again, by holding the resistance at the point of contraction for two seconds, you give your
leg biceps, or hamstrings, an incredible workout. Of course, the weight must be light enough to permit this. The hamstrings seen to respond in terms of pump
and peak similarly to the way the biceps responds. Don't let the point of resistance move up and down your lower calf. Keep it in one spot. And point your toes.
Hyperextensions are a must for developing the hamstring-spinal erector tie-in. The key to performing this movement is to arch up as high as you can-say, until
you can see the ceiling-and, again, hold at the top for a count of two. Support muscles like these respond best to slow, high-tension reps. Don't just swing your
When it comes to the pecs, I've found that by turning my wrists as I perform flat-bench laterals, or flyes, I place maximum stress on the target muscles throughout
the range of motion. Start with the dumbbells over your chest, your palms facing forward and the inside ends of the dumbbells touching. As you lower the weights,
rotate your wrists so that your palms are facing each other at the bottom of the movement. Then, as you return to the starting position, rotate your wrists back again
so the ends of the 'bells are touching over the center of your chest again at the top. Forcibly push the dumbbells together for a count of two and repeat.
If you're like most bodybuilders you've done much more chest work than back work, so the trick is to do more work for your back than your chest until the two
bodyparts are equally developed. In addition, I believe that including an exaggerated stretch on each rep brings maximum muscle gains to this bodypart. So on chins,
pulldowns and all rowing motions get in a complete stretch of your back before you start every repetition.
Perhaps the most difficult bodybuilding movement to perfect is the dumbbell lateral raise. Here are the key things to practice as you perform it:
1. The movement is somewhere between a forward raise and a side raise. Your elbows travel out to the sides while you guide the dumbbells forward
2. Start with your palms facing each other in front of your body and raise them to points that are just past your ears.
3. Rotate your wrists so that, when you get to the top, your little fingers are higher than your thumbs, as if the dumbbells were bottles you're emptying.
The most common mistake trainees make in biceps work is to let their wrists fall forward so that their forearms assist in the curling movements. You must keep your
wrists and forearms in straight lines. Some people prefer to bend their wrists slightly back, but you should never let them drop forward, If you want to achieve
round and peaked biceps development, your palms must be facing up when your biceps are in the contracted position. So isolate your biceps and train your forearms
The concept of non-locked repetitions works well for all exercises but triceps movements because the triceps' function is to lock the arms at complete extension.
Remember to forcibly extend your triceps to the completely locked-out position on each rep. As with the leg extensions and leg curls hold each repetition for a full
two counts and repeat.
Forearms, like calves respond best to high reps and especially to supersets and tri-sets. Try the following routine for fast forearm gains, resting 45 seconds
between tri-sets: Reverse curls 5x8, Wrist curls 5x15, Reverse wrist curls 5x15
Concentration and Visualization
The above training tips will help you snap out of a slump and start achieving maximum gains. These techniques won't do it alone, though-l can't stress enough the
importance of the mental aspect of training. Use your concentration. Stay focused on what you're doing. Tune out the rest of the gym as you train. You can't do two
things at once, and when you're at the gym the point is to work out, not to talk or people watch.
Use visualization too. This is the process of drawing a mental picture of how you want a certain muscle to look, then keeping that picture in your mind when you train
it. Many athletes pre-perform their events prior to competition day to the extent that they actually see themselves in the winner's circle. Thought precedes action, and
positive thought precedes positive action, Create and cement in your mind a positive mental image of the way you want to look, and you'll be on the superhighway to success.