Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Potential and Biceps


When I used to coach college football, I always heard about this kid and that kid who had "tons of potential", if he could "just get his mind right", or "play harder" or "use his quickness" or "mature a little bit", or "use his athletic gifts", and so on. Or "he may just be the best athlete on the team."  Guess what all of this means?

Not a damn thing.

You see, its what you can do right now, and oh yeah, before I forget, you know what the worst is? When the coaches used to describe a player who may not be athletic as hell (meaning he may not be a great basketball player) but gets results on the field as gutsy or getting the most out of his limited ability.  He doesn't have limited ability, he's making plays and getting the job done. He has plenty of ability, because he is expressing it on the field. Thats all that matters, not the way he looks or if he can run the 40 fast or if his vertical jump is 40 inches or if he has 20 inch arms. None of that matters, anyway. He is getting it done, while the "potential kid"doesn't have the intangibles that the "unathletic" kid has, namely heart, work ethic, drive, determination, hustle,  and smarts.Which to me are talents. Those are talents just as much as a 40 time is, maybe even more. Because those are inside of the kid, and most of the time, you can't coach it in them, it is wired into them from an early age, or who knows where it came from, but they have it, these attributes that every coach should love in a player. Potential is nothing. Realized potential is a whole other ball game.

Park that ego for bigger biceps

I don't have huge biceps by any means, but I used to have really spindly arms. I never felt a connection with my biceps like I did with legs and back and I thought that by using super heavy weights and sloppy form, (cheat curls with 175-225), I could force them to grow. Doing those heavy weights was great for my ego, but my arms weren't growing, although I did get a good case of biceps tendonitis for my troubles. So, because I simply couldn't do those cheat curls any more with the tendonitis and my flexors constantly fired up, I was forced to find other ways to train them. I saw a video with Stan Efferding when he was bodybuilding and getting ready for a show and I think that he was saying the same thing, that he started to go lighter because Flex Wheeler told him to, and his arms started to grow. I believe that he was using 30 pound dumbbells. Also Ben Pakulski's videos were espousing the same thing: Controlling the weights.

So what did I do? I went lighter and slowed it down. Also, I noticed that whenever I used high reps in the dumbbell and ez curl, that my shoulders would start burning and so would my forearms. So I dropped the reps to 6 on free weight exercises ( with cables , I could go higher reps and keep my shoulders and forearms out of the movement mostly), and really dropped the weight down. I went from the 60-70's on sloppy curls to 30's and 35's and using perfect form and slowing down the eccentric phase of the movement . I did 10 sets once week of biceps with perfect form and lighter weight and wouldn't you know, those biceps started to grow, and with weights that my 6 year old Maximus could lift. And another thing-I used to lift with guys who could grow their biceps by barely even thinking about them. But I realized that I couldn't train like that and grow, I had to adapt to something else. It's like me and math. When I first saw algebra on the board in 7th grade, I was like, what in the hell is that stuff? And it took me many years of summer school and failing grades to realize that math didn't come naturally to me and I would have to work smarter and harder than the other kids to catch up with them. The best thing for me to do was accept it and buckle down. Don't have a body part growing like you think that it should? Find a different way than the masses to find out what works for you. 

Here is sample routine for biceps-

Standing dumbbell curls 5 sets of 6 (5x6) Focus on keeping wrist straight and only bring the dumbbell 3/4 of the way up, meaning don't relax at the top.  I think, scapula pinched, ribcage up, elbows back. And just bring it to chest level. Think control on the way up, and think slow on the way down. If it helps, count to 4 as you lower the weight. Don't relax at the bottom, but pause momentarily at the stretched position and then go up again. And one more thing: Squeeze, squeeze at the top of the movement.

Cable curls 5x12
Stand to where you feel the cable pulling back on you, meaning where you feel the most tension. You can do these one arm or two, I just do two arms because it takes so damn long to do one at a time. Controlled ascent, elbows tucked back, ribcage up . Same body position as the dumbbell curls. Bring it 3/4 of the way up and squeeze then lower slowly. If you find yourself cheating, throw your ego out the window and lower the weight. It's the tension that counts, not the weight. Cable curls are the best because of the constant tension provided.

It also helps to close your eyes and see your biceps going through the movement. The mind-muscle connection is real and is effective. Don't close your eyes during squats but with "safe exercises" feel free. It helps.

Thats it, 10 sets of biceps where you are totally locked in, focused and controlled. No ego. I promise that they will grow.

All About Being a Lifer

What's a Lifer? Someone who isn't in to something for just a day, a month, a's for life. Whether its training or your family or your doesn't matter. You work at it, you build on it, you see the big picture . You don't miss workouts because it means something to you. You are like a Shakespearean actor- no matter what is going on in your life, you block it out when it's time to train. You walk into the weight room and all else disappears. Worry about it later.