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Pipes, Guns, Bazookas - Killer Biceps
By: Allen Martin

Pipes. Guns. Bazookas.

Take your pick. Grab your weapon of choice.

This common weight room jargon refers to the muscle that separates your elbows from your shoulders, those bulging beauties known as your biceps.

Although biceps are considered a small muscle group, smaller than say the chest, legs, or back, their importance within a hard-core bodybuilder’s physique is undeniable. The double-bi pose is among a bodybuilder’s favorite.

Of course, before you go carving them into oblivion, it is most imperative to amass the mass on your arms. You cannot shape what you don’t have.

Here are a couple of biceps-blasting exercises designed to load up those guns for the big showdown:

ALTERNATING DUMBBELL CURLS: You can do these either standing upright or sitting on a bench. Take a pair of dumbbells of considerable weight and hold them at your sides so that your palms are facing your legs and your thumbs are facing outward. Slowly curl one arm toward your torso, turning your arm in so that your palm is facing upward. Squeeze your biceps during the contraction. As you slowly lower the weight toward the floor, your other arm should begin curling the weight toward your torso, repeating the motion. Do 3 sets of 10 reps on each arm.

STRAIGHT-BAR CURLS: Take a straight barbell and load it up with considerable weight, holding it in your hands with your palms facing upward. Have your hands at shoulder width as you lock your elbows into your sides. Slowly curl the bar toward your torso, squeezing the biceps during the range of motion. Hold at the contraction for a beat, then slowly lower the weight toward the starting position, as you concentrate solely on the negative movement. Visualize your biceps tearing up with each repetition. Repeat the process, cranking out 3 sets of 10 reps.

Of course, your gains will be minimal without the use of effective form. Do not swing your back or move your elbows during the range of motion.

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The Power of Stretching    - Dave Snape

 

Your muscles ache from a good stretch. This is quite
normal and is part of the process. Stretching has
seemingly been with us and particularly with athletes
since the beginning of time.

A very key point to good stretching is to hold the
stretch for at least seventeen seconds. This is a
pearl of wisdom gleaned from a ballet teacher a few
years back. She said that any stretch under 17
seconds was just not effective.

The 17 second rule is exceeded in the high intensity
Bikram's yoga where stretches are held for about 30
seconds. Don't forget the high level of heat that is
used in Bikram's to extract that last little bit of
stretch out of your muscles. An interesting twist that
is not necessary to gain benefits from stretching. But,
it can't hurt, right?

So what kind of benefits can you expect from
stretching? That's an easy one. Have you ever seen the
movie, Blood Sport? Did you know that Frank Dux could
truly stretch his body to the extreme. The actor that
played him was quite elastic as well.


Great elasticity is also something you might see in
well trained Spetsnaz (Russian) agents. They often work
out with Russian kettlebells too. They are for superior
strength gains and the ability to withstand ballistic
shocks.

Why are stretching and flexibility considered important
to these people? Stretching gives one the ability to
have explosive power available at one's fingertips
without the need to warm up. Of course most of us are
not martial artists or agents. But, you'll be happy to
know there are plenty of other benefits.

Let me give you an example. After learning to sit in
the full lotus position for long periods of time, my
ankles became very flexible. One day I was walking
along and my left foot fell into a pothole. This mishap
pushed my ankle sideways to about 90 degrees from it's
normal position.

Amazingly, this didn't even hurt, not one bit. If my
ankle hadn't been so flexible, I may have suffered a
sprained ankle. At the very least, it would have hurt
for days.

Key point: stretching helps you to avoid injuries.
Not only that but if you do have a muscle, tendon or
ligament injury it should heal faster, theoretically
speaking.

Stretching actually grows the ligaments, tendons and
muscles being stretched. They really grow longer over
time.

Check with your physician before undertaking any type
of exercise, including stretching.

Here is some good instructional material on stretching:
http://tinyurl.com/6c6kq
 

Dave Snape

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