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Saturday, December 15, 2007

Minimum Leverage Gets Maximum Results For Big, Muscular Biceps

Have you ever seen children play on a seesaw? If so, you know that a seesaw is a long plank that is usually balanced in the center on a rock or some other solid surface that acts as a fulcrum. Two children sit at opposite ends of the plank, and as each child thrusts his weight downward the other is lifted high into the air. The seesaw acts as a lever that allows the children to alternatively lift each other skyward. This action can continue unabated while both children sit at the ends of the seesaw.

Since these end-seated positions provide much of the leverage that powers this device, if one child moves forward he will have more difficulty lifting the other child. Although the children's relative weight remains constant, the forward moving child must exert more effort to continue lifting his counterpart. That's because this child reduces his positional leverage as he moves toward the center of the seesaw. His change of position forces increased exertion to lift the ! same amount of weight.

Like the seesaw, your arms act as levers when you're doing biceps curls - with your elbows as fulcrums and your biceps providing the power. While you can't change the distance between your hands and biceps, you can reduce your positional leverage in a given exercise by changing your arm position. Leverage is defined as the power to move weight located at the end of a lever. As applied to weight training, positional leverage refers to power derived from a particular exercise position. When you minimize positional leverage, you force the targeted muscle to produce more of the leverage needed to complete the weightlifting movement.

Suppose, for example, that you can do ten repetitions of free standing barbell curls with 150 pounds. Since this weight represents an amount that you can curl using both arms, someone might assume that you can also perform ten repetitions of barbell preacher curls with this same weight. However, preacher curls affo! rd none of the positional leverage available when you perform ! curls fr om a standing position. Consequently, you're not likely to work with anything near 150 pounds in your barbell preacher curls.

The free standing barbell curl allows you to lift more weight because it invariably enlists some help from the shoulders and upper back. Shoulder and back assistance allows you to lift more weight but reduces the biceps' overall workload. This usually results from the natural tendency in a free-standing position to swing or rock the torso. In fact, it's virtually impossible to keep the body perfectly stationary while performing standing barbell curls. However, one way to minimize unwanted body movement is to stand with your back against a wall. As you slowly curl the weight upward, the wall prevents your torso from rocking to create shoulder and back assistance. This results in increased resistance on your biceps.

While standing against a wall increases the effectiveness of free standing barbell curls (i.e., reduces positional leverage) mo! st people don't use this position when performing this exercise. Rather, the popular practice is to overload a barbell, stand in front of a mirror and start "blasting" and "bombing" away! Such well-intentioned but misguided effort will usually leave you exhausted and frustrated at not achieving the muscular arms that you seek. This is because you can't build powerfully muscled arms without maximum resistance training. Now, you should understand that "maximum resistance" doesn't mean maximum weight as you cannot possibly train with such poundage in every workout. Maximum resistance means performing an exercise with proper training technique so that you maximize resistance on the targeted muscle throughout the exercise range of motion. As an inherently compound exercise, free-standing barbell curls cannot maximize resistance on your biceps. Without positional adjustments such as standing with your back against a wall to increase this movement's effectiveness, this exercise si! mply doesn't isolate the biceps sufficiently to stimulate maxi! mum grow th.

On the other hand, barbell preacher curls are performed on a bench that forces the arms to extend at an angle that effectively eliminates any shoulder or back assistance. This position also stabilizes the elbows to negate the elbow-push that also generates muscle-cheating momentum in standing curl exercises. Unlike standing barbell curls, there is no natural tendency to swing your torso with barbell preacher curls. When someone is jerking his upper body during this exercise it's because he's doing so intentionally and incorrectly.

The "strict" preacher curl position forces you to work with lighter weight in this exercise as opposed to the standing curls. The irony, however, is that your biceps actually get more work from using lighter weight in preacher curls than they will from the heavier weight used in a free standing position. The key difference between these two exercises is positional leverage. Your biceps must generate more power, i.e., leverage in the! preacher curls because they don't get any help from other muscle groups by virtue of your arm position. As a result, the preacher curl, whether performed with a barbell, EZ curl bar or dumbbell, is one of the best mass building and shaping exercises that you can do for your biceps.

Minimizing positional leverage is essential to proper biceps training technique. You simply can't build Truly Awesome Arms™ without applying this training principle.

Mark G. Winston, "The Master Gunslinger," is author of the ground-breaking training manual, "GO For Your GUNS - 7 Simple Secrets to AWESOME ARMS." He has also created, a bodybuilding and fitness website dedicated entirely to helping you build big, muscular arms. Mark's forthcoming book will be jammed with workouts and training techniques to help you build the big, muscular arms that you deserve! To learn about the GO For Your GUNS bodybuilding system and get free arm training tips that really work, visi! t http://! www.GOfo

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