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Animal Arms, Volume 1

Arms. Bulging, peaked biceps, gnarly brachialis, freaky forearms and jagged, thick triceps that resemble sides of beef are needed if you dare to bang heads with the fucking big boys. Ever see seam-splitting mass that doesn't come and go with a pump? The kind of arms that provoke the frightened gasps of unsuspecting onlookers? The kind of guns that swell, ridden with snakelike vascularity when performing simple everyday tasks like brushing your teeth? Shit yeah. That's what we all want. Now it's time to get them.

There have been many theories over the years as to how to build serious pipes. Guys like Arnold and Sergio bombed there guns for hours on end and built some of the sickest arms of all time. Later, the advocates of high intensity training like Mentzer and Yates would do a few of the most insane sets of curls using weights mere mortals don't use on the bench press and call it a day for biceps in a matter of minutes. These two theories have a single underlying theme in common: To build the guns of a champion, you've got to train your arms hard and heavy.

You want arms, you gotta avoid the laundry list of exercises with a predetermined set and rep ranges. Sure, you know you need the free weight basics: barbell curls, dumbbells curls, preachers, hammers, skull crushers and the like. Experiment with rep ranges. Try some high rep sets of 15-25; do some sets so heavy that you'll need a spot on your third rep… it all works. It just doesn't all work all the time. Instead of all the usual recycled bullshit, examine some intensity techniques and exercise tricks you can do to hit those deep fibers and to give you that last inch or two you need to achieve true freakdom.

Exercise 1: Running the Rack

Here you are going to do six sets of six alternating dumbbells curls. Choose a weight to start with that you can curl for a good set of eight, but this time you are going to stop at six… and this is where it gets ugly. You are going to immediately re-rack the weight and grab the next pair of dumbbells in descending order (e.g. 45-40-35-30-25-20) and do a set of six, you are going to continue in this fashion, without pause until you have completed six total sets of six. You will just have completed 36 consecutive reps ranging from moderately heavy to light in a minute's time and your arms will know it. This exact same technique can be employed when doing alternating hammer dumbbell curls to place greater emphasis on the brachialis… and by the way, don't feel like a pussy when you are tearfully struggling with the twenty pounders on your sixth set.

Exercise 2: Dropset 21s

This is the combination of two intensity techniques to create a completely torturous biceps-expanding experience. You will need two barbells, one loaded with a weight you can curl for a good 12 and the other with weight for 15. Take the heavier barbell and do 7 reps using half of the range of motion of a standard barbell curl from the bottom to the middle. Now immediately do a set of 7 from the middle of the movement to the top. Follow that immediately with 7 complete reps (7+7+7=21). As if that wasn't bad enough, you are to drop that barbell and immediately pick up the lighter one and perform the exact same exercise, with the same reps in the same fashion. If every last synapse in your arms hasn't sputtered and died by now, we will try one more exercise.

Exercise 3: Buddy Curls

For this one you'll need a training partner with a similar level of strength. Load up a barbell with a weight with which you could perform 15 strict reps. Standing directly in front of your partner in crime, bang out 10 reps and then immediately hand him the bar, at which time he will proceed to do 10 of his own. Without pause, he will hand the bar back to you and you will perform 9 reps-you see where this is headed. Back and forth until you can barely complete one good rep. You will each have just completed 55 reps in a matter of a couple of minutes, and for the next couple of days, your arms will be of no fucking use to you. You'll be glad you brought your boy with you. He can pour your post-workout shake into your quivering gullet.

You hear the weak excuses all the time: “No matter what I do, my arms won't grow” or “It's not my fault, I have shitty genetics” or “I think my arms are overtrained… from now on I'll do six sets for arms every other month.” These are all copouts. The bottom line is that you don't believe you can build great arms and thus you never will. It applies to every facet of life. Genetics or luck or privilege mean nothing in the face of a positive attitude and a relentless will. If you are truly hungry to succeed and are willing to accept nothing less of yourself, then all out, balls to the wall effort, then you cannot be stopped. Those arms you see as you close your eyes each night are out there waiting for you. Now it is simply a matter of whether or not you've got the balls to go get them.

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