Monster Mass Building Part III: Beastly Back & Biceps!

The Dragon’s Monster Mass Building Training Series continues this week with what may be the most intense workout yet. Today, we focus on the back and the biceps. That’s right. Consider this week’s post to be a “twofer”! This is easily one of my favorite workouts because of the insane pump that I get after doing it. Minutes after you finish you will probably curse me. Weeks after, you will thank me. Let’s get started.

The Back

Besides all of the great health benefits of having a strong back, an added bonus is the much admired “V” shape you will have. Combined with a trim waist, a barn door back will make you look like you have wings. It is a real head turner. Back workouts are typically divided into upper and lower, with most of the focus being placed on the upper back. Let’s take a look at the muscles that encompass the back:

  1. Trapezius: This large diamond shaped muscle is mostly trained with the shoulders and has been already covered here in part II.
  2. Latissimus Dorsi: Translated as “broadest muscle of the back”, the Latissimus Dorsi (AKA “lats”) are the key to having a wide wingspan. They run parallel to and outside of the Trapezius muscle. They are large and mostly flat and are responsible for extending the arms outward and upward. The most effective exercises for these muscles are pull-ups, lat pull-downs and bent over rows.
  3. Teres Major & Teres Minor: This is an “unofficial” third part to the upper back.  These “synergists” (AKA helpers) are responsible for rotating and helping the lats to move the arms outward from the body.

The back consists of:
1. Latissimus Dorsi
2. Trapezius
3. Teres Major / Teres Minor

The Dragon’s Bicep Workout immediately follows the Back Workout. During your back workout your biceps will be getting a warm-up for the work that is to come. They will become a bit “pre-fatigued” by the pull-ups and close grip lat pull-downs. By the time you end the Bicep Workout you will definitely feel a deep full burn. Now let’s learn a bit about them:

  1. Biceps: Biceps are rated the number one muscle that people associate with strength. They are the epitome of “manliness”. When you ask someone to “make a muscle” what do they do? They show off their arms. The key to obtaining bowling balls for biceps is to hit them from multiple angles and focus on a wide variety of rep ranges. Let’s get right into it after this brief introduction to the Biceps muscle. The Biceps Brachii or simply, “Biceps” is a two headed muscle that stretches from the shoulder to the elbow on the front side of the arm. It’s primary function is to bring the lower arm toward the body (flexing). Take a look….

The Bicep Brachii (or simply “Bicep”) Muscle consists of 2 heads. A variety of exercises need to be performed to effectively train both heads.

Now, let’s leave the classroom and go to the gym so we can do today’s workout.

The Dragon’s Beastly Back & Biceps Workout:

Workout #1:

  • Pull-Ups: 3 Sets x 10 – 12 reps
  • Seated “Lat” Pull-downs: 1 Warm-up Set x 10 reps. 4 Working Sets x 8 – 10 reps
  • Close-grip / underhand “Lat” Pull-downs: 3 Sets x 10 reps
  • Bent over Barbell Rows: 1 Warm-up Set x 10 reps. 4 Working Sets x 8 – 10 reps
  • Bent over 1 arm Dumbbell Rows: 4 Sets x 10 reps

Biceps

  • Standing EZ-Bar Curls: 1 Warm-up Set x 10 reps. 4 Working Sets x 8 – 10 reps
  • Concentration Curls: 3 Sets x 5 – 7 reps
  • Hammer Curls: 3 Sets x 10 reps
  • Chin-Ups: 2 Sets until failure

Workout #2:

  • Pull-Ups: 1 Set x 10 reps
  • Seated Cable Pull: 1 Warm-up Set x 10 reps. 4 Working Sets x 8 – 10 reps
  • T-Bar Rows: 1 Warm-up Set x 10 reps. 4 Working Sets 5 – 7 reps
  • Lying Dumbbell Pullovers: 3 Sets x 10 reps
  • Bent Over Reverse Flys: 4 Sets x 10 reps

Biceps

  • Seated EZ-Bar Curls: 1 Warm-up Set x 10 reps. 4 Working Sets x 8 – 10 reps
  • Standing Dumbbell Curls: 3 Sets x 10 reps
  • Seated Negative Rep Curls:  3 sets x 5 – 7 “negative” reps*
  • Chin-Ups: 3 sets 8 – 10 reps

*Negative Repetitions: Start at the contracted part of the rep (the end). Slowly lower your arm to the beginning position. Count very slowly as you lower your arm! Try to make it to a count of 50 for each rep.

Because this workout is lengthier and more intense than the previous ones it is important that you eat well so that you will have substantial fuel for both parts. Eat no more than an hour and a half and make sure you get plenty of complex carbohydrates. As always, be strict about your repetitions. Correct form far outweighs the amount of weight that you lift. No more time to waste. Go train hard and remember…

Dream Fit. Live Fit.

The Dragon’s Monster Mass Building Training Series III: Beastly Back & Bicep Workout

Monster Mass Building Part II: Shoulders of Steel

This week we continue The Dragon’s Mega Mass Building Training Series with a post dedicated to the shoulders.The shoulder complex doesn’t just include the Deltoid muscles but the Trapezius muscles as well. They come together to give your frame a wide, strong and dominant look. Let’s take a quick look at what these muscles do:

  1. Deltoids: The Deltoids are divided into 3 parts (or heads) that essentially handle all the lifting and rotating of your arms. What’s important for you to know is that these 3 heads are divided into Anterior (front), Lateral (side) and Posterior (rear) fibers. It’s important to train all three heads equally to have nice round capped shoulders.
  2. Trapezius: The Trapezius is a large diamond shaped muscle that attaches to your mid back, fans out to the back of your shoulders and collarbone and extends all the way to the back of your head. The “Traps”, as they are called, give the impression of a thick neck and tall shoulders. They help with neck rotation, back and forth motion and raising of the shoulders (shrugging). *If you want great examples of extremely well defined (borderline scary) traps, Google actor Tom Hardy and MMA / WWE Athlete Brock Lesnar.

The “Shoulder Complex” consist of Deltoids and Trapezius Muscles

Some fortunate individuals were born with big broad boulders for deltoids and perfectly symmetrical diamonds for “Traps”. These guys have to do very little work to maintain them. The rest of us, however, have to adopt a complex training routine in order to get our shoulders to stand out.

Now, let’s get to work:

The Dragon’s Shoulders of Steel Training Program

Workout #1:

  • Shoulder Press / Military Press: 1 Warm-up Set x 10 reps. 3 Working Sets x 5-7 reps.“Superset” with Lateral Dumbbell Raises: 4 Sets x 10 reps
  • Seated Bent-Over Dumbbell Lateral Raises: 4 Sets x 10-12 reps
  • Upright Rows (with curl-bar):  1 Warm-up Set x 10 reps.3 Working Sets x 5 – 7 reps
  • Dumbbell Shrugs: 4 Sets x 15 reps

Workout #2:

  • “Arnold” Dumbbell Presses: 1 Warm-up Set x 10 reps. 3 Working Sets x 5-7 reps
  • Front Dumbbell Raises:        1 Warm-up Set x 10 reps. 3 Working Sets x 10 reps
  • Reverse Cable Flys:              1 Warm-up Set x 10 reps. 3 Working Sets x 10 reps
  • Dumbbell Shrugs:                 1 Warm-up Set x10 reps.  3 Working Sets x 5-7 reps
  • Machine Shoulder Press:     1 “Failure” set: Do as many as possible until failure!

As with your chest workout, you should aim to work out your shoulders every 5 days. You must work them hard at least once per week in order to make them grow. Warm-up sets get your muscles loose and prepared for the heavy workload. Don’t skip them! Each “Working” Set should be at least 5 – 7 reps, at about 80% of your 1 rep maximum. Make each repetition strict. Squeeze those muscles and go slow. If you are able to lift 7-10 reps during each set then it’s time to add on more weight. Be sure to push yourself by resting no more than 2 minutes between sets. Finally, remember, the only way you will get big is to eat big! That means lots of lean protein and proper complex carbohydrates. Need help? Go here and send me a message.

Now get to it!

Dream Fit. Live Fit.

Actor Tom Hardy has very well defined Trapezius and Deltoid Muscles. Great exercises to develop your shoulders and neck include Military Press, Shrugs, and Dumbbell Raises!