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Tip of the week tip: Perform Zottman Curls for bigger biceps and forearms

Tipps der Woche Tipp: Führe Zottman Curls für größere Bizeps und Unterarme aus

Huge forearms. A handshake that can compress steel. Why is it so rare to see something like this these days? Probably because most exercisers neglect their forearm training.

It's understandable. Direct forearm training is painful and boring, and it's also often done as an afterthought at the end of a training session when you're already exhausted. But what if there was an exercise that would allow you to build serious mass on your forearms while building your biceps at the same time? Well, there is such an exercise.

Zottman Curls

  1. Grab a pair of dumbbells using a thumbless grip.
  2. Start with an underhand grip with palms facing up.
  3. Begin the exercise with a curl movement like regular bicep curls.
  4. Consciously tense your biceps in the highest position for 1 to 2 seconds before rotating your wrists and forearms so that your palms are facing down.
  5. Lower the weight until your biceps and forearms are fully extended.

How does this exercise work?

By starting Zottman Curls like regular dumbbell curls, you are able to use a weight that is much heavier than the weight you might normally use for reverse curls. By rotating your wrists and forearms at the highest point of the movement, you shift the load to your forearms and overload the last muscle fiber of your forearms with a heavy, slow eccentric repetition.

A huge contraction of your biceps plus an eccentric overload of your forearms? Welcome to the best of both worlds.

Sets and reps

Zottman Curls are most effective in certain sets and repetition ranges. Perform either 3 to 4 sets of 8 to 10 repetitions per set or 2 to 3 sets of 20 to 30 repetitions.

Within your training sessions, Zottman Curls serve as an excellent exercise at the beginning of your workout to improve blood flow to your arms and warm up your elbow flexors. Alternatively, you can perform them at the end of your training session as a finishing exercise with high repetitions to fill your arms with blood and achieve a massive pump.

Tip: Perform leg extensions standing up instead of sitting down

Most standard leg exercises ignore a very important part of the quadriceps. Here's a way to address it to build stronger legs.


By Tyler Thomas

There's a gaping hole in the leg exercises you perform. Yes, squats, lunges and especially leg extensions leave out a very visible muscle: the rectus femoris.

The rectus femoris is the large muscle that you can see in the middle of the thighs. Unlike the rest of the thigh muscles, which only have one function - to extend the knee - the rectus femoris has other functions: Hip flexion (all movements in which the hips bring the upper and lower body closer together) and a forward tilt of the pelvis.

The fact that the rectus femoris has two extra tasks to fulfill means that it needs to be trained differently from the rest of the thigh muscles. Your best option for training the rectus femoris properly is to perform leg extensions in a standing position.

Standing leg extensions

  1. The key to performing this exercise correctly is to find something to hold onto. As the weights get heavier, balance will become an issue. If you don't have a firmly anchored bar in front of your cable pulley, you can also hold on to another person.
  2. To get the weight in the right position, you need to pull the weight out of the cable pull and stand on it. Once you have your foot on the cable, you can place the cuff around your foot.
  3. Place the lower pulley of the cable pulley approximately at the height of your buttocks. A higher or lower position will reduce the range of motion.

Sets and repetitions

The rectus femoris is a fast contracting muscle which means that it uses up its energy quite quickly. Keep the number of repetitions between 4 and 8 and the number of sets per week between 3 and 6.

Why do the two extra functions mean that the rectus femoris needs to be trained differently?

There is a concept known as the length-tension relationship. Muscles that pull on two joints are called "bi-articular". Because they attach to two joints, these muscles have multiple jobs, but they don't multitask very well.

You can imagine this as follows: You can watch TV and listen to your girlfriend tell you about her day at the same time, but you can't do either of them very well. You have to choose one of the two: Listening to your girlfriend or watching TV. For your biarticular muscles, you need to do the same: pick a task.

Remember that the rectus femoris is responsible for hip flexion and knee extension. Most leg exercises, including squats and lunges, involve hip flexion. If your hip is already flexed, then your recus femoris cannot perform its task of extending the knee properly.

At least with squats and lunges, your hip is extended when you move the weight upwards. Since your hips are in a flexed position during leg extensions in a seated position, this exercise is even worse for your rectus femoris than squats and lunges. The natural solution to this problem is to perform leg extensions in a position where your hips are already extended or while standing upright.

What about sissy squats? Aren't they technically a variation of the standing leg extension?

Yes, classic sissy squats are a variation of the leg extension where the hips are extended. However, standing leg extensions are a better option for several reasons. With standing leg extensions, you can easily change the weight to make the exercise lighter or heavier, which is not quite as easy with sissy squats.

With sissy squats, the range of motion is slightly greater when the calves touch the hamstrings. However, due to the forward movement of the knees and the lifting of the heels off the floor, sissy squats put significantly more strain on the knees.

Tip: When life gets tough, work hard

Successful strength athletes find confidence and self-belief in discipline. Here's what you can learn from them.


By Dani Shugart

Some exercisers are relentless. They know what they want, make plans to achieve it and always follow those plans. They never seem to lose their passion for their training and are always on track. In short, they get results.

But what separates the relentless from those who give up? Here's one of those things: they are disciplined. They are comfortable in the familiarity of a physical challenge.

Are you going through tough times? This is exactly the situation in which successful strength athletes train. Instead of sinking into frustration or waiting for these times to pass, they channel their energy into something productive. And by doing so, they reap the rewards: a stronger will, a better body and a job well done.

Clear the fog

A stressful career, social dramas, tragic losses, relocations, divorces or just pure vague feelings of inadequacy - there's not much that can throw a relentless person off track. They sweat, they exert themselves, they push themselves, they get out of breath and they concentrate. And when it's all over, they've cleared their head enough to see the more optimistic side of what they're facing.

Weak people are addicted to their victim role

Working hard when life gets tough makes people more resilient. Whining in the face of difficulties, wallowing in self-pity and blaming others makes people addicted to their victim role. This attitude of weakness can spread like cancer. It causes a learned helplessness.

When life gets hard, work hard. Fight it, kick yourself in the butt before someone else has a chance to - by doing this you will steal their power. Can you think of a better remedy when you feel helpless because of circumstances?

Once the dust clears on serious problems, relentless people will find it easier to overcome future problems. Their inner voice tells them that if they had the discipline to get through those tough times, your strength must not falter when life gets easier again.

Immerse yourself in your training

Apply your work ethic to your training sessions. Don't give anyone the opportunity to see you as lazy, distracted, inefficient or weak...and don't give yourself the opportunity either. Accept the work part of your training session.

No "turn training into something so much fun that you don't even know it's training anymore" garbage. Training is work. It's hard and it pays off every time. Workout sessions don't have to be a bunch of jumping around, hula hooping or Zumba to be fun.

Workouts that are fun consist of personal bests, muscle pumps, brutal time under tension, bloody shins and calluses. Go hard and something interesting will happen: Your life will get easier.

Tip: Try Blood Flow Restriction Training

This training method, popular with hardcore bodybuilders, can also be used for rehabilitation training


By Dr. John Rusin | 06/13/16

Blood Flow Restriction (BFR) training has reached a high level of popularity among many hardcore bodybuilders. But because muscle form and function are essentially the same regardless of intended use, BFR training has also caught the attention of rehab centers that are pursuing the same goals with their patients.

By tying off a muscle area with bands, bandages or cuffs at about 7/10 of the perceived maximum tightness, resistance training can be performed with fractions of the external load (20 to 40% of 1RM weight). Higher set and repetition ranges will then create a highly anabolic environment perfect for increasing strength and muscle growth.

Blood Flow Restriction Training (BFR)

The most exciting aspect of BFR is the ability to build muscle tissue in lagging areas while minimizing the joint stress and shear forces that are inevitable when using maximum weights.

Performing work with less weight means less stress on the joints while maximizing the metabolic stress of the local environment.

This allows you to kill two birds with one stone and for this reason I prioritize this type of training not only for rehab purposes, but also for performance training and muscular appearance training programs - i.e. training to look good naked.

Tip: Finish what you start

Sometimes broscience beats scientific studies. Here's why and what you need to do to get better.


By Paul Carter

Fact: Successful, experienced exercisers finish their programs and learn from the results There's a saying in English that translates something like this: "You never lose. You either win or you learn." The same can be said about training and nutrition programs. Don't look at a plan as unsuccessful, look at it as an educational experience. That's what successful exercisers do.

This is the crux of the matter. You have to complete a training or nutrition program to understand what it does for you. Even if this ends up being a counterproductive process, you will learn from it and ultimately grow. This experience is invaluable in training and nutrition. It shows you what works best for you.

You can cite study after study, but if you never do a training technique, program or nutrition plan long enough to know how it works for you, then you can never tell from experience how well or poorly it works for you.

Why "broscience" often works

A randomized double-blind study conducted in a controlled environment where subjects can't talk on the phone for six weeks while eating only apples and broccoli is not real life. Real life has a human element and that means that different methods will work for different people at different times. That's why a broscience method that seems to contradict all science can often work very well regardless of what studies say.

Your own "n=1" result is what matters. But you will never see results if you don't allow the process to go all the way. Finish the program first. Quit your damn diet. Shut up and learn something.

I once spent a summer on an exercise program where I worked out three days a week. It was based on Bulgarian Olympic weightlifting methods and yes, there was no reason I should have been doing it. But I went through with it. By the end of the program I was physically beat up, hadn't made any progress and had even regressed in some areas. But I had gained experience.

The lesson

No one got better at training with weights by discussing it on the internet. Sure, do your research, but don't forget to get under the bar and gain experience. Experiment with nutrition plans. Follow them to the end, learn and apply the knowledge you gain to future programs and nutrition plans. In the long run, you will become more muscular, leaner and stronger than those who just throw studies at each other online.


By Alex Mullan

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