(These closely-guarded secrets will help advance the most advanced lifter)
By: Josh Bryant
Mainstream fitness, in regard to exercise selection and performance, is often a faith-based religion.
To even raise a query to the established orthodox sacraments is labeled as heresy.
If you want to maximize size and strength, you must challenge orthodoxy.
The following eight movements do just that; they will be a shock to the establishment, BUT, will shock your body into new gains in size and strength.
These are very advanced movements that should be reserved for skilled lifters with a minimum of two years of lifting experience.
1. Chain Flys
Chain flys are performed by attaching chains with a carabiner to the same handles you use to perform cable flys.
The benefits are you are able to get some of the stretch (lacking in cable) that you feel with a dumbbell. As you go out to the stretched position, the chains unload on the floor. This removes much of the strain off the shoulders. As you squeeze the handles back to the starting position, the chains start to lift off the floor again, giving you the continuous tension and peak contraction advantage of the cables.
The result is you are forced to recruit more muscle fibers. This means more growth and, of course, more strength!
Chain Fly Demonstration
2. Juarez Valley 8 Deadlift
Unlike the traditional ascending or descending pyramid method, the Juarez Valley Method is like a valley. Repetitions are performed in descending order on all odd number sets, but repetitions are performed in ascending order on even number sets. In the middle, they meet! A Juarez Valley 8 is performed liked this:
- Set 1-8 reps
- Set 2-1 rep
- Set 3-7 reps
- Set 4-2 reps
- Set 5-6reps
- Set 6-3 reps
- Set 7-5 reps
- Set 8-4 reps
The complaint about the pyramid method is that the difficulty in the beginning of the workout can be overwhelming and that the ease at the end of the workout is not challenging. In contrast, the Juarez Valley Method keeps a steady level of difficulty throughout the workout. Every two minutes you will complete nine reps.
Assuming your deadlift technique is good to go, give this method a start with 70 percent of your one-repetition max and crank it up from there. Juarez Valley 8 deadlifts will take your size and strength to a whole new level.
This isn’t just some pie in the sky academia fantasy. Check out IFBB Pro Branch Warren being put through the ringer by me at the world famous Metroflex Gym.
3. Fat bar Reverse Curl
Supination (underhand grip) is a function of the biceps; with a reverse curl, you grab the barbell with a pronated grip (overhand), this forces the brachialis, the workhorse of elbow flexion, to take on the brunt of the low load. The brachialis is located in the lower aspect of the upper arm, right below the biceps.
A maximally-developed brachialis increases arm size and creates a better peak; one should strive to reverse curl 80 percent of their regular curl max.
To further increase the overload, we are going to add a five-second negative to exponentially increase time under tension and adequately work the eccentric portion of the movement. This will be performed with a fat bar, if you do not have one use fat gripz; this larger diameter will build grip strength, recruit a greater number of motor units and provide forearm musculature with an extreme overload.
Video Demonstration of the Movement
4. One-Armed Eccentric Barbell Curls
I picked this exercise up from a man who was always innovative, the late, Charles Poliquin.
For maximal hypertrophy, you must eccentric overload muscles, the biceps are certainly no exception!
One-arm eccentric barbell curls are the ultimate eccentric overload movement in the pursuit of peak perfection.
Here are some technical points to remember with this movement:
- Sit or stand behind a preacher curl station
- Rest your upper arm on the pad in front of you, arms supinated
- Start at the top position of the curl
- Slowly lower the bar for a count of eight seconds to full extension
- Pause briefly at the bottom
- If you have a training partner, have him help you back up. If not, self-spot with the other hand.
One-Arm Eccentric Barbell Curl Demonstration
5. Half, Half, Full Dumbbell Presses
This is a hard and heavy overhead pressing variation that maximizes muscular tension and builds the type of shoulders that fill out door jams and terrorize tailors.
You are going to start off seated on a seated military bench. Rest the dumbbells on your shoulders to commence the movement, push the weight half way up, return to the starting position, push the weight half way up again, return to the starting position, and now push the weight all the way up. This three-movement sequence is one repetition.
The focus on this movement needs to be on controlling the negative portion of the rep and exploding the positive. This blasts the deltoids and greatly increases time under tension.
The Movement in Action
6. Overhead Rope Triceps Extension Cluster Sets
There is nothing extreme or unique about this movement but we are not going to docilely accept the played status quo of three sets of 10 reps.
We are going to make this movement extreme by performing with cluster sets. Cluster sets simply mean more sets and fewer reps. A traditional three sets of eight reps workout would become eight sets of three reps.
Cluster sets are main stay in the routines of most top-ranked strength athletes. However, I have personally used this technique training IFBB pro bodybuilders Johnnie Jackson, Cory Mathews and Branch Warren.
Why? Cluster sets allow you to get more volume done in less time.
With a weight you can perform 12 to 15 repetitions with, perform five reps, rest 15 seconds and repeat this sequence for five minutes straight; you will get much more volume done in much less time.
Triceps Cluster Set in Action
7. Incline Band-Resisted Dumbbell Presses
Bands have started popping up at commercial gyms like spandex in the 1980s, but unlike Spandex, bands can actually help your workout!
Like chains, as you lift the weight up, resistance becomes greater and greater, allowing you to overload the entire pressing movement. Most people seem to opt for bands or free weights, some more progressive folks like to add band resistance to barbell movements with ascending strength curves, i.e., the kind of lifts that are most difficult at the bottom and get progressively easier as you lift the weight up like bench presses and squats.
Like squats and bench presses, dumbbell incline presses have an ascending strength curve—bands, in addition, are the salvation ticket for the advanced lifter to blast the upper chest to hypertrophy heaven.
IFBB Pro Bodybuilder Branch Warren, providing a demonstration
8. Nordic Leg Curls
The hamstrings are primarily a fast-twitch muscle group, this means they respond very well to low reps and eccentric overloading for size, strength and injury prevention.
One movement that masterfully exploits these properties for hamstring development is the Nordic Leg Curl; most advanced bodybuilders are unable to do this movement!
Perform this movement for two to five reps, using a five-second eccentric. If you are unable to do this, do the movement band-assisted. Be ready to catch yourself, many of trainees have had face to face encounters with the gym floor!
Noah Syndergaard, Fastest Pitcher in the MLB, demonstrating the movement.
To do the same thing over and over is the definition of insanity!
Advanced lifters need advanced exercises and training methods to maximize growth and strength gains.
As long as you have the will, you now have the way.
Get certified in Josh’s most cutting-edge hypertrophy techniques HERE.