It’s not enough to do the right exercises to build your biceps and pecs — you need to perform the exercises correctly to maximize your gains. You’ll get more results emphasizing all three types of muscle contractions (concentric, eccentric and isometric) during your workouts. Using some simple techniques, you’ll avoid letting gravity and momentum rob you of your muscle-building potential.
Look at the list of exercises in the reference section below (ExRx.net and Sports Fitness Advisor), find the ones that target your biceps and pecs and decide which ones you’l use to build your body. Some might require equipment you may not have, but many don’t require any equipment. Learn the correct technique for each exercise.
Calculate your max for each exercise you will be doing. This will be the maximum amount of weight your can lift or resistance you can move one time before you have to stop. You will perform more than one rep of an exercise during a set, but you will take short breaks between each rep. If you can do multiple reps without stopping, you have not reached your max.
Warm up before each workout. You’ll get more benefit from your lifting sessions with warm, stretched muscles. Don’t stretch and hold your muscles, which decreases power. Stretch them with arm swings, jumping jacks, jumping rope and arm circles.
High Weight/Low Reps Workout
Perform three to five reps of one exercise using close to the maximum weight you can lift. Take a two- or three-minute break, then do another set. Perform three to five sets, depending on how strong you are. You can start with warm-up sets at 50 and 75 percent of your max before finishing with your max, or workout max. Your workout max will be the maximum weigh you can lift three to five times without needing a rest.
Low Weight/High Rep Workout
Use about 75 percent of the maximum weigth you can life and perform 8-12 reps of each exercise. If you can continue lifting for more than 90 seconds before you need a break, you’re not using enough weight.
Perform your exercises slowly, raising the weights, pausing, then lowering them slowly by using your muscles, rather than letting them drop with gravity. Doing reps fast lets the momentum of the weight do part of the work. Letting weights drop with gravity, rather than muscle, robs you of the important eccentric muscle contractions that provide the most benefit, writes fitness author Dr. Gabe Mirkin at his website.
Perform exercises such as curls, chin-ups, flyes, bench and chest presses, push-ups, pec decs and dips. You can find easy descriptions at the ExRx.net and Sports Fitness Advisor sites below.
Rest 24 to 48 hours after lifting. This is the time your muscles grow, in response to the damage done when you lift. Don’t lift with the same muscles twice each day.
Eat carbs before workouts to fuel your exercise. Eat lean protein shortly after workouts to help the muscle repair and growth process. Eat a t2:1, carb:protein ratio during the day. Yep – eat more carbs to build muscle! Carbs fuel your workouts. If you don’t have enough glycogen stores, your body might have to break down muscle tissue to produce glycogen.
Cool down and static stretch after each workout. This will help prevent stiffness and soreness after workouts.
Muscle & Strength: Reg Park Beginner Workout
DrMirkin.com: Negative Lifting
Think Muscle: Pre- and Post-Workout Nutrition to Maximize the Training Effect
ExRx.net: Exercise & Muscle Directory
Sports Fitness Advisor: Over 20 Dumbbell Exercises Complete with Animated Diagrams