Beach training for lifters
This article can also be found on my website HTFU.dk
This is based on a protocol I picked up from an article by John Meadows aka. “Mountain Dog” on T-Nation.com. I instantly loved it, primarily because it actually works but also because it’s a nice change of pace compared to the other kind of lifting I do. Furthermore, it’s short and sweet (read: terrible) so it fits nicely on to a plate that’s already pretty full in the lifting department.
A lot of people will tell you that you’ll get big arms from doing heavy compound movement and while that might work for some, it just isn’t the case for most. Sorry, you’re not gonna get Schwarzeneggeresque guns from doing pullups. My experience tells me that to convince your arms to grow, especially the biceps, they need direct work. Before you go to the gym and bang out 5×5’s or similar on barbell curls, I’m gonna go ahead and claim that it ain’t gonna work. While that protocol is excellent for muscles predominantly consisting of fast twitch muscle fibers, it isn’t very well suited for training the biceps as these are of a slower nature.
For a quick and dirty characterization of which is which, I’ll quote Dan John freely: If you were chased by a tiger up a tree, the muscles you use to hang on to the branch for a long time are slow twitch muscles. If you decided to chase a deer and throw rocks, you would use your fast twitch muscles. Fast twitch muscles seem to respond well to high intensity and volume, whereas slow twitch muscles appear to prefer fatigue to encourage stimulus, and this is where strength protocols fall short when applied to slow twitch dominant muscles/movements. This is why you don’t get arms like a gymnast from doing 5 sets of ring pullups 2 times a week; they do it for endless hours each and every day, thus creating the demand for stimulus by inducing fatigue.
In this protocol you will be doing both bis, tris and delts. I’ve modified the original a bit and incorporated lateral raises which are done for a fairly high amount of reps (10-15) to reduce stress and maximize blood flow which is nice from a re-/prehab perspective, since they usually take quite a beating doing presses, jerks, cleans, snatches etc. You’ll notice that the triceps are worked in a slightly lower rep range than the biceps, which is in relation to the aforementioned difference in fast- and slow twitch domination.
The single workout consists of 3 rounds of 3-5 sets of 6-15 reps of 3 movements; extensions, curls and lateral raises. The movements are performed as alternating super sets which means that you do a set of extensions followed by a set of curls followed by a set of laterals followed by a set of extensions and so forth. You finish off all the sets of a given round before advancing to the next. Due to the continuous nature (continue reading) of the protocol it can be done in about 15 minutes, not bad for a total of +27 sets.
Cable push downs* + Pinwheel curls** + DB rear laterals
*) Can be with any kind of handle or grip that you prefer. **) Feel free to do hammer curls instead.
Dips* + Preacher curls** + DB side laterals
*) Regular or bench dips, I like to stick with bodyweight and go for high reps on this one. **) Barbell, EZ-bar, machine or cable apparatus.
French press* + BB curls** + DB front laterals
*) Any overhead extension movement. **) Or EZ-bar curl.
- Minimize rest in between sets, this is the key to the protocol. If you’re going through this alone this means that you only rest during the time it takes to put down the weights after finishing one set and proceeding to the next. If you’re doing it with someone, I suggest a tight “you go, I go” format where the person resting is ready to get started on the next set as soon as the other person finishes his (or hers). If you need to spend time on the setup of either movement, do so before you get started. No rest for the wicked.
- Be “strict” on all movements. A little body english is ok but you should let the targeted muscles do the work. Be prepared to drop the weight to get the reps in, the pump WILL catch up with you. Focus on quality rather than quantity.
- If you do this alone I suggest doing 3-4 sets of each movement of each round and 4-5 sets if you’re doing it with a buddy. If you’re +3 work it out such that you’re not resting for longer than it takes to perform one set.
- 6-10 reps on triceps movements, 8-12 reps on biceps movements and 10-15 reps on laterals. Don’t get too hung up on this.