The Five Biggest Contradictions in Fitness
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The Five Biggest Contradictions in Fitness

It’s no secret that when people contradict themselves, it has the effect of making the flaws in their actions or statements seem glaringly obvious. But what about when WE ourselves get caught contradicting ourselves by someone else?

By: Nick Tumminello Added: January 6th, 2014
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  1. #1
    Lifting addict powerboy93's Avatar
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    Do i really need direct arm work?

    Can I just do the Bench,DL,Squat and still get great arm gorwth? Some dudes @ my gym dont focus on bench,dead lift or squat and their Biceps are huge(lol those curl monkeys) compared to the football guys who only do the BIG 3.
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  3. #2
    Senior Member BFGUITAR's Avatar
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    If you want big arms you have to work your arms.

    People here will say "no just squat bench deadlift and row and youll be fine". There is nothing wrong with arm work, just don't base your routine around them. Like at the end of every lower body day I toss in some bicep work. Do 3-4 sets of 8-12 and you should be fine. My arms respond well to high reps, yours might as well.

    As for tricep work, you should already be doing plenty to help with your bench.

    What it comes down to... as long as your doing the big lifts any accessory work is just icing on the cake.
    Last edited by BFGUITAR; 08-22-2008 at 10:39 AM.

  4. #3
    The Flyfisher rbtrout's Avatar
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    It isn't necessary, but it certainly won't hurt, but don't become a bench and curl dude.
    Give chalk a chance.


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  5. #4
    Senior Member brihead301's Avatar
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    No you do not.

  6. #5
    small flabby and hairy joelhall's Avatar
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    to be honest for a lot of guys with small arms you just end up over-training if you chuck in arm movements. when youre starting to get some decent lifts after a year or two you should start to add arm movements, but not too many mind.

  7. #6
    GFH Lones Green's Avatar
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    yes, for now you can just bench/squat/dl, but eventually you will develop sticking points, and you will have to train certain body parts to work through these sticking points.
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  8. #7
    Senior Member BFGUITAR's Avatar
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    I can't believe you guys honestly think this...

    3-4 sets of bicep work a week cannot hurt and will improve bicep growth! Telling someone not to do isolation movements for bicep growth is silly for anyone who wants bigger biceps. Shins and rows do use biceps but a little bicep work goes a long way.

  9. #8
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    Again it goes back to the curl jockey.

    These guys may only curl and and disregard training anything that they cannot see from the waist up and is not on the front of their body but the thing is I have seen many of them with large biceps. In comparison to the rest of their body it could be argued yes i know, though they do have a significant amount of weight on the bar when they are curling. Some of them I reckon must curl maybe 2/3 times in a seven day period....

    I am not condoning it at all. Just something i have noticed.
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  10. #9
    Senior Member Jorge Sanchez's Avatar
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    A little bit off topic, but a lot of the male gymnasts in the Olympics have really big biceps - I mean disproportionately large - and I think it just looks kind of funny.

    If big biceps are really important to you, yes do a few sets a week, but don't go overboard. It's not really going to help you all that much if you have the rest of your training dialed in, anyways.

  11. #10
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    at 15 no dont worry about about much arm train maybe 2 sets on each, each week! dont overtrain them... worry about squats, deadlifts, military presses, pullups, dips! all the basic stuff people over look bc there is so many different exercises now! trust me... been there done that my friend

  12. #11
    Lifting Archon. Shouji's Avatar
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    Pull-ups will work your arms hard AND your back AND is a lot more impressive. I've done a measly 15 in front of a crowd of kids and ladies at a church retreat and they thought it was amazing. xD
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  13. #12
    Senior Member berfles's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jorge Sanchez View Post
    A little bit off topic, but a lot of the male gymnasts in the Olympics have really big biceps - I mean disproportionately large - and I think it just looks kind of funny.

    If big biceps are really important to you, yes do a few sets a week, but don't go overboard. It's not really going to help you all that much if you have the rest of your training dialed in, anyways.
    I noticed that, the one USA guy had enormous biceps and no triceps. It looked ridiculous.
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  14. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by BFGUITAR View Post
    I can't believe you guys honestly think this...

    3-4 sets of bicep work a week cannot hurt and will improve bicep growth! Telling someone not to do isolation movements for bicep growth is silly for anyone who wants bigger biceps. Shins and rows do use biceps but a little bicep work goes a long way.


    When I dropped all bicep work and focused on heavy pressing and pulling, my arms went from 14 to 16 inches. Before that they were stuck at 14 for quite some time, despite the curling.

    And a few sets of bicep curls will not do much anyway if the rest of your training is lacking. Get the calories in, focus on the big compounds and growth will come. What's going to stimulate the biceps more, pull-ups or curls with 50 lbs?

    Some people may need isolation work, but it's likely because they have not reached the level of strength required for the heavy pressing and pulling movements which overload the body to such an extent that the arms are maximally (or very nearly) loaded.

    Others may have reached this level of strength but might be holding back for some reason (a sub-conscious fear of injury for example).

    If you are highly advanced you might feel that isolation work is needed to squeeze every last .1 inches out of the arm.

    But for the vast majority of trainers they should be focused on other goals. Not doing direct biceps work does not mean that they will not get big arms.

    Why?

    When you can OHP your bodyweight and chin with 100 lbs for 10 reps each, you will have big arms. Then and probably only then would one require some extra bicep work for insurance purpose.
    Last edited by Songsangnim; 08-23-2008 at 08:04 AM.

  15. #14
    Senior Member BFGUITAR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Songsangnim View Post
    When I dropped all bicep work and focused on heavy pressing and pulling, my arms went from 14 to 16 inches. Before that they were stuck at 14 for quite some time, despite the curling.

    And a few sets of bicep curls will not do much anyway if the rest of your training is lacking. Get the calories in, focus on the big compounds and growth will come. What's going to stimulate the biceps more, pull-ups or curls with 50 lbs?

    Some people may need isolation work, but it's likely because they have not reached the level of strength required for the heavy pressing and pulling movements which overload the body to such an extent that the arms are maximally (or very nearly) loaded.

    Others may have reached this level of strength but might be holding back for some reason (a sub-conscious fear of injury for example).

    If you are highly advanced you might feel that isolation work is needed to squeeze every last .1 inches out of the arm.

    But for the vast majority of trainers they should be focused on other goals. Not doing direct biceps work does not mean that they will not get big arms.

    Why?

    When you can OHP your bodyweight and chin with 100 lbs for 10 reps each, you will have big arms. Then and probably only then would one require some extra bicep work for insurance purpose.
    I know curls wont do **** if your training is lacking but this is all assuming the person has a good routine.

    I am not telling him to drop heavy pulling/pushing. Like you, you dropped curling and had a solid routine. When you focused on biceps I am sure there was a lot more wrong than just your routine (diet perhaps?). So by saying you went no where while doing a lot of curls doesn't prove anything because chances are many other things were wrong as well. On top of all this, perhaps your biceps responded well to low rep high weight. Others may respond to higher rep low weight a lot better. Doing both will maximize growth.

    Your comparison between the pull ups and bicep curls are silly. If a person could do 100 lbs pullups for 10 reps, chances are he can curl a lot more than 50. If a person were to go do those pullups and than do 10 reps with the highest weight he can, than the curls would hit his bicep harder. There is a reason there are so many people with extremely large arms and nothing else. Because they do bicep curls. They work.

    Now don't think I'm defending curl jockeys but isolation work WILL greatly help with growth if you already have a solid routine.

    Even when maximally pushing myself in the pull movements I still don't utilize my biceps to the extent of bicep curls.

    The bottom line is... why deprive yourself of something that can only help you in the end? Doing bicep curls in moderation wont hinder growth and can only help.
    Last edited by BFGUITAR; 08-23-2008 at 09:54 AM.

  16. #15
    Squat Heavy, Squat Often Cards's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Songsangnim View Post
    When I dropped all bicep work and focused on heavy pressing and pulling, my arms went from 14 to 16 inches. Before that they were stuck at 14 for quite some time, despite the curling.

    And a few sets of bicep curls will not do much anyway if the rest of your training is lacking. Get the calories in, focus on the big compounds and growth will come. What's going to stimulate the biceps more, pull-ups or curls with 50 lbs?

    Some people may need isolation work, but it's likely because they have not reached the level of strength required for the heavy pressing and pulling movements which overload the body to such an extent that the arms are maximally (or very nearly) loaded.

    Others may have reached this level of strength but might be holding back for some reason (a sub-conscious fear of injury for example).

    If you are highly advanced you might feel that isolation work is needed to squeeze every last .1 inches out of the arm.

    But for the vast majority of trainers they should be focused on other goals. Not doing direct biceps work does not mean that they will not get big arms.

    Why?

    When you can OHP your bodyweight and chin with 100 lbs for 10 reps each, you will have big arms. Then and probably only then would one require some extra bicep work for insurance purpose.
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  17. #16
    TJW Keith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jorge Sanchez View Post
    A little bit off topic, but a lot of the male gymnasts in the Olympics have really big biceps - I mean disproportionately large - and I think it just looks kind of funny.
    They do, don't they?! I wonder what that's from... seriously.
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  18. #17
    www.jimmachak.com
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    bro

    honestly i didn' take the time to read the other reply's... but at 15 you need direct arm work. find a good split that will work for you... if anything even a few intense sets of bi's at the end of a back workout and tris at the end of a chest workout is better than nothing... it all depends how much time you have to train and what your goals are.... good luck though bro it sounds like you are in the right place for these fellas to give you some good advise... i have been reading a ton of posts these past few days and you have some knowledgable guys on here...

    jimmachak

  19. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by BFGUITAR View Post
    I know curls wont do **** if your training is lacking but this is all assuming the person has a good routine.

    I am not telling him to drop heavy pulling/pushing. Like you, you dropped curling and had a solid routine. When you focused on biceps I am sure there was a lot more wrong than just your routine (diet perhaps?). So by saying you went no where while doing a lot of curls doesn't prove anything because chances are many other things were wrong as well. On top of all this, perhaps your biceps responded well to low rep high weight. Others may respond to higher rep low weight a lot better. Doing both will maximize growth.

    Actually my routine and diet remained pretty much the same. I believe that the cause of growth was removing the overwork for arms. As for the low rep/high weight--high rep/low weight debate...I doubt that it is responsible for a lot of difference. The muscles on a 150 lber are not that different in number, shape or compositions from a 220 lber. The reasons why one person may see differences when switching from one to the other are more likely to include overtraining, undertraining, not hard enough, lack of motivation ( a new routine can increase motivation) and numerous other factors.

    I do not believe that high/low rep in and of themselves make a big difference. If it did....there would be two versions of Starting Strength, one with high reps and one with low reps. Or for that matter, there would be two versions of every other well thought out plan.


    Your comparison between the pull ups and bicep curls are silly. If a person could do 100 lbs pullups for 10 reps, chances are he can curl a lot more than 50.

    I never said anything about doing 10 reps@100 lbs for pull ups when comparing it with the 50 pound curls. That was a different point altogether. And I've seen people who can do (unweighted pullups) who struggle with 50 lb curls (with strict form).

    If a person were to go do those pullups and than do 10 reps with the highest weight he can, than the curls would hit his bicep harder.

    Eh? How's that? If he did the pullups first, he would likely have to use a lot less weight for the curls then he would if he were fresh. This thinking is a variant of the descending sets theory which is a flawed methodology... as it is commonly practised..(but that's another thread).



    There is a reason there are so many people with extremely large arms and nothing else. Because they do bicep curls. They work.

    Where ARE these people? I keep hearing about them, but never see them. I can only conclude (after nigh 20 years of training and 3 different continents) that our definitions of "extremely large" are radically different. I've NEVER seen someone with 20 inch muscular arms but who was small everywhere else. Or for that matter even 18 inch arms. To put things into perspective, Mike Mentzer was 18.5 inches by his own admission.

    As for the curl jockeys a great deal of their "size" is due to illusion. If you have developed arms but everything else is underdeveloped your arms will look even bigger (in proportion) to the guy who's developed all over. But in the long run...(all other things being equal) I'll put my money on the guy who does heavy rows, chins, benches and overhead presses. Plus we only ever see the curl jockeys when their arms are pumped to the max therefore their arms look larger and better than they would on an off day.




    Now don't think I'm defending curl jockeys but isolation work WILL greatly help with growth if you already have a solid routine.

    This is your opinion which you are entitled to, but I see no factual basis for it. Indeed I've experienced the direct opposite myself. And so have others.



    Even when maximally pushing myself in the pull movements I still don't utilize my biceps to the extent of bicep curls.

    May I ask which pull movements you do and how do you perform them? ROM, grip... And keep in mind you've been lifting for a while (see my next reply about the different levels of lifters

    The bottom line is... why deprive yourself of something that can only help you in the end? Doing bicep curls in moderation wont hinder growth and can only help.

    Again moderation is the key. And keep in mind that my advice (on these forums) is geared primarily towards the beginner/intermediate lifter. Highly advanced/elite lifters MAY profit (as I have said above and in other threads) from some curling. But I feel strongly that beginners and intermediates should not even worry about that... nor apparently do Mark Rippetoe, Bill Starr, or Fred Hatfield for that matter.

    The problem here is that too many people think "If some is good, then more is better". And little by little the arm training and focus tends to go up with a corresponding decrease in training and focus everywhere else. I've seen it happen more times then I care to remember. Training for the majority of people (particularly less advanced lifters) should be simple and free from as many distractions as possible.

    Arm work tends to distract the less advanced. That is why we get so many people (on these and other forums) asking questions like "Why won't my arms grow/how do I make my arms bigger?" That is why we see people doing 20+ sets for arms. And that is why (in your gym apparently) you have so many people with big arms and nothing else
    Last edited by Songsangnim; 08-24-2008 at 08:17 PM.

  20. #19
    Senior Member BFGUITAR's Avatar
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    Song, if your logic is correct than bodybuilders must be idiots for doing any direct bicep work. Why do it if they can just do the big movements? Because bicep curls DO hit the biceps hard and promote growth.

    Like I have said, some people respond better to low weight/high reps than high weight/low reps. It's about finding what works. By doing both you stimulate more muscle fibers, increase mitochondrial density and number... This is all important for growth. 3 sets of high rep bicep curls a week WILL ONLY help progress and will not hamper size/strength gains at all.

  21. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by BFGUITAR View Post
    Song, if your logic is correct than bodybuilders must be idiots for doing any direct bicep work. Why do it if they can just do the big movements? Because bicep curls DO hit the biceps hard and promote growth.

    I responded to this already. See my point about different levels of lifters and why advanced lifters may differ from less advanced lifters. (I had to post my above reply in parts because if I did it all at once, my computer says I'm not logged in...it's too long or something) So I hadn't finished when you posted. Read my COMPLETE reply above.

    Like I have said, some people respond better to low weight/high reps than high weight/low reps. It's about finding what works. By doing both you stimulate more muscle fibers, increase mitochondrial density and number... This is all important for growth. 3 sets of high rep bicep curls a week WILL ONLY help progress and will not hamper size/strength gains at all.
    And I also responded to these points as well and refuted them. See above
    Last edited by Songsangnim; 08-24-2008 at 08:11 PM.

  22. #21
    Senior Member BFGUITAR's Avatar
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    1) Mark Ripptoe and the others you mentioned don't care about bicep size.
    2) Doing bicep work shouldnt be looked at as "more arm work" but rather different arm work. If someone loses focus because they do a little bicep work than they must be messed and is not a reason not to do them. I view bicep curls as something to do on the side, throw in some sets at the end of a nice hard workout.

    A person starting must understand that curls are SUPPLEMENTARY exercises. And even a person starting can and will benefit from them.
    How often did you do bicep curls? What was your routine?

  23. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by BFGUITAR View Post
    1) Mark Ripptoe and the others you mentioned don't care about bicep size.
    Sure he does. He just doesn't care about 140lb kids that want big bicepts.

  24. #23
    Senior Member BFGUITAR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kastro View Post
    Sure he does. He just doesn't care about 140lb kids that want big bicepts.
    No he doesn't. I have not read anything he wrote that talks about increasing bicep size specifically. He cares about overall strength. Of course biceps will grow as your overall strength increases.

    And please, it's biceps not bicepts.

  25. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by BFGUITAR View Post
    1) Mark Ripptoe and the others you mentioned don't care about bicep size.
    2) Doing bicep work shouldnt be looked at as "more arm work" but rather different arm work. If someone loses focus because they do a little bicep work than they must be messed and is not a reason not to do them. I view bicep curls as something to do on the side, throw in some sets at the end of a nice hard workout.

    Indeed. And as I have said before, there is ABSOLUTELY nothing wrong with doing some bicep curls at the end of the routine. But judging from the quality of your posts and training history from what you have said (nearly 4 years now?) you are not what I would qualify as a beginner or even intermediate.

    A person starting must understand that curls are SUPPLEMENTARY exercises. And even a person starting can and will benefit from them.

    Well a person starting will benefit from any type of exercise..I just think arm training (for all the reasons I posted above) becomes a distraction for the rank beginner. Just see all the posts about it.

    How often did you do bicep curls? What was your routine?
    I'll have to dig up my old training journals to answer those

  26. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by BFGUITAR View Post
    No he doesn't. I have not read anything he wrote that talks about increasing bicep size specifically. He cares about overall strength. Of course biceps will grow as your overall strength increases.

    And please, it's biceps not bicepts.
    I think he was being sarcastic with the "bicepts" remark...as that's how nearly all those 140 lb kids who post for help with their arms spell it.

    Now I'm off to pump my tricepts...
    Last edited by Songsangnim; 08-24-2008 at 09:00 PM.

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