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Thread: Practical Programming Forearms

  1. #1
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    Practical Programming Forearms

    I want to add forearm assistance work to the Practical Programming Advanced Novice program for hypertrophy.
    I have really skinny forearms and they seem to be holding me back on all the big lifts. Also the big lifts(deads etc) have not done much to enhance their growth.

    I was thinking of doing 1 set of rack pulls for 8 reps alternated with the deadlift as this will not be as draining on the system and adding assistance on the non deadlift days.

    So the program would look like this:

    Day1
    Squats - 3x5
    Bench/Press - 3x5
    Chins 3 sets to failure

    Assistance:
    Hammer Curls - 3 sets x 4-8 reps
    Reverse Curls - 3 x 10-15


    Day2
    Front Squats - 3x5
    Bench/Press - 3x5
    Rack Pulls 1x8(alternated with deadlift1x5)

    Day3
    Squats - 3x5
    Bench/Press - 3x5
    Pullups 3 sets to failure

    Assistance:
    Hammer Curls - 3 sets x 4-8 reps
    Reverse Curls - 3 x 10-15

    Please make suggestions;will this be too much volume, more rack pulls, other exercises, sets and rep schemes??
    It it better to do exercises with static holds rather than curls?
    Should I get farmers walks in somewhere?
    Its been said so many times to not **** with the program as regards starting strength and practical programming but if you have an obvious weakness it needs to be addressed, right? Advice welcomed.

  2. #2
    Strongman Tom Mutaffis's Avatar
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    Your grip strength is holding you back on the lifts?

    There is not much correlation between size and strength - I have pretty big forearms (over 15") but my grip strength is nothing special.

    Most athletes do begin to use wrist wraps once they exceed a 300 lbs bench press and a mixed grip for deadlifts above the 350 lbs range (or straps if you are not interested in powerlifting). Hammer curls and reverse curls will help you to beef up your forearms a little. I would also suggest doing wrist curls behind your back with a barbell and getting a wrist roller if you are looking for forearm hypertrophy. Timed hangs on a revolving bar are great for building grip strength if you are looking for something to improve that aspect.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member brihead301's Avatar
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    The volume looks fine. The few sets of curls you added at the end aren't affecting the overall volume that much since they are not very taxing exercises. Where are the power cleans though? They are amazing exercises, but everyone seems to skip them. I've never done farmers walks, but I've heard nothing but good things about them.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member OGROK's Avatar
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    Stop worrying about what Mark Rippetoe thinks and find out what works for you. The biggest bodybuilders that I know don't give a **** about "periodization", they train heavy and work their asses off all year long with lots of volume and typical pyramid style training. Most people here would say they are overtraining, but that's really just an excuse not to put in the hard work.
    Last edited by OGROK; 12-30-2008 at 02:16 PM.

  5. #5
    Senior Member brihead301's Avatar
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    Why such the hate on Rippetoe man?
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  6. #6
    Senior Member OGROK's Avatar
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    Because he has every 135lb teenager on the internet thinking he is God and preaching his stuff like it's the Bible. And then next thing you know everyone on the internet thinks that anything more like 3 sets of 5 is overtraining, it's just bull****. They don't see it as a "beginner routine", they see it as "the best way to train ever, the golden program". I have never met a successful bodybuilder (or powerlifter for that matter) who trains like how Rippetoe recommends, but I can't even tell you how many I have met who break all of his rules. The guys I know who actually compete on a high level in either of these sports think he is full of ****.
    Last edited by OGROK; 12-30-2008 at 02:28 PM.

  7. #7
    Senior Member brihead301's Avatar
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    Damn that sucks. His s*** worked for me though. I am moving on to other things now though, but his methods have given me the best size and strength gains I have ever had before.
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    Good God don't add rack pulls. They're a heavy, intense exercise and yeah they'll help your grip some but they'll also quickly derail your linear progress on the other lifts. You're not just killing the golden goose, you're assaulting it with a sledgehammer and then you'll wonder why it ain't layin eggs. If you want stronger grip or bigger forearms, follow Tom's advice. Add in some wrist curls or timed hangs on a fat bar or something. Throw a towel around the bar and do hangs. This will improve your grip strength and forearm size/strength without derailing the whole program.

    This, folks, is a perfect example of what people mean when they say DON'T **** WITH A PROGRAM. You take a good program, add heavy rack pulls 3 times a week, tire flips in the morning for cardio, 12 sets of arms every other day, 20 rep squats on Sundays and Thursdays, then stall out in 4 weeks and start asking questions like, "Hai guise my bench has stalled, what supplement do I need??" and blame the program.

    /rant

  9. #9
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    If you can't grip a heavy deadlift, why would you attempt even heavier rack pulls? Do heavy farmers walks, or some fat-bar work.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Big Jay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brad08 View Post
    Good God don't add rack pulls. They're a heavy, intense exercise and yeah they'll help your grip some but they'll also quickly derail your linear progress on the other lifts.
    not disagreeing with anythin u said, just I don't understand why would rack pulls once a week slow his progress in other lifts?

  11. #11
    Senior Member OGROK's Avatar
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    Honestly the amount of volume in his routine is so low that I don't think it matters if he alternates rack pulls and deadlifts. Although whether or not rack pulls will help him or not is questionable since many powerlifters have come out and said that anything over 3-5 inches from the ground has pretty much zero carryover.

  12. #12
    SchModerator ZenMonkey's Avatar
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    OP: Your volume is fine. Take Tom's Kastro's and Brads advice.
    Last edited by ZenMonkey; 12-30-2008 at 07:13 PM.
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  13. #13
    SchModerator ZenMonkey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brad08 View Post
    Good God don't add rack pulls. They're a heavy, intense exercise and yeah they'll help your grip some but they'll also quickly derail your linear progress on the other lifts. You're not just killing the golden goose, you're assaulting it with a sledgehammer and then you'll wonder why it ain't layin eggs. If you want stronger grip or bigger forearms, follow Tom's advice. Add in some wrist curls or timed hangs on a fat bar or something. Throw a towel around the bar and do hangs. This will improve your grip strength and forearm size/strength without derailing the whole program.

    This, folks, is a perfect example of what people mean when they say DON'T **** WITH A PROGRAM. You take a good program, add heavy rack pulls 3 times a week, tire flips in the morning for cardio, 12 sets of arms every other day, 20 rep squats on Sundays and Thursdays, then stall out in 4 weeks and start asking questions like, "Hai guise my bench has stalled, what supplement do I need??" and blame the program.

    /rant

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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Big Jay View Post
    not disagreeing with anythin u said, just I don't understand why would rack pulls once a week slow his progress in other lifts?
    I must've misread the original post b/c I thought he meant he was ADDING rack pulls IN ADDITION TO everything else. This would be inadvisable b/c the goal of the program is to make regular (meaning, daily, weekly) progress on the basic lifts: squat, deadlift, and press. You want to apply just enough stress to the system to force it to grow, making you stronger the next time, but you don't want to add too much stress b/c this won't make you grow faster, it will just stall you out quicker. Stalling means you stop making linear progress, which again is the heart and soul of the program. A good way to stop making weekly progress and derail your progress is to start doing a bunch of extra work like heavy rack pulls, HIIT cardio every day, etc.

  15. #15
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    The program calls for Power cleans to be alternated with the Deadlift.
    I've decided to work on technique on the power clean and then introduce it.
    Thats why I have added the rack pull.1 work set of 8 reps every 2 weeks should not hamper the linear progress; or I may continue deadlifting each week, one week at slightly lower(-10%) intensity. or possibly farmers walks?

    This, folks, is a perfect example of what people mean when they say DON'T **** WITH A PROGRAM. You take a good program, add heavy rack pulls 3 times a week, tire flips in the morning for cardio, 12 sets of arms every other day, 20 rep squats on Sundays and Thursdays, then stall out in 4 weeks and start asking questions like, "Hai guise my bench has stalled, what supplement do I need??" and blame the program.
    Ease up man. I've been doing PP for a while now with no additions to the program as should be. I think I've shown some knowledge of programming.
    All I was looking for is a sub for the power cleans and some forearm assistance work for hypertrophy with I believe can be added at this stage. I may ,in the end add absolutely nothing and instead really squeeze the grip on the deads and pullups etc. or maybe I'll add 3 heavy sets of rack pulls while balancing on one leg while also balancing a copy of starting strength on my head and stopping each rep to bow to a statue of the great strength and conditioning god that is m.rippetoe!!!-did'nt mean to trigger some rippetoe bashing. I myself neither love nor loathe the guy but like brihead301 his stuff has also worked for me in terms of size and strength and his books contain solid info and advice for beginners.
    Back on topic, yes brad the aim is to improve forearm size/strength without derailing the whole program. But can someone give me actual reps and set schemes for the exercises to incorpoate into the program. Also how do people do farmers walks, how many sets?do you do them for time/distance?

  16. #16
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    Throw in some DB hammer curls and wrist curls, as mentioned. A few sets of 10-15 every now and then should do the trick, with some occasional heavier sets. You can do hangs at the end of every workout. Loop a towel over the bar, grab each end and hang. Or wrap the towel around your pullup bar (transforming it into a 'thick' bar) and hang on it for time at the end of every workout.

  17. #17
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    Why the hell would you work on forearms for hypertrophy if your strength is holding you back? Drop the ****ing wrist curls and put on some real grip work.

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