Science has shown as that muscle is comprised of a few different types of muscle fibers. Are you doing the best that you can to train all of them?
Truth be told, you probably aren’t. There has been some confusion about fast-twitch versus slow-twitch along with using power versus endurance when training to get maximum benefit. Examples are touted about why one style of training promotes muscle size while others don’t.
Well some of the basics have been learned and other ideas known but not everyone understands how to incorporate them together for maximum benefit.
Some People Get It
At some point in the 1970’s or even earlier, bodybuilders naturally stumbled across the proper combination of work to achieve a great deal of muscle growth. A lot of their techniques were styled as advanced work and high-intensity.
You would work one type of fiber, let’s call it the power fiber, by using heavy weight and low reps. Then you would work the other type of fiber, call it the endurance fiber, by using lighter weight and higher reps.
Arnold and other bodybuilders of the time called it getting pumped. Arnold himself talked about how he liked to get that pumped feeling all the time. Basically he would work very hard and heavy with things like heavy barbell curls and dumbbell incline curls for his biceps. Then he would follow-up with things like 21’s and high rep concentration curls to really pump those biceps up.
But Arnold had a pretty big advantage with the regular steroids most bodybuilders took when using those intense two-hour gym routines.
Other bodybuilders like Mike Mentzer achieved the same type of results but in a different manner. He would take something like preacher curls and do a very heavy, intense set for low reps. Then he might do strip sets or rest-pause sets to further push the muscle and generate a huge pump. Basically he was doing the same thing Arnold was but in far less time
The Heavy-Light Idea
If you want to incorporate this type of training into your routine there is a very simple way to do it. You can start adding in ‘light’ days every other workout. What you do is pick 1 exercise for a body part that works the greatest range of the muscle (the mid-range). You pick a weight that is relatively light and crank out 10 sets of 10 reps, resting only 30 seconds between sets. While the weight is light at first, after 5 sets it will be incredible heavy. By the 10th set you will be lucky to get it up 10 times and your biceps will feel like they are about to explode.
If you aren’t sure then simply start with just a light day for biceps and triceps to see what you think. The pump alone is well worth giving it a shot. The soreness you feel the next day will have you coming back for more. But remember you still need to do your heavy days for the power aspect of the workout. You can even think of it as a power and pump workout.