Tim's Tips Written by Tim Rigby, M.A., NSCA-CPT
When it comes to training your arms, you have a wide variety of options at your disposal. While the two-arm barbell curl, preacher curl, triceps pressdown, and so on are popular choices which allow you to lift slightly more than double what you could with one arm unilaterally, the involvement of external stabilizer muscles in fact takes the isolation off your target muscles.
If you really want to isolate your biceps peak, use one arm at a time and employ an angle where your arm is behind the plane of your torso. This can be achieved with the incline dumbbell curl and the low-cable curl while facing away from the apparatus. Just be sure to use good control and have patience. In the end, you’ll develop a better feel for each biceps peak and the ensuing gains in growth will be more consistent.
For your triceps muscles, the one-arm reverse pressdown not only builds superior muscle right where you want it, but it also develops strength. Whereas the conventional overhand grip pressdown emphasizes the long head of the triceps, using a unilateral reverse grip will effectively engage all three heads including the medial and lateral head as well.
So have patience and try unilateral variations of your favourite exercises for at least 4 weeks and you’ll see dramatic gains. You can also apply this strategy to your lower half as well, by using such moves as the unilateral leg press, leg extension or hamstring curl.
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