Q: Alternating arm routines at every workout is working great for me! My guns are looking large and in charge! I’m using [the arm-specialization routines] in the 3D HIT program [as outlined in the X-traordinary Arms e-book], and I notice that on many non-arm exercises you have an alternate listed as well. Like on delts for the stretch-position exercise, you have one-arm cable laterals or incline one-arm laterals. Since alternating arm exercises is working so well, can I alternate all the exercises that have substitutes listed?
A: That was a perfect question to go with the first one—and based on our discussion of adaptation, absolutely. Shake things up! In fact, we do that often for many muscle groups. Doing something a little different can be a killer get-bigger trigger! One of our favorites is what you list—alternating one-arm cable laterals with incline one-arm laterals at every other delt workout. It’s a great way to get some variety into your routine and hit the muscle with a slightly different stimulus—cable vs. dumbbell—in the stretch position.
One caveat is that we suggest you keep the big midrange exercise the same, as many of those require coordination and neuro-learning to activate the muscle properly. That’s the case with most multi-joint exercises—there is some required “learning” before the target muscles get fully engaged. For example, if you do squats at one leg workout, then hack squats at the next, when you go back to squats they may feel awkward, you can’t find the groove, and you won’t be able to get full quad activation—at least not with one set.
So keep the midrange exercises constant (but you can use multi-rep rest/pause, as we’ve explained). If you need more stretch- and contracted-position-exercise alternatives, see 3D Muscle Building, which has a complete Positions-of-Flexion analysis for every bodypart and exercise listings for each in the 3D POF Muscle Matrix (pages 50-51). If an exercise doesn’t have an alternate, like leg extensions (quads/contracted position), you can try using a different foot position—toes in or toes out—or hand position on upper-body exercises to get some variation—and new X-treme muscle-building adaptations.
Till next time, train hard—and smart—for BIG results.
—Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson
What Would You Do to Protect Your Family?
Mike Westerdal is a renowned personal trainer and national best-selling physical preparedness author, but he’s also a father and a husband… who would do anything to protect his family.
He used to get pushed around when younger and spent years building up his body and becoming stronger, getting mentally and physically tough the hard way. As he got bigger, he learned to handle himself, and working in security, he learned first-hand how violence really plays out.
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