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Review of "The Best Arm Exercises
You've Never Heard Of"
ebook by Nick Nilsson

"The Best Arm Exercises" is a very interesting book...68 unique exercises for the bicep, triceps and forearms ONLY. And I have to say, the level of creativity and effectiveness these exercises have to offer is really going to be a BIG eye-opener for a lot of people.

I mean, what's the first thing you think of when you think of "arm training" - if you're like a lot of trainers, you immediately think barbell curls and pushdowns. Or dumbell curls and dips, etc.

You don't think "Bodyweight Preacher Curls" or "Spiderman Rack Push-Ups"...though if you DO, then I'm not sure what planet you're from. Maybe the same one Nick is from...

So Why Arms?...

That's the first question you might ask Nick. Is this just for fun or just fluff training?

And his reasoning is this...

1. Direct Arm Training = Assistance Work for the "Big" Movements

Let's say your bench press has been stuck for a long time because you can't seem to get the bar fully locked out at the top when you move on to using heavy weight. That top range of motion is a LOT of tricep action. By directly working the triceps with effective "assistance" exercises, you can immediately see results that carry over to your primary movements.

Obviously, any pressing movement is going to have a substantial tricep component. What about biceps? Bicep strength plays a big role in rowing and pulling exercises.

Here's the thing...your body is only as strong as it's weakest link. If you're doing a bench press and your triceps are relatively weak, it's going to LIMIT the uppermost amount of weight you can push. By directly strengthening your weak links, you can improve your total strength in many of the big lifts.

Same for an exercise like chin-ups. Your back may be strong, but if your bicep (or even forearm!) strength limits your training, you'll never maximize your performance in that exercise.

A targeted application of direct arm training can really make a big difference in your lifting.

And, of course, you need to use EFFECTIVE exercises for this purpose, otherwise you're wasting your time.

As it relates to this specific point, "The Best Arm Exercises" has some EXTREMELY targeted stuff that certainly fits the bill as big exercise "assistance" exercises. As a strength coach, you've got to look at everything that can give your athletes an edge. Ruling out direct arm work just doesn't fit that paradigm.

2. Training Variety

Obviously, a book full of 68 new exercises is going to give you a LOT of variety to choose from. Your body thrives on some degree of variety (though you still DO need to maintain a level of consistency to achieve a training effect).

Nick actually acknowledges this as well - in his own training, he says that it's about 75% "normal" stuff...squats, deadlifts, bench press, that kind of thing. The other 25% is a rotation of the unique exercises you see presented in his books and on his site.

You HAVE to keep some consistency in order to see results - shotgunning all over the place won't get you where you want to go. When asked about this specific point, he said...

"Here's the approach you have to take with this type of resource - take your time with it and pick out a few exercises you want to try. Use them the next time you train arms and see how they work for you. Generally speaking, if an exercise is going to work for you, you'll feel it pretty quickly. Stick with the ones you get the biggest effect from then gradually work in OTHER exercises on a rotational basis like a continuous audition process at a soap opera.

As good as these exercises are, I'm quite sure there will be ones that don't work equally as well for everybody. You have to experiment and find out what works best for YOU. Then work it HARD!"


3. Deloading

Let's say you're a powerlifter and you've been training the "Big 3" lifts (squat, bench, and deadlift) almost exclusively for months. Now it's time to back off and "deload" (basically reduce your training volume to facilitate recovery in the muscular and nervous system).

This is a GREAT time to work in specialty exercises like the ones Nick puts forward in his book (it also goes back to the assistance work I was talking about earlier).


4. Compound Exercises Included

One of the very nice things Nick has done with this book is included plenty of compound exercises...not hard to find for the triceps in normal exercises (think of dips, close grip bench press, etc.) but tougher to find for biceps.

Several of the exercises are variations of pull-ups or rows that make adjustments in setup and/or execution in order to change the focus from back to biceps. They're VERY simple to execute and WOW do they really have potential.

The real standout exercise in that department is the Nilsson Curl, which can be best described as a chin-up with your forearms braced against a bar set about a foot lower than the one you're gripping on.

As Nick explains it, this bracing keeps you from being able to pull your body straight up, which normally engages the lats. By blocking your forearms like this, it forces you to pull yourself up and around in an arc with the elbow as the pivot. This is almost ALL biceps (80 to 90%) with assistance being provided by the lats instead of the other way around.

You can actually SEE this exercise in action as one of the sample exercises on Nick's site for the book. Very cool exercise and it's a great twist on a classic exercise to really change the focus to biceps and work it as a compound exercise.

5. FUN

Yep, arm training IS fun. It's the stuff you do when you've earned it with the hard deadlifts, squats, pulls and presses. It helps keep your mind fresh and your motivation high!

Things That Could Be Improved About the Book...

The title of this book pretty much describes what this book is all about...unique exercises. One thing that would be a nice addition would be some targeted sample workouts for working those exercises into a program.

I asked Nick about this and he told me that it's a secret (not a very good one now, I guess) but he's got several unannounced bonus gifts for people when they pick up the book that will address this. He wanted to keep it as a surprise but if it's something that's holding you back from grabbing the book, don't let it because it's not going to be an issue.

The last of the 3 bonuses is actually something that NOBODY has ever seen before. Really interesting stuff there.

The only other thing that jumps out at me is that there aren't really many forearm exercises in the book at the moment (5 for the forearms compared to 33 for the biceps and 30 for the triceps). Nick told me he's going to be addressing this in updates to the book as he definitely knows the forearm stuff needs to be beefed up.

When you get the book, you'll also get free updates for life, so that'll be moot point, too. Not like the other 63 exercises won't keep you fairly busy for awhile anyway!



Now, if you've seen the exercises that Nick posts on his site, you'll know exactly what this book is all about...very cool, very effective exercises that will totally make you look like a crazy person at the gym. In a good way, of course :)

These exercises are very well thought out and have a lot of potential both for improving your arms AND for helping improve your "big" exercises through assistance training.

Plus, the exercises are just plain fun!


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