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.
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
the first question I asked Nick when he first
sent this book along for a review. After all,
given that I'm primarily a strength and performance
coach, direct arm training is not generally a
big priority for me or my clients. I wanted to
know what his reasoning was for putting out a
book like this.
this just for fun or just fluff training?
his reasoning was actually very similar to my
own when I was putting together my "Ultimate
Guide to Massive Arms" book...
1. Direct Arm Training = Assistance Work for the
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.
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.
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.
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.
application of direct arm training can really
make a big difference in your lifting.
of course, you need to use EFFECTIVE exercises
for this purpose, otherwise you're wasting your
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
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).
actually acknowledges this as well - in his own
training, he tells me 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
our site here.
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 I asked
Nick about this specific point, he said...
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.
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!"
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).
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
Compound Exercises Included
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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!
honestly, that's what training SHOULD be. If you
have an "exerciser" mentality where
you go to the gym and do your "penance"
for eating a few French fries then you're not
Things That Could Be Improved
About the Book...
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.
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.
last of the 3 bonuses is actually something that
NOBODY has ever seen before. Really interesting
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.
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!
if you've seen the exercises that Nick posts in
our weekly PR Zone newsletter, 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 :)
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.
the exercises are just plain fun!