Thursday, March 19, 2009

Form and Function: Why TSCers Train Arms.

It has become chic to eschew the isolation training of arms. Some fitness hipsters believe, isolated movements like biceps curls, triceps extensions and raises that focus on the posterior deltoids (the "rear delt") have fallen out of fashion. Many arguments against these exercises are entirely pretentious.

As TSCers we train for health and fitness. We want to feel good, look good, and be good. Therefore the POWER-10 program uses exercises that develop symmetry, balance, and proportion. The goal is to sculpt an aesthetically pleasing physique that enhances our ability to enjoy life or stated another way, the goal is form and function. As humans we are always attracted to the fusion of form and function, example: Lambo's and Ferrari's, beautiful cars, excellent performance.Isolated movements like the biceps curl, triceps extension, and rear delt raise are essential to developing form and function.

These exercises also have added benefits beyond making you look better. The "isolation" movements in the TSC program will test your balance and core strength. Keep it mind almost all TSC exercises are done with free weights! (The exception is lat-pulldowns, which we only use until we are able to build enough strength to do pull-ups).

When TSCers perform exercises like the standing alternating pronated curls, they must balance themselves as they curl dumbbells through a free range of motion. This is entirely different from sitting in a machine and moving a lever through a forced range of motion.

Also the TSC "isolation" exercises develop grip strength which is essential to improving your ability to perform compound movements, like the dumbbell row. How can you lift a weight that you can't hold? It's impossible, therefore exercises like hammer curls actually make you better at compound lifts.

Grip strength is an example of a limiting factor, the factor that prevents you from performing another rep of a certain exercise. Another example of a limiting factor is triceps strength when doing chest presses. Often times we will get to a sticking point when performing chest presses, on what becomes our final rep we are often able to lift the weight off our chest, but our triceps lack the strength to straighten the arms. Thus your triceps strength is really your limiting factor. Ergo, additional triceps development will allow you to train your chest better. The same is true with dumbbell rows and the rear delts, in many people the posterior deltoids are actually atrophied and severely limit the ability to row anything from a dumbbell to a canoe.

Furthermore, all additional lean body mass serves to raise metabolism! So even slight additional hypertrophy in the biceps, triceps and posterior deltoids will increase your metabolism. Plus exercising these muscles will allow you to burn additional calories using what I call after burn, the calories that your body burns repairing the muscle tissue that you damaged during your workout.

In addition to the functionality of training your biceps, triceps and rear-deltoids in isolation, there is the tremendous aesthetic benefit to your physique. Well muscled arms on men and toned arms on women look much better then weak or flabby arms. Also the biggest benefit of isolation training is probably seen in the rear deltoids. Small and atrophied read delts cause the shoulders to appear slumped forward and have a shape like a "D." Ideally we we want to achieve shoulders with an "O" shape. This symmetry and proportionality will have a dramatic effect on your posture. Hypertrophied posterior deltoids along with a strong back help us to walk taller and more confidently. Also ladies, more shapely shoulders look better in every thing and well trained rear delts will really pay off in a summer sun dress.

Finally, the isolation training of the biceps, triceps and rear deltoids that is being ignored by many fitness hipsters, is really really FUN! Its a joy to do these exercises, I love training rear delts, triceps and especially biceps! Curls are a great exercise to close the week. The pure joy of that last set of curls is wonderful.

Transform your body now and change your life forever. Get the TSC Heart of a Champion Program and Make it Happen!

Chris Krueger

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