I’m a big believer in building a strong, balanced body.
I treat all muscle groups equally and punish them with the same love and respect. I don’t favor any one body part. Yes, certain muscle groups respond better than others but that is largely genetic. Yes, certain muscle groups are more painful than others when you’re training with intensity (and you should be) but that’s just the way it goes.
I have kept training logs for nearly 30 years to make sure I know what I’m training (legs, back, etc) and to set goals within my, and my clients, training. I think of these training logs as artwork. I value them, reflect upon them and use them to gauge where I’ve been and where I’m going.
Whether you’re a football player, a golfer, a swimmer or a middle age active adult – a strong, healthy body should be a primary goal. Unfortunately, a lot of athletes tend to neglect direct arm training but I think that this is a mistake. You’re only as strong as your weakest link and if you’re not training your arms, an injury may be lurking. Injuries are always possible -simply by walking down the street – but I’ve learned that if I train my body as a whole, I tend to stay injury free.
There seems to be a misconception that if you’re sprinting, doing Olympic lifts, bench presses, squats, pull ups and deadlifts then your bases are covered.
I disagree and here’s a great example.
Egyptian World Heavyweight Weightlifting Champion, El Saeed Nossier. Nossier was hailed throughout Egypt as a hero. Ultimately, Nossier became Egypt ’s Minister of Sport and a trusted adviser to Egypt ’s King Farouk.
Nosseir won the gold medal in the light heavyweight class at the 1928 Summer Olympics in Amsterdam. He lifted 355.0 kg to book a new world record, winning Egypt’s first-ever Olympic gold medal.
Egypt ’s most famous strongmen, powerful weightlifters and world record holders like El Fayad, Khadr El Touni and so many others were influenced directly or indirectly by Nossier.
When asked about the main technique that he used to produce so many world champions in weight lifting , Nossier said that he taught each athlete bodybuilding principles. Nossier felt that after each athlete built his muscle size and strength through bodybuilding, he could then specialize on all the various techniques of weightlifting.
This is probably a first amongst weightlifters and is something that has all but been forgotten. I rarely see Crossfitters doing direct biceps exercises nor do I see weightlifters do direct isolated arm training – at least not in a bodybuilding sense.
If you’re trying to improve your deadlift and you’re using a on over/underhand grip, the strain on the biceps (underhand grip) is intense. If you’re using twice your bodyweight or more on the deadlift, injuries can and will occur over time. My suggestion is to do biceps curls (all variations) in order to promote injury free training. Pop a biceps or rupture a tendon, and you’re done for a long time.
To sum up, whether you are a football player, tennis player, basketball player or a occasional athlete, train your body equally and with the same intensity to build and keep a solid foundation.
Below are a couple of youtube videos that I made demonstrating two of my favorite biceps and triceps exercises.
P.S. Congrats to Keegan, one of my Cedar Park High School football players. Keegan achieved his goals on Bench Press (225), Squat (315) and Deadlift (365) this week! At only 15 years old, he is going to be a force on the football field next season. He has undergone tremendous challenges both physically and mentally and has developed a championship mindset.