Want to train like IFBB pro Charles “Tank” Dixon?
Look no further. Check out Charles’ arm workout in the video, and read the description below for details on perfect exercise technique. Let’s get started!
EZ Bar Curl
Once you can bring yourself to stop gawking at his insane vascularity, you can see that Tank uses an advanced technique for training arms that we guarantee 90% of people don’t even know about. Pay attention to his elbows. Where are they going? Nowhere – they’re right at his side. Check out the elbows of the next person you see trying to curl 85+ pounds the next time you are in the gym, and you’ll see that they swing their elbows back and forth. The elbows will go back to start the movement and/or on the eccentric (the way down), and they will follow the weight up during the concentric. Couple that with rocking their body back and forth and starting the curl with a bounce from their legs, and they’ve turned the curl into a whole body movement! Tank keeps the biceps curl an isolation exercise by making his biceps, not his stronger front delts or lats (or legs or low back), take the load. 4 sets of 10-12 reps this way will make it feel like a whole new exercise.
You can see Tank using the same strategy on cable curls. Even when it’s late in the set and he starts to fatigue, the elbows stay fixed. Only after achieving muscular failure should we start to cheat the movement. The key to this exercise is the direction of the cables. With them set up to pull the weight behind Tank, he’s able to overload the long head of the bicep at the bottom of the range of motion. The long head sits underneath the short head (the “peak”) and pushes the peak of the bicep up higher, giving it an even more impressive look. As a general principle, a lifter can spend about half of their biceps volume training in a neutral position (such as EZ curls) and a quarter focusing each head of the bicep – alternating between short (such as preacher curls) and long (such as cable curls as performed in the video) every week. 4 sets at 15 reps each to finish off the biceps!
Tricep Rope Extension
Having a great mind-muscle connection is essential for isolation arm training. You can see Tank taking his mind-muscle connection to the max on this exercise! After the slow motion clip, watch him hold and squeeze the tricep at the finish before repping a few out to finish the set (the videos are best at the end of the set when the athletes are pumped!). There’s nothing wrong with swinging into a few reps to get more volume, but they’re only going to be effective for training the tricep if the tricep is actively engaged in the exercise! It sounds like something we should all know already, but it is definitely easier said than done. Similar to biceps training, the closer the biceps are to the sides in this exercise, more long head of the tricep will be recruited. Tank makes this more of a triceps group exercise by leaning forward. As you’ll see next, he compliments this with a similar strategy in the upcoming exercise after 4 sets of 15 reps on rope extensions.
Incline Skull Crushers
Instead of laying down flat like in a normal skull crusher, Tank does these on an incline to differentiate the training from tricep rope extensions. Flat skull crushers and rope extensions with a forward lean are basically the same exercise – all the angles and loading patterns are nearly the same! One of the reasons aspiring bodybuilders sometimes have a hard time developing their triceps is because rope extensions and normal skull crushers are the most popular triceps exercises, but they are not providing enough variation in their training when performed together. By doing them on incline, the triceps get a little more stretched, and the mid and short heads of the triceps are more active. You may notice some more movement of the elbows on this exercise. This was no mistake, however. Tank is letting his elbows come forward just a tad so that he can increase his range of motion. Unless he were to actually crush his skull, it gets in the way. Bringing the elbows forward lets the bar get lower and increases the amount of work Tank can put in. 4 sets of 8-12 reps to finish off the day!
Arms Workout Table
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