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Simple Tip To Stronger, More Defined Arms

I’m a dude, and as a dude I can say that dudes love to train their arms.

Does this pic belong on this post?  Probably not, but it's still funny!

Does this pic belong on this post? Probably not, but it’s still funny!

We all want bigger, stronger and more defined arms.

Any guy who tells you differently is lying.

I can also tell you that every single lady I’ve worked with has wanted better arms.  She hasn’t wanted bigger arms, but she’s wanted stronger, more toned arms.

Any lady who told me differently…

…wasn’t telling the whole truth and I usually found this out a few weeks after training together when she’d walk in, roll up her sleeve and flex to show the definition, or when I would teasingly jab at her triceps while doing a push-up or chest press.

So I don’t think it a stretch to say EVERYONE wants nicer arms.

The problem is that the normal way of attaining nicer arms – isolation exercises – is BORING.

Curling, extensions, curling some more, press-downs, curling again, maybe some close grip push-ups, curling again, kickbacks (boring!), and finishing up with some more curls.


So what’s a fine fella or lady to do?

More curls.

The end, have a good day.


Alright, then how about using this awesomely fantastic, and diabolical, trick.


One of the easiest, and most effective, ways to sneakily (it’s a word) work a client’s arms a bit harder is to add half-reps to a few key exercises.

My favorites are the Shoulder Press, Push-ups (especially the close grip), Upright Rows (if your shoulders are healthy enough), Close Grip Pulldowns, Triceps Extensions, and Negative Chin-ups (really effective)…

…and of course Bicep Curls!

All you do is throw in a little half-rep, or bounce, to every full repetition.

To better explain I’ll lay out the Shoulder Press…

Proceed into the press as normal by pressing the weights over head, then lower them HALF WAY down – not all the way down to your shoulders – then immediately press all the way up, and THEN go all the way back down.

So it’s:  Up, half way down, up, all the way down = 1 rep.

You’ll have to decrease the amount of weight you use on most exercises, but can keep the reps pretty stable if you decide to throw these into your regular routine.

The same process is used with the other exercises mentioned and if you really, really want to get strong, sexy arms and shoulders you should use the 1 ½ Close Grip Push-up a few times per week.  It’s tough, but incredibly effective at the same time.

Why Do Half-Reps Work?

Give it a go and you’ll definitely feel why it works, but the reason it works is it increases what’s called Time Under Tension, or TUT.  That’s a fancy way of saying it just makes your muscles work harder for longer, but this way does it without shooting the repetitions through the roof, which I don’t like doing because there’s little benefit in that.

You can throw them into your workout anywhere you see fit, but here are my two favorite ways…

1. At the beginning of the workout as part of a Pre-Workout Mini-Circuit

I’ll pair up 1 or 2 of the 1 ½ exercises with an highly metabolic exercise, like Burpees, and do them in circuit format for 5 minutes, completing as many circuits possible in that time (no rest!).

This really cranks the metabolism and invigorates the arms, which is a fancy way of saying your arms will “feel” the workout about a bazillion times more than if you didn’t do the fancy little pre-workout circuit.

I know my clients hate this, and I have a love/hate relationship with this tactic because it’s so fiendishly effective.  It hurts, but it hurts in a good way.  If you catch my drift.

2. At the END of your workout in what can only be called Workout Hell, but totally in a nice way.

The format is the same, but I typically leave the metabolic exercise out because that would just be mean.

I’ll pick 2 or 3 of the 1 ½ exercises and put them into a mini-circuit and do it for 5-7 minutes.

I’ll usually throw 2 exercises that work the same general muscle groups with a lower body movement sandwiched between.

For example, 1 ½ Shoulder Press (10 reps), 1 ½ Goblet Squat (10 reps), 1 ½ Push-up (15 reps).

If you’ll notice I snuck in a lower body movement in that little circuit, which is way to increase the effectiveness on your legs and butt.

You could do the aforementioned Goblet Squat, Bodyweight Squat, Overhead Squat (don’t pair with a shoulder movement), Stationary Lunges (not best with moving lunges), or Hip Extensions.

You need to focus a bit more on the lower body movements and really pay attention to how your butt muscles are working.  It’s really easy to let the quads do much of the work, and you need to fight that.  Concentrate on keeping the tension on your butt and flex hard every time you raise up.

Let’s end this with a sweet little Fusion Conditioning workout that puts it all together…

5-Minute Circuit #1

1A) Burpee – 8 reps

1B) 1 ½ Goblet Squat – 10 reps

10-Minute Circuit

2A) Close Grip Chest Press – 8 reps

2B) Rollout – 12 reps

2C) Renegade Row – 8 reps/arm

2D) Overhead Forward Lunge – 12 reps/leg

5-Minute Circuit #2

3A) 1 ½ Shoulder Press – 8 reps

3B) 1 ½ Boyweight Squat – 12 reps

3C) 1 ½ Push-up – 12 reps

Give that puppy a go and you’ll see why adding the “half rep” is one of my favorite fat busting workout tricks.

Let me know what you think of this tactic, or if you have any questions.

Talk soon!


About The Author

Ed Scow, also known as "The Fit Dad", likes long walks on the beach, snuggling, hand stand push-ups and pretending to work. He's also a fitness & nutrition expert, proud papa and husband to a smokin' hot wifey.

Number of Entries : 169

© 2015, ELS Wellness, Inc. and Ed Scow

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