Thursday, May 2, 2019

Squats For Bigger Arms - By Jim Duggan

     The title of this article is from the April 1970 edition of Muscular Development magazine.   It was originally written by Sterri Larsen.  Who is/was Sterri Larsen you might ask?  I have no idea.  A Google search produced no answer.  Under his byline in the article, it states that he was a bodybuilding authority in Norway.  That is all I have on Mr. Larsen.  It doesn't really matter who he is.  What matters is that he wrote a great article, which contained information that is as relevant today, as it was nearly fifty years ago.

     Imagine making the statement that Squats can build your arms.  Perhaps back in 1970, it was not so far-fetched.  Most persons who lifted weights were open to new ideas, and there were quality magazines like MD, Strength and Health, and Peary Reader's Ironman, which provided readers with quality information.  Sadly, there is a serious lack of useful training information being disseminated today. Yes, the internet provides us with more information than ever before.  But is there anything useful being practiced at a typical commercial gym?  "Leg day," "arm day," bodypart training, and other principles of "bro science" are prevalent.  The concept of training specific body parts on separate days came about in the 1970s  via the various muscle magazines, or "muscle comics."  Instead of preaching sound training principles, they espoused the idea of pumping up your body through bogus articles that were supposedly written by ( drug) bloated pumped-up bodybuilders.  Common sense went out the window.  Instead of two or three full-body workouts devoted to the idea of building Strength and Health, six day per week body part training was recommended.  Instead of Squats, Deadlifts, Military Presses, the muscle comics endorsed the use of movements that would produce  pumped up arms and pecs, and "barn door" lats.  Today, a casual stroll through any commercial gym will prove that such foolishness is still with us.
     Fortunately, the people reading this article are interested in the concepts of old-time Physical Culture, and common sense Strength training.  People who LIFT.  People who realize that hard work on the basic exercises, allowing yourself sufficient time to recuperate between workouts, and following a sensible diet, are the best way to get bigger and stronger.
     In the original article, there is a line in the third paragraph which sums up the theme of what the author is trying to get across:  "Squats are still the best way to increase your bodyweight and to expand your chest......and when your chest grows, so do you!" There are many ways to incorporate Squats into your routine.  Breathing Squats, 20-Rep Squats, 30-Rep Squats, Six Sets of Six, Five Sets of Five.  They're all effective, provided that you that you put in the requisite work and effort.
     Breathing Squats are simply regular Back Squats done in high reps with lots of breathing between each repetition to increase the rib-box and increase metabolism.  There have been many articles, and even books written about the effectiveness of high-rep Squats.  John McCallum, Dr. Randall Strossen, and Dr. Ken Leistner are just a few of the legendary Iron Game figures who have inspired countless lifters to include heavy Squatting in their workouts.  It doesn't get any better than those three gentlemen, and when it comes to gaining size, it doesn't get any better than hard work on the Squat.
     The concept of 20-Rep Squats is addressed perfectly in Dr. Strossen's great book, "Super Squats: How To Gain 30 Pounds Of Muscle In Six Weeks."  If you have never read that book, I encourage you to order yourself a copy.  Even if you do not seek to gain weight, you will be motivated to train hard.  You will become aware of the importance of hard work.
     If you are going to specialize on heavy Squatting, then you must be judicious in selecting the other exercises in your your routine.  Deadlifts, Bench Presses, Military Presses, and Bent-over Rows are the movements that will build Strength as well as size.  You can spread these exercises over two or three days.  You can build tremendous strength, and considerable size on a "limited" or "abbreviated" routine consisting of the basic exercises.  Naturally, you must work hard.  You must also be consistent as well as progressive.  Poundage progression is the key to consistent gains.
     I would like to add one thing that the original author did not mention in his article.  You must train in an intelligent manner, which is to say safely.  Do NOT Squat to failure unless you are training inside of a Power Rack.  If you do not have access to a Power Rack, then secure the services of two good spotters.
     High-rep Breathing Squats, will cause you to experience remarkable gains all over.  It is effective for increasing your bodyweight, as well as your Strength.  It is much more effective than engaging in a routine of pumping, and toning exercises.  Dedicating a day to pumping your arms with endless curls, and pushdowns will not build appreciable strength and will not even cause an increase in size.  Neither will endless sets on a pec-deck machine when it is "Chest day."  Incidentally, when it's "arm day," what happens when you eat a meal after your workout? Do the nutrients go directly to your arms? Likewise on "Leg day," if you consume a protein drink immediately after you train, will the protein bypass the other parts of your body and go straight to your legs? What about when you sleep? Do you sleep only for your arms or legs on their assigned days? These questions prove the utter foolishness of body part training.  Leave that sort of thing for the pumpers and toners.
     There is one more quote from the original article that I would like to mention.  "There will be times when only sheer willpower will keep you going. Yet, it's never your muscles that give out first- it's your personal aversion to the exercise that makes you stop."  Naturally, Squats are hard work, and high rep Squats are brutally hard.  Set a goal, and make up your mind to reach that goal no matter what.  Your body can handle just about any type of challenge you throw at it, it's your mind that you have to convince.  If you work as hard as you're supposed to, you won't regret it because you'll be making the gains that you want.

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