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Finishing Touches



Posted in: Articles by ProSource, Training Articles | Mar 26, 2008



ForsLean Coleus Forskohlii by ProSource D on't let the finer details of your physique lag behind. From forearms to calves and everything in between, ProSource tells you how you can bring six neglected body parts up to par.

For something so often forgotten or ignored, the small details often make the difference between a mess and a masterpiece. What if Michelangelo had cut corners while sculpting the Statue of David, or Leonardo Da Vinci had breezed past the nuance in The Last Supper? The former may have turned out to be no more than a forgotten hunk of marble, the latter surely not one of the most examined and revered works of art of all time.

Of course, you may not be working on the same scale when crafting your physique '" most of us just want a few admiring glances from the opposite sex and a body worth showing off at the beach '" but details still matter.

Think of it this way: How impressive does a mighty set of biceps and triceps appear if attached to a splinter-thin forearm? How cartoonishly laughable are big thighs if "anchored" by spindly calves?

Yes, it's not a pretty picture. But there's hope. We can help you complete your own masterpiece, and without tons of extra time in the gym. A few sets here or there, and you can drastically improve these smaller yet important body parts.

Below are six commonly ignored muscles: We give you quick 10-minute workouts for each, and the best body parts to pair them with. Simply tack these workouts to the end of the suggested larger part, and over the course of a few weeks to months, they'll not only become a regular element of your routine, but they'll develop from weak points to strong '" and maybe even become a highlight in your personal work of art.

1) Forearms
The forearm muscles pair synergistically with your biceps workout, and can be worked with simple barbell and dumbbell exercises.

EXERCISE                            SETS   REPS
Reverse EZ-Bar Curl                3          15, 12, 10
Barbell Wrist Curl                     2          15, 12
Reverse Barbell Wrist Curl       2          12, 10 

The first move is very similar to a standing biceps curl, except you hold the bar with a palms-down grip. For a barbell wrist curl, sit near the end of a bench, place your forearms flush on the bench between your legs, holding a bar off the end with a palms-up grip; then curl the bar up and down with your wrists in a full range of motion. For a reverse wrist curl, you simply turn your grip over so your palms face down (you'll have to drop the weight, as you will be weaker in this position).

2) Calves
Obviously, calves go best with the rest of your leg training, but pro bodybuilders pair them with almost any workout with success, so you can follow suit '" just be sure to hit them at least once, if not twice, a week for results.

EXERCISE                            SETS   REPS
Standing Calf Raise                   3          20, 15, 10
Donkey-Machine Calf Raise     3          20, 15, 10
superset with
Seated Calf Raise                     3          20, 15, 10

Although you'll be using reps up to 20, after a lighter first set, really try to ramp up the amount of weight you're handling '" calves will respond better to heavier loads. Keep in mind, they're used to lifting your bodyweight countless times all day as you walk, so when you're in the gym, you need a stronger stimulus to prod them. For all three exercises, employ a full range of motion, and try to hold each rep at the top for a second; if you can't do so, you've gone too heavy. If you're not familiar with it, the donkey calf machine is a piece of equipment where you bend 90 degrees at the hips and lift a pad set on your lower back and glutes by raising your heels. If your gym doesn't have one, you can do three more sets of standing raises instead. Supersetting the last two exercises will help keep you moving and cut down on overall rest time.

3) Rear Delts
The rear delts are often the smallest of the three deltoid heads, because the front and side delts get more overall attention from lifters. The latter two heads are also more involved in pressing moves for shoulders and, to a degree, chest. To help the rear delts keep up, you want to continue working them in your regular delt workout, and then give them some bonus work as part of another day's training. The following routine fits well at the end of a back workout, or at the beginning of an arms session.

EXERCISE                                                    SETS   REPS
Bent-Over One-Arm Dumbbell Raise   4          12, 10, 10, 8
superset with
Bent-Over Dumbbell Rear Raise                       4          12, 10, 10, 8

Procure a flat bench for both of these exercises. They should be done slowly and under full control, feeling the rear delt contract on every rep. For the first, take a dumbbell in one hand and place your other hand on the bench. Your back should be flat, your core tight. Raise the dumbbell straight out to the side until your arm is parallel with the floor, then lower and repeat. After the recommended reps, immediately move into the next exercise: From the same position, instead of lifting the dumbbell to the side, you'll bring it back to the rear (like a dumbbell kickback with a straight arm).

4) Obliques
Many people do plenty of crunches and reverse crunches, but the obliques, which run along the side of the abdominal wall, are commonly an afterthought. If they're a weak point for you, you should do oblique work with your regular ab routine, then add some extra work to the end of another training day. The following oblique-focused workout can be done at the end of just about any session, from legs to chest to back.

EXERCISE                                        SETS   REPS
Decline-Bench Twisting Crunch            3          20, 20, 20
Vertical-Bench Knee Raise To Side      3          12, 12, 12

The decline-bench crunch is like a standard decline crunch, except you twist as you come up, bringing your left elbow toward your right knee and vice versa. On the vertical bench, the idea is the same, except your bringing your knees up to one side, then the other. For both exercises, once to each side equals one full rep.

5) Lower Back
If you're doing deadlifts and back extensions during your regular back workout, you're probably fine. If you're not, you'll want to start adding these moves onto the end of your back or leg routine to increase your all-important core strength.

EXERCISE                                        SETS   REPS
Off-The-Rack Deadlifts                        4          10, 10, 8, 8
Back Extensions                                   3          25, 20, 15

Deadlifts off the rack shorten the range of motion (which means you may be able to handle a little more weight than you could with traditional from-the-floor deads), while calling on your lower back and core, among other muscle groups. Set the safety bars in a power rack to a height just below knee level, and set a barbell on them. From here, you'll perform deadlifts from this height, bending at the knees, grasping the bar with an overhand or mixed grip, and pulling the bar up to a standing position. The second exercise, back extensions, are performed on an angled back-extension bench or a roman chair, and involve bringing your body from a 90-degree angle to a plank position.

6) Neck
When is the last time you worked your neck? (And no, working your traps doesn't count). Never? If that's your answer, it's not surprising. Neck exercises are about as popular in gyms as guys with rancid body odor. However, unlike the sweat-soaked dude you don't want to be next to on the treadmills, neck exercises aren't loathed, they just aren't that well known or passed along from teacher to pupil. You can add this quick and effective workout to the end of any upper-body training session.

EXERCISE                                        SETS   REPS
Facedown Neck Raise                         3          10, 10, 10
superset with
Face-Up Neck Raise                            3          10, 10, 10
Side-To-Side Isometric Resistance       2          6, 6

Most likely, your gym doesn't have the old-fashioned head harness, which has straps that go around your head and a chain that holds weight plates, but that's no problem. You can provide ample resistance directly with a weight plate on the first two exercises listed. Start with no more than a 10-pounder '" with your neck, going heavy is not ideal or recommended. For the facedown raise, you can lie on a bench longways or vertically, with your head off the edge. From here, holding a weight plate on the back of your head with both hands (try it sans plate for the first workout or two), lift your neck up as far as you can, then lower slowly. Repeat for reps. The face-up raise is similar, except, obviously, you're looking up toward the ceiling and you place the plate on your forehead. The final exercise involves only your hand. Place your palm against the side of your head, and resist as you tilt your head into your palm as hard as you can. Hold for 5-10 seconds per isometric "rep." Alternate side to side '" once to each side equals one rep.





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Disclaimer: The articles featured herein are for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. Specific medical advice should only be obtained from a licensed health care professional. No liability is assumed by ProSource for any information herein.





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