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PostPosted: Thu May 16, 2013 10:17 am 
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Just sharing this

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23537028

Quote:
Therefore, this study showed that the inclusion of SJ (single joint) exercises in a MJ (multi joint) exercise training program resulted in no additional benefits in terms of muscle size or strength gains in untrained young men.


It's not something i've actively looked for research on so i have no idea if there's anything to contrary.

I guess the reason I felt compelled to post is because it actually agrees with what I believe.

I've went from, "YOU MUST TRAIN YOUR ARMS OR YOU WILL NEVER LOOK LIKE YOU LIFT" to, "direct arm work is a complete waste of time", and then to my more recent opinion - "why not just do direct arm work?"

When I train beginner males, I always include arm work. I do this not because I believe it has any benefit but, because that's what beginner males want. In other words, I include it for sales/custoemr services purposes, not because I think it actually helps.

And, to be honest, it's just convinved me that it doesn't actually help.

For beginners!

Bare in mind you shouldn't be a beginner for very long. Then things change. However, we're just talking about beginners here.

Most of the arguments i hear are things like, "your arms will be under developed".... So what? Something needs to be underdeveloped.

"here's a training program that creates equal growth in every single muscle in your body, enjoy" - said by no bodybuilder or coach, ever.

So, if I shy away from taking the easy-life route, my opinion is yes, direct arm work and the majority of isolation work is a waste of time for the complete beginner.

Lets give the dead horse another beatin'

KPj

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PostPosted: Thu May 16, 2013 1:04 pm 
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if one defines "beginner" narrowly enough, sure.

it's not unlike saying "If you have just started to read Einstein, then reading Chaucer won't do anything for your reasoning ability. At least not the first paragraph"


lets not beat this again, ok.


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PostPosted: Thu May 16, 2013 3:54 pm 
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well my views on this are pretty clear so there's probably not much point in repeating myself.

What I will say though is if you look at my log, my arm strength on single joint exercises was stagnant for about 6 months, maybe longer. Since giving them a day of their own, I have made more progress in the last 5 months than in the two years previous, hitting PRs on arm exercises every session, with a noticeable increase in size.

maybe beginners don't need it, but I certainly did.


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PostPosted: Thu May 16, 2013 5:48 pm 
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robertscott wrote:
hitting PRs on arm exercises every session, with a noticeable increase in size.


Perception is a funny thing. At Christmas I saw my girlfriend's brother for the first time in a while as he lives in Thailand. He commented how I was looking bigger round my chest since the last time I saw him, I thought I was looking bigger as well. When I took some measurements in the NewYear, which I do every so often, I was actually smaller.

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Last edited by Proper Knob on Fri May 17, 2013 2:22 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri May 17, 2013 2:11 am 
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thx for sharing the study.

1) doing a bunch of isolation exercises and constantly changing them creates the illusion of getting stronger, cause at new exercises you always start really low and then it takes time til your brain and body are able to go near to failure. maybe it is a new impulse for your body, but it doesn't proove that you are getting stronger.

2) the combination of arm days and steroids creates the illusion that things like arm days work, cause training impulses are enough to create size (i don't want to blame anybody).

3) a very low or a higher bodyfat percentage makes you look more muscular. in the normal bodyfat range you neither are ripped enough for defined muscles, nor your have enough fat to create the look of maybe having a big biceps or wide shoulders or so. that shows why KPj was seen as bigger, but actually was smaller.

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PostPosted: Fri May 17, 2013 4:56 am 
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Proper Knob wrote:
robertscott wrote:
hitting PRs on arm exercises every session, with a noticeable increase in size.


Perception is a funny thing. At Christmas I saw my girlfriend's brother for the first time in a while as he lives in Thailand. He commented how I was looking bigger round my chest since the last time I saw him, I thought I was looking bigger as well. When I took some measurements in the NewYear, which I do every so often, I was actually smaller.


hmmm unless the sleeves of my shirts are getting smaller, then my arms are definitely getting bigger. Medium size shirts are now very tight fitting in the arm, despite my jeans becoming too loose around my waist. So smaller waist + tighter sleeves = bigger arms and lower bodyfat.

It could be the case that gremlins sneak into my room at night and stitch my sleeves tighter. Seems unlikely, but I'll set some traps just in case.


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PostPosted: Fri May 17, 2013 6:22 am 
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Remember it's beginners, and in this particular case covers the first 10 weeks of training.

I actually agree you should train arms. I think it's waste of time for the complete beginner, though. I had a focus on my arms from when I started training, and after a few months went onto a body part split with arm day, and after that initial burst of progress my arms literally never grew despite pretty much everything else getting bigger. When i say they never grew, I mean they never grew. They started at barely 12inches (i have very thin bones). After going from about 130lbs to 160, they were barely 13.5. I remember being constantly frustrated at not being able to tip 14 inches.

The reason I became, at one point, so "anti-arm work" is because when my training changed and I never cared about arms, just strength on big lifts, guess what - shot over 14 inches without even realising. Couldn't even tell you how quick it was because when my mindset changed, I stopped measuring.

However, I think if I added an arm day NOW, I'd probably see some benefit from it.

I'll probably still put arm work in beginner male programs just to shut them up because they're obsessed.

In this case i've just always wondered - what if we took 2 groups, exactly like the study did, and seen the difference. Even in a full body routine, lets say you have 2 arm exercises per work out, 3 sets, so 6 sets in total plus rest - 10 mins (of a 60 min session). For a trainer working with "todays" complete beginner*, 10 mins is a big deal. That's around 15% of training volume, actually, and it's been shown that as little as 2% of training volume can have a positive impact on results.

*By "todays" beginner, it's important to realise how people have changed. Most beginners, for example, need to "get in shape" to do classic basic beginner programs like Starting Strength. This is really the reason all this corrective stuff has blown up in recent years because more people get hurt more often doing what people have done for decades with minimal issues. 10 mins more even on movement/corrective stuff is like a godsend, and could have the beginner in better condition, in a shorter amount of time, to smash a more traditional BB approach without ending up hurt.

It brings up the question, too - if we added more sets of compounds instead of single joint exercises, would it create more progress? I actually suspect it would be the same again, but it's very difficult to tell. Interesting, anyway.

One of my opinions on beginners and isolation work is the fact that we all have stubborn muscles that don't want to grow, and other muscles that seem to grow no problem as long as you're growing/gaining weight in general. By taking a very basic, generic approach (all compounds), you learn right off the bat what's going to need more dedicated work and what isn't, which allows for better training programs as you progress to more advanced stages.

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PostPosted: Fri May 17, 2013 7:35 am 
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i got your point KPj, but your idea doesn't fit the theory about newbie gains and stuff. it's well known that a beginner can make gains til a certain point just by showing up in the gym and working out with a some what serious program. so, why is arm isolation work not favored by newbie gains? why should it be good after one got more advanced and it's not just enough anymore to just "show up" in the gym?

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PostPosted: Fri May 17, 2013 8:49 am 
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At the very beginning you don't really need it at all. I usually tell people to do 1 set for each muscle after the compound stuff, as that should do it for at least the first year.

When you start to reach early intermediate level bodybuilding, then you want to add a bit more. You should then continue to do more of that as you advance. Advanced bodybuilding should have quite a bit of that.

It's going to vary too, as some people need more volume than others.


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PostPosted: Sat May 18, 2013 9:30 am 
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It is interesting.

In the study, you'll notice that there is a trend toward greater increase in the "SJ" group. One wonders whether the difference might have reach significance over time. And, of course, as is so often the case in studies, one wonders whether it would have been different had the study been done in experienced lifters.

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PostPosted: Sat May 18, 2013 2:27 pm 
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I think it depends on your priorities. If getting big arms is a top priority, then you'll probably want to eventually include some direct arm work. However, that doesn't necessarily mean you'll need it as a beginner, or that you'll ever need to devote an entire workout to just arms.

Meanwhile, if you're more interested in things like strength, speed, power or sports performance, you may do just fine without curls and triceps extensions. In fact, you may end up building pretty impressive arm muscles without them.


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PostPosted: Sun May 19, 2013 11:34 am 
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robertscott wrote:
It could be the case that gremlins sneak into my room at night and stitch my sleeves tighter. Seems unlikely, but I'll set some traps just in case.


Gremlins? Everyone knows it's elves that have the tailor skills.

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PostPosted: Sun May 19, 2013 5:47 pm 
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This is just an abstract. A lot of questions are not being answered:

1. What was the set/rep scheme?
2. Cadence?
3. Load?
4. Progression?

All of which could invalidate the findings, and these are the kinds of questions we'd be asking a person posting for program feedback. We wouldn't have enough information to help them plan their program, ergo we don't have enough information to draw any kind of sound conclusion from this study, so it's not useful.

IF we assume the study was conducted in a fashion where we agreed that the methodology was sound, I don't think we'd be able to draw any serious conclusions about the inclusion of single-joint exercises. Rather, I think this study would make a case for minimum effective dose and progressive overload; once you've imposed enough demand to create a physiological adaptation, any additional training stimulus results in significantly diminished returns.

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PostPosted: Thu May 23, 2013 3:38 pm 
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It's kinda funny that the almighty and important quads and glutes need only big compound movements like squats, but the biceps (roughly the size of a russett potato) needs 9 sets of different curls. Why aren't dips and bench presses "squats" for the tris and chins enough for your potatoes...er I mean biceps? That being said, yes of course I do them. I don't exactly want to find out the hard way that I should have been doing a few curls and some lying french presses to keep my guns a loaded. But, I don't think bis and tris deserve their own workout either. A few sets of curls and and triceps work is fine.

And really, bench presses seem to not exhaust the tris enough. Just pick a biceps excercise and do it at the end of your pull workout. Pick a tri exercise and do it at the end of your push workout. You just invested an extra 5-6 minutes of training time and don't your arms look great!

Enjoy bodybuilding. Enjoy a pump. Have a protein shake because you "need it." Don't think so hard about it all.


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PostPosted: Thu May 23, 2013 3:53 pm 
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Yeah. I agree. I don't think it should be necessary, but I do a little anyway, not that it has done me much good! I've been thinking that I need more bodybuilderish work.

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