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The Gray Iron Fitness Newsletter, Issue #146 Build bigger, stronger arms.
September 15, 2014
September 15, 2014
In this newsletter . . .
You can build bigger, stronger arms
Your fitness story
You can build bigger, stronger armsAsk any senior, especially any male, if he would like to add some muscle to his arms and you can bet he’ll say yes. Not so many senior ladies may wish to add bulk, but many will say they’d like to firm them up.
I was 66 with seven years of steady training behind me the last time I gave the following arm workout a dedicated run. The result was that I added some muscle and had a lot fun doing it. Younger seniors, especially, can reasonably expect greater gains than mine, if they follow it as described. It is not for beginners, however. Beginners should first build a strength and fitness base (see: Beginning Weight Training).
The workout is called EDT, which stands for Escalating Density Training. I wish I could claim ownership, but it is not my creation. The great trainer/coach Charles Staley figured out this one.
I’m paraphrasing now, but Staley explains EDT this way: Select a body part, let's say arms, and work them exclusively for 15 minutes. There’s nothing new in that, of course, but here's the rest of it:
When you have finished, record your total reps for the 15-minute period.
Now, here is the challenge: At each subsequent workout, keep doing sets of 5 reps with the same weight, but try to achieve a higher total during the 15-minute period. How do you do that? Your rest periods must get shorter. When you have gotten so you can do 20% more than your beginning workout total, increase the weight by 5% and start over.
Anyone wanting to try EDT in its purest form should read Charles Staley's material. My adaptation is a little different, which I’ll explain in a moment.
Either way, EDT is tough stuff, so the remainder of your workout should be designed for maintenance only. Use the 15-minute EDT period to really zero-in on one body part, in this case arms. In Staley's original, you rest 5 minutes after the first EDT session, and then do another 15 minutes, working the same body part but with a different exercise selection.
One 15-minute period is enough for me, and I imagine it is enough for most people over 50, especially those well over 50. Yes, you want to really zero-in, but not overdo it.
In my version, I did preacher curls alternated in superset fashion with seated triceps extensions. The pump was great and I experienced some rep/weight capacity improvement. Did my arms grow another half-inch as a result? No. That kind of increase would not be likely for someone my age, and with a good number of years of steady training already behind him. Still, I had fun and was pleased with my modest gains. As I said, younger seniors with more growth potential on the same schedule should realize significant increases in strength and size.
The rest of my upper-body workout was for maintenance. I worked this way once per week, and at my second resistance training during the same week, I did a maintenance only workout for my arms and the rest of my upper body. I did leg workouts on different days. I continued the program for six weeks.
Once again, I do not recommend EDT for beginners. Beginners should first develop a solid fitness base with a beginner’s program, such as the Gray Iron Fitness Guide for Senior Men and Women. But after that, experimenting with different training methods and programs makes all the sense in the world, and that’s when the fun really accelerates.
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