A strong, powerful pair of arms is a clear sign that you mean business in and out of the gym. And when you have broad, well-developed shoulders and a lean, strong midsection, you’ve got a V-taper that casts a shadow of strength and confidence, and completes the look of a fit and rock-hard physique. Here are the best lifts for building massive arms and strengthening your core, and tightening your midsection and building your abs— the crowning achievements of maximum muscle growth. See Part I for the complete workout and check out Putting It All Together for more information on how to structure your program.
EMG studies show that curls are best for the biceps, and skull-crushers and triceps pushdowns are best for the triceps.
15. One-arm preacher curl
Place your upper arm on the pad of the preacher stand. Lower your forearm slowly to near full extension. Curl the dumbbell to the starting position.
16. Incline dumbbell curl
Sit on incline bench with arms extended, holding a dumbbell in each arm. Curl the dumbbell, and then lower it slowly to the starting position.
17. Triceps pushdown
Stand facing the lat machine. Grasp the bar using a narrow grip, palms down, and elbows close to the body. Push the bar downward, keeping your elbows close to the body. Return to the starting position slowly.
Lie on a bench, grasping an EZ bar using a pronated grip, hands 6 to 12 inches apart. Push the weight above your chest until your arms are extended (starting position). Keeping your elbows in a fixed position, carefully lower the weight until it touches your forehead, and then push the weight back to the starting position. Use a spotter for this exercise.
No abdominal exercise works the rectus abdominis (the six-pack) and the obliques (the sides of the waist) optimally. The best exercises for your six-pack are crunches on an exercise ball, while the side-bridge is the most effective for the obliques and quadratus lumborum (deep core muscle important for spinal stability).
19. Crunches (with or without a ball)
EMG shows that this exercise works the abs best on an exercise ball but can also be done on the floor. Lie on your back on the ball until your thighs and torso are parallel with the floor. Cross your arms over your chest and contract your abdominals, raising your torso to no more than 45 degrees. Increase the stress on your oblique muscles by moving your feet closer together.
Lie facedown on an extension bench at waist level with your feet firmly anchored. Grasp a weight with both hands and pull it tightly toward your chest. Bend at the waist, Iowering your head toward the floor (do not flex your trunk all the way to the floor). Keep your spine straight as you return to the starting position using your low back muscles. This is a good hamstring exercise because those muscles stabilize your body as you extend your trunk
21. Twisting, hanging leg raises
Hang from a bar with arms extended. Left your legs with knees bent and then twist your knees and torso to the right. Return to the starting position. Repeat this exercise except turn to the left. You have completed one repetition when you have twisted to both sides.