Hammer curls and the like..

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Hammer curls and the like..

Postby shocklocks » Wed Sep 17, 2008 6:50 am UTC

Hey guys, just curious about the benefits of using the hammer type motion in strengh training for cable/dumbell exercises. Whats the best way to incorporate it into it? ie, Currently I see 3 ways I could start incorporating it into my workout: Doing half the reps in set normally then switcha and finish on the hammer stance, Doing a set of normal then a set of hammer(keeping in mind I increase the weight/decrease the reps after every set)? or sticking to a normal grip on my first day and hammer curls on my second day(I currently work out each muscule group tiwce a week.) Secondly which exercises(if any) benefit the most from multiple grip types and should I see anoticeable difference by introducing them?
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Re: Hammer curls and the like..

Postby Victoria Maddison » Wed Sep 17, 2008 9:07 am UTC

shocklocks wrote:Whats the best way to incorporate [hammer curls] into [my training program]?

Curls are inferior to chin-ups/pull-ups. I wouldn't do them at all.

shocklocks wrote:I increase the weight/decrease the reps after every set

Pyramiding produces suboptimal strength gains compared to "sets across."

shocklocks wrote:I currently work out each muscule [sic] group tiwce [sic] a week.

Sounds like you're on a typical bodybuilding split routine, these programs are generally less than ideal for most training goals. If you're after strength and mass gains I'd recommend something else.
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Re: Hammer curls and the like..

Postby shocklocks » Thu Sep 18, 2008 12:23 am UTC

Curls are inferior to chin-ups/pull-ups. I wouldn't do them at all.

This wouldn't suprise me seeing as they absolutely kill me lol. ATM however all I have access to in reguards to strengh training is the bowflex in my parents house and free weights. Maybe after I start my summer job i'll be able to buy some material to set one up outside in my flat but until the semester ends i'm stretched enough cash wise as it is :(.

Pyramiding produces suboptimal strength gains compared to "sets across."

What method is "set accross"? My plans are to work up to 5sets of 8reps as this is what i've been advised by a friend how ever this summer is going to be the first that I plan on doing auctual strengh training(as oposed to cardio with a couple lighter high rep circuit programs a week) and my body is unfamilar to the correct form for alot of the exercises. For that reason I wanted to start (at least for the first month) with a program that allowed me to focus on form more then effort for the first set and work up to weights where I fatigue at fewer sets. TBH though i'm not sure on the optimal ammount of reps or sets or how to start it

If you're after strength and mass gains I'd recommend something else.

Again, i'm unsure what other method I should be using, the advice to split it up into 3days twice a week exercising different muscles came from the fitness guide in the bowflex manual. That coupled with the fact I have the fact I have uni/work most days until 8 meant although I workout 6days a week it's easier to find time to do 6exercises in a day as oposed to 18. Again if theres any links/advice you could give on a more effective routine i'd deffinitely appreciate it.
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Re: Hammer curls and the like..

Postby Victoria Maddison » Thu Sep 18, 2008 2:20 am UTC

shocklocks wrote:all I have access to in reguards [sic] to strengh [sic] training is the bowflex in my parents house and free weights

Stick to the free weights.

shocklocks wrote:Maybe after I start my summer job i'll be able to buy some material to set
[up a chin-up/pull-up bar] outside in my flat but until the semester ends i'm
stretched enough cash wise as it is

The nearest children's playground should have a number of bars that you could use. E.g. the top support beam of a swing set.

shocklocks wrote:What method is "set accross"? [sic]

The weight and reps are held constant across all sets.

shocklocks wrote:My plans are to work up to 5sets of 8reps

3 sets of 5 reps is optimal for the primary barbell exercises. Assistance exercises are performed at slightly higher reps for no more than 3 sets.

shocklocks wrote:this summer is going to be the first that I plan on doing auctual [sic] strengh [sic] training

In that case you'd be much better off following Starting Strength and acquiring a membership to your local university gym. Membership is usually quite affordable for students.

shocklocks wrote:my body is unfamilar [sic] to the correct form for alot [sic] of the exercises. For that reason I wanted to start (at least for the first month) with a program that allowed me to focus on form more then effort

Exercises should be learned with the empty bar before weight is added.

shocklocks wrote:the advice to split it up into 3days twice a week exercising different muscles came from the fitness guide in the bowflex manual.

Machines from infomercials won't make you big and strong. Barbell training will.

shocklocks wrote:I workout 6days a week it's easier to find time to do 6exercises in a day as oposed to 18

Given that you're a complete novice you only really need five. The squat, bench press, (overhead) press, power clean and deadlift. Even then you'll only be performing three of these per training session, and training three days per week, not six.

shocklocks wrote:if theres any links/advice you could give on a more effective routine i'd deffinitely [sic] appreciate it.

Get your hands on the book Starting Strength by Rippetoe & Kilgore. It explains in detail how to correctly perform the exercises mentioned above and lays out a novice training program that is unparalleled in strength and mass gains. Seriously.

These are not substitutes for reading the book but you may find them informative:
http://startingstrength.wikia.com/wiki/FAQ
http://www.crossfit.com/cf-info/excercise.html#Power

Note: I've made the assumption here that because you want to get big and strong you are going to take up barbell training.
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Re: Hammer curls and the like..

Postby psyck0 » Thu Sep 18, 2008 2:31 am UTC

To be fair, Bowflex is an excellent home machine that will deliver results if you know how to use it. It is of course not equal to having a full gym. Also, you sound really condescending with your (correct, so far as I know) points, if you care.
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Re: Hammer curls and the like..

Postby Victoria Maddison » Thu Sep 18, 2008 3:10 am UTC

psyck0 wrote:you sound really condescending with your (correct, so far as I know) points, if you care.

That was not my intention. I assume you're referring to my use of the term "novice"/"complete novice." It's not an insult. It refers to an individual's ability to adapt to training stimulus. A novice is able to recover and make linear gains squatting 3x5 heavy, three days a week. A more advanced individual would not be able to do this. This makes the novice stage quite rewarding as gains in both strength and size come very easily here.

If on the other hand you're referring to my dislike for machines, well that's because they're inferior to barbell exercises. And one doesn't need a whole gym, the bare essentials (barbell, weight, flat bench and power rack) are more than enough for a novice program.

If you have a problem feel free to PM me. I'm approachable.
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Re: Hammer curls and the like..

Postby Token » Thu Sep 18, 2008 4:28 pm UTC

I know no one asked me, but... you could try not clearly labelling other people's spelling errors? That may be contributing.
All posts are works in progress. If I posted something within the last hour, chances are I'm still editing it.
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Re: Hammer curls and the like..

Postby Victoria Maddison » Thu Sep 18, 2008 9:38 pm UTC

Token wrote:you could try not clearly labelling [sic] other people's spelling errors?

I was taught to always "sic" spelling errors when quoting someone.

An easy way to avoid this whole situation:

Firefox Preferences > Advanced > General > Browsing > Check my spelling as I type

But now we really are off topic.
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Re: Hammer curls and the like..

Postby Token » Thu Sep 18, 2008 11:42 pm UTC

Victoria Maddison wrote:I was taught to always "sic" spelling errors when quoting someone.

Yeah, I figured as much. I think it's slightly more appropriate in a book or research paper than on an internet forum, though. Anyway, I didn't say doing so made you condescending - I said it might be making you seem condescending. Oh, and "labelling" is how we spell it over on this side of the Atlantic.

We now return to the scheduled discussion of hammer curls and effective training plans.
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Re: Hammer curls and the like..

Postby Victoria Maddison » Fri Sep 19, 2008 12:15 am UTC

Token wrote:it's slightly more appropriate in a book or research paper than on an internet forum

Given that one would copy-paste a quote on the internet instead of writing it up one's self, forgoing acknowledgment of any spelling errors sounds reasonable.

Token wrote:Oh, and "labelling" is how we spell it over on this side of the Atlantic.

Yes, I know. My dry sense of humour has failed me again.

Token wrote:We now return to the scheduled discussion of hammer curls and effective training plans.

Sounds good to me.
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Re: Hammer curls and the like..

Postby shocklocks » Fri Sep 19, 2008 2:29 am UTC

Honestly my vocab outweighs my spelling skills so badly even with a spell check i'd probably still be at a loss. :P. Granted alot of the typing errors are due to the fact I spilt shit all over my keyboard and the keys are sticking in some places not my shitty spelling skills.

Cheers for the information though, I have no problem being told if theres a better faster way of achieving something and I prefer bluntless so I didn't read any of your posts as condescending. For a number of reasons i've always been a little hesitant about some of the exercises you've listed namely the squats, powercleans and overhead presses. I'm guessing I REALLY shouldn't be trying any of these (esspecially the last 2) without having someone to instruct me on form/technique as i'm doing them? They look like they could end rather painfully if done wrong. I'm deffinitely going to try get a gym membership over the summer, unfortunately during the semesters while our universities gym is a decent size it's half cardio equipment and with 700students on campus+teachers and the public using it it's generally abit crowded for my liking. Is it possible to do the exercises safely alone with just the barbell and a bench compared to having the metal frame arround you to rest the weight on afterwards/having a spotter?
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Re: Hammer curls and the like..

Postby Victoria Maddison » Fri Sep 19, 2008 4:38 am UTC

shocklocks wrote:i've always been a little hesitant about some of the exercises you've listed namely the squats, powercleans and overhead presses. I'm guessing I REALLY shouldn't be trying any of these (esspecially the last 2) without having someone to instruct me on form/technique as i'm doing them? They look like they could end rather painfully if done wrong.

Rippetoe wrote Starting Strength to teach the five barbell exercises mentioned above. If it couldn't be done he wouldn't have written the book. It's so simple children can and are doing it. Furthermore, weight training is several orders of magnitude safer[1] than many other popular sports, such as soccer for example.

shocklocks wrote:I'm deffinitely going to try get a gym membership over the summer, unfortunately during the semesters while our universities gym is a decent size it's half cardio equipment and with 700students on campus+teachers and the public using it it's generally abit crowded for my liking. Is it possible to do the exercises safely alone with just the barbell and a bench compared to having the metal frame arround you to rest the weight on afterwards/having a spotter?

The back squat and bench press require either spotters or a power rack to be performed safely. The press, power clean and deadlift can all be dropped in the event of a missed rep without harm to the lifter.

1. Hamill P. Brian, Relative Safety of Weightlifting and Weight Training, Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 1994, 8(1), 53-57
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Re: Hammer curls and the like..

Postby shocklocks » Sun Sep 21, 2008 6:05 am UTC

I was able to have a go at a couple techniques today, I think my bench press form has always been pretty good and the deadlift seems to be following the advice i've read about it but the squats absolutely fucking kill me. With no weight attached my arms were killing me(it felt like i was over stretching them) and even then with my arms back as far as possible and the bar was still pressed right up against my neck as opposed to my back. Even now sitting at my monitor i'm unable to (with my elbows bent) able to bring my fists past my shoulders, i'm hoping i'm just doing something wrong but I don't know how to improve it. My builds always been rather stocky ie. broad shoulders that fold in when i lift my arms and a short neck.. I'm honestly wondering if it's even possible for me to do it correctly.
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Re: Hammer curls and the like..

Postby psyck0 » Sun Sep 21, 2008 1:32 pm UTC

Sounds like you're not flexible enough, especially in your shoulders (which is very odd, never heard of that before). I expect the answer is no (you're a beginning weight-lifter), but do you have particularly well-developed chest muscles? If you overdo your chest without working on your shoulders, like a fair number of idiots who do nothing but press and bicep curls, your chest muscles can actually pull your shoulders forward partially out of their sockets. I really doubt that's your problem, though.

Try not doing the squats for two weeks or so and doing a dedicated stretching regimen for your shoulders for that time. See if you can loosen them up enough.

Also note that your wrists shouldn't be straight up, but bent back. All your arms should be doing is pressing the bar against your back, not taking any weight, so you can bend your wrists as much as you need to to get there. Try rotating your elbows a little forward (just a little!), as well. That may help you get your wrists back.

Edit: I should say that I use a higher grip than Riptoe advocates due to a shoulder problem, and so my shoulders are less involved. Using the lower grip requires his method of gripping, not mine.
Last edited by psyck0 on Sun Sep 21, 2008 5:16 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Hammer curls and the like..

Postby shocklocks » Sun Sep 21, 2008 2:05 pm UTC

mm, i think it's just the shock of not ever having bent like that. My postures horrible but I didn't think it was this bad! I spent the better part of the night with the bowflex's squatbar just trying to get my arms back properly. I've managed to get it off my neck but my arms are still violently resisting the foreign angles they're being subjected to. As for the programme it self i've read through the wiki article and will be ordering the book within the next couple pay days. The one thing thats got me abit worried is the stress they put on the rest days. While over the summer this won't be a problem(assuming i'm still able to run and swim/keep up moderate cardio along side the training), next year how ever is going to be different. Once the year starts again i'll be taking up kick boxing and jujutsu along side the strengh training/light biathlon training and wonder if this is going to mess up the recovery days which they stress in the article. I'd hope 12-14weeks of dedicated strengh training would give some nice results but they'd be kind of useless if the programme was too intense to carry on once i start the other commitments/if i was unable to adjust it so at the very least I was maintaining the weights I was on after the summer.
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Re: Hammer curls and the like..

Postby Victoria Maddison » Sun Sep 21, 2008 9:35 pm UTC

It's not uncommon for people to have some flexibility issues when first learning the low bar rack position. The shoulders will be stretched out in a couple of weeks. Until such time why don't you slightly widen your grip and then slowly bring it back in as your flexibility increases. The high bar squat is an acceptable alternative as long as you keep pushing the bar down until you can reach the low bar squat position.

A novice can make significant gains in 12-14 weeks. It's easy enough to drop the program back to maintenance only if necessary.
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Re: Hammer curls and the like..

Postby shocklocks » Thu Sep 25, 2008 4:17 am UTC

Well the books ordered and until the summer starts I plan on losing some of the beer gut(the whole keep your back arched and chest out is abit embarrasing with that poking out) and using the bowflex to work on my squat/dead lift form(as well as doing arm exercises so I can do more then 2chin ups in a row><). While the idea of going to a park sounds good in theory, the park which me and my mate run the tracks arround is usually covered in wiggers/maoris during regular school hours smoking pot and listening to their phat gangsta beats off the crappy mp3 speakers on their phones; not suprisingly struggling to pull off 3chin ups in front of them is not a good look(othertimes it generally has young kids and hogging the monkey bars while i try and do 10sets of 3reps isn't something i'm too keen on.)

Thanks to everyones help though, esspecially Victora Maddison's. I may decide to turn this thread(or delete it and make a new one) into a progress thread to give others an idea of what they could expect using the starting strengh programme/hopefully even motivate some of the community to give it ago.
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