Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Best Exercise Series: Parallel Dips and Barbell Bicep Curls

Jack Lallane performed 1000 parallel dips in 17 minutes.  Marvin Eder, in 1953 at a body weight of 200lbs was credited with a 435lbs Dip.  That's a total of 635lbs! Parallel Dips are called the upper body squat mainly because they are so productive in building muscle.  They are far superior to bench press for overall chest and upper body development. 

Straight barbell bicep curls are the foundation of building muscle in your biceps fast.  Never use the cambered bar when doing curls because they're biomechanically incorrect.  An easy way to tell if a trainer or trainee doesn't know what they're doing is if they're using a cambered bar.   It should really be illegal to use this bar but our law makers probably have more important things on their plates.  

Straight bar bicep curls should be paired with parallel dips in a super set fashion.  Do one set of dips immediately followed by a set of barbell curls with no rest between them.  2 sets of each are all that are needed.  Use 10 reps as a guideline but  never stop just because you reached 10 reps, continue until muscular failure.

Here's how to do them:

Barbell Bicep Curls

Straight bar bicep curls need to be done in very strict form.  Otherwise you can easily turn this into a lower back and shoulder exercise.  The key is to lock your elbows into your sides and not move them not even 1/4 inch.  If you are able to have a mirror in front and to the side you're able to see if there's any movement.  Grab the bar with a comfortable grip just slightly wider than shoulder width.  Stand with feet shoulder width, back straight with good posture and tighten your abs.  Slowly curl the bar up until your biceps are fully contracted but don't move your elbows at all.  Pause in the top position for a second, then slowly lower taking about 3 secs.  Make sure and go all the way down until your arms are straight then immediately start the second rep.  Never stop and hold the weight between reps in the bottom position, this just lets your muscles rest.  The set to be one continuous motion only pausing briefly in the top position only.  Continue the set until momentary muscular failure.

Parallel Dips

Starting in the top position with your arms straight, slowly lower yourself until you feel a stretch in your chest and shoulders. Stop and slowly press yourself returning to the top position just short of locking out your elbows.  Locking out your elbows in any pressing movement only gives your muscles rest and puts stress on your joints.  Repeat as many times as you can. 

If you can already do 10 or more dips, hang a 25lb plate from your waist to increase the intensity.  Build up to 50lbs for 10reps or more.