Monday, July 11, 2011

"The Punisher": Advanced Workout Technique

Here's an advanced workout idea from Eric Broser, creator of the Alpha Male Advanced Workout program:

The quest to be your best requires pushing yourself harder and farther than you ever thought you could go, both in and out of the gym. It means finding new ways to test your limits and dig deeper into your pool of willpower, strength and courage.

One of the authors of the amazing new Alpha Male Advanced Workouts program described a recent biceps workout that included a new variation of the Punisher. The idea of the Punisher is to do a total of 100 repetitions in as short a time as possible. You can stop intermittently, but only long enough to catch your breath and let the intense pain and deep ache subside a little. The Punisher isn’t about using heavy poundage. You use only about half the training weight you would normally use, and you should try to get at least 40 solid reps in good form before stopping. But they were going to make this a “Punisher Plus” set of standing barbell curls by using a heavier weight, even if the initial rep count before stopping was lower, and incorporating the concept of a “Drop Set” (page 60 of the original Alpha Male Challenge). This new hybrid is an advanced technique designed to take things to a whole new level of punishment … and productivity. But it’s not for the faint of heart.

They set up an Olympic barbell at hip level on the squat rack, did a couple light warm-up sets, and then put a dime (10 pounds), two nickels (5 pounds each), and a collar (to prevent the weights from sliding) on each side. That’s just a bit over 85 pounds – a little more than half of what they’d typically use for working sets of strict standing barbell curls.

Once you begin your Punisher Plus set, you can’t stop for more than a few seconds. You have to continue until the 100 reps are completed. They all knew before starting that this would be a journey of self-discovery deep into the pain zone. It is sets like these that tell you what you’re made of.

Do it like this: Pick up the barbell with a shoulder-width grip and start curling in strict form – no swinging, no leaning back, no momentum. Each repetition should be full, using only your biceps to curl the bar up from a position at your hips to a position just in front of your chin. The tempo must be smooth and controlled on both the raising and lowering segment of each rep, stopping for just a brief instant at the top.

Try to complete 20 consecutive reps, with the last 3 giving your biceps a serious burn. When you pick up the bar a few seconds later to resume curling, your biceps will be on fire after only 5 or 6 more reps. Do 10 reps, put the bar down for a few seconds, and then pick it up again and do 10 more. Your biceps will feel like they are being burned with a blow torch, and you will barely squeeze out the last few reps. That’s when you can quickly pull off a 5 pound plate from each side, grab the bar, and curl another 15 solid reps, passing the halfway mark at 55 reps, with 45 yet to go. Step away from the rack only long enough to gulp down a few lung-fulls of oxygen, grab the bar, and grind out another 10 strict, painful reps. At this point, the rep count becomes a chant. Nothing else on earth matters except pushing on to the next number. Now strip the remaining nickels off the bar, and keep going for another 15 reps, followed by two more sets of 10 strict reps with minimal rest in between. Even the final reps should be strict and controlled, despite the searing pain. Your biceps will feel like they are being engulfed in flames – even your brain will feel like it’s on fire! Your biceps will feel like smoldering ash when you’re done, and will still look and feel pumped for days!!

Eric Broser
The Punisher Plus isn’t necessarily something to do too often. But the take-home message is that there’s more to a workout than 3 sets of 10. Make a serious assessment of your workouts. Are you just going through the motions? If so, you’re wasting precious time and effort. Are you sore after a training session? If you almost never are, you may not be pushing hard enough to force your body to adapt and improve. If you have a workout so brutally intense you feel compelled to share it with others, you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing. Stop going through the motions. Leave your comfort zone far behind. Dig deep and challenge yourself to do something incredible. Conquering a workout like the one I’ve described will make you feel capable of vanquishing anything. You’ll feel pumped both physically and mentally for days! Try out the Punisher Plus on your next biceps workout, and let me know what you think! And download Alpha Male Advanced Workouts for an incredible new training program that will rock your world!!!

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