I was looking through an old 1963 edition of Muscle Builder magazine that I have had since I was about 14 years old and came across an article written by Joe Weider, “The Trainer of Champions”, that brought back a lot of old memories. The article was on Joe’s new Triple Range Training principle and he said if I had the necessary guts, will power, and zeal this revolutionary principle would enable me to “Bomb” and “Blitz” my wimpy biceps into massive herculean proportions. Here is what the introduction to the article said:
“Here is the most astounding muscle-building principle ever revealed by the Weider Research Clinic. It is so far-reaching in scope…so sensationally effective in action and so monumental in its astounding results that it is absolutely light years ahead in scientific muscle-building. Here is a definitive analysis of “Tri-Bombing” the biceps by the Trainer of Champions.”
Wow! I was psyched! I just had to keep reading what the Trainer of Champions had to say about this revolutionary new training principle. Joe went on to say, “It’s totally new…something so daring, so different that I’m sure it will excite you to just read about it. You will actually be driven to apply this effective principle to your workouts…beginning with the very next one!”
Holy Cow! Joe was right! I was so mentally pumped as any 14 year old could be. Tell me more Joe, I want to “Blitz and Bomb” my wimpy arms like never before! Baseball Biceps here I come!
In all upper case type the headline read, “NOTHING TO BUY…NOTHING REQUIRED BUT ZEAL!” What the heck is zeal anyway, Joe? I hurried to the nearest dictionary to find out that ZEAL meant enthusiasm. “Oh, Joe…Man, I have so much enthusiasm, I’m about ready to burst! Com’on tell us already what this Tri-Bombing deal is all about!
Joe proceeded to explain in great detail what Triple Range Training or Tri-Bombing was and how to apply it to bicep training. In case you’re interested, I actually added about one inch to my upper arms over a three month period when I was a kid with this training principle. So, the “Trainer of Champions” wasn’t jiving us after all!
I will now summarize Tri-Bombing for the biceps in hopes that you will give it a shot for a couple of months to shock your biceps to new growth. Just because it’s old school doesn’t mean it won’t work.
Let’s start with the Strict two arm barbell curl.
The lower part of the bicep and the brachialis muscle (under the bicep) are activated as is the belly or middle section of the bicep to some degree. Almost nothing was done for the upper part of the bicep that gives height and peak.
Now with the Cheating Barbell Curl you load on more weight than the Strict Curl and you give the weights a slight shove or cheat with your hips just to get the bar moving. Then you curl the heavier weight to the shoulder. The cheat curl mainly attacks the belly or middle of the bicep and only works the lower biceps briefly as the weight is returned to the starting postition. The upper arm doesn’t get worked much so the peak is not developed.
With the bent over Concentration Curl you work mainly the upper part of the bicep that gives your arm peak or height when flexed. With the Concentration Curl you are forced to use a light weight so the development of the belly or middle of the bicep is hindered. Also the brachialis or lower arm is automatically disengaged because of the bent over position.
As can be seen from above examples there are weak areas and strong areas of the bicep. No one type of curl fully develops the three sectors of the bicep muscle at one time. This is where Triple Range training or Tri-Bombing comes into play. With this method all three sectors of the bicep will be attacked from different angles with three different exercises in a tri-set fashion. This ensures complete development of the lower bicep (brachialis area), middle bicep (belly), and upper bicep area (peak).
Now for the exercises:
Triple Range Tri-Set #1:
1. Incline Board Partial Curls with Dumbbell
Stand behind the raised board of an incline bench with the curling arm lying flat on the board and the body supported and steadied with the top of the bench in the armpit. Now, with as heavy a weight as you can handle that will permit you to raise you arm no more than a few inches upward in a series of partial or curl beginnings. this will attack the lower bicep. Do this one set for 10 reps and immediately repeat with the other arm for ten reps. Take a brief rest and move on to the next exercise. Editor’s Note: This exercise can also be done on a preacher bench (sometimes called a Scott Bench because it was popularized by Mr. Olympia Larry Scott).
2. Cheating Barbell Curls
Take the heaviest weight you can maneuver and with a slight thrust of the hips and legs curl the barbell to the shoulders and lower it very slowly. Remember to only thrust the weight just enough to get it started. This attacks the belly or the middle of the biceps. Do this for 10 reps, take a brief rest and quickly move on to the next exercise.
3. Bent Over Dumbbell Concentration Curl
Bend over with your right arm extended straight down and with your right elbow resting on your right knee. Now and the dumbbell to your shoulder strictly and with no cheating or thrusting. Mentally concentrate and when your arm reaches your shoulder tense and squeeze the bicep then return slowly. This will strongly attack the peak-part of the upper biceps.
As you can see all three sectors of the biceps were strongly worked in each type of curl range. That’s why Joe called it the Triple-Range Tri-Set. Here’s another Tri-Bomb variation that Joe claimed Larry Scott, the first Mr. Olympia, used to work his famous biceps.
Triple Range Tri-Set #2
1. Larry Scott Extension Curl
Rest a barbell on power stands or on the uprights of a bench press. Adjust the height of the stands so that when you are holding the bar at the start of a curling position, your arms are pointing downward at a 45 degree angle. The idea is to make sure your elbows are slightly bent and not locked when starting out like you would be in a standard curl. From this position do half-curls bringing the weight about half-way upward toward the shoulders and then immediately beginning your next rep. By touching the stands your elbows are not allowed to lock and will be slightly bent at the beginning of each curl. This will attack the lower bicep area. Do 10 reps and take a brief pause and quickly move on to the next exercise.
2. Sitting Cheating Curl
Sit on a bench with a heavy barbell resting on your thighs. Placing a thick towel or rubber pads on your thighs will make this more comfortable. Now, with a little body heave and a slight thrust of the back, curl the weight to the shoulders. Lower it slowly to the thighs and repeat. This will attack the belly or middle biceps. Do 10 reps and take a brief rest and go to the next exercise.
3. One-Armed Cable Curl
While standing, grasp a cable pulley handle with one hand and while keeping this arm extended to the front and parallel to the floor, curl the handle to the shoulder. At this point tense the upper bicep almost forcing a cramp into them before returning slowly to the starting position. If necessary use your other hand to keep the elbow of your working arm straight and parallel to the ground. This exercise attacks the upper peak area. Do 10 reps.
This completes “Triple-Range Tri-Set #2” and again all three sectors have been worked. The article suggested to do five complete Tri-Bombing or giant sets of each group…five of #1 and five of #2. That is probably too much for the average person starting this routine so the article goes on to say if your biceps can’t stand so much bombing at first, then do “Tri-Bombing #1 for two consecutive times and “Tri-Bombing #2” for another two consecutive times. Increase the number of sets as you get stronger.
This is a pretty tough routine but as I said earlier it helped me gain an inch on my upper arms during a three month period back when I was 14 or 15 years old. Joe Weider ended the article by saying, “Now go to it. ‘Tri-Bomb” your biceps. Blitz them into ‘Mr. America’ size and shape. Remember: It’s another Weider Research Clinic first!”