By now, you're probably getting accustomed to the heavier weights and exhausting 6/1/6/1 sets that made up Phase 2. After three weeks, you should have the hang of it. Well, we can't have that, now can we?

Phase 1 involved slower speeds and higher reps. You used a higher volume approach and incorporated movements that involved a greater range of joint angles. Biceps and triceps were trained on the same day (a mixed push and pull program.) Biceps received a slight prioritization via the sequence.

In Phase 2 you used lower reps, a lower volume, and incorporated exercises that used a lesser range of joint angles. You used a split push and pull program, meaning that the bi's and tri's were trained on separate days. Notice the all-important contrast in training methods between the first two phases.

Now you're ready to get started on Phase 3, which goes back to a mixed push and pull program using slower speeds, higher reps, a higher volume, and a greater range of joint angles. Although this looks a little like Phase 1, it's slightly closer to the neural end of metabolic training (on the neural-metabolic continuum.) Regardles, this phase provides another opportunity to pump those guns from the metabolic end, meaning we'll be using higher reps and a higher set duration, with a few little surprises thrown in, of course!

This is the third of four phases and by now the pattern will be forming. You might even think you can start guessing what Phase 1V will look like. Maybe you'll be right, maybe you won't! You'll just have to wait and see.

One question I often get asked is this: "Is it okay to do the lower body 'Limping' program with the upper body 'Chest and Back' program?" (Both are 12 week programs I posted over the last year here at T-mag). The answer is yes. They can work together, provided that you're up to doing a four day split, which most of you are. But do not mix those two programs with this arm program! In fact, do not do this arm program with either of those programs! Great Guns is a high-volume, specialization program. I recommend low volume, high intensity maintenance training on all other muscles and that's it.

If you're only training three times a week (and two of those are taken up by this arm program) I advise you to train all the remaining muscle groups on the third day. If you're training four times a week (with two of those days taken up by this arm program), I recommend spreading the remainder of the body between these two days, e.g. one day lower body, the other day upper body (but not arms).

Don't forget, each phase has two arm workouts (A and B), one to be performed early in the week and another to be performed a few days later when you are able to wipe your own arse again. Also remember that you can extend each phase to four weeks or shorten it to two weeks if you'd like. Three weeks is usually best for most people.

Enough talk, let's do it!

Workout A

You've survived Phase 1 and 2, so I don't need to prepare you for what you may experience. Remember to take it easy in the first week so you can feel out the techniques and establish the appropriate load. Go a little harder during week two and in the third week feel free to give it all you've got and then some!

You know the rest of the drill. Shut up, follow the program, push it when it's appropriate to push it and get ready to buy the next size up in shirts!

In flexion (palms up), allow the bar to roll to your finger tips. Note that extension (palms down) will probably require a lighter load. If you feel too much strain on your wrists try using the EZ-curl bar. If the lightest bar in the gym causes you fatigue in the warm-up set, just call it the work-set and move on to the next exercise. Use a full range and terminate the reps if range is lost.

As for the fat bar, you'll know if it was effective if you found it more difficult to get the required reps compared to sets performed with a normal circumference grip.

I recommend you have the three pairs of dumbbells you want to use set out in front of you so you don't get held up during the tri-set. In all the incline biceps variations, keep the forearm (the direction the palm is facing) and elbow position (which should be behind the body) constant throughout the lift. Work either both hands together or alternate.

Here's what the biceps tri-set will look like:

Note: Ian would prefer you to go through the biceps and triceps tri-sets once as a warm up in superset fashion, then do them again for a work set.

Here's what your triceps tri-set will look like:

Preacher Curl, Very Wide Supine Grip: Now with the preacher bench at about 45 degrees, take a very wide palms up grip on the EZ-curl bar. The top of the bench should be firmly snug in your armpits and the full length of your upper arms should be on the bench. Lower the bar all the way down until your arms are fully extended. On the concentric portion stop just before the vertical gravity line, or just before you feel the tension come off the biceps.

The tempo will be 613. This means the load will be less, so really exaggerate the contraction at the top of the eccentric Phase 1n the first half of the reps, or until you peter out.

In the warm up set there's no need to keep a strict 613 tempo; you may use a 311. Just be strict in the work set.

The speed of movement in the work set will be 613. I don't think many of you will need to use that "peak contraction" technique described in the above biceps curl, but you can if you want to. In reality, I prefer not to go to full extension in the dips, instead stop just short of full lockout (you know, Weider Principle No. 909332843209843251)

How deep should you dip? I like to see the shoulder joint just lower than the elbow joint at the bottom position. Most importantly, I want to see the range remain consistent i.e. don't reduce the range as you get tired. Either maintain the range or terminate.

If you have any history of shoulder problems, you need to review whether you should be dipping at all. An alternative may be the close-grip bench press. If in doubt, and you cannot obtain an opinion from a person whom you respect in the area of injury prevention, don't do dips!

Just to ram my point home, one of Australia's highest paid athletes was out for about six months following shoulder surgery during 1999. How did the injury occur? Dipping! Should he have been dipping? We can all be wise in hindsight, but he had had previous major shoulder surgery. If he was going to do dips he needed to be in great shape and closely supervised to be doing it, not going up and down like he might at a Geisha house!

Enough said. Be smart about it and use bench dips if you're unsure!

This is going to be a "low-to-high rep" strip set, so you'll need your heaviest dumbbells up front. Use lighter ones in each subsequent set. In the work set, I want fatigue achieved with 6-8 reps. Take up to 10 seconds rest and then go to fatigue between 8-10 reps. Rest up to 10 seconds and go with a load that causes fatigue in 10-12 reps. Whether you're going to muscle fatigue or failure should be influenced by which week you are in of this program. (In week three of a three week cycle, I'd want you to go very close to muscle failure, but not in the first two weeks.)

Lie on a prone bench with your head just off the end. Start with the arms holding the bar at an angle of just less than 90 degrees from the body, i.e. just off vertical, towards the head side. Keeping the elbows still, lower the bar to the forehead. (You'll have your head just off the bench so the range will be greater.) Make sure that your elbows are totally still during the entire movement. They'll remain equal distance apart from each other and at a constant distance from the head.

Again, this is going to be a "low-to-high reps" ascending strip set, so you'll need your heaviest weight up front. I want fatigue achieved with 6-8 reps. Take up to 10 seconds rest and then go to fatigue between 8-10 reps. Again, rest up to 10 seconds and go with a load that causes fatigue in 10-12 reps. Wait for the wave of nausea to pass and go get a drink of water. Workout A is finally over.


Here's a summary of the first guns workout in Phase 3:
Forearm Extensions with Padded Bar
Position Warm-up Work sets Tempo Rest
Kneel on ground, palms up, forearms supported on bench, using fattened bar 1x15 1x15 311 None, superset with forearm flexion
Forearm Flexions with Padded Bar
Position Warm-up Work sets Tempo Rest
Kneel on ground, palms up, forearms supported on bench, using fattened bar 1x15 1x15 311 None, superset with forearm flexion
Biceps Tri-Set
1) Incline hammer curl — neutral grip
2) Incline dumbbell curl — palms up grip
3) Incline dumbbell curl — palms down grip
Position Warm-up Work sets Tempo Rest
See descriptions in text 1x10 on each exercise 1x10 on each exercise 311 10 seconds between exercises within the tri-set
Triceps Tri-Set
1) Triceps Pressdown — very close, palms down grip
2) Triceps Pressdown — medium width, palms down grip
3) Triceps Pressdown — medium width, palms up grip
Position Warm-up Work sets Tempo Rest
See descriptions in text 1x10 on each exercise 1x10 on each exercise 311 10 seconds between exercises within the tri-set
Biceps Curl on Preacher Bench
Position Warm-up Work sets Tempo Rest
Palms up, very wide grip, preacher bench at 45 degrees, use EZ-curl bar 1x8 at normal range and speed 1x8-10 613 Just long enough to move to the next exercise
Dips (or bench dips)
Position Warm-up Work sets Tempo Rest
Palms facing in, just outside body 1x8 at normal range and speed using the bench dip 1x8-10 613 Just long enough to set up the next exercise
Seated Dumbbell Curl with Twist
Position Warm-up Work sets Tempo Rest
Hammer grip start, external rotation of forearm during concentric phase 1x8-10 at normal range and speed 3 strip sets of ascending reps as outlined in text 311 10 seconds between exercises within the strip set
Lying Triceps Extension
Position Warm-up Work sets Tempo Rest
Supine medium grip, lying on bench with head hanging off 1x8-10 at normal range and speed 3 strip sets of ascending reps as outlined in text 311 10 seconds between exercises within the strip set

Workout B

All variations will be performed with you lying on your back on a bench, head just off the end of the bench and knees bent so that feet are flat on the bench. In all these variations, keep the elbows beside the body and try to prevent them from wandering, which means restricting how much weight you can use during the eccentric phase.

Here's what this tri-set will look like:

Note: Ian would prefer you do a warm-up using each position in the tri-set, then move on to the work set.

Here's what this tri-set will look like:

One-Arm Triceps Kickback Using Rope: Face a low to medium pulley. (If it's an adjustable pulley, experiment with the height.) Using the rope fitting, bend forwards towards the pulley and then extend your elbow in the opposite direction. Keep the elbow still and beside the body throughout.

The speed of movement in the work set will be 613. This will mean the load will be less, so really exaggerate the contraction at the top of the eccentric phase, at least in the first half of the reps or until you peter out. Remember to do the weaker arm first!

In the warm-up set there's no need to do a strict 613. You may use a 311. Just be strict in the work set with the speed.

As in the triceps exercise above, the speed of movement in the work set will be 613. Again, really exaggerate the contraction at the top of the eccentric phase (where the bar is closest to the forehead).

As this is done one arm at a time, apply the weak side rule. Train the weak side first and use no more weight or reps on the strong side than the weak side could handle. This is going to be a "low-to-high reps" ascending strip set, so you'll need your heaviest dumbbell up front and a lighter one each subsequent set. In the work set I want fatigue achieved with 6-8 reps. Take up to 10 seconds rest and then go to fatigue between 8-10 reps. Again, rest up to 10 seconds and go with a load that causes fatigue in 10-12 reps.

This will also be a "low-to-high reps" strip set. In the work set I want fatigue achieved with 6-8 reps. Take up to 10 seconds rest and then go to fatigue between 8-10 reps. Rest up to 10 seconds and go with a load that causes fatigue in 10-12 reps.


Here's a summary of the second guns workout in Phase 3:

Forearm Flexions Using Dumbbells
Position Warm-up Work sets Tempo Rest
Kneel on ground, palms up, forearms supported on bench, using fattened bar 1x15 1x15 311 None, superset with forearm extension
Forearm Extensions Using Dumbbells
Position Warm-up Work sets Tempo Rest
Kneel on ground, palms down, forearms supported on bench, using fattened dumbbells 1x15 1x15 311 None, superset with forearm extension
Triceps Tri-Set
1) Lying triceps extension — palms up grip, to forehead
2) Lying triceps extension — palms up grip, to chin
3) Lying triceps extension — palms down grip, to forehead
Position Warm-up Work sets Tempo Rest
See descriptions in text 1x10 on each exercise 1x10 on each exercise 311 10 seconds between exercises within the tri-set
Biceps Tri-Set
1) Standing curl — medium grip, elbows back
2) Standing curl — medium grip, to forehead
3) Standing curl — medium grip with cheat
Position Warm-up Work sets Tempo Rest
See descriptions in text 1x10 on each exercise 1x10 on each exercise 311 10 seconds between exercises within the tri-set
One-Arm Triceps Kickback Using Rope
Position Warm-up Work sets Tempo Rest
Neutral grip, bent forward at waist 1x8 at normal range and speed 1x8-10 613 Rest just long enough to move to the next exercise
Lying Biceps Curl Using Lat Pulldown
Position Warm-up Work sets Tempo Rest
Lie on back on bench, head under lat pulldown, supine grip on pulldown bar 1x8 at normal range and speed 1x8-10 613 Rest just long enough to move to the next exercise
Overhead Dumbbell Triceps Extension
Position Warm-up Work sets Tempo Rest
Seated, elbow up beside ear, one arm at a time 1x8 at normal range and speed 3 strip sets of ascending reps as outlined in text 311 10 seconds between exercises within the tri-set
Low Pulley Biceps Curl on Preacher Bench
Position Warm-up Work sets Tempo Rest
Set preacher bench up facing low pulley, one arm at a time 1x8 at normal range and speed 3 strip sets of ascending reps as outlined in text 311 10 seconds between exercises within the tri-set

Conclusion

The exercises in this phase may seem strange to you during the first week, but you'll soon adjust. Of course, by the time you do, I'll hit you with the fourth and final phase of the program! So don't get too comfortable, tough guy. The best is yet to come.