As you’d expect, building huge arms requires a solid foundation of free-weight exercises over the course of years, including moves like close-grip bench presses, dips, and French presses, as well as barbell, dumbbell, and preacher curls.
Yet Elssbiay—guided by his trainer, Ahmad Alaqi, in the $17 million workout oasis in the desert, Kuwait City’s palatial Oxygen Gym—dramatically changed his arm approach, striving for maximum pump instead of traditional heavy, strength-oriented lifts. A key component? Cable exercises, which offer a trifecta of benefits for optimum stimulus.
Heavy, compound pressing and pulling exercises Elssbiay does throughout the week—incline and at presses for chest, seated presses for shoulders, rowing for back—also secondarily stimulate the arms, meaning his arm day can focus on forcing as much blood as possible into the biceps and triceps.
His arm day usually involves rotating between biceps and triceps exercises, all in the name of the pump, expanding the sheath surrounding the muscle, potentially prompting a hormonal recovery response, and flooding the area with vital recovery nutrients. Also, by striving toward momentary muscular failure through rep ranges as high as 15, he also stimulates physiological adaptation, i.e., growth.
Mixed in with exercises like preacher machine curls, EZ-bar curls, and lying triceps extensions, Elssbiay will mix and match a variety of cable moves, including the following seven that have proven to be especially beneficial. He tends to do about eight to 10 exercises in a workout, for three sets of 10 to 15 reps apiece, striving for complete failure on the last of the three exercises.
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