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John McWilliams Arm Workout

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What was John McWilliams arm routine?

john mcwilliams arm workout

Many people today have never heard of the name of John McWilliams, but he was one of the greatest physique athletes of the pre-steroid era.

At a time when most bodybuilders at that time were thrilled to get a 17-inch arm, John McWilliams arms hit the magical 20 inch mark (along with Bud Counts). Getting to 20 inches is awesome, particularly without the juice, as was his 500 pound (raw!) bench press.

People using John McWilliams arm routine have put an average of 1 1/2 inches of muscle on arms in only six weeks. That's right McWillams routine was so effective that it really puts on pure muscle very fast. Think about it how would your arms look if you could stretch the tape by another 1 1/2 inches in just a few weeks? McWilliams workout is not for rank beginners (it would be too much overload).

John McWilliams pointed out that the triceps are the driver of arm size and he targeted them for massive as well as shapely development. McWilliams was one of the first bodybuilders to point out the error of concentrating too much on the biceps, to the detriment of the more important triceps region.

John McWilliams arm training included the importance of getting blood into the muscles (an early purveyor of the pump) and the special role relaxation played in helping the muscles grow.

McWilliams suggested working the arms with a frequency of three times a week, with at least one day rest between each workout.

So what did McWilliams do to get such impressive arms? There was one exercise in particular that he singled out, noting that he attributed 75 percent of his arm development to it. It is a double compound movement that many of the top guys of the pre-steroid era used, but you never see it being performed in the gym anymore. The exercise is the "pullover and press" The pullover and press is performed with from a prone, face up position on a bench. You grasp a barbell with your hands 10 inches apart. Start light to learn the mechanics of the move. Lift the bar upward a foot or so, with your arms bent. Take the bar back behind your head and below the bench as far as you can get it below parallel while keeping your elbows bent. After the bar bottoms out, bring it back up to your chest. This is one repetition. Perform rep after rep and then move on to the second phase of the exercise, the pressing part. There is no rest between the two phases of this exercise. Press the bar up from your chest for the same number of repetitions as you did for the pullovers.

For more information go to Old School Arm Training


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