Monday, April 21, 2014

Jack Up Your Training Intensity With 21s.

High Intensity Training Series

Jack Up Your Training Intensity With 21s
By Veeraj Vic Goyaram

Ronnie Coleman is well known for doing his barbell curls with 21s
Most of you probably already know about 21s as a great way of making your workouts interesting, fun and to bomb a lagging bodypart by hitting it in a way that it is not accustomed to. The use of this awesome technique mustn't be limited to barbell curls as many exercises can lend themselves to 21s. 

What are 21s?
For those who don't know, 21s involve dividing the range of motion of an exercise into two parts and then performing 7 reps from start point to midpoint, 7 more reps from midpoint to finish and then 7 final reps using the entire range of motion. For the barbell curls, this is illustrated below. But this order doesn't always have to be this way. You can switch things around. 
Illustration of 21s on barbell curls. 
Exercises that I have tried 21s on
  • Shoulders: Shoulder presses and even one arm side laterals.
  • Biceps: Barbell and cable curls
  • Triceps: Cable pushdowns
  • Back: lat pulldowns
  • Legs: leg extensions, squats, leg curls and machine adduction exercise
Have you tried 21s on any other exercise? Feel free to write and share with us how you went about! We'd like to hear from you.

How to use 21s?
If you're starting out on 21s begin with a light weight and perform a maximum of about 2-3 sets per workout. Don't be over enthusiastic and go overboard. 21s are also very taxing and I wouldn't recommend it for more than 1 exercise. Many top champions recommend performing it only once or twice per month per bodypart. 

My Bio: I am a Mauritian originally from Roche Bois, Port Louis and now based in Cape Town, South Africa where I am busy with my postgraduate studies in molecular biology of exercise. My research, supervised by Prof. Edward Ojuka and Dr. Tertius Kohn, looks at the influence of nutrition and exercise in gene expression in muscle, research which is relevant and applicable to exercising individuals, sports persons and diabetic individuals. The knowledge that I share with you stems from my 18 years of experience in bodybuilding and 8 years (and counting) of university education in the field. I have also published work in the American Journal of Physiology: Endocrinology and Metabolism (2012, 2014), International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism (2013) and co-authored two book chapters on exercise and diabetes. I also presented my research work at the 2012 International Sports and Exercise Nutrition Conference (UK). I am grateful to each and everyone at the UCT Research Unit for Exercise Science and Sports Medicine. "Knowledge without sharing is worth nothing"
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