Discover the 21 program

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Discover the 21 program

8, 10, 12, 15 is the typical number of repetitions we do during a workout. But doing the same thing over and over in your workout isn’t just tiring for you. It also tires your muscles, inhibiting muscle growth and limiting the effectiveness of the exercise.

Fortunately, there are many ways to change your favorite strength exercises to shake up your body and achieve positive results. One of the most common and proven techniques is called “21”.

 

“Eccentric loading is one of the most effective ways to stimulate muscle growth,” explains David Carthagno, osteopathic doctor, owner of the Scottsdale Sports Medicine Institute in Scottsdale, Arizona. “Program 21 is exactly that. You alternate three different ranges of motion in one exercise instead of doing regular isotonic exercises with the same amplitude, ”he continues.

Below is Dr. Carthagno’s workout plan, which takes some very familiar arm exercises to a whole new level, allowing you to go beyond the plateau and achieve better results.

Your 21 Workout Template

As well as all exercises that have their own range of motion (BP), or the scheme of execution, which must be adhered to, repetitions according to the “21” program can be divided into three parts: lower range of motion, upper range of motion and range of motion.

However, fearless bodybuilders, be careful: more reps combined with three different ranges of movement in one set will be a real test of your strength and endurance.

Be prepared to accept the fact that doing a 21-rep program may require a lower weight selection than the standard 12-15 full-amplitude repetitions.

 

The following is a diagram of the execution of all approaches in which each amplitude is repeated 7 times, making a total of 21 repetitions.

1. Lower amplitude

Lower half of the contraction – 7 reps per set

2. Upper amplitude

Top half contraction – 7 reps per set

 

3. Full amplitude

 

Full amplitude of contraction – 7 repetitions in each set

Exercises

French bench press with dumbbells

Initial position: lie on a flat, flat bench so that your feet are completely on the floor and your stomach is pulled in.

Take dumbbells in each hand with a neutral grip (palms facing each other).

 
 

Extend your arms to straighten and bring them to a position directly over your shoulders.

  • Lower BP: lower the dumbbells slowly until they are level with your head. Pause, then extend your arms until they reach a 45 ° position. Repeat the exercise.
  • Upper FROM: lower the dumbbells slowly and stop when your arms form a 45 ° angle. Pause, then extend your arms until they are fully extended and the dumbbells are positioned directly over your shoulders.
  • Full blood pressure: lower the dumbbells until they are level with your head. Pause, then extend your arms until they are positioned directly over your shoulders.

Standing Biceps Curl

Initial position: Place one side of the roller block machine in the down position and attach a straight bar.

 

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and slightly bend at the knees, stand facing the weights and grab the bar with a bottom grip.

 
  • Lower BP: Bend your arms using your biceps and lift the plank up until your arms form a 90 ° angle. Pause, then slowly lower the bar back to the starting position, controlling movement. Repeat the exercise.
  • Upper FROM: bend your arms and lift the bar towards your chest, squeezing your biceps for a second at the highest point of amplitude. Lower the bar to a 90 ° angle. Repeat the exercise.
  • Full blood pressure: raise the bar from the starting position to the chest and lower it until the arms are fully extended at the lowest point of the amplitude, connecting the upper and lower blood pressure.

Extension for triceps on the block while standing

Initial position: Stand in front of a block machine and grab a straight (or V-shaped) bar with an overhead grip.

Bend your knees slightly, bend slightly forward at the waist and press your elbows against your torso at your sides, holding the bar at chest level.

 

Look forward, keep your back straight and tense.

  • Lower BP: squeeze the bar towards the floor until your arms are fully extended. Raise your arms slowly until they reach a 90 ° position.
  • Upper FROM: use your triceps and squeeze the bar towards the floor until your arms are at a 90 ° angle, pause and return to the starting position.
  • Full blood pressure: squeeze the bar towards the floor, doing the exercise at full BP, then return to the starting position.

Concentrated biceps curls

Initial position: lie with your back on a bench inclined at an angle of 45 °. The dumbbell and shoulder should rest on the back of the bench.

  • Lower BP: flex your biceps and lift the dumbbell up to a 90 ° angle. Pause, then slowly lower your arms to the starting position. Repeat the exercise.
  • Upper FROM: lift the dumbbell to your chin. Pause, then slowly lower the dumbbell to a 90 ° angle. Repeat the exercise.
  • Full blood pressure: tighten your biceps and lift the dumbbell to your chin. Pause, then slowly lower the dumbbell to the starting position.

Triceps push-ups

Initial position: take a push-up position so that the hands are about shoulder width apart, fingers look forward.

  • Lower BP: constantly keeping the body in a straight position (in one line), lower the chest to the floor, and then rise to the middle of the full amplitude; return to starting position and repeat the exercise.
  • Upper FROM: lower the body towards the floor to the middle of the amplitude from the top position, then return to the starting position.
  • Full blood pressure: involving the weight of the whole body in the exercise, lower yourself to the floor, and then straighten your arms and rise in full amplitude to the starting position.

Curl of the arms for biceps on the lower block with a rope handle

Initial position: stand up and straighten to full height so that your heels are under your hips, your abdominal muscles are tense, and your shoulders are relaxed.

  • Lower BP: Using a neutral grip, rotate your wrists slightly outward as you flex your arms to a 90 ° angle (at the elbow). Lower the projectile down until your arms are fully extended.
  • Upper FROM: lift the bar while simultaneously turning the wrists outward and contract the biceps to the highest point of flexion. Lower the projectile to half its amplitude and repeat the exercise.
  • Full blood pressure: lift the projectile to full amplitude, then lower it to the bottom point.

Benefits of the 21 program

There are many reasons why the 21 rep program should be part of your workout plan at least occasionally. And they are as follows:

Increased stamina. You will be doing muscle-building exercises for a longer period of time, putting your muscles to the test of endurance. While many singles or doubles are done with 8 to 15 repetitions, the 21 rep program will require more muscle endurance and vitality to handle the grueling sets.

Overcoming muscle “habit”. With intense repetitions with different starting and ending points, the atypical way of doing the exercise will force your body to act in new ways and respond to extreme stress.

Ease for beginners. Incorporating new training methods into any exercise program not only provides positive results, but also improves your physiological responses. Remember to periodically update the exercises, which can become boring and tedious over time.

Save time. With the 21 program, you can do fewer exercises for a specific muscle group; due to the rapid contractions, the muscles will experience sufficient stress when using longer sets and different amplitudes. If the program “21” is performed correctly, one or two exercises for each muscle group can be excluded from the standard strength training scheme.

Training

The 21 workout routine is fast paced and includes three powerful supersets that will blow your biceps and triceps, plus 45-60 second rest between supersets.

Athletes who are new to the 21 program should master this technique by including one exercise for each muscle — biceps and triceps — in their training plan. After gaining some experience, you can increase the number of exercises to 2 or 3.

Any of the workouts listed below are suitable for the 21 program. In this sample lesson plan, the “21” pattern is used only for exercises – prone triceps extension and dumbbell biceps curls.

Training program 21

Warming up:
2 approach to 30 repetitions
2 approach to 30 repetitions
Superset:
3 approach to 7 repetitions
3 approach to 7 repetitions
Superset:
3 approach to 12 repetitions
3 approach to 12 repetitions
Superset:
3 approach to 15 repetitions
3 approach to 15 repetitions

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