6-12-25 Method For Bigger ArmsMar 24, 2022
Bring up your lagging muscles with giant sets that target agonist muscle groups. As a reminder, giant sets are where you do three exercises in a row for the same muscle using minimal rest between the movements.
But let's add a twist by using the 6-12-25 format. Here's how it looks:
- First Exercise - Mechanical Tension: Stress, or tension on muscles during resistance exercise and the indisputable contributor to triggering a hypertrophic response. The forces produced when lifting weights disturb the integrity of working muscles, bringing about a phenomenon called mechanotransduction (Schoenfeld, 2022). This will be accomplished by using heavier loads in the 2-6RM range with a bilateral movement (with the 6-12-25 method I recommend using an 8RM load across all sets.)
- Second Exercise - Muscle Damage: You'd be hard-pressed to find someone who regularly trains that has not experienced delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMs). The key element of muscle damage is the level at which muscle damage occurs - too much damage could impair the muscle-building process. When using the 6-12-25 method muscle damage will be accomplished with a single-joint pattern (in most cases) using a 14RM load.
- Third Exercise - Metabolic Stress: Metabolic stress occurs with the production of by-products of metabolism called metabolites. This includes hydrogen ions, lactate, and inorganic phosphate (Schoenfeld, 2022). This effect is heightened when training with lighter loads with 15+ repetitions per set. In the case of the 6-12-25 method, we'll be using a single-joint pattern with a 27RM load (this is often the movement most people underestimate so going lighter than you think is a good practice.)
The late Charles Poliquin recommended taking these sets to near failure. Still, I'm a firm believer in keeping 2-3 reps in reserve (RIR) as research has shown that 2-3 reps in the tank is all that's needed to induce muscular hypertrophy. It's also far more sustainable.
Yep, you're covering all the bases, and you'll trigger a huge amount of metabolic stress. Here are two incredibly effective giant sets for the arms.
A1. CLOSE-GRIP BENCH PRESS WITH CHAINS: 6 REPS. REST 10 SECONDS.
A2. DB OR FATBELL ROLLBACKS: 12 REPS. REST 10 SECONDS.
A3. BANDED PUSHDOWN: 25 REPS.
Rest 3-4 minutes and start over. Repeat the whole thing for 2-3 more rounds.
A1. STRICT CHIN-UP: 6 REPS. REST 10 SECONDS.
A2. SUPINATED-GRIP INVERTED ROW: 12 REPS. REST 10 SECONDS.
A3. BANDED CURL: 25 REPS.
Rest 3-4 minutes and start over. Repeat 2-3 more times.
Note the band exercise for the third lift. The variable resistance of a band (tension increases through the ROM instead of being constant) is a better fit when we consider the fatigue that's already been set in motion from the first two exercises.
Using a band variation will account for the high level of fatigue and make the final exercise more realistic. Bands are also a great fit for high-volume exercises.
Use this method for no more than 4-6 weeks, progressing from 3 sets on each movement on the first week and 4 sets on the second, respectively. After that, you could apply new exercise variations. When used with Conjugate a weekly layout could look like this:
Monday - Squat Emphasis - 6-12-25 Hamstrings
1. Front Squat Wave
2c. Leg Curls
Tuesday - Mixed Modality Aerobic Conditioning
Wednesday - Press Emphasis - 6-12-25 Back
1. Floor Press Wave
Thursday - Cardiac Output Method Conditioning
Friday - Dynamic Effort Lower - 6-12-25 Quadriceps
1. Speed Pulls
2a. Front Squat
2b. Split Squat
2c. Goblet Squat
3. Loaded Carry
Saturday - Dynamic Effort Upper - 6-12-25 Triceps
1. Speed Press
2a. Close Grip Bench
2b. DB Floor Press
3. Row Variations
Sunday - OFF