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The Romano Factor

John Romano
John Romano’s name is synonymous with “no bull-crap,” “candid,” and “hardcore.” He’s worked tirelessly to build up an ironclad reputation in the fitness industry through his work as senior editor of Muscular Development magazine and co-founder of Rx Muscle (see also: Heavy Muscle Radio and Muscle Girls Inc.). He’s been consulted as a steroid expert on HBO, ESPN, and ABC’s 20/20, as well as the movie Bigger, Stronger, Faster. Most recently, John worked as director of Internet media at VPX (and host of Shotgun Radio). In his spare time, he is a contributing author for countless blogs, magazines, and articles, including authoring the Muscle Meals cookbook.
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Target Training - Cross-Body Dumbbell Hammer Curls

“You want to put an inch on your arms almost immediately?” future Mr. Olympia (he won the next year) Samir Bannout asked me in Gold’s Gym. Silly question, I thought. Surely it was rhetorical, so I just stared at him. “You have to do hammer curls, across the body, like this.” He grabbed a 30-pound dumbbell and held it to his side. “No one does these,” he said. “When you curl your arm with your hand down, like you hold a hammer,” he curled the dumbbell up, “the biceps are no longer the primary mover because this bone,” he pointed to the radius bone of the forearm where the biceps inserts,” is turned down and takes the biceps tendon out of a straight line, making it weak. It’s this muscle under the biceps, the brachialis,” he pointed to a baseball-sized hemisphere poking out of his upper arm between the biceps and triceps,” that is now in a straight line down the top of your arm and the strongest in that position. If you develop this muscle, it will push the biceps up and give you a greater peak.” This was rare commentary in 1982, and Samir had some of the best guns in the business. So, really, there is no argument against hammer curls. You might as well learn to do them.

How it’s done:
Grab a pair of dumbbells and hold them to your sides, palms facing in. Alternately, curl each dumbbell up like you’re swinging a hammer across your chest.

As the dumbbell rises to the top of your opposite pec, squeeze it to a halt and then slowly lower it back to your side. Repeat with the other arm, alternating 10 to 12 reps a side.

In the down position, the weight should slowly come to rest against a flexed triceps. Maintain tension in the arm that’s not working and don’t swing the dumbbells like you’re hammering in drywall nails unless you want a searing case of tendonitis in your forearms.

For last month's target training tip for boulder shoulders, click here!