21s: Not Just for Biceps! – Fitness Volt

It’s unclear who invented 21s, also referred to as the Matrix coaching system. Some attribute 21s to Dr. Ronald Laura, whereas others credit score old-school English bodybuilder Wag Bennett, an early mentor of Arnold Schwarzenegger. Bennet could have realized about 21s from The Iron Guru, Vince Gironda. Schwarzenegger went on to jot down about 21s in his bestselling ebook, The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding.

Regardless of who invented 21s, it was it’s clear that they found a strong exercise technique. 21s have been well-liked for over half a century, which strongly means that they work.

In this text, we clarify why and find out how to do 21s, and find out how to use this coaching technique with different workout routines.

What Are 21s Anyway?

21s contain breaking your rep down into three ranges of movement. You do seven reps in every part, totaling 21, which is the place this coaching technique will get its title.

The three ranges of movement are:

  • Outer vary – 7 reps
  • Inner vary – 7 reps
  • Full vary – 7 reps

21s are mostly related to biceps curls. In reality, that’s most likely the one train that many individuals use 21s for. Just in case you’ve been dwelling in a cave and have by no means seen or heard of 21s, that is the way you do biceps 21s:

  1. Hold a barbell or an EZ bar with an underhand, shoulder-width grip. You also can use a cable machine or dumbbells.
  2. Stand along with your ft shoulder-width aside, shoulders down and again, core braced, and arms straight.
  3. Bend your elbows and curl the bar up till your forearms are parallel to the ground. Extend your arms and repeat for seven reps.
  4. Next, curl the bar up from midway to the highest. Lower the bar till your forearms are parallel to the ground and repeat for seven reps.
  5. Finally, do seven full-range reps, from full arm extension to full flexion.

While biceps 21s are an effective way to construct greater arms, you should utilize this coaching technique with many different workout routines. It’s only a matter of letting your creativeness run wild and making use of 21s to the opposite workout routines in your exercises.

What Makes 21s so Effective?

There are a number of causes that 21s might help construct muscle.

Firstly, 21s work due to one thing referred to as occlusion. Occlusion happens when a muscle is contracted, and blood can’t circulation into or out of no matter physique half you might be coaching. This creates hypoxia inside the muscle, which is the technical time period for oxygen hunger.

Lack of blood circulation to a muscle tips your physique into considering it’s working tougher than it truly is. Lactic acid ranges rise, which produces a cascade of anabolic substances, together with progress hormone, insulin progress issue, mTOR, and myostatin, all of that are crucial for muscle progress.

Then, as blood circulation is restored, there’s a large inflow of blood again into the goal muscle, which produces a terrific pump. The pump is, as each bodybuilder is aware of, one other mechanism of muscle progress.

All of which means 21s work so much like blood circulation restriction coaching, or BFR for brief. However, as a substitute of utilizing an exterior compression cuff to scale back blood circulation, 21s hold your muscle mass underneath fixed stress to provide the identical impact.

21s additionally hold your muscle mass underneath stress for longer. Doing 21s means you don’t get to loosen up between reps, and that extra stress causes extra microtrauma, which is one other set off for hypertrophy.

The final purpose that 21s work so properly is the so-called novelty impact. Adding 21s to your exercise introduces a brand new sort of stress, which accurately shocks your muscle mass into renewed progress. That’s why new coaching strategies and workout routines usually end in a rise in post-exercise muscle soreness; your muscle mass simply aren’t used to them.

Bodybuilder Posing

Getting More From 21s

Get the very best outcomes from 21s with the next hints and tips:

  • Avoid momentum – elevate and decrease the weights with management to maintain most stress on the goal muscle mass. The vary of movement within the first two phases is small and swinging the weights up may imply you find yourself with little or no stress on the goal muscle mass.
  • Use gentle to reasonable weights – main on from above, in the event you go too heavy, you’ll most likely finish utilizing momentum to elevate the weights up. Avoids this through the use of gentle to reasonable weights so you’ll be able to deal with squeezing your muscle mass quite than jerking the load up.
  • Don’t rush the final seven reps – watch lots of people do 21s, and also you’ll see them dashing to complete the final seven reps. This might be as a result of intense burning they’ll really feel! Lift and decrease the load slowly to maximise muscle stress and metabolic stress. Speeding up makes this method much less efficient. Use much less weight in the event you really feel you can’t full the final seven reps in good kind.
  • Try different reps ranges – whereas 21s are achieved utilizing seven reps per vary of movement, there’s nothing to cease you from doing much less or extra reps, relying in your power and the way a lot weight you might be utilizing. For instance, you can do 5 reps in every part of the train or ten. Experiment to see what works greatest for you.

Using 21s with Other Exercises

While biceps 21s are the most typical technique to do 21s, there’s nothing to cease you from utilizing it with different workout routines. All it’s essential to do is divide your reps down into the three phases (interior vary, outer vary, full vary) and get to work.

Exercises that work notably properly with 21s embody:

1. Leg Extension 21s

Want to hammer your quads and get a depraved thigh pump? Give leg extension 21s a attempt. And sure, that deep burning you’ll be able to really feel is totally regular!

How to do it:

  1. Sit on the leg extension along with your knees according to the machine’s pivot level. Then, alter the leg pad, so it’s simply above your ankles.
  2. Extend your legs and elevate the load midway up. Bend your knees and decrease the load again down, stopping simply wanting letting the plates contact collectively. Do seven reps.
  3. Next, do seven reps from midway as much as full knee extension.
  4. Finally, do seven full-range reps.

2. Dumbbell Bench Press 21s

21s are normally achieved with isolation or single-joint workout routines, however that doesn’t imply you’ll be able to’t use them for compound or multi-joint workout routines. Dumbbell bench press 21s will give your pecs a fantastic exercise. Don’t go too heavy too quickly; this train is extra strenuous than it seems to be!

How to do it:

  1. Lie in your bench with a dumbbell in every hand. Lower the dumbbells all the way down to your shoulders. This is your beginning place.
  2. Press the dumbbells midway up after which decrease them again to your shoulders. Do seven reps.
  3. Next, press the dumbbells from midway as much as full arm extension. Lower them again to midway and repeat seven occasions.
  4. Finish off your set with seven full reps.
  5. You also can do that train with a barbell.

3. Dumbbell Shoulder Press 21s

This 21s train is a bit of completely different as a result of in addition to altering the vary of movement, the motion adjustments too. This offers a uniquely painful and efficient deltoid exercise. Again, go gentle as a result of this train is far tougher than it seems to be!

How to do it:

  1. Sit on an train bench and maintain a dumbbell in every hand. Raise the weights to shoulder degree, elbows held out to the facet. Brace your core and pull your shoulders down and again.
  2. Press the dumbbells midway up after which decrease them again to your shoulders for seven reps.
  3. Next, deliver your elbows ahead and collectively for seven reps. Keep your higher arms parallel to the ground.
  4. Lastly, do seven full-range reps.

4. Lateral Raise 21s

This train works properly with dumbbells, cables, or resistance bands. However you do it, lateral elevate 21s will set your medial deltoids on hearth!

How to do it:

  1. Hold a dumbbell/deal with in every hand, arms by your sides. Raise your arms midway up after which decrease them once more. Repeat seven occasions.
  2. Next, elevate your arms from midway as much as parallel to the ground. Lower them and repeat seven occasions.
  3. Finally, do seven full-range reps.

5. Calf Raise 21s

If you might be struggling to construct your calves, this train might be simply what you’ve been searching for. It retains your calves underneath near-constant stress, creates a deep pump and burn, and will actually shock them into rising.

How to do it:

  1. Stand with the balls of your ft on the sting of the calf elevate machine step. Raise up onto your tip toes. This is your beginning place.
  2. Lower your heels down till they’re roughly degree along with your toes. Push again up and repeat seven occasions.
  3. Next, decrease your heels all the best way all the way down to get a deep stretch in your calves. Raise your heels up till they’re degree along with your toes and repeat seven occasions.
  4. Finally, do seven full-range reps.
  5. You also can do that train in reverse, i.e., beginning within the backside stretched place.

Your use of 21s is restricted solely by your creativity and creativeness. Other workout routines value making an attempt embody:

Elevator Reps – The New 21s!

As good as 21s undeniably are, like every coaching technique, they’ll begin to lose their efficiency in the event you do them too usually. The excellent news is that there’s an alternate technique to do 21s that you should utilize to maintain your exercises contemporary and productive – elevator reps.

Elevator reps and 21s are comparable and work in a lot the identical manner. However, as a substitute of doing seven reps of every vary of movement in sequence, you do one rep of every vary and repeat for as many cycles as required.

Confused? Don’t be – right here’s an evidence and video demonstration of find out how to do elevator rep pull-ups:

  1. Hang from a pull-up bar with an overhand, underhand, or impartial grip as most well-liked.
  2. Bend your arms and pull your self midway up.
  3. Extend your arms after which pull your self three-quarters of the best way up.
  4. Extend your arms after which do one full rep.
  5. That’s one elevator rep – hold going.

Like 21s, you should utilize elevator reps with a variety of workout routines. This technique works greatest with gentle to reasonable weights and medium to excessive reps. Chase that pump!

Learn extra about 21s:

21s: Not Just for Biceps – Wrapping Up

Variety, they are saying, is the spice of life, and that’s very true in power coaching. Even the most effective train and exercise can lose its efficiency in the event you do it too usually. Stick with the identical exercise lengthy sufficient, and also you’ll finally end up caught in a coaching rut.

Avoid progress plateaus by altering your exercises each couple of months and making micro-changes from one week to the following. For instance, add some drop units, do a couple of compelled reps, change your coaching tempo, or swap to 21s or elevator reps.

Or, in the event you don’t wish to construct extra muscle, keep on with the identical drained previous exercise and don’t change your workout routines – it’s as much as you!

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