Canadian fitness icon Eren Legend kicks off an upper body training series exclusive to Inside Fitness. This first installment focuses on biceps, including a six-move specialized workout designed to build mass and forge shape on your two-headed beasts. Keep at this program for six weeks and you’re sure to gain legendary biceps!
His name is Legend. In Canadian fitness circles, he’s the man.
As a Natural World Champion and IFBB Pro, Eren Legend reached the pinnacle of fitness a few years ago at a remarkably young age. He was the first Canadian to become a world champion and also the first Canadian to be a Physique Olympian. Inside Fitness was proud to publish the story of his meteoric rise in our issue #53; at the time, Eren was just 24 years old. Now that he’s 27, his outlook has changed somewhat and he’s developed a stronger appreciation for life balance. This is not to say the competitive fires don’t still burn strongly within; he’s in fact contemplating a return to competition before year end.
As a competitor, fitness model and coach, he’s clearly a man who knows of which he speaks. The legendary pair of biceps muscles he sports makes it easy to appreciate the results of certain exercises that can help you build your own guns.
Legends Lead By Example
At press time, Eren’s last competition was the San Marino IFBB Pro event in December, 2016. By taking the year off in 2017, he was able to re-acquaint himself with important priorities outside the world of fitness. “Competing requires you to make a great deal of sacrifices,” says Eren. “When I took some time off, I was able to re-connect with things I’m passionate about. I’ve also been able to spend more time with my dad Vegge, plus my brother and my social circles. I’ve been shooting a lot of videos on Instagram and growing Legend Nation. I would very much like to pick up more public speaking ventures as well.”
Eren is a staunch believer in encouraging youth and educating them on the right ways to train and adopt a fitness lifestyle. His personal credo Legends Lead By Example continues to be at the crux of all of Eren’s activities. “I want to keep my name relevant and help steer people in the right direction,” says Eren. “There’s so much convoluted bullcrap on social media that it’s easy for young people to get misdirected. As a world champion and Olympian, I feel it’s my obligation to share from my experiences and impart knowledge and education. I want people to be at peace with who they are, and I’m willing to adopt a situation where it’s my purpose to help them find their purpose. The videos on YouTube are an excellent method of transferring information where I can expand my message of life coaching.”
Legendary Biceps Training
As an expert on anatomy, Eren seeks to get the most bang for his buck with each and every exercise when training biceps. The workout herein contains a pair of unorthodox but very effective moves, and you’ll quickly observe there’s method to the madness.
With the gravity curl exercise, which is set up in a power rack, you needn’t use a lot of weight; due to the structure of the rack, it will be impossible to cheat. “Your goal is to get your arms into a fully extended state,” says Eren. “This is best achieved by keeping your elbows close to your body. The biomechanics of this move will see your body becoming closer to the rack (more vertical) on the ascent. When you perform this move, you’ll notice that it’s easy to feel the contraction in your biceps throughout the entire action. It’s a great burnout move that negates the waste experienced by people who tend to relax when their elbows are at the point of peak resistance. Here, you’re under constant tension the entire time.”
Another unconventional but powerful move espoused by Eren is the power rack spider curl. This is a slight variation on the traditional spider curl, usually performed on an incline bench where almost your entire body is supported. Here, you’ll position yourself standing within the interior of a power rack and bend forward from the waist over a barbell.
“The key for every biceps exercise is to get your arms fully extended, and this move sets that up perfectly,” says Eren. “It may feel like something of a preacher curl, but in fact it’s very different. The power rack spider curl targets your biceps peak and keeps the tension there, as opposed to many other biceps moves which shift the effort to the front deltoids near the top of the range of motion. Keep your arms lengthened fully and you’ll derive excellent results from this move.”
Eren’s unbelievable biceps are the product of a comprehensive philosophy where he leaves no stone unturned.
“I’m a strong believer in targeting the muscle group from as many angles as possible,” says Eren. “Using an approach that incorporates progressive overload is the best way for anyone to make constant gains. By doing so, you’ll confuse the heck out of your muscles and keep them primed for growth. Make sure you keep your arms elongated as much as possible and always aim for constant time under tension. Using a fairly high reps structure will also benefit you by stimulating all the different types of muscle fibres.”
The Legendary Biceps Workout
This specialized biceps workout is designed to optimize each exercise’s capacity to build mass and forge shape. You’ll begin with three moves where you’ll load up the weight to an amount in which you would fail if you attempted any more than ten reps. Because of the heavier weight, you’ll take relatively longer rest periods. Then, you’ll perform a different three moves using relatively lighter weights for 15 reps and shorter rest periods. Perform each exercise independently for the prescribed sets and reps before moving on to the next exercise.
Exercise Sets Reps Rest
STANDING CABLE CURL 4 10 1:30 mins.
POWER RACK SPIDER CURL 4 10 1:30 mins.
INCLINE DUMBBELL CURL 4 10 1:30 mins.
LYING CABLE CURL (WITH ROPE) 3 15 1:00 min.
STANDING CONCENTRATION CURL 3 15 1:00 min.
GRAVITY CURL 3 15 1:00 min.
STANDING CABLE CURL
Start: Set a cable pulley to a low position and attach a V-handle. Stand tall, in close to the apparatus, and grasp the handle in an “upside down” position using an underhand grip with both hands. Spread your feet to shoulder width, and let the handle rest in your hands with extended arms.
Execution: Think along the lines of a standing barbell curl. Keeping almost all of your body completely motionless, flex through your arms to curl the handle upward. Continue the action until your forearms have travelled well past 90 degrees. Hold in this top position for a one count, then lower using control back to the start.
Tip: Cables are useful for the specialty technique of time under tension; experiment with lowering the handle slowly against gravity to benefit from longer negatives.
POWER RACK SPIDER CURL
Start: Set the pins to a power rack at a level just below your waist and rack a barbell across them. Grasp an EZ-Bar with a narrow, underhand grip and position yourself leaning across the barbell as shown. Use a wide stance with feet pointing outward, bend your knees about 30 degrees, and slide in as close to the bar as possible as you bend forward from your hips. Let the EZ-Bar hang in your fully extended arms.
Execution: With your body anchored securely in place, simply curl the EZ-Bar vertically, making sure to use a range of motion of more than 90 degrees. In the top position, give your biceps a little squeeze to elicit a further contraction. Hold here for a second, then lower in a controlled manner along the same path back to the start.
Tip: As you fatigue near the end of a set, you’ll be tempted to rise up with your back. Make sure it remains in the same plane throughout the move. A spotter or mirror can assist.
INCLINE DUMBBELL CURL
Start: Grasp a dumbbell in each hand using an underhand grip and sit on the incline bench. Make sure your back is firmly flat against the pad and feet squarely on the floor about shoulder-width apart. Although your torso is leaning back about 45 degrees, let your arms hang vertically and fully extended.
Execution: With your body anchored in position and your lower arms the only muscle group moving, curl the dumbbells upward past at least 90 degrees. If you make sure your head remains steady, you can prevent an imbalance of action between your arms. Hold in the top position for a half-second, then lower back to the start.
Tip: Make sure your arms line up throughout the move; avoid letting your elbows flare outward which will cause your wrists to turn inward and shift the emphasis off your biceps.
LYING CABLE CURL (WITH ROPE)
Start: Begin by positioning a bench adjacent to the cable apparatus. Then set the cable pulley to a high position and attach a rope handle. Lie flat on the bench facing upward, with your feet securely on the ground at a little wider than shoulder width. Reach up with both hands to grasp the rope handle with a neutral-underhand grip.
Execution: Keeping your body steady, curl the handle in a downward direction, with your hands travelling toward the top of your head. In the finish position, your upper arms should be perpendicular to the floor. Hold here for a half-second to break gravity, then using control, allow the handle to return upward to the start.
Tip: To keep the emphasis on your biceps, once again make sure you don’t let your elbows flare outward. Keep them straight in line with the rest of your body during the movement.
STANDING CONCENTRATION CURL
Start: Grasp a dumbbell in one hand using an underhand grip and stand tall at first. Spread your legs a little wider than shoulder width. Bend your knees about 30 degrees. Keeping your back straight and head in line with your spine, lean forward until your torso is almost parallel to the floor. Let the weight hang in your fully extended arm.
Execution: Much like the traditional seated concentration curl, you’re going to curl the dumbbell upward across your pelvic region. Make sure the weight travels at least 90 degrees and then hold in the top position for a half second. Remember the path is across you, not outward in front of you. Return to the bottom position along the same path.
Tip: Because you’re standing here, it’s easy to cheat and use momentum. Take special care your body remains anchored and doesn’t raise up on the ascent of the weight.
Start: Load a barbell to your desired weight and rack it. Stand tall within the power rack immediately adjacent to the barbell, and grasp it with both hands using an underhand grip at shoulder width. Your arms should be nearly fully extended and your feet also at shoulder width. With your back straight, lean slightly inward and unrack the barbell.
Execution: This motion has the feel of a curl to it, but the bar will actually travel vertically in contact with the power rack. Flex through your arms to raise the bar upward, while at the same time leaning forward with your torso. In the top position, the bar should be at the level of your lower pecs. Hold here for one second, then lower back to the start.
Tip: Keep your head up and do not watch the path of the barbell in action. This would cause your back to round and put unnecessary strain on your spine.