Reg Lewis – Norman Williams’ Arm Routine (Muscle Power 1962)

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Big Norman Williams is all set to break the big biceps tape of 20 1/2 inches none filled by Leroy Colbert. Can he do it? Norm thinks these unusual exercises which he now uses will do the trick. What do you think?

I saw Norm Williams again, just recently… the first time in five years…and it was almost impossible to believe that he is the same guy. What a terrific muscular transformation he has wrought in his physique in that brief time. Twenty-nine year old Norm today stands 6′ 1″ tall and scales an even 220…his magnificent chest tapes a huge 51 inches… his strong, well-muscled waist is still an incredible 30 inches…but those arms! Lookout, Leroy Colbert…Norm’s out to getcha! Right now Norm’s arms almost burst the tape at 19 1/2 inches and they’re still growing!

Do It Yourself

Naturally with such impressive arms I had to know what exercises – sets and reps – what poundage and what Weider principles were involved in pumping them up to such astronomical peaks. ‘How come, Norm” I asked.

“Well… I believe that Arthur Harris and Leroy Colbert are right when they say that every bodybuilder must learn the secret of instinctive training if he expects to scale the heights of muscledom.

I simply took their words at face value and decided to become an instinctive trainer myself… to try everything in the books – even to invent some exercises myself – until I discovered which exercises, done in accordance with which Weider principles would build my arms to their present size.”

“And did you invent some special exercises, Norm?”

“Well I don’t know whether I actually invented some of them. Reg, but I’m darned sure Ive never seen anyone else perform my Crucifix Curl… my Wide Arm Two-Dumbbelll Tricpes Extension… my Bent Arm Swing Contraction Curl… and my super-special Normal Williams Curl which works like a charm for me.”

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“Would you describe some of these exercise for our readers norm? I’m sure that anyone looking at your superb arm development would be in a tizzy to try some, or all of them!”

“Oh sure, Reg…but perhaps it would be easier if I described my arm routine as it is done while detailing the exercises I’ve mentioned.”

“Sounds like a good idea, Norm…Shoot!”

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“One important point I must mention is that in each of the biceps or triceps exercises I do I always begin with the heaviest weight I can handle for ten reps, then immediately I grab a lighter weight and use this for as many more reps as I can do. Now when the second weight is no longer manoeuvrable I drop to a lighter weight and continue in the same manner right down the line of lighter and lighter dumbbells.

For instance, let’s say that I begin a certain Curl with a 70 pound dumbbell. After ten reps I take a 60 pounder… a few more reps, then a 50 pound dumbbell… then a 40 pounder and so on down until I’m forcing out reps with a 12 pound dumbbell. And there’s no pause… no rest… just the moment it takes to put the heavier dumbbell down and pick up the lighter one.

Using this heavy to light technique I have no difficultly in pumping my arms to 20 1/2 inches so that when they ‘settle’ they stay at a firm 19 1/2 inches!”

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“Man… that’s the greatest”! I had to exclaim. “But what about your triceps? Do you do all biceps work, then all triceps?”

“No… I utilise the Weider Super-Set Technique Reg. After I’ve gotten all the reps possible from a particular biceps Curl, I rest only until I’m breathing normally and then  I do the same with a good triceps exercise. One of my favourites is the Lying Triceps Lockout.

If you all examine the start and finish positions of this fine exercise in the illustrations you can see at once how it is done. The upper body lies across the narrower side of a bench with the lower body off and braced with the feet on the floor. A heavy dumbbell is held back of the head with palms encircling the handle and pointed upward.

The elbows are permitted to bend until the dumbbell with descend no further. This is the starting position. From here, raise the dumbbell upward until elbows lock. Hold for a second and slowly return.

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Now in the Lying Triceps Lockout I begin with the heaviest weight I can handle for ten reps… then I take a dumbbell about ten pounds lighter and do as many more reps as possible… then a light and still lighter dumbbell until the lowest reps with the lightest dumbbell make the exercise further useless.”

“You might call this a giant Super-Set Norm!” I suggested.

“Yes.. It is a Super-Set all right, although it isn’t the one set of a Curl then a one set of triceps Extension Super Set. I do everything with continuous reps of a biceps exercise, then everything I can do with continuous reps of a triceps movement.”

“then you go back to a biceps exercise after finishing your gains Super-Set Norm?”

“Right Reg.” He quickly answered. “My second giant Super-Set consists of my Norman Williams Curl of the biceps and the Triceps Dip.

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In my ‘instinctive training’ Curl I stand bent forward with my hands grasping opposite sides of a heavy dumbbell. With weight handing at arms’ length in front of my body I bring it upward until it almost touches my chin. This unusual exercise seems to get not only the biceps but every muscle of the deltoids and outer pectorals as well… and sensationally too!

The motion is so controlled – you can’t possibly cheat! – that it becomes a chain reaction of muscular explosion all the way up and down!”

:Sounds exciting just hearing you describe it Norm”.

“It’s a lot more exciting when you do it, Reg. Put it in your arm exercise programme… I guarantee you won’t regret it.”

” That, I will, I promise you.”

“Now in the Norma Williams Curl I still begin with the heaviest weight and work down to the lightest getting all the reps I can. Then after a brief rest I do all the sets and reps I can with the Triceps Dip on bench. Again I work until I can’t do any more. With this exercise, of course, your own bodyweight is the determining factor… you can’t decrease it as you can thew weight of a dumbbell, hence you compensate by doing several sets of a diminishing number of reps.”

“And for your third giant Super-Set… what do you do, Norm?”

“Third and last, Reg… after his I’ve shot the works!! This Super-Set consists of the Swing Concentration Curl or the Crucifix Curl (I do one or the other but not both) and the Wide Arm Triceps Extension.

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Now the Swing Concentration Curl is our old friend the Bent Arm Concentration Curl, only I do it with a 55 pound dumbbell. In order the handle this heavy a weight in concentration form I have to give the dumbbell a slight swing or initial ‘cheat’. But it’s very slight… just enough to get the leverage past the elbow. But the Crucifix Curl…man that’s something terrifically different.

In this fine movement I hoist two 55 pound dumbbells to the shoulder… I pull my elbows way back and keep them back throughout the exercise. Now I sightly low the weights sideward until the forearms are almost horizontal to the floor… I say almost because once the arms are lowered further than this gravity pulls them down and the tension is lessened. I keep the tension in the biceps throughout the movement by lowering to almost horizontal position.

Once again I begin with 55 pounders for ten reps and continue with lighter weights and lesser reps until I can do no more. Then I begin my Wide Arm Triceps Extensions.

In this exercise I pull my elbows way back and keep them that way. With two dumbbells held behind back, lower plates touching the shoulder blades, I raise them by triceps power alone until the elbows lock overhead. I slowly returned them to the starting position for 10 reps with the heaviest weight I can handle. Then I continue without pausing with lighter and lighter weights until my triceps cry “Uncle”… and that completes my ‘instinctive training’ workout, Reg.  And I can tell you that while it seems rugged to hear about… perhaps even rugged at the first trial… this routine becomes so fascinating because of the great spurts in muscle growth it generates that once you’ve tried it you wouldn’t change it for any other exercises in the books!”

“Well, you’ve sold me Norm. I’m gonna leave you right now and go home and try it for myself.”

“Call me later Reg. But I already know what you’ll say.”

“What’s that Norm?”