Bi's Twice the Size

Ron Harris

Using half the weight

If you've been paying attention to the IRON MAN Pro over the past few years, you know about the rapidly improving Hidetada Yamagishi from Japan. At his first two outings at the event, in Southern California, Hide didn't even place. He did, however, earn his second trip to the Mr. Olympia contest by taking fourth at the '09 edition of the show.

Hide is the only bodybuilder from Japan, a nation of 128 million people, ever to qualify for pro bodybuilding's ultimate championship. His densely packed physique has been compared favorably to those of other bodybuilders of short stature, like Lee Priest. Part of what brings Lee, the '06 IRON MAN Pro winner, to my mind is Hide's outstanding biceps development.

I can't lie-arms were never a stubborn bodypart for this 5'5" guy with 22-inch guns. Yet he did experience a frustrating period of about two years in his amateur days when his biceps refused to grow. Like most bodybuilders, he assumed the answer to the problem was to simply train his biceps heavier.

Eventually, Hide was throwing up 225-pound cheat curls, which at the time was a good 25 pounds more than he weighed. "It looked more like a snatch you'd see in Olympic weightlifting than a curl," he admits.

As months went by and his biceps refused to budge the tape measure, he opted for another tactic. Using less weight, he tightened up his form and shifted his focus to trying to feel the biceps contracting as completely as possible on each rep. To his surprise and great relief, his biceps started beefing up once more.

The experience taught him a valuable lesson about how often the relationship between the weight you use and the results you get isn't what you would assume it to be; that is, more is not better. "Going too heavy and not squeezing the muscle is what keeps so many guys from ever having bigger arms," says Hide.

These days he uses half the weight, and his arms appear to be twice the size. "Any heavier than 135 and I feel it all in my tendons," he says. If you haven't seen any growth in your biceps for a very long time, you have nothing to lose. Why not try lightening up on the weight and tightening up your form? See what happens.


Editor's note: Ron Harris is the author of Real Bodybuilding, available at


From Powerlifter To Physique Star

David Young

From Powerlifter To Physique Star

When Steve Holman, IRON MAN‘s editor in chief, asked me to interview a top bodybuilder, I said, “Yeah, yeah, yeah!” I could tell Steve was excited too: “David, you have to see this guy. It’s Jose Raymond, and the pictures Mike Neveux took of him are absolutely stunning.”

I remembered Jose. He’s good—really good. I was training in Redondo Beach, California, a few years ago and witnessed a photo shoot he did with Mitsuru Okabe. Jose was impressive then, but this year he took his bodybuilding accomplishments to a new level. How many guys who train will ever qualify to turn pro? If you’ve been paying attention, you know the answer is, Not too frickin’ many! So what do you think of a guy who took his class at three pro qualifiers, won the overall at one of them and qualified for a pro card twice—in

Shoulder-Width Squat Stance Not Best for All

Ron Harris

Shoulder-Width Squat Stance
Not Best for All

Some bits of training wisdom are universally accepted as gospel, mainly because experience has proved them true for most people. When it comes to foot stance on barbell squats, we're told from day one that shoulder width is best for bodybuilders. That directs more stress to the quads than a wider stance, which invariably involves glutes and inner thighs more. IFBB pro Evan Centopani certainly subscribed to that maxim.

Dieting, Aging and Muscle Mass

Paul Burke

Dieting, Aging and Muscle Mass

Q: Your article [in the May '09 issue] about getting bigger on a limited diet was very interesting, but how is it possible in physiological terms? Do other bodybuilders also believe this? Is there evidence, or were you just talking about your body?

A: I thought that it was just my body that reacted that way. Turns out, after we hit our late 40s to early 50s, we all have to deal with pretty much the same problems. Drug-free bodybuilder Dave Goodin told me that he never gets more than six to eight pounds away from competition weight.

Less Drag, More Cuts

Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson

Less Drag, More Cuts

Cable and machine exercises are great, and often there is no substitute-as with leg extensions-but some techniques are best suited to free weights.

In the e-book The Ultimate Fat-to-Muscle Workout we explain how using negative-accentuated sets can set the stage for more fat burning. By raising the weight in 1.5 seconds and lowering in six, you emphasize the negative stroke and cause more muscle damage. During the postworkout repair process, your metabolism is higher, and bodyfat is the preferred fuel for muscle-tear repair. Using cables and machines, however, can make those negative-accentuated sets less effective.

At the Gym This Week

Stuart McRobert

At the Gym This Week

At the gym this week was a young man whose excellent progress I’ve observed for a couple of years. Because I’d kept an eye on Tassos, he hadn’t done much wrong over that time, and he’d always been receptive to my input. A couple of months ago his wife gave birth to their first child, and he told me his progress was totally shot.