I certainly didn’t expect this to happen, but I value the ability to feel surprise. To me, it’s a marker of change: Something you didn’t believe was true is true. The world is not as you thought it was. You know something new, which changes how you think or operate in some small or large way. In short, you become a brand-new you every time you get to feel surprise. Regardless of whether the surprise is “good” or “bad,” there’s always an opportunity to learn something (I’ve recently gotten back into meditation and am working on nonjudgment, can you tell?)
Back to my surprise. I thought training like a bodybuilder would be…well, kinda boring. Definitely mindless. I mean, is there any gym caricature more widely mocked than the dodo-meathead bro? I would say not. And while I am well aware that brilliant meatheads abound, I made mad assumptions about how interesting their training was and was not.
And so, the intense focus and mental engagement, the intensity of the mind-body connection involved in training for muscle size, took me by surprise. (Mea culpa. Please forgive me.)
Want to experience this firsthand? Try out this compound set straight from the pages of The Bigness Project: 10 reps each of dumbbell seated inclined biceps curls and dumbbell reverse biceps curls, back and forth between the two until you’ve completed three sets of each. Perform each rep with intense focus on the sensation in your arms during and afterward.
This smoking set is the reason I came to be intimately familiar with one of Marshall Roy’s favorite terms, “bicepsual.” Here’s how to do the moves:
Dumbbell Seated Inclined Biceps Curl
- Adjust a bench to approximately 30 degrees (if it’s not an adjustable bench, use a sturdy box to prop one end up).
- Sit on the lower end of the bench and hold two dumbbells on your thighs.
- Lie back with your head flat and hang your arms straight down on either side of you.
- With palms facing up, contract your biceps and curl the dumbbells.
- Lower the weight with control to the starting position. Repeat.
Dumbbell Reverse Biceps Curl
- Stand tall and hold two dumbbells with straight arms so they rest at the front of your thighs with your palms facing your body.
- Keep your elbows down and close to your ribcage as you bend your arms, curling the dumbbells up until the reach your shoulders.
- Lower with control to the start position. Repeat.
I wanted to capture more of these thoughts while they were still so so fresh, so my training partner, Julie Read, and I jumped on camera earlier this week. We didn’t script this, which resulted in a both of us sharing some thoughts and feelings we didn’t know were bubbling just below the surface.
Find out when you can get Big again by joining the waitlist for the next round of The Bigness Project, the 14-week muscle-maximizing program by Kourtney Thomas, CSCS, and Jen Sinkler.