Body Beast: Build Back/Biceps

Sagi Kalev
Year Released: 2012

Categories: Upper Body Strength

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A hard, intermediate-to-advanced upper body strength and mass-building workout. The format is the same for the whole Build series: Sagi leads two backgrounders (they change in each workout) through a brief warmup, a series of drop-set strength moves, and a brief stretch. There is a workout timer which counts down total workout time, with a smaller counter that shows length of rest periods or the set you're doing. The workout is done in a stripped-down gym setting, with background music which plays when you're lifting weights; the rest of the time is filled with Sagi talking, either giving instructions or encouragement. You'll need dumbbells, a barbell (optional)and weight bench (can substitute stability ball) for this workout. You'll also need a pull-up/chin-up bar or a doorband attachment set up for the pullups and chinups. If you want to skip those, you could sub in another back exercise.

The idea behind drop sets is decreasing your reps while increasing weights. The Body Beast drop sets are 15 reps at the starter weight, 12 reps at a higher weight and 8 reps at your heaviest. For some single sets, Sagi tacks on a fourth set of 8 reps at your not-quite-heaviest weight. He uses different groupings of exercises to add variety and interest: single sets (one exercise, rest between sets), super sets (two exercises, alternate sets of each), and giant sets (three exercises, do one set of each, then repeat until all sets/reps are done).

Back is worked first, with a single set of deadlifts. This is a variation on the traditional ones: bend over (between 45-90 degrees, depending on flexibility), arms extended, knees bent, and come to a full standing position while contracting the back muscles as you rise. Next is a superset of pullover and pullups. Following is a giant set of bent-over bar rows, one-arm rows and reverse flyes. The biceps work is all single sets: chinups, biceps curls, hammer curls (tough exercise - one rep equals a right arm curl, a left arm curl, then both together!), and a barbell curl. The workout ends with an upper-back extension exercise on the floor, then a short stretch.

This workout is intense. There are not long breaks between sets - the longest is about 90 seconds to set up - and if you go heavy you'll be spent by the end of the workout. Sagi usually completes the first set of each exercise, then goes to his backgrounders to offer form pointers and encouragement.

Total workout time is around 50 minutes: approximately 3 minutes warmup, 45 minutes strength training and 2 minutes stretch.

Instructor Comments:
Sagi shows excellent form himself and gives good form tips. His tempo is always a little off when counting out reps - he's not consistent from set to set - so follow your own pace and you'll end more or less when he does. He is massively muscled.