By Adi Crnalic, ISSA C.P.T
Natural Bodybuilding Champion & Top Fitness Author
Any guy who’s steps foot into a gym does so with the intention of owning a bigger and stronger set of arms. Unfortunately, most guys don’t take the proper steps in their workout routine thus their chances of building huge “guns” are very slim.
You have to realize that your arm muscles (biceps, triceps and forearms) are very small compared to your chest, back and legs. Far too many trainees make the mistake of training arms (especially biceps) far too often and with too many sets.
Arm training should not be complicated and if you follow these 5 simple steps you’ll have an amazing pair of “guns” not too long from today.
Big Arms Step #1 Focus On Compound Movements
To build the biceps, triceps and forearm muscles, nothing comes close to compound movements with free weights. Free weights allow for the greatest range of motion and mirror your muscles natural movement.
No machine can ever give you the same stimulation as good old dumbbells and barbells as machines restrict your movement to a linear plane of motion. If you really like training with machines or cables then I recommend you finish off your workout on a machine, but never begin your workouts on one.
Big Arms Step #2 Keep Your Arm Workouts Short
This counts not only for the arms but for every other bodypart as well. To develop truly impressive biceps and triceps I recommend you train them on their own day instead of at the end of your chest and/or back workouts.
This will let you put 100% focus and intensity into doing arms thus resulting in better and faster gains. Remember that the biceps and triceps are very small muscles and there’s absolutely no reason to spend 2 hours at the gym working them.
Your arm workouts should last no longer than 1 hour. This is more than enough time as you’ll have 20 minutes for biceps, 20 minutes for triceps and 20 minutes for forearms. Unless your forearms tend to grow and respond well from biceps training, then you can spend a half hour on biceps and triceps each and skip forearms.
Remember that the law of diminishing returns applies especially well to weight training. Your arms will get plenty of indirect work from back and chest training so you don’t need to do too much for the biceps and triceps.
Big Arms Step #3 Focus On Quality
Quality means performing each and every single set and repetition with 100% focus and intensity. If you’re not putting every ounce of energy into each set then you your arms simply won’t grow as fast and big as you’d like them to. I see far too many trainees at the gym using too much weight and momentum and not focusing on making the biceps and triceps do the work.
Focus on making the muscle do the work and focus on getting an intense contraction at the end of each repetition. Squeeze your biceps hard for a second before lowering the weights on any curling movement and lock out your elbows at the top for any triceps movement.
Big Arms Step #4 Keep Your Rest Periods Short
Your rest period in-between sets should take no longer than 2 minutes or 120 seconds. 2 minutes is just long enough to let most of the lactic acid that accumulates during an intense set flush out of your muscles but not long enough so that you lose your pump and your muscles get cold.
Research has shown that taking shorter rest periods in between sets increases your body’s growth hormone production which will directly lead to more muscle mass. Research also indicates that 2 minutes is an optimal time for hypertrophy or muscle growth and that anything less is better for developing muscle endurance and anything more than 3 minutes is best for developing muscle power.
Big Arms Step #5 Train Heavy
Too many guys completely misunderstand the concept of training heavy especially while working the arms. Never choose quantity over quality in your arm workouts but rather quality and quantity. Perform 8 to 12 repetitions for biceps and triceps on every set and focus on reaching failure on at least one set for each exercise.
If you’re able to do more than 12 repetitions on any arm exercise than you are not using enough weight to stimulate the type 2b muscle fibers which are mainly responsible for muscle growth. Performing less than 6 repetitions will not recruit many of those same type 2b muscle fibers thus leading to less muscle growth.
Follow these 5 simple steps in your arm workouts and you’re guaranteed to have bigger and stronger guns in no time at all.
About the author
Once an average, pencil-necked weakling, Adi Crnalic is now a Natural Bodybuilding Champion, Trainer and creator of the new online muscle building program, Massive Muscle Building