7 Tricks To Muscle Building Arm Workouts

By

Vince Del Monte, WBFF Pro Fitness Model, Certified Fitness Trainer
and Nutritionist and author of No Nonsense Muscle
Building.

I know it’s hard to believe but big arms can be yours. Maybe not 24-inch pythons like Hulk Hogan because he was taking a little extra something something if you know what I mean.  However, there are ways to get big arms so you can go from nicknaming your pipe-cleaners to pipes and have huge biceps popping out of your t-shirts.

I definitely don’t believe you can build your biceps bigger by just compound exercises – you need some isolation work on your biceps and triceps during your arm workouts but I also believe you can overkill your arm workouts with too much isolation training and emphasizing too many exercises and angles. You need a balance.

A big mistake I see many people make is allocate more volume than necessary to their biceps and triceps.  Think about it – your arms are about 5% of your total muscle mass and your legs make up about 50%.  So doing 16 sets on your arms and 6 sets on your legs is something you might want to re-evaluate.

Here are some tips to get your set of big arms that demand respect.

1. The entire theory of training your arms at every angle is ridiculous.

Your arms grow based on overload, maximal muscle recruitment and genetics, so your muscle building arm workouts should be based on proper technique and increasing the number of reps and sets and work capacity.

2. Generally to grow your arms about 1-2 inches you need at least 10 pounds of total body muscle.

This goes along with the 5% rule.  If you’re legs, back, chest and shoulders are getting bigger, chances are your arms will be growing too.

3. Huge arms is not related to just calories.

Your arms grow based on the right hormonal environment which results from spurts of Growth Hormone and Testosterone hence the importance of heavy squats, deads,  presses and rows.  If you’re arms are not growing and you’re doing dozens of bicep and tricep exercises then go back to focusing on getting stronger with the “majors” and you’ll start getting bigger biceps and triceps.

4. Get stronger in “big lifts.”

Focus on full body workout where you get stronger in your squats, deads, presses and rows and save 2-4 sets at the end of each workout for some direct arm training in the 6-10 rep range. At the end of a full body workout you only need one direct bicep and tricep exercises. I would go with DB curls and Skull Crushers.

5. Experiment with different sets and reps.

If you train arms on their own day, super set three different exercises at three different rep ranges.  Here is a sample arm workout emphasizing different rep and set scheme to stress the muscle fibers at different intensities and for maximal recruitment:

A1: EZ Bar Bicep Curls             4 x 6-8 reps                                                                                                         A2:  Close Grip Bench Press    4 x 6-8 reps

90 second rest

B1: Hammer Bicep Curls         3 x 8-10 reps                                                                                                         B2: Overhead DB Extensions  3 x 8-10 reps

60 sec rest

C1: DB Concentration Curls   2 x 15 reps                                                                                                              C2: Tricep Rope Pressdowns  2 x 15 reps

30 sec rest

6. Focus on proper form and “feeling” the muscle.

Ensure your biceps and triceps know they are getting worked.  Just curling and pressing heavy weights for your arms is not enough because too many muscles like your back and shoulders (especially for biceps) can compensate and do the majority of the work and allow cheating.  Massive arms can not be built by swinging the weight and cheating.

7. Don’t overtrain your arms by doing them every workout.

Less if often more with your workouts and don’t underestimate the stimulation they receive by focusing on your major muscle groups.

If you want to read more information on bicep training and building bigger arms than check out this article called How To Build Big Biceps on my site.

Vince

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Comments

28 thoughts on “7 Tricks To Muscle Building Arm Workouts

  1. If you wish for to grow your knowledge just keep visiting this website and
    be updated with the newest news update posted here.

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  2. Pingback: Entrenamientos para construcción del músculo del brazo – Tres cosas importantes para recordar - Aumento de Masa Muscular

  3. hi vince
    i had my hip replaced 4 months ago and made full recovery great sucess
    im using dumbells at moment
    like to proress onto heavier weights
    is it safe
    thanks

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  4. Hey vince, I’m just starting serious workouts, and I’m not gaining that much muscle. I’m probably the skinniest kid on the block, but it’s functional muscle. I’m a freshman in high school, and he takes his shirt off and starts showing off, you know? so one thing leads to another, and eventually we end up doing timed situps for 60 seconds cuz I cant take kids showing off for more than five minutes.. he does, 64, I end up doing 80. I have a six pack, but the wierd thing about it is that I DONT HAVE ANY IDEA HOW I GOT IT. now that I realize that I have some ab strength, I’ve been working out more, but nothing’s happening. If you can help out, could you email me? ([email protected]) thanks.

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  5. I tried that workout and felt a good pump from it. Was sore the next couple of days though

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  6. hey vince tnks for your videos, it really helps a lot like for us starters…

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  7. hey vince..im new here and im fairly skinny but not over the top.im strong and i do gain musce.im just concerned with my diet.i have 3 good meals a day and i have a weight gain supplement,i was wondering if thats enough.or can i have just a one or two day meal plain that i can use everyday.

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  8. Greetings,

    I am 23, weigh 145 lbs and have been working out for two years now with little results. My diet isn’t the greatest either. I just want to tone up and build muscle weight. Many times I have thought to myself, “who am I really kidding?” So why should I invest my hard earned money into your program? I see your shirtless pic Vince and I am like, “man I’d give anything to look like that with my shirt off.”

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  9. Hi Vince,
    I am interested in getting your no nonsense muscle building program. But i don’t have a credit card, but i can mail. plz answer me back

    THANKS!!!!!!!!!!

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  10. The MAJORITY of your arm growth will actually be produced as a result of your direct CHEST and BACK training.

    Biceps
    – Barbell Curls (this is the most basic bicep exercise possible, and if your goal is to build overall size then I would suggest using barbell curls as your staple bicep exercise)
    – EZ-Bar Curls
    – Standing Alternating Dumbbell Curls
    – Seated Alternating Dumbbell Curls
    – Cable Curls
    – Hammer Curls

    Triceps
    – Cable Pushdowns
    – Skull Crushers (these can be performed with an ez-curl bar or with dumbbells)
    – Overhead Extensions (again, using either an ez-curl bar or a single dumbbell)
    – Close-Grip Bench Presses
    – Narrow-Grip Dips

    Sets
    This is the section that might come as a bit of a shock, since you’re probably used to training your arms with something in the range of 8 total sets or more. Most people simply perform way too many exercises and way too many sets for their biceps and triceps. When you combine the fact that…

    a) the biceps and triceps are relatively small muscle groups
    b) the biceps and triceps receive heavy stimulation on all chest and back training
    It becomes quite clear that only a very limited amount of direct arm training is necessary.

    Remember, successful weight training is about quality and not quantity. As long as you take your sets to true concentric muscular failure, then 2-4 total sets per week is ideal to stimulate your arms to grow without overtraining them.

    Reps
    Nothing special here, just like I’ve recommended for most of your muscle groups, the biceps and triceps should both be stimulated using 5 to 7 reps per set. This means that the weight should be light enough to allow for 5 full reps using proper form, but heavy enough that you cannot complete more than 7 reps using proper form. Once you can perform 7 reps on any given exercise, it’s time to increase the weight.

    I would suggest choosing 2 approved exercises for the biceps and 2 approved exercises for the triceps, with each exercise consisting of 1-2 sets each.
    If you’ve decided to train your back and biceps in the same workout as well as your chest and triceps in the same workout, then make sure to always perform your direct arm exercises at the end of your workouts when ALL of your back and chest training is fully complete. If you perform direct arm movements before any of your compound back and chest exercises, you’ll sacrifice the amount of weight that you can lift since your arms will be prematurely fatigued and will become a weak link in the exercise.

    Biceps

    Routine #1
    Barbell Curls – 1-2 sets of 5 to 7 reps
    Standing Alternating Dumbbell Curls – 1-2 sets of 5 to 7 reps

    Routine #2
    Barbell Curls – 1-2 sets of 5 to 7 reps
    Hammer Curls – 1-2 sets of 5 to 7 reps

    Routine #3
    EZ-Bar Curls – 1-2 sets of 5 to 7 reps
    Seated Alternating Dumbbell Curls – 1-2 sets of 5 to 7 reps

    Triceps

    Routine #1
    Tricep Pressdowns – 1-2 sets of 5 to 7 reps
    Skull Crushers – 1-2 sets of 5 to 7 reps

    Routine #2
    Close-Grip Bench Presses – 1-2 sets of 5 to 7 reps
    Narrow-Grip Dips – 1-2 sets of 5 to 7 reps

    Routine #3
    Narrow-Grip Dips – 1-2 sets of 5 to 7 reps
    Overhead EZ-Bar Extensions – 1-2 sets of 5 to 7 reps

    And of course, always remember to…

    • Perform all sets to concentric muscular failure, that is, to the point where you cannot complete any additional reps using proper form despite your best efforts.

    • Write down the exercises, sets and reps that you perform for each workout and then strive to improve upon those numbers each week by either increasing the weight or by performing more reps.

    • Rest as long as you need to in between sets so that you can perform each individual set with full effort, strength and intensity.

    • Make sure to perform all movements with a full range of motion. For bicep exercises this means lowering the weight until your arms are fully extended and curling the weight up until your biceps are fully contracted. And for triceps this means bringing the weight back until your triceps are fully stretched, and extending the weight down until our elbows are fully locked out.

    • Follow each workout for a period of 8 weeks before taking a week off.

    Chances are that you’re a bit surprised right now, and you may even be reluctant to follow these principles. Many of you are probably very reluctant to make these changes to your arm training approach because you probably place a lot of value on your arm size and you want to make sure that you’re performing enough work for them.

    But believe me, in almost a decade of serious training and of promoting various bodybuilding programs and approaches, I am certain that 4 total sets per week is the maximum number of sets that the biceps and triceps require, and that 2-3 sets is usually optimal.

    Vince, less is more! Full intensity sets mixed with a heavy compound exercises to boost your GH and Testosterone will put inches on your arms! 😉

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  11. hey vince

    i have some questions im looking into getting ur program im right at 5-11 and only weigh 150 pounds. I try to gain weight can eat all day but dont gain anything, i have a total gym at my house would this work or do i need to get to a gym. Also i work offshore for 20 days and im only home for about 12 so while at work is there any easier way to keep up with my calorie intake

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  12. hey vince

    i have some questions im looking into getting ur program im right at 5-11 and only weigh 150 pounds. I try to gain weight can eat all day but dont gain anything, i have a total gym at my house would this work or do i need to get to a gym. Also i work offshore for 20 days and im only home for about 12 so while at work is there any easier way to keep up with my calorie intake and food i eat.

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  13. I had my right rotator cuff repaired a few years ago.

    Tell the guy to work real hard and do everything the rehab people tell him to do, and not to slack off. It will take 3 to 6 months as I remember. Near the end of the rehab when some of the exercises get real easy, drop em, and concentrate on the ones where he can’t get the range of motion, and MAKE IT HURT & HOLD IT THERE IN THE HURT ZONE FOR 60 SECONDS. Only do this after you have been doing the exercises a couple of months. If you try to lift weights to soon, you will tear out the stitches. For the first month or so you will have to have somebody raise and lower your arm for a certain amout of reps, 3 x per day. My repaired shoulder is now just as good if not better than the other one. Remember this; “Your shoulder will be in alot of pain for some time” Once you get to where you “think you can toss weight around, you must be very careful you don’t overload or you will have to have the operation done over. I have known people that have had this happen. Use real light weights when you do, with alot of reps. Personally; I would say wait 9 mo to a year. If you start to feel a sharp pain in the shoulder, instead of the usual burn; STOP IMMEDIATLY. This thing of working thru it won’t work, you will only TEAR IT AGAIN .

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  14. can you send me the video of you doing the ab workout becuz i cant find it

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  15. Vince,

    I recently recieved your email on the 4,000 calorie diet. It says it’s ideal for people that weigh 180-200lbs.

    I’m 6’2” and about 150lbs and I want to try that diet to finally pack on some weight.

    Are there any changes I should make, or do you have different diet you would recomend?

    thanks

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  16. Hi Vince,

    I’m just not sure how I can workout with injuries. I hurt my left knee about a year ago and it’s still giving me problems along with my right elbow which got a very sharp knock on the angle of a steel door about a year ago also. Consequently my elbow doesn’t want to straighten completely.

    I’m taking ligamend as much as I can but cannot use too much weight for lifting.

    Any ideas??

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  17. Yo
    I just wonered..
    do i need to train my back with rows, deadlifts, pullups and the shrugs? its too time consuming and i only rly want arms, pecs, abs and shoulder. or do i have to balance it out and all?
    cheers
    is there only one back workjout i can do and still build it?

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  18. i want a perfect diet chart
    how to lose my weight
    my meal follows: i eat rice much more
    no wheat
    eat spicy and oily
    plz help me

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  19. Hi Vince!

    I was on your youtube channel and saw a video on adding 1-2 inches to your arms in just 30-45 days, but the video is incomplete and cuts off when your about to start showing the workout. Any way you can post this video up completely? Please let me know!

    Thanks.

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  20. I only work on my arms and my chest/pecs cause that’s all i really care about, but my arms havn’t grown in a while is this because of the 5% thing, do i need to work on other body parts like my back?

    Thanks Vince,

    Sean

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  21. Hi there!!! I’m really wanting my arms to look like they use to, (solid and toned).. I don’t really want to get them huge though.. So would it be cool for me to do this workout for my tightening and toning?? There kinda giggly lol so I have a ways to go but I usually do pretty heavy on my arms so I think I will be ok… Just wanted someones opinion…

    Thanks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  22. Hey Vince

    Really appreciate all the time you take for all your news lettes, but i have a question about this one.

    I have just recovered from surgery to my wrist, broke my scaffiod a year ago, had 2 ops now. When increasing the weight to overload the arms i get some bad pains in my wrist, do you have any other excercises or tips that would reduce some of the pressure on my wrist and tendons but still allow for an optimum work out on the arms?

    Thanks again.
    Keep up good work.
    Mark

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  23. John – you can use either my No Nonsense Fat Loss OR Muscle Building program to get rid of your belly. The result will be determined by which meal plan and which caloric plan you follow.

    The weights are designed to keep your muscle in tact so will you’re in fat burning mode, you hold onto all your muscle.

    To be honest, go with the http://www.yoursixpackquest.com program. It’s got more overall programs and if you want to build muscle you can just increase your calories after you’ve lost your pot belly.

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  24. Hi Vince Bob here, ive got a question to ask you, not sure if you have the answer it is to do with my shoulder cuff rota muscle- having an operation on it in the next 6-8 weeks, just wantting to know wether you know how long it will take me to get back into lefting weights again after my operation.
    Also at the moment while i am awaitting the operation, should i keep on trainning as i would like to keep my form, i am still trainning at the moment even though it hurts…………..what eles can i do other wise it means all the hard trainnig goes down the dump in other words the muscles will loose its form.
    Please get back to me as soon as possible,
    Cheers Bob

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  25. Hi Vince,

    I want to start your program but have a big concern. In my quest to bulk up in the past I’ve gained some muscle along with fat too. But the fat is only around my Abs. Basically I look like a pregnant man unless I suck in my gut.

    In the past I’ve tried to lose this weight and ended up losing all my gains so I’m back thin again.

    I’m 5’11 and weigh 186lbs. I reckon I have to lose around 7-10lbs in order to looked ripped.

    Is it possible to lose this without actually becoming a skinny bast**d again?? Maybe even gain a bit of muscle mass too?

    Also I don’t train with weights anymore due to past injuries but I do have a pullup bar and a TotalGym. I also surf & do the martial arts (surf 2-3 times a week in the summer and Wing Chun once a week)

    Would your Muscle Gain program be right for me??

    I look forward to hearing from you soon

    John

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  26. biplab chakravarty March 2, 2009 at 1:32 am - Reply

    In some articles you are saying us not to overtrain, only to perform 12 sets per workout in split workout routine. Again in some articles you are saying us to do fullbody workout of 10 exercises, each of 3 sets of 6-8 reps having rest period of 2 minutes. How its possible to finish in one hour time. Very confusing

    biplab

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  27. please send me a diet for fat burning. Weight 60 kg

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  28. i like to do weight lifting for y arm to look firm for now y arms not exactly firm but when using dumbbell i can see muscle grew.i want to do more firm arm and abs y skin stomach not so loose but i got abs i want to lose more of it

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