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.
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