The best men's lifestyle blog. Style, grooming and more for well-rounded man

How to Build Bigger Arms?

49

“Big arm are like ornaments on a Christmas tree- Ed Coan”

In the realm of fitness, where everyone is obsessing over six-packs and lean arms, big arms are still a thing of beauty. Every man is wondering how to get bigger arms, wants sleeve ripping, vein-mapped, cannon-like arms. But not every man is doing the right thing to achieve it. In the gym, one common sight is most guys curling those dumbbells day in and day out. While some people are able to make some gains out of it, but they aren’t massive and they soon hit a plateau. So, if you want bigger arms that continue growing and fill up your t-shirt sleeves, read on.

Anatomy of the Arm

The muscular structure of the human arm is majorly constituted by the triceps, biceps and the extensor and flexor muscles of the forearms. The upper portion of the arm (from shoulder to elbow) is dominated by the triceps muscle group. Just because the triceps are not visible from the front, it does not mean that you should skip training them. For overall arm development, all these three major muscle groups should be equally trained. Albeit, this article will be focusing on developing the biceps and triceps muscle groups.

Facts to Train Your Mind

Eat More

One of the common reasons why many guys don’t make gains is because they are ignorant of their diet. Your diet is more important than the workout itself. To grow big, you have to eat more. Figure out what your maintenance calories are and add 200 calories to it. This is what you should be eating if you are looking at packing size on your arms and other muscles groups.

Train Your Legs

To grow muscles, your body needs testosterone. The lower your testosterone levels, the slower your gains are going to be. It is scientifically proven that training your legs increases the production of testosterone and growth hormone (HGH). So, if you are training your arms 7 days of the week, you may want to rest them and give a shot to training your legs.

Stop Over-training

Gym rules Etiqutte

A lot of guys believe in the myth that training your muscle groups every day result in quick gains. Well, this is not true. On the contrary, the lesser but harder the muscles are trained per week, the more their chance of growth is. This is because muscles do not grow in the gym, they grow when they rest. Constant stress on your muscles can result in stunted muscle growth or loss of muscle.

Progressive Overload

Progressive overload is a scientific concept where you progressively increase the amount of weight you lift each week. For instance, if you were lifting 10 kgs dumbbells for bicep curls on week 1, on week 2, try lifting 12 kgs dumbbells to stress, shock and stimulate your muscle.
Alternatively, you can increase the number of sets and reps instead of increasing load. For instance, on week 1, your arm training was split into 5 sets of 8 repetitions, on week 2, you can either increase the number of sets or number of repetitions or both.
Remember the mantra – To grow big, you have to lift big.

Rest

Rest is critical if you are looking at growing your arms at an accelerated pace. As mentioned earlier, your muscles need to rest and your body needs adequate sleep, to rest, recover and come back stronger.

Exercises

Now, let us get to the fun part that you have been waiting for – Exercises.

Biceps Muscle Exercises

Dumbbell Bicep Curls

The classic dumbbell bicep curls are the holy grail when it comes to building your biceps. However, this is not the only or crucial exercise when it comes to building machine gun arms. The dumbbell bicep curl is excellent because it allows the bicep to stretch fully and contract tight. A clean form and slow eccentric movements allow for most muscle damage and tighter pumps.

Mistakes to avoid

1. Using shoulders (Anterior Deltoid) to curl the weight up
2. Using hips to gain momentum when curling heavyweights. If you are using the hips to curl the weight up, it is a sign that you need to lower the weight.

Sets
4 sets of 12 reps with moderately heavy weights.

Pro Tip

Perform the exercise sitting on the chair to avoid gaining assistance from your lower body and hips.

Alternative Exercises

1. Straight bar bicep curls
2. EZ Bar/ zig-zag bar bicep curls.
3. Cable curls

Dumbbell Hammer Curls

The dumbbell hammer curl is my favorite bicep exercise when it comes to building thick arms. There are two reasons for it, firstly, the hammer curls target the bicep muscles from a different angle and secondly, they stimulate the brachialis muscle, sitting under the outer head of biceps and the brachioradialis muscle, which forms the outside of the forearm. Just like the classic bicep curls, the form is critical to make the most out of hammer curls.

Mistakes to Avoid

1. Avoid flaring the elbows
2. Using shoulders (Anterior Deltoid) to curl the weight up
3. Using hips to gain momentum when curling heavyweight. If you are using the hips to curl the weight up, it is a sign that you need to lower the weight.

Sets

4 sets of 8-12 reps with moderately heavy weights.

Pro Tip

1. Perform the exercise sitting on the chair to avoid gaining assistance from your lower body and hips.
2. Perform the exercise across the chest to effectively target the brachialis muscle.

Alternative Exercises

Cable hammer curls with a rope.

Concentration Curls

Concentration curls are effective when it comes to contracting your biceps. This exercise is not necessarily the biceps peak builder as many of you believe it to be. The purpose of the concentration curl is to recruit as much bicep muscle-fibers as possible. The concentration curl is excellent for getting the peak contraction and the pump!

Mistakes to Avoid

1. Supporting elbow with the knee
2. Partial reps

Sets

3 sets of 8-10 reps with light to moderate weight.

Pro Tip

Twist your forearm at the peak of contraction to feel a tighter contraction and pump.

Alternate Exercises

None.

Incline Bench Dumbbell Curl

The incline bench dumbbell curl is a great exercise because it eliminates the involvement of shoulder muscles entirely. This makes the biceps to work harder. The incline bench dumbbell curl is a great isolation exercise for the biceps muscle.

Mistakes to Avoid

1. Avoid using heavier weights as it can put the shoulder joint in a compromising position.
2. Avoid swinging the arm back and forth.

Sets

3 sets of 6-8 reps with light to moderate weights.

Pro Tip

Use lighter weights and aim for slower negatives.

Alternate Exercises

Spider Curls

Bonus Biceps Body weight Exercise

Chin ups with slow negatives.

Triceps Muscle Exercises

Close Grip Bench Press

The bench press itself is a compound exercise that primarily targets the chest muscles and triceps and anterior deltoid (front shoulders) are its secondary muscle group targets. With a little bit of variation in wrist position, you can make the bench press demand a lot more effort from your triceps. In a close grip bench press, the palms are closer to each other and the load is shifted to the triceps. The close grip bench press is excellent for adding mass to your triceps.

Mistakes to Avoid

A very close grip can put the wrists in a dangerous position, keep your wrists a little bit inside of the shoulder width but definitely avoid touching them.

Sets

3 sets of 8-10 reps with moderate to heavy weights.

Pro Tip

You can go heavier on this exercise to achieve a great pump and full triceps stimulation.

Alternate Exercises

Close grip dumbbell press.

Triceps Pushdown – Rope Attachment

The triceps pushdown with the rope attachment is a great exercise to target the long head of the triceps. The important thing to remember when performing this exercise is to maintain a strict form and aim for maximum contraction and not just pushing the rope down.

Mistakes to Avoid

1. If the movement demands you to use your shoulders and traps, you are probably lighting heavier. Lower the weight.
2. Do not flare your elbows.
3. Keep your elbows tucked to the sides, do no move them forward or backward.

Sets

4 sets of 8-12 reps with light to moderate weights.

Pro Tip

Here is a video from AthleanX, which shows how to effectively train the triceps using the ropes.

Alternate Exercises

Triceps pushdown – straight bar attachment. However, the rope attachment has been observed to target fibers deep within the triceps.

Triceps Pushdown – V-Bar Attachment

Just like how the rope attachment targets the long head of the triceps, the V-bar is meant to target the outer or short head of the triceps muscle group.

Mistakes to Avoid

1. If the movement demands you to use your shoulders and traps, you are probably lighting heavier. Lower the weight.
2. Do not flare your elbows.
3. Keep your elbows tucked to the sides, do no move them forward or backward.

Sets

4 sets of 8-12 reps with light to moderate weights.

Pro Tip

Since there is no outer movement of the arms, you can go heavier of this workout.

Alternate Exercises

Close grip straight bar pushdown. However, it is not as effective as the exercise performed with a V-bar attachment.

Overhead Dumbbell Triceps Extension

The overhead dumbbell triceps extension is a great exercise for isolating the long head of triceps and stretching it. The exercise can be performed both with a single arm and double arms.

Mistakes to Avoid

1. Partial reps
2. Not allowing for a complete stretch of the triceps muscle.

Sets

3 sets of 8-12 reps with light to moderate weights.

Pro Tip

Aim for slower negatives to recruit a higher number of triceps muscle fibers.

Alternative Exercises

Overhead barbell triceps extension.

Skullcrusher

The skullcrusher is an excellent mass building triceps exercise that allows for greater stretch in all heads of the triceps. However, the skullcrusher is not a triceps isolation exercise.

Mistakes to Avoid

Avoid locking of the elbows when performing the exercise.

Sets

3 sets of 8-12 reps with light to moderate weights.

Pro Tip

1. Initiate the exercise by pushing your arms a little bit away from your head to gain a greater stretch.
2. Use an EZ bar for a neutral grip.

Alternate Exercises

Dumbbell skullcrushers.

Dumbbell Kickbacks

Dumbbell kickbacks are a great exercise to target all heads of the triceps. The exercise can also be performed to finish a triceps workout with insane reps and pump.

Mistakes to Avoid

1. Avoid swinging the arm and using the lats to gain momentum.
2. Avoid using heavier weights.

Sets

3 sets of 12-15 reps with light weights.

Pro Tip

Perform the exercise with one arm at a time to maintain a good mind-muscle connection.

Alternate Exercises

Cable triceps kickback.

Bonus Triceps Bodyweight Exercise

1. Close grip push-ups
2. Parallel bar dips
3. Bench Dips

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.