So you want to have big guns, i know you probably tried the most popular arm workouts but you don’t really have the arms you want. So in this post we will discuss how you can build big guns (biceps and triceps) and how to complement that with good forearm muscles and why is that important. Let’s get into it.
ARM GROWTH MISTAKES
When training arms people often make the mistake of going just for the “pump” this is often known as sarcoplasmic hypertrophy, or just going for strenght. The good thing about this method is that you are actually training your arms directly. Which leads to an amount of growth due to the volume in that specific muscle group. Focusing on just strenght in compound movements may work for some people. This works for 2 types of people and you will notice it.
1.- Natural lifters with good arm genetics; this is often why you follow advice from your friend that has big arms yet when you do not grow like he does you get disappointed and wonder what went wrong, the truth is he just has the right genetics for big arms, even if he didn’t worked out his arms would be decent thanks to his insertions, genetics and/or bone structure.
2.- Enhanced lifters; This approach works well with enhanced lifters because, well they’re enhanced and every muscle group is more sensitive to growth when you are on drugs.
OK SO ALL I NEED IS FOCUS ON COMPOUND MOVEMENTS?
Here is the thing:
Compound movements make your strongest muscles to take over, aka if you are rowing your back will do the most of the work, if you are benching your delts and pecs will do most of the work so compound lifts definitely work the biceps and triceps and will produce growth, but unless you have great arm genetics you will not get the results you are looking for.
The sweet spot is in the middle, you do your compound lifts, but you also throw isolation for the biceps and triceps that are proven to work these muscles to a large degree like close grip bench, dips, barbell curls and chin ups.
Here is a good example:
The day you work triceps you incorporate the close grip bench press or dips for 3-4 sets of 5-8 reps ,when you can you increase the weight, after that is done then you will hit the triceps with some variety of different angles to optimize hypertrophy, like overhead extensions or skull crushers.
The day you work biceps you incorporate the ez barbell curl or chin up for 3-4 sets of 5-8 reps, when you can you increase the weight, after that is done you hit the biceps from a some different angles and rep ranges like incline dumbbell curls or hammer curls.
You will track progress in compound lifts and add weight over time. You also need to work on the mind muscle connection when isolating the arms.
Have an arm day
If you want to really optimize arm training you should have an arm day! A lot of great arms in history are known to train arms on their own day and train them intensely. Having progressive overload and isolation movements with volume focusing in the mind muscle connection is a great way to grow any stubborn muscle group. If you do a 3 times per week full body routine you can add an arm day on Saturday, if you do upper lower you can also add an arm day on Saturday. If you train with a bro-split then be a good bro and have an arm day!
Train with intensity and volume
You need to train arms like they are chest or legs. A lot of people make the mistake of not taking arm training seriously and they do not have the proper intensity. They will be often curling the same weight for the same reps without any effort. For your arm day, visualize yourself training hard and take your pre-workout as normal. Make sure that you actually train your arms like any other body part!
For volume, i know a lot of people will say that this is a lot, but aim to perform at least 20 sets for biceps and 20 sets for triceps in the week. You can split this all through the week. If you cannot recover then lower the volume, if you can handle a little bit more then pump off those reps.
Brachialis and forearms
A lot of guys in the gym barely think about forearms or the brachialis, the reality is that forearms are a very masculine trait and will make you have a great look even when you are wearing a shirt. And the brachialis will make your upper arm circurference bigger since it is located between the biceps and triceps. In fact many women report that the forearms are one of the most attractive muscle groups in men. Brachialis are mainly targeted with reverse curls or hammer curls, so make sure you include them in your training!
Forearms are trained like any other muscle group, with progressive overload and volume, however training forearms is tricky, since the are involved in both compound and isolation movements, you do not need a lot of volume but you will need to apply progressive overload to achieve muscle gains.
These are the best forearm exercises:
A wrist curl, this can be done with barbells, dumbbells or cables.
A wrist reverse curl, this can also be done with barbells, dumbbells or cables.
i would opt for one of this variations at apply it at the end of every bicep or triceps workout, so if you do triceps one day you can do wrist curls and if you do biceps you can do your reverse curls. That way you can build up the habit and start to train your forearm muscles in your routine. Start with 3-6 sets of each and increase the load and
volume over time if you want more forearm size.
And this is it! This is how you optimize your arm growth and make gains.
Do you have any other tips? Let me know!