"I WANT BIGGER ARMS!" PART 1
I hear you say. Many people struggle to get bigger arms and one of the reasons is overtraining, in this first part we answer a few common questions.
"Yeah but I train them twice a week and they still don't grow"
The biceps and triceps are comparatively small muscle groups compared to back, chest and legs....plus they get hit indirectly through the majority of other workouts so there is really no need to overload them with a tonne of additional work.
"When should I train them then?"
I have tried loads of different splits for training arms: a dedicated arm day, back and biceps, chest and triceps, back and triceps, chest and biceps, push/pull/legs, triceps and delts....and ultimately it will come down to what suits you best, BUT having spoken to numerous bodybuilders who have tried the same and still struggled...they all said that having a separate arm day, once a week yielded the best results...and I agree.
Stick to it for 6-8 weeks then change, then go back to it.
"I've got massive biceps and can curl loads yet they still look small"
You need to train more triceps. They are the larger muscle group of the two and bigger triceps will make your arms look huge from every angle....and who doesn't want that?!
"How many exercises do I need?"
If you're doing them along side another body part then just 1-2 per. If you're having a separate arm day then 3-4 per...so roughly one for each muscle head.
When training them with another body part, they will be pre fatigued so don't be put off that you'll not lift as much weight as you would going in fresh.
The body doesn't know or care how much you're lifting, only what you're doing to it...so if the weights are lighter but you're still going to failure then you'll grow.
"Why so few exercises?"
The biceps is made up of two heads (long head- towards the back of the arm and short head-closest to the chest) along with the brachialis muscle which lies deeper than the main muscles and helps with bending the elbow.
The triceps has three heads (long head -largest towards the rear, medial head- lies underneath and lateral head -on the side)....and as mentioned before, all are relatively small compared to other body parts and get used as assistance muscles whenever we push or pull....over working a small muscle will not provide a good stimulus for growth.
"Ok, so what exercises should I do?"
This list is not conclusive, but just a couple of ideas, bear in mind that you cannot fully isolate one particular head but by putting your arm in certain positions you can preferrentiate a certain head. Include single arm work for any imbalances.
🔸Long head bicep: incline dumbbell curls or standing narrow grip barbell curls
🔸Short head biceps: preacher curl or spider curl
🔸Brachialis: dumbbell/cable hammer curls or close reverse grip barbell curls
🔹Long head of tricep: overhead movements such as overhead dumbbell extension, cable overhead extension and skull crushers. Kickback movements.... cable or dumbbell.
🔹Medial head of tricep: close grip bench (a MUST for bigger and stronger triceps), rope pushdowns, weighted dips/dip machine.
🔹 Lateral head of tricep: weighted dips/dip machine, cable a pushdowns with a bar (try to keep elbows flared out slightly).
"What rep range?"
In general, 8-12. When doing close grip bench which is also great for adding strength you could go down to 6, but any lower and you remove the emphasis on muscle growth and risk injuring tendons at the elbow if you're not used to training heavy.
"I do this already but still nothing grows"
Add in drop sets, rest pause, forced/slow negatives and positives and work to failure to break down muscle fibres and enduce growth.
If you're sticking to 3 sets of 10 (or the like) every week, then even if you're adding weight....because you're not going to failure, your arms will stay exactly the same for a very long time.
It's also possible that you're not doing full range of motion, if you're shortening the range of movement then you're also reducing the potential for muscle growth. More advanced or people with well developed arms can sometimes get away with this but not if you're struggling.
"Am I doing the exercises correctly?"
In part two of "I want bigger arms" we will do a video of exercises, showing correct form and how to do drop sets, rest pause and other advanced bits to help you get bigger arms....and also give you a great arm workout to do.
💡Remember, nutrition is key....if you're training hard and are a hard gainer struggling to put size on yet eat shit all day and still don't grow, you need to feed your body the correct nutrients to lay down the building blocks for new muscle.
So that means eating clean food such as carbs from potatoes, rice, pasta, oats. Protein from chicken, lean beef, lean fish, salmon. Fats from nuts, olive oil, nut butter. Plus intra workout fuel, then extra calories from shakes and post workout treats.
As a member Chris can help you with diet and training as part of your membership whether you want to lose fat or if you're struggling to put on size.
No joining fee, first session is free of charge and a number of membership options.
Why not pop in for a look around:
Look out for part 2 video, train hard and we'll see you soon!!!
William Street End