So you arm training has been stalled since Bill Clinton left office. Despite blitzing and bombing, supersets, drop sets and every supplement under the sun, not much has happened in your sleeves? Fear not, I have compiled 11 ways to make your arms grow again.
1. Lay off arm training for 2 weeks. Yes, you heard me. Most people never give their arms a chance to grow by working them constantly. The arm muscles are relatively small, so it is easy to overwork them. By giving them a much-needed rest, you will be able to work them harder later.
For those two weeks follow this workout:
|Incline Bench Press||3||10|
|Bent Over Rows||3||10|
|Dips, Wide Grip - Bodyweight||3||20|
|One Arm Dumbbell Row||3||8|
Do not go to failure during the workout; just get a good feeling for the exercise.
2. Follow this arm routine. After taking 2 weeks off from arm training, here is your next routine. You will be hitting the arms twice a week for a total of 6 weeks. After that, take another week to 10 days off from training and repeat the cycle with higher weights.
|Decline Dumbbell Tricep Extension||4||8|
|Parallel Grip Pull Up (Add weight if needed)||4||8|
|Mushroom Grip Cable Tricep Pressdown||2||12|
|Weighted Dip - Thick Bar Handle||3||12|
|Preacher Barbell Curl||3||10|
|Overhead Rope Tricep Extension - 15 secs rest||8||8|
|Incline Bench Dumbbell Curls - 15 secs rest||8||8|
Note: For 8x8 sets, rest 15 seconds between sets.
Add one day for chest/back shoulders as well as one leg day.
3. Train for strength in the decline triceps extension and the preacher barbell curl. EMG measurements have recorded the highest fiber activity on these 2 exercises, followed by the seated dumbbell curl and the triceps press down on the mushroom grip. Try to increase your poundage by 5 % every week, for the barbell curl; small magnetic weights from Kaizen can be an excellent investment. Kaizen means "improvements" If you are able to add ½ or even ¼ pound over the course of a week, you will make size gains.
4. Pull yourself up. There are very few biceps programs that lack curls but nobody is doing pull ups since it is considered a back exercise. The narrow grip pull up is an excellent strength and mass builder form the bis. Try weighted pull-ups if you can perform more than 10 in good form. The stronger you get, the more mass you will build if you add in sufficient nutrition.
5. Stretch it out. Stretching after you train your arms will help with recovery and there is evidence that stretching the muscle will also extend the fascia. Fascia is to be imagined as a white sock over your muscle, which can restrict the growth. The more you open it up, the more real estate you have to build new muscle. Fascia stretching will not be achieved via little yoga stretches but painful 45-60 seconds, weighted stretches. Look into Dante Trudel's DC training and the way he does it to get an idea.
6. Get thick. Often the forearm is the problem when it comes to getting bigger arms. If your forearms are weak, you simply cannot curl the weights you need for bigger bis. Thick grip dumbbell work is extremely helpful as it builds the brachioradialis as well as grip strength. If your grip is your weakest link, it will simply hinder you to make any progress whatsoever. Fatgripz.com offers fitted grips for a very reasonable price; you can use them for all your barbell and dumbbell exercises.
7. Train you legs! Troy Alves said: When my arms stopped growing, I started training legs and they grew again. Training legs puts your body into such an anabolic mode, that there is spillover. This means other muscle groups will get their share of growth as well. The dreaded squats, good mornings and lunges are your friends. Allow for a day off after leg day to ensure full recovery.
8. Get your supplements. Use caffeine and tyrosine before the workout, as it will increase your mental focus, BCAAs while working out to keep the intensity high and whey protein with creatine thereafter to replenish. A well thought out supplement stack can make the difference between a pair of good arms and great arms.
9. Eat. Your body will not put size on your arms if the scale doesn’t budge. As a rule of thumb, for every extra inch on your arms, you will have to gain 10-15 lbs of muscle. I would recommend running a clean bulk with 1.5 grams of protein per lbs of bodyweight, 3-4 grams of carbs and .5 grams of fat. Follow this for 5 days and then switch it around for 2 days where you cut your carbs down to 1 gram/lbs bodyweight and double your fat intake.
This will ensure that you don’t develop an insulin resistance and it keeps your body guessing. Individuals with poor tolerance of carbohydrates (you know who you are) can follow a 5-day low carbs 2-day high carb pattern while maintaining high protein consumption. As for fluids, you should consume a quart of water for every 45 lbs of bodyweight daily, so a 180 lbs athlete needs about a gallon a day. If you workout in a hot and humid place such as Metroflex, add more liquids during the workout.
10. Visualize. You need a goal, don’t just say: I want big arms. Have a clear idea of what you want to arms to look like in 3 months from now and in a year. Pick someone with great arms such as Arnold or Ronnie and imagine your arms reaching that development. Even if you only get halfway there, it will still be a huge success. Don’t measure them every day, it will drive you and your surroundings insane. Focus on the weights your are using and your nutritional intake instead, growth will follow.
11. Take it easy. Your success will largely depend on your recovery. The first thing you need to ensure is to get your sleep, 8 hours a night is a must an afternoon nap is even better. Get help with our recovery, that can be a massage, steam bath, sitting in the sauna or simply a walk outside. You need to let go of the gym during your time away from it. Thinking about arms 24/7 is just going to burn you out and will hinder your progress.
So there you have it, 11 new ways to get some mass onto your arms. Now it is up to you to put those ideas to good use.
- Serious Strength Training by Tudor Bompa, Mauro Di Pasquale, Lorenzo Cornacchia ISBN 0-7360-4266-0 2003
- Muscle Hypertrophy Through Fascia Stretching http://www.sportsci.org/encyc/drafts/Muscle_hypertrophy.doc
- Effects Of Caffeine On Alertness http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2296626
- Tyrosine On Alertness. A Comparison Of Tyrosine Against Placebo, Phentermine, Caffeine, and d -Amphetamine During Sleep Deprivation, William F. Waters; Richard A. Magill; George A. Bray; Julia Volaufova; Steven R. Smith; Harris R. Lieberman; Jennifer Rood; Mark Hurry; Tai Anderson; Donna H. Ryan
- Nutritional Neuroscience: An International Journal on Nutrition, Diet and Nervous System, 1476-8305, Volume 6, Issue 4, 2003, Pages 221 – 235
- Creatine And Performance, http://www.springerlink.com/content/q786236628n7w02u/
- Training Forearms And Biceps http://jap.physiology.org/cgi/content/abstract/81/5/2004
- Winning The Arms Race, Charles Poliquin