Are You Heavily Armed?

Getting massive arms, what many bodybuilders aspire to achieve. Not only bodybuilders, but just about anyone who is into physical fitness would love to have huge, muscular arms that denote power and strength.
Getting massive arms, what many bodybuilders aspire to achieve. Not only bodybuilders, but just about anyone who is into physical fitness would love to have huge, muscular arms that denote power and strength. Not just developing a decent set of arms, but rather creating arms that are extraordinarily freaky. In bodybuilding vernacular, as we all know, freaky is a good thing. You know the arms that I am talking about, the type of arms that look as if they could rip Mjollnir from the hands of Thor. This article will focus on maximizing gains for upper arm mass.

Granted, achieving massive arms is directly affected by genetics. Some people are blessed and will quickly develop "big guns" while others are not quite so lucky. There are those who are so fortunate that they will develop huge arms despite any mistakes that they may make. Then there are those who just do not seem to be able to make any progress whatsoever. But with perseverance and the right amount of intensity, massive arms should be attainable.

I find that many bodybuilders are guilty of overtraining the arms, which is detrimental to gaining size. Training the arms once every 5-7 days is typically sufficient since both the triceps and biceps are used when training other body parts. Whenever you are training back, your biceps are heavily involved. Also, when training chest your triceps are recruited for a good deal of work. In fact, if you are not making the gains that you would like, take a look at how you have arranged your workouts. If you are training back and biceps on the same day, perhaps you should consider splitting them up. Likewise, if you are training chest with triceps, try separating these body parts. Of course, if you are making gains, then stick with what is working. But, if your current workout is not producing results, then it is time to implement a change. Perhaps you could try a split like this one:

  • Monday Chest & Biceps
  • Tuesday Legs, Calves
  • Wednesday Off
  • Thursday Back, Abs
  • Friday Delts, Triceps
  • Saturday Off
  • Sunday Off
Just remember that this is only a sample split workout program. This may or may not work for you. In fact, after you have used this program for a period of 4-6 weeks, I would recommend that you change some aspect of it unless of course it is producing results for you. After all, if something is working for you, there really is no need to screw it up.

Another thing to keep in mind is that even if you are doing the greatest workout with the utmost intensity, you will probably make little if any gains if you are not eating/supplementing correctly and getting enough rest/recuperation. Lifting weights is only a stimulus. The body will try to respond by becoming stronger and increasing in muscle size but only if you give it what it needs. Getting bigger and stronger takes place outside of the gym with proper nutrition and rest. What a shame it is to see people training hard in the gym day in and day out for years on end with absolutely no improvements to show for it.

The key to adding mass to the arms, as well as any other area of the body, is to train to positive failure no matter what rep scheme a person is using. For example, if a person is using a weight that he/she can only do for 12 reps, then the 13th rep should be impossible to complete without help from a spotter. That is positive failure; when you cannot complete the positive part of the rep without assistance.

Typically, I like to keep my repetition range from 5-12 but I will occasionally do some high rep sets, 15 or more reps, so that I may stimulate as many muscle fibers as possible. I like to go as heavy as I can without sacrificing too much form. Toward the end of the set, I may employ a controlled cheat if I feel that this will help me squeeze out a few additional mass building reps. The following is one of my favorite arm workouts:


Triceps:

Skullcrushers- lower the weight slowly and explode when pushing up
130 x 8 reps
130 x 8 reps
130 x 8 reps

Weighted dips- explode on the way up
3 45 lb plates x 12+ reps
3 45 lb plates x 12+ reps

Cable Pushdowns- keep the cable very close to the body and push straight down
152.5 x 12+
152.5 x 12+

Biceps:

Curl bar curls- bring the weight up quickly and then lower slowly
165 x 8+
165 x 8+
165 x 6+

Dumbbell Hammer Curls- again, bring the weight up quickly and then lower slowly
95 x 8+
95 x 8+

Standing Preacher Curls
100 x 10
100 x 10

These weights will vary significantly depending on the rest period between sets and the order in which I perform the exercises. The amount of weight is really irrelevant. What is heavy for one person may be light for another and vice versa. The important thing is to work with high intensity and reach positive failure within your desired repetition range. Do not merely stop at some randomly chosen number (10 for example) when you could have in fact done a few more reps. It is the final reps that will provide the stimulus for growth and strength.

As you can see from this type of workout, I prefer to keep the volume of training relatively low while the intensity is kept very high. I will train my arms only once every 5-7 days. This holds true for the rest of my workouts, too. Typically, I will only do this exact workout once and will change at least one of the exercises for the next time that I train arms. Also, frequently I will train biceps and triceps with different muscle groups. This will help prevent my body from adjusting to the workouts and will continually provide my muscles with a new stressor so that additional mass can be attained. Try this arm workout for yourself and see how it works. Hopefully, soon you'll not only be stretching out the sleeves on your shirts but tearing them as well!