This can be extremely frustrating for many, as they reflect on the numerous hours spent in the gym with a current result of little or no gains from all that hard work. At times, the thought and vision of obtaining 18-20 inch arms can seem like no more than a hopeless dream, instilling impatience and frustration within. Below are some exercises and useful advice in getting the most from your arm training in the fastest time possible, so that the only ups and downs you'll incur are on the full muscle bellies of your arms!
Muscle balance is key. One should first realize that the triceps make up 2/3 of the arm and should therefore receive more overall training than the smaller opposing muscle group of the biceps. Any person with big arms will most undoubtedly have huge triceps to comprise that shocking arm mass. Placing too much emphasis on the biceps and not enough on the triceps is one common trap in which beginners and intermediate bodybuilders alike can easily fall into. It mostly comes as a notion of automatically thinking, "I want big arms, so I must curl and curl and curl my way to bigger biceps", and this is where the saying, "more is not always better" could not be more true!
The biceps is a relatively small two-headed muscle group, that when trained with the proper intensity and exercise selection, can be built up fairly easily without mega-set training! I would say that at most, you shouldn't have to apply more than 7-9 intense sets for building "head turning" biceps.
The best way to achieve this is to pick from the most common basic exercises for biceps and then apply the type of intensity that is going to force your muscles to adapt each and every workout by either adding more reps within your target range or adding small increments of weight. Some basic mass building exercises for the biceps includes:
- Standing Barbell Curls
- EZ Bar Curls
- Incline Dumbbell Curls
- Standing DB Curl
- Seated Dumbbell Curls
- Preacher Curls
- Hammer Curls
Your triceps on the other hand can and should take a slightly more intense hammering when trained. The triceps is a more complex three-headed muscle group that (as mentioned before) accounts for most of your arm's mass. When training triceps, you should strive to increase not only the overall size of the muscle, but you should make an effort to intensely hit and develop all three heads of the muscle group equally, by incorporating various exercises that place more emphasis on the different heads.
Packing on triceps mass adds to the appearance and size of your arms from all angles, but especially when viewed from the side and behind. Basic mass building exercises for the triceps include:
Strive to find out which exercises work best for YOU using trial and error over time. Weed out the ones that don't work so good and incorporate the ones that you can feel working your triceps the hardest, then keep a couple of "alternate" exercises in mind to substitute in every so often for variety purposes.
The Most Important Aspects Of Arm Training
The most important aspect of arm training is the use of proper form and technique. A small error in either of these two areas can account for less than great results or even worse, injury. Go into any gym and you are guaranteed to see many people training arms, but if you take a closer look, you will see many of these same people heaving large dumbbells or heavily loaded barbells around, only to notice that they are using their back, legs and every other muscle in their bodies to lift the weight up in a haphazardly way in order to complete their reps.
Worse case scenario is, maybe YOU are a culprit of doing/having done this sometimes as well. In any case, it is time for YOU to get used to doing things the right way! Take the time to learn and practice the proper technique of each exercise you perform. You may have to decrease your current weight load on a lot of exercises, but the end result will be better results!
When performing any exercise for the arms and looking to maximize size, you want to make sure to pick a weight that allows you to complete 6-10 full reps using perfect form, where you reach muscular failure within this range. If you cannot get at least 6 good full reps in, the weight you've chosen is too heavy and should be lowered. If you are able to get more than 12 reps on your last set, the weight is too light, and a heavier one should be used for next time.
For exercise selection, you want to select those exercises that allow you to "feel" the muscle working to it's fullest! By this, I mean, you are able to contract your muscles fully, feeling the muscle working harder on each successive rep while feeling the burn as you slowly perform the negative portion of each rep. Incorporate and choose exercises that fatigue the intended muscle quickly and realize that your arms do not know whether you are using a 100 pound barbell or a rope attachment with 50 pounds resistance, as long as you are able to create a forceful contraction and stress the muscle optimally where you KNOW and can feel your muscles working their hardest.
The Secret To Huge Arms!
The secret is... there is no secret! That's right, there is no secret to building "seam splitting" arms, yet very few people's guns ever reach the 18-20 inch mark. Why is it that for so many people the dream of possessing 18-20 inch arms remains only that, a dream? What most people don't realize is that training your arms is only half the equation at the very most.
You can go to the gym arm day after arm day and blast your triceps, biceps and forearms into oblivion, but if you don't eat, sleep and rest properly between workout sessions, your arms will not grow even an 1/8 of an inch! Think of the work you do in the gym as the "spark" for growth. The continued fuel for growth comes after your workouts - immediately after! Making sure you take in a quality whey protein shake along with enough simple carbs for your bodyweight during your post-workout meal is what will set the benchmark for continued growth from the previous exercise session.
From that meal forward, you must supply your body with proper protein, complex/fibrous carb, and fat requirements in order to adequately and steadily supply your muscles with the proper tools required to recuperate and grow properly over the next several hours. Most of this growth will take place while you sleep, so make sure to feed your muscles with foods that will provide nourishment during the nighttime hours. A favorite meal of mine to consume right before bedtime to assure my muscles will be supplied with nutrients needed for maximum growth while I sleep is as follows.
- 1 cup of low-fat cottage cheese
- 1 ½ cups of steamed broccoli
- 1 cup of skim milk
- 1 glass of water
The cottage cheese and milk provide a long-lasting and steady supply of protein with minimal fat needed for muscle repair and growth, while the broccoli provides fibrous carbs full of nutrients which won't be stored as fat while the body's metabolism slows down during sleep. Water intake is important to maintain proper hydration, utilize fat stores and assist in proper food absorption throughout the 8 hours of sleep to come.
What is written above is what's needed for serious arm growth, but this article doesn't mean much unless YOU go to the gym, apply the principles, put in the effort, eat enough clean foods for your bodyweight and goals, and give your body the rest it needs to recuperate and grow! Lack in any of the above areas, and you will see less than desirable results, for each factor is linked to the next. Do not train to make gains for next week, train to make gains EVERYTIME you workout!
Training stimulates the muscles for growth, diet and rest are the essential tools which allow your muscles to grow, and consistency is the key to long-term muscle lean muscle gains remember that! Train, eat, rest and pay your dues over time to enable yourself "the right to bare seam splitting arms"!