Arms Done Right!

Ah. The arms, the dream of every bodybuilder, the way they impress the girls, pretty much the most popular part of the body, from what I have seen in my experience. Who doesn't want big arms?
Ah. The arms, the dream of every bodybuilder, the way they impress the girls, pretty much the most popular part of the body, from what I have seen in my experience. Who doesn't want big arms? They are the coolest things to show off. I am going to show you how to train those tanks of yours. Get ready.

Arm Muscles:

Biceps Brachii-Biceps Brachii is a 2 headed muscle that originates under the Deltoid and inserts below the elbow. (Biceps)

Triceps Brachii-Triceps Brachii is a 3 headed muscle that attaches under the Deltoid and below the elbow. The Triceps Brachii works in opposition to the Biceps Brachii. (Triceps)

Forearms-Contains a number of muscles in the lower arm (flexors and extensors). They control the movement of the hand and wrist.

All of these muscles are contained in the arms. I will show you how to train each one by itself. I recommend working out all the muscles in the arm in one workout, and not doing one of them in the next workout, etc.

I will show you how to train each body part according to how you are built (what your body type is). If you don't know, you can look at my page, "Grow Ectomorph, Grow", or you can just look and see what category you fall in when I tell you how to train that specific body part. For Ectomorphs, I will tell how to train the "Skinny people". For Endomorphs, I will show them how to train for the "Heavy People", and for Mesomorphs, I will shoe them how to train for the "Gifted People. You can tell if you are one of these if you are,

  • a) Tall, skinny, you have long muscle structure, and you find it hard to gain muscle. (Ectomorph)
  • b) Heavy, Pretty much overweight, flabby, gain muscle pretty easily. (Endomorph)
  • c) Gain muscle very easily, your figure is very rectangular, and you can gain or lose weight easily, long torso. (Mesomorph)

The Biceps are the fastest recuperating muscle in your body. I'm pretty sure they take about 48 hours to fully recuperate. They are also the most popular muscles among teens, and I think everyone can agree with me, because every time someone asks you to show them your muscles, I don't see many people flexing their legs. So, I will show you how to train your "Guns", so you can show off to all your friends, and all the girls.

Biceps Training for "Skinny" Teens:

Biceps training for the Ectomorph is very different from the training of any other body type. It seems through my experience that my biceps lack height, because I (And Ectomorphs in general) have generally long muscles, so my biceps never lacked length. They were always very long, so I had to focus on getting that "Peak" to them. The way to add peak (height), to the biceps, I will go into later. Another thing that you have to is to gain mass on your biceps. Since you are skinny, your muscles are skinny too, not generally lacking definition. In fact, I have found that Ectomorph's arms generally have a great deal of definition, but not enough mass. That doesn't really apply to me, because my problem was both mass and definition, being an Ecto-Endomorph. For mass I suggest doing Heavy Barbell Curls. I would not try to gain mass curling with dumbbells, because they allow you to do a more full range of motion, therefore helping to define your biceps, rather than gain mass. Not saying that they don't make your biceps grow, either. The main things to be concerned with as an Ectomorph are mass and Height. Once you get those down, you should see your arms growing a great deal faster. Also, in order to gain any of these aspects on your muscles, you have to eat a LOT! See my article, "Grow Ectomorph, Grow".

Biceps Training for "Heavy" Teens:

Heavy teens normally don't have a hard time gaining muscle, because they have no trouble gaining weight. Since you have no trouble gaining muscle, you don't really have trouble packing on the mass, like Ectomorphs do, so you shouldn't train as heavy as an Ectomorph would. You should focus on keeping the number of reps in your workout fairly high to define your muscles more, and I would do a majority of dumbbell curls for their full range of motion. I would suggest doing about 10-12 repetitions. An Ectomorph should Generally train to both areas of getting better biceps, doing exercises for both length and peak. I would suggest doing reverse curls, and concentration curls in your workout, but like I said, I will go over what exercises do hat aspect of training the Biceps later. So for an Endomorph, I would do fairly high repetitions, about 10-12, and only a little bit of heavy training, because everyone wants mass, right? To define your muscles while dieting, you can read my "BODY PUMP: FEELING THE BURN" article.

Biceps Training for "Gifted" Teens:

For gifted teens (boy, I get envious of them), I would basically focus on the basics. Sticking to the basic movements, you don't really need to train heavy or light, because your body turns food into muscle very easily. You should train for mass, definition, separation, outer and inner biceps. It doesn't take much for your muscles to grow, so there isn't much to say. You don't need to gain much weight to grow your muscle, you are basically just wasting your time, and when you go to diet, you are just wasting your energy also. So, stick to the basics, it won't take as much effort.

Biceps Exercises:

All biceps exercises consist of a curling motion, or a motion in which you twist your wrist. Those are the main functions of the biceps. So all the exercises vary from different curling movement, and I could name a thousand different curling exercises. I think that I will name most of them.

First off, let me explain the curling movement. Stand with your arm straight out, not bent at all. Now close your arm, bringing your hand to your shoulder. You just "Curled" your arm. Now, if you do that with your arms hanging down, this is used as an exercise to work your biceps. I think that pretty much everyone knows how to curl.

The next thing I will explain is the twist of the wrist. In Arnold Schwarzenegger's book, he states how the other function of the biceps is to twist the wrist. So whenever he did a set of curls with dumbbells, he starts with his thumbs facing away from him, he turns them back to the starting position of a curl, and then he curls.

Okay, to name some of the Biceps Exercises:

Standing Barbell Curl- Easy, stand with a barbell in your hands, and curl upward. These should be done with your hands shoulder width apart, so you can work both heads of the biceps, and the forearms.

Cheat Curls- this involves moving your back, or any other body part to help bring the weight up. If you just drop the weight after a number of reps, you stop working the muscle. If you help yourself along for another 2-3 reps, you aren't working the muscle as much, but you are still working it a little more.

Preacher Curls- these can be done with either a barbell or dumbbells, sit at a preacher bench and curl. These benches keep your elbows from moving, so you can get better stimulation of the biceps. Also, there is a thing called the arm blaster, I don't think they make them anymore, but it hangs around your neck, and it keeps your elbows from moving.

21s- these refer to doing 21 reps, 7 reps doing just the lower half, then 7 for the upper half, and then a full range of motion for 7. Doing a range of motion for the lower half means coming up only half way, the upper half means only going down half way, and for the last 7, just do a full range of motion.

Incline Dumbbell Curls- lay down on an incline bench and let your arms hang down while holding onto a dumbbell. Now curl them up. Not so easy, huh?

Dumbbell Curls Variations- curls done while seated, standing, or alternating, you can do them lying down, in reverse, etc. There are many types of variations, but doing curls with dumbbells allows for a more full range of motion, further defining the muscle.

Hammer Curls- not too, difficult to understand, just do a curl in a "hammer" position. Just as if you were holding a hammer.

Concentration Curls- curls done with the side of your triceps on the inside of your knee; you curl your arm up, concentrating on the motion. You do these curls one arm at a time.

Cable Curls- I am not very fond of cable curls. They are not exactly what I call "an Exercise". I hate cables, because they don't allow you to do a free range of motion, and they just don't feel right.

Those are the basic curl movements; I'm not getting into machines, etc. You can be creative in your workouts, but I would not suggest doing many machines or cables. Stick to free weights.

According to "The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding", Arnold Schwarzenegger all of the weak point training principles, and how to train certain areas of your muscles. For each of these muscles, I will tell you the weak point training.

Biceps Length:
1) Concentrate on the lower 3rd range of motion on your curling movements (most Ectomorphs or "Skinny Kids" don't have a problem with length of muscles, because ectomorphic bodies usually have long, thin muscles).
2) Do incline curls, fully extending your arms.
3) After each rep, rotate your wrists 180 degrees.

Biceps Height:
1) Concentration Curls
2) Twist the wrists 180 degrees
3) Flex hard at the top of each rep.
4) Do "Burns", where you bring your arms up about 1/3 of the way to the top, and hold it for 30 seconds.

Outer Thickness of the biceps:
1) Do barbell curls with a close grip.

Inner Thickness of the biceps:
1) Hammer Curls
2) Standing Barbell Curls
3) Wide Grip Barbell Curls
4) Dumbbell Curls
5) Incline curls with your arms facing away from yourself

1) High rep sets
2) Reverse Curls

A lot of teens don't like to train the Triceps muscles. A lot of teens love to train the triceps. Whether you like it or not, training the triceps is essential for building wonderful arms. You may know the Triceps as the "Horseshoe" muscle. The triceps should be trained as much as the biceps.

Triceps training for "Skinny" Teens:

In my experience, building mass on the triceps was extremely difficult. I have no clue why. So, I had to build mass in that area somehow, so I experimented. I built great mass doing behind the back dips, Skull Crushers, and Cable Pulldowns/Pressdowns. I do mainly mass training, because that is basically what an Ectomorph needs to do. The defining can be done with dumbbells, getting a full range of motion. So I would suggest going with fewer reps, and Barbells with heavy weights. Mass building for me was so hard, that I constantly was doing triceps training at a ratio of about 4:1, triceps: biceps. I got those triceps bulging. Just don't make the same mistake I did, because with that kind of training, I was doing endless sets of triceps, while I was doing a normal amount of biceps. I particularly hate that, because it feels like I cheated my biceps somehow, but I don't know you may have different opinions.

Triceps Training for "Heavy" Teens:

Heavy teens, like I mentioned before, need to focus mainly on doing higher repetitions, because they don't have a very hard time gaining mass. I would stick to dumbbell movements primarily, but still doing movements with a barbell. I would do about 10-12 reps of each set. Triceps training for heavy teens should be the same as biceps training for heavy teens. I have gotten caught doing more for my biceps than triceps, so if you need to do a few extra sets, do it, because you don't want to be disproportionate.

Triceps Training for "Gifted" Teens:

Gifted, Gifted Gifted. Boy you guys get on my nerves. All you have to do is stick with the basics like I told you before, doing 8-10 reps of each set. Your triceps shouldn't have trouble growing, after all, you gain muscle VERY easily. Follow the same routine as biceps training, doing the same number of sets for each muscle group.

Triceps Exercises:

There are a lot of great exercises for triceps that really stimulate them. The way to really work your triceps is to lock your arms. I'll name a few exercises here:

Triceps Pressdowns/Reverse Pressdowns (Pulldowns): These are done at a pulldown machine with a rope, or straight bar. Just press the cable all the way down, locking out your arms at the end. Come back up to the position as if you finished a reverse curl, and press down again. Reverse these by pulling down on the bar/rope, and locking out your arms the very opposite way. These can be done with 1 arm in a cable reverse, etc.

Seated/Standing/Lying Triceps Presses (Skull-crushers): These are done either standing, seated, or lying down, putting a bar (I preferably use an EZ bar) over your head, and bending your elbows to bring that bar behind your neck without moving the arms, just bending the elbow. Just lock out your arms and don't cheat.

Lying Triceps Dumbbell Extensions: These are done lying on a bench with you holding two dumbbells in the "Hammer" Position, like in a hammer curl. Elbows equal with your head, shoulder length apart, bend the elbows to bring the weight behind your head. Don't move your arms, just elbows. Bring the weight back up, and lock the arms. These can be done with 1 arm at a time if you wish.

Close Grip Presses: These are only bench presses done with a very narrow grip, targeting the triceps.

Lying Crossface Triceps Extension- holding one dumbbell, just like a dumbbell extension, bring it across your face, isolating the motion.

Dumbbell Kickbacks- holding a dumbbell, place your free arm on a bench for support. With your elbow slightly behind your back, lock the arm out, still holding the dumbbell.

Overhead Triceps Extensions- these are very confusing, so bear with me. Load up as much as you can do on a dumbbell. You will probably have to start off light, because you may not have done these before. Pressing your hands flat on the weights of the dumbbell, bring it behind your head. Hands flat, bend your elbows down, and press up.

Dips- Two parallel bars, holding yourself between them, each hand on a bar, bend and lower yourself. Works the lower chest if you lean forward.

Behind the back dips- do these by putting your arms by your sides, holding you up on a bench, fingers facing where you are facing. Rest your legs on another bench. Lower yourself and then press up.

Upper Triceps:
1) Pressdowns
2) Kickbacks
3) Dips

Lower Triceps:
1) Weighted Dips
2) Behind the back dips, concentrate on the lower 3rd range of motion.

Training the Forearms:

I wrote an article called, "The importance of forearm training". It was all right, but not enough info. In all honesty, my newer articles are better than my older ones, because I recently gained a lot more knowledge on bodybuilding. So read on, if you want to learn a lot. Once you do, check out my article, see how you like it.

The forearms should be trained as hard as any other muscle group, they are just as important. I know what you are thinking. "You cram all that importance stuff down our throats, but 9 times out of 10, no one is even gonna notice my forearms". Well they DO! A lot of times, I have heard people say, "Well that guy has big biceps, but no forearms", or "Flex your forearms". In fact, forearms look pretty awesome when fully developed.

Forearms Training for "Skinny" Teens:

Forearm training for skinny teens is the same as all the other muscle training. The forearms are just as important, and building forearm mass should be a top priority, just like building biceps mass. Forearms are muscles that can be trained very heavy and not be affected, like the calves and abs, so if your forearms are lagging, don't be afraid to lift on other days for your forearms.

Forearms Training for "Heavy" Teens:

Heavy Teens should train forearms with very high repetitions, like I mentioned before. I see a lot of heavy teens get really sensitive about only biceps and triceps in a desperate effort to look somewhat fit. Train the forearms as you would any other muscle.

Forearms Training for "Gifted" Teens:

Since I've told you how much I was jealous of you since the beginning of my article, I'll do you a favor and not say a word. Let me just tell you that Mike Mentzer once said, "1 in 100,000 people have the genetic potential to become a champion. A majority of those people don't even make it inside a fitness center or even pick up a weight in their lifetime". Don't take your muscles and strength for granted. Especially small muscles like the forearms. Like I said in both of the training summaries up above, train forearms with the same intent of growing muscle, and the same effort as any other muscle.

Forearms Exercises:

I have listed a lot of the exercises for the forearms in my forearm article, but I will list all the possible ones here. There are some other exercises that would be good, like squeezing a tennis ball, and squeezing a spring handle (you can buy those in stores).

Wrist curls-you can do these by holding dumbbells/barbell in your hands and curling your wrists toward you, totally flexing your forearms as you go up. These can be done behind the back or with cables, preacher curl, etc.

Reverse Wrist curls-these are the exact opposite movement of the wrist curl. Having the back of your hands facing up instead of your palms, curl your hands up the opposite way you did last time.

Reverse Curls-Reverse curls are done in the exact opposite motion of the curl. Hands facing as if doing a reverse wrist curl bring the weight up to your body without curling your wrists. These can be done with dumbbells, cables, preacher bench, etc.

Hammer Curls-mainly for exercising the inside of the biceps, these do the side of the forearms also. I listed how to do them in the biceps section, so if you have forgot, scroll up to Biceps Exercises.

Upper Forearms:
1) Reverse Curls
2) Hammer curls
3) Reverse wrist curls

Inner Forearms:
1) Wrist curls (Barbell, dumbbell, or behind the back)

Most of my sources for this article came from "The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding", by Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Another great place to look for exercises on a body part is right here on's Anatomy/Exercises page.