Although strength training and powerlifting are rising in popularity, and people focus on numbers more than ever, one thing will never get out of fashion - sleeve-busting arms. Having massive arms will make you stand out not only in the gym but also in everyday life situations. Arms are easily noticeable, especially during the summer months. Whenever you wear a polo or a shirt with sleeves rolled up, your guns will be showing. But, that's also the problem - if you have small arms, they will be visible all the time! Arms not growing? and you are looking for a massive arms workout? this article is for you.
We will tell you all that you need to know about biceps and triceps training, giving you the secret to bigger arms. With the knowledge from this article, and the right dedication, you will get noticeable results in no time, and you can expect noticeably bigger biceps in 6 weeks, so stick around and read the whole piece!
Tip#1: You Need To Train Your Arms If You Want Them To Grow
One huge mistake people make is not correctly setting their goals. What we mean by this is that someone who is looking to increase muscle mass is going to have different goals and approach than someone who is trying to increase strength or someone who is looking to get leaner. And one mistake is more common than others - aiming for mass while taking the strength training approach.
People interested in building strength or powerlifting usually focus on just a few exercises - deadlifts, overhead press, squats, and bench press. For them, all other exercises are only supplemental to those lifts. In the strength training community, you will rarely see people focusing on isolations and smaller muscle groups. You will also often hear, "you don't have to train arms separately."
While it is true that all upper body compound movements activate arms too, that alone is often insufficient. Sure, if you have good genetics, you will grow huge arms by only doing pullups, OHP, bench press, and rows, but doing isolation exercises is mandatory for the vast majority of rest. Therefore, if you are not working on your arm muscles alone, start now.
Tip #2: Train Every Muscle In Your Arms
When people think about training arms, most only focus on two muscles - biceps and triceps. This is a huge mistake, and only focusing on these two muscle groups will mean that you are not training your arms adequately.
There are other muscle groups besides biceps and triceps that need your attention too!
Every gym bro dreams about having big, sleeve-busting biceps, and it is no surprise that curls are one of the most popular exercises you will see at the gym (besides the bench press). So, if you want big biceps, you better do some curls!
Make sure to include variety, incorporating various pieces of equipment. Dumbbells, EZ-bar, preacher curl bench, resistance bands, all of those will work your biceps. If you flex the elbow while your muscle is under tension with weights in your hands, your biceps are working, so hit those weights. But, if your biceps are not growing, continue reading this article, as we will have more advanced techniques below.
The brachialis is a muscle that lies underneath your biceps. You may be wondering why you should train a muscle that isn't on the surface and is thus invisible. Well, training brachialis will make it bigger, which "pushes" the biceps from underneath, making it stand out more, and your arms will get bigger overall. Consider training brachialis to be the big biceps secret or at least one of the secrets to bigger arms.
The brachialis is not a big muscle, but it still requires your attention. It is connected to your forearm and therefore is involved in elbow flexion too. To train it, you will need to perform variations of hammer curls or reverse curls.
If you don't train forearms, you will have that big biceps small forearms look, which is unattractive. Forearms deserve your attention because they are visible every time you wear short sleeves. And if they are slim and disproportional to your upper arms, you will look awkward.
Furthermore, training your forearms will increase your grip strength, which will help in almost all pulling or holding exercises, including deadlifts, pullups, rows, and carries.
Forearms consist of two muscle groups on each side of the forearm. They allow you to flex your wrist towards your elbow or turn your wrist the other way so the palm faces down. Therefore, you need to perform both wrist curls and reverse wrist curls, or similar exercises, to hit both muscle groups.
Triceps are the biggest muscles in your arms, and many people are making a mistake by not realizing this. In truth, if you want bigger arms, focusing on the triceps will get you the best results. So, if you suffer from having big biceps small triceps, the good news is that you will likely be able to fix that with some proper triceps training.
To work your triceps, pick exercises that allow you to use a considerable amount of weight while driving your muscle through its full range of motion. The french extension is a good example, and you will see great results with this movement. Avoid kickbacks, as they only hit your triceps in the upper part of the lift, but put your elbows in a compromised position.
Tip #3: Train Arms Like You Train Other Muscle Groups
Another common mistake many gym goers make is not following the same training principles that get them results when training other muscle groups, and applying them to arms training.
Arms are no different from other muscles, and if you want to make them bigger, you need progressive overload. In other words, you need to do more as time passes by.
Many people focus on improving their bench, deadlift, the number of pullups they can do, but if you ask them about their biceps or triceps training, they will hardly tell you how much they can curl or lift when doing extensions. And yet, those same people will complain about arms not growing.
Intensity, Volume, Frequency - Play Around Key Parameters And See What Works For You
The truth is that you can't always do the same exercises with the same weight, the same number of sets, and the same number of reps per set and expect improvements. And although this sounds obvious, this is the exact reason why many of you suffer from arms not growing.
There are different parameters you should adjust in your training:
Intensity - the most obvious way you can make progress is to try to increase the weight you lift. The idea is to go close to failure on all of your working sets, leaving one rep in reserve. If you finish every set without any hissing and puffing, you are not training hard enough.
Volume - the second option is to increase training volume, or the number of sets you do. Keep in mind that for bodybuilding the best rep range is usually 8-12, which is why the number of total sets matters. And we are talking about weekly sets, not in a single session. If you want big arms, spread out 20 sets for biceps, triceps, and forearms throughout the week. Also, consider that compound movements also tax your arms, you don't want to overtrain.
Frequency - if your arms are not growing, think about your training frequency. Adding more arm training days into your schedule will make it much easier to increase training volume, which will get you results. But, be careful not to overtrain, as more training days will mean less rest.
Of course, don't change intensity, volume, and flexibility at once. Think about your current training plan, and make changes one at a time.
If you always lift hard and to failure, but only for a couple of sets per week, decrease intensity but increase volume. Or, just simply increase frequency, with the same amount of volume, spreading it out over the week, and see what happens.
Can You Workout Arms Every Day
Another common question is, "Can you workout arms every day?." The short answer is yes, you can. But, there are always caveats.
First, arms have so many different muscle groups, and you shouldn't try to train your brachialis, both sides of forearms, triceps, and biceps every day.
Also, you should consider other training goals you have. For example, if you are trying to improve your bench press, doing a heavy triceps day before a chest day is not a good idea. So spread out your workload knowing that your triceps are involved when you do push movements; when you do pull exercises, your biceps work too . Of course, you don't want only to train your arms and nothing else, as you risk developing that Popeye big arms small body look.
So, "How Often Should I Workout Arms?" is not an easy question at all. Although you shouldn't do a complete arm workout everyday, you can spread out your arm workload and accompany big lifts with supporting arm muscles. That way, you will train arms every time you get to the gym.
Still, it is a good idea to have at least one day per week when you are not lifting, so you can allow your body to recover.
Tip #4: Don't Forget Compound Movements
While not training arms at all is common for people who are into strength training, another mistake is that people who are having issues with arms not growing do not focus on variations of compound movements to encourage that growth.
Even though compound movements target multiple muscle groups at once, with big muscle groups usually taking over most of the work, you can still use them as a powerful tool for building arms. That is because compound movements will allow you to lift much more weight than isolations, which will overload your arm muscles too.
For example, doing weighted chinups will work your lats, but your biceps are involved heavily too, and doing the weighted variation will put a lot of stress on your arms.
The close-grip bench press will target your triceps more than the regular bench press will, allowing you to overload triceps with more weight. Dips are an excellent option for triceps training too.
Doing static barbell holds and farmer's carries will hit multiple muscle groups at once, but will also make your forearms much stronger and bigger, so don't only focus on wrist curls.
Tip #5: Employ Various Training Strategies
While nothing can replace effort and lifting weights regularly, there are techniques you can incorporate into your existing routine that will help you if you suffer from arms not growing.
Slowing Down The Eccentric Portion Of The Lift
The eccentric portion of the lift is opposite to the concentric or the flexing phase. If you do the biceps curl, the eccentric portion will be the phase when you lower the weight back to the starting position after you have lifted it. Studies show that the eccentric phase is extremely important for muscle building, and yet often neglected.
The bicep curl is an excellent example, as most people just let the weight drop back down to the starting position, and even worse, use the momentum created to lift the weight back up, ruining the concentric phase too. That way, the whole eccentric part of the lift is ignored, and a lot of the gains are left on the table.
Of course, biceps curls are only one example; you can slow down the lift's eccentric part while doing any (arm) exercise. You will be surprised with the results.
So, lower the weight slowly. This will put your muscle under tension as it stretches, creating more muscle damage, and stimulating more growth. Just be careful about this technique, as it leads to more muscle soreness, which can hinder your next workout.
Another neglected training technique that can help you get bigger arms is performing holds. Isometric holds will put stress on your muscles in the most challenging parts of the lifts, triggering growth.
So, when doing biceps curls or triceps extensions, make three stops during the eccentric (lowering phase) of the movement - one near the top, one in the middle, and one near the bottom. And mark our words - this is extremely hard, and you will not be able to do many reps, and even light weights will be challenging.
Use Resistance Bands
Resistance bands are a great addition to any arm workout as they train muscles in a new way, quite different from regular weights.
When you train curls and extensions, once your elbow goes pat 90 degrees, the exercise becomes easier. This means that your muscle is not getting the same amount of work in all parts of the movement.
Resistance bands can help with that, which is why they are an excellent addition to dumbbells and barbells. When you stretch the band, the tension increases. That means the most challenging part of the exercise will be near the top of the movement, contrary to free weights. So, working with bands alongside free weights will stimulate your muscles in different ways, spurring growth.
Тip #6: Feed Your Muscles And Let Them Recover
Lastly, it doesn't hurt to remind you that arms need the same amount of care outside the gym as any other muscles do - proper nutrition and adequate rest.
As for the nutrition part, you know the deal - consume enough protein. Proteins are fundamental for building muscle, so make sure you eat some protein in every meal. If you struggle with hitting your protein goals only through food, then investing in a quality protein shake will help.
Also, make sure you are allowing your body to recover. We have talked about doing an arm workout everyday and how it is probably not the best idea, but recovery is not only about training frequency. Sleep quantity and quality matter, and so do your daily stress levels, so try to get those things balanced.
Bottom Line: With The Right Approach, You Will Make Progress
Not everyone can have 20 inch arms, and a lot of it will depend on your genetics. However, there is always room for improvement, no matter where you currently are. If your arms are not growing, it is up to you to troubleshoot the issue and fix it. The article you've just read gave you plenty of strategies and materials you only need to apply in the gym, and the results will come. But, nothing can replace the effort you put in, and that is the secret to bigger arms or making any kind of (gym) progress. So get to it!