As impressive as fully-developed traps might be, everyone would rather learn how to increase biceps and triceps size.
After all, big, muscular arms are powerful confidence-boosters that automatically demand respect, so the common obsession with this body part is kind of natural and understandable.
We can assume you’re only too eager to learn all practical tricks to building the biggest arms possible, so this time we’ll skip the abstractions and anatomy lessons and cut right down to the chase: how to maximize the efficiency of your arm training.
Check out these common mistakes and see if you can recognize them in your own routine!
Endless Curls and Extensions
This can work great at the advanced level, but in the case of beginners it represents a highly inefficient way to train the bi’s and tri’s. There’s no way around it – all beginners must focus on the free-weight compound exercises to build overall muscle mass, and leave the isolation moves for later. How do you expect to build muscle mass if all you’re doing are light-weight curls?
To build massive arms, ditch the curls and start increasing your squat, bench press and deadlift.
Arm muscles are especially susceptible to overtraining, and most lifters are guilty of it. Keep in mind that they get involved as secondary movers in most upper body exercises, and targeting them with separate workouts four times per week won’t lead to better gains – it can only spur catabolism. Muscles grow at rest, so get more of that.
Neglecting Other Body Parts
Do you really want to be the freak with huge arms and chicken legs? Good, then make sure to devote enough attention to other crucial body parts. Building the ultimate physique involves an equal appreciation for symmetry, proportion and size.
Not Eating Enough
You can’t eat like a bird and expect to train like a beast. And you’ll never build big, strong arms if you remain underweight. If you want to start making good results, you need to eat regular meals consisting of high-quality protein, carbs, healthy fats and adequate doses of fiber. It’s often said that you need to gain 15lb for every inch you want to add on your arms, and gaining is about eating more calories than you burn.
For the average lifter this means increasing the caloric intake to 3.000 kcal per day, but if you’re unsure about how much weight you should to gain, check this table.
The bench press and overhead press are the basic must-do moves in any decent arm routine. But to maximally engage your biceps, you should also throw some barbell rows into it, as they allow you to work with heavier weights and increase muscle tension, thus stimulating more growth.
Finally, don’t even think of avoiding the deadlift – it’s the ultimate move for building forearm strength, among many other benefits. Don’t use straps and focus on squeezing the bar as hard as possible.
For some extra arm work, choose chin-ups and dips. These also allow you to work with heavier weight and train multiple muscle groups at the same time, encouraging better overall muscle gains.
Keep things simple. Your first objective should be gaining as much mass as possible. Once you build a substantial amount of muscle mass, you can focus on carving out greater detail with isolation moves and cutting strategies. Otherwise you’ll end up wasting a lot of time on unproductive or even counter-productive training sessions before inevitably arriving at the same conclusion.