It’s no secret that every serious lifter out there desires
an impressive pair of strong, muscular arms. Who wouldn’t be happy with
tall, peaking biceps sitting on top of rock-hard, horse-shoe-shaped triceps?
Who wouldn’t love to have a pair of ripped, well-developed guns forcefully
bursting through the sleeves of their shirt? While developing muscular
arms is usually at the top of many peoples’ agenda, the reality is that
the majority of lifters out there have a very poor understanding of how
to properly train their arms for maximum gains. In order to gain the proper
insight into effectively stimulating arm growth, we must first recognize
three basic truths:
1) Relatively speaking, the biceps and triceps are small muscle groups.
2) The biceps receive heavy stimulation during all basic pulling movements for the back.
3) The triceps receive heavy stimulation during all basic pressing movements for the chest and shoulders.
What do these 3 points tell us about effective arm training?
The most important thing for you to realize is this:
For maximum gains in muscle size and strength, the
biceps and triceps require only a very small amount of direct stimulation!
So why is it that every time I enter the gym I see the
same misinformed people, week in and week out, slaving away on endless
sets of bicep curls and tricep extensions?
It’s very important to understand that the biceps and
triceps receive a very large amount of stimulation from all of your chest
and back training. In fact, a lot of the time when you reach muscular failure
on a chest or back movement, it is actually your biceps or triceps that
give out first! Couple this with the fact that your biceps and triceps
are already small muscle groups to begin with and it becomes quite clear
that direct arm training is of minor importance.
Remember, your muscles do not grow in the gym. The work
that you accomplish as you train with weights is merely the “spark” that
sets the wheels of the muscle growth process into motion. The real magic
takes place out of the gym while you are resting and eating, as this is
the time when your body will actually be synthesizing new muscle tissue.
Because of this, it is vital that you do not overtrain your muscles. You
must always make sure to provide them with sufficient recovery time if
you want to see impressive results. Overtraining can actually make your
muscles smaller and weaker.
If you’re looking to achieve serious arm growth, you must
stop placing so much emphasis on direct arm movements. Forget about performing
endless sets of concentration curls and tricep pressdowns. Strong, muscular
arms are mostly a product of heavy chest and back training. If you are
able to accept this basic truth and place the majority of your focus on
building up the muscle size and strength in your major muscle groups, you
will prevent yourself from overtraining your arms and will therefore yield
greater overall gains in bicep and tricep size.
This is not to say that no direct arm training is necessary,
just not very much. Here is a sample arm routine that you can use as a
part of your program:
Barbell Curls – 2 sets of 5-7 reps
Standing Dumbbell Curls – 1 set of 5-7 reps
Close-Grip Bench Press – 2 sets of 5-7 reps
Standing Cable Pushdowns – 1 set of 5-7 reps
Take all sets to complete muscular failure and focus on
progressing each week by using slightly more weight or performing an extra
rep or 2.
If you can incorporate this way of thinking into your
arm training, you will achieve arm size beyond anything you previously
Sean Nalewanyj is a bodybuilding expert and writer of
top-selling Internet Bodybuilding E-Book: The
Truth About Building Muscle. You can find more information by visiting
his website: MuscleGainTruth.com