People take time to go the gym and train for many different reasons, to relive stress, improve their health, and to look good. And when it comes down to aesthetics what do we love more than T-shirt popping arms? Now if you’ve been around the blog long enough, you will know that I’m all for building your physique from the ground up, focusing on core strength, and compound lifts. With that being said, everyone loves to train arms; it’s just how you got about it that determines your success!
In this post, I’ll discuss how to get the most out of your sessions, and achieve T-shirt filling arms in good time. Firstly let’s address some common mistakes you definitely want to avoid:
Common mistakes to avoid
- Relying on Curls and Extensions – As discussed later on in the post, Bicep curling and Tricep extensions are not the key to bigger arms, and therefore relying on them alone won’t bring you any significant results.
- Overtraining – As addictive as results can be, you’re not doing yourself any favours by overtraining. Remember that muscle growth occurs during rest.
- Not eating enough – Eating plenty of food should be easy enough for anyone, and it plays a crucial part in building muscle mass. Although the Key is to eat the right foods.
How to achieve bigger arms:
As unorthodox as is sounds, the secret to building bigger arms isn’t curls or tricep extensions. By focusing on compound lifts such as Squat, Deadlift, and Bench-press, you’re developing your strength, and overall muscle mass. This is an essential step for beginners in particular as developing muscle mass through bench-press and deadlift will add more mass onto your arms (And the rest of your body) than and type of curl.
I also suggest using compound exercises which particularly work your biceps and triceps. For example:
Triceps – Bench-press and Overhead press are excellent compound movements which emphasise the triceps, and allow you to develop core strength and muscle mass, whilst focusing on the biggest muscle in the arms.
Biceps – Barbell rows primarily work the upper back muscles, however they also put a lot of emphasis on the biceps, when pulling the bar towards you.
Forearms – In addition engaging more muscles than any other compound lift, the deadlift is excellent for developing grip strength and forearm size.
Focus on the Triceps
The stereotypical uneducated gym-goer tends to make the mistake of prioritising bicep curls in an attempt to sculpt their arms. This may be a mistake than many of you make, which is why it is important to note that the biggest muscle group in your arms are In fact the Triceps. The unsung hero, of muscular arms.
With the Triceps being the bigger muscles group, it is much easier to develop them, and add muscle mass. By doing so, you’re more likely to notice a difference in your arms. This doesn’t mean that you should neglect biceps however, it simply means to put thought into your training, and balance it out.
Rest is just as important when developing any muscle group. You should look to take at least two days a week off from the weights. As painful as it sounds, rest is when our muscles grow, and unfortunately one night of sleep won’t suffice. To further aid your rest, you shouldn’t train the same muscle group more than once a week (At least not intensely).
When we participate in intense exercise (In this case weightlifting), our muscle fibres suffer small tears known as micro tears. These are what cause muscle pain the days following a tough session (DOMS), When these muscle fibres repair themselves, they rebuild bigger and stronger. This process is called muscular hypertrophy, and it only works if we take sufficient time to rest, and consume the right foods.
Think of it likes this: Without sufficient rest, you’re basically taking two steps forward and one step back with your progress.
Muscular Hypertrophy requires fuel to rebuild our muscles bigger and stronger. You can lift weights 7 days a week, however without sufficient fuel, you’re unlikely to see any significant progress. If you’re struggling to add size to your arms in particular, it’s likely down to the fact that the muscle groups in our arms are relatively small in comparison to the bigger muscles in our body, and therefore essential proteins and nutrients that you consume through your diet are directed to the bigger muscles first. It may also be down to the fact you’re a slim individual (Like myself) who can struggle to gain weight in the first place.
Fortunately for us, the solution for both of these problems is to get more fuel into our bodies. The more essential proteins and carbohydrates we have in our system, the more our bodies have to work with when re-building our muscles bigger and stronger. The Key is to eat dense, healthy foods, full of nutrients, and healthy fats.
In conclusion the Key to bigger arms isn’t what you would imagine. The idea is to develop core strength and develop your muscle mass. Although you’re not directly targeting your arms, by engaging many different muscle groups, you’ll fast track your progress with a serious boost in testosterone, and are guaranteed to see an improvement in the size of your arms. When you have developed excellent core strength, you can then consider working those isolation exercises such as Bicep curls, and Extensions. In the meantime, you can tailor your compound exercises to meet your goals. Such as using Bench-Press to emphasise Triceps, and the Barbell row to emphasise Biceps!
And one final tip: Don’t curl in the squat rack…
Looking for a workout? Develop your core strength, with the 5×5 workout: