Most if not all guys who start lifting weights want big arms. Football players want big arms sticking out of the bottom of their shoulder pads, athletes from many sports need stronger arms to benefit their performance on the field, and of course physique athletes need big arms to complete their physiques. Ladies, I know you might not be looking to stretch sleeves on your shirts but obviously stronger and more complete arms serve you well too.
By Roger Lockridge
While it’s true that basics work best when it comes to arm training, there does come a time when you need to level up and take Arm Training 201. Follow these tips on your next arm training session and you’ll see improvement come quickly.
Train Biceps and Triceps Twice a Week
Most sources of training information advocate for training each muscle group once a week so they have a week to recover between workouts. The issue is eventually we all hit a plateau and get stuck. Progress stops for some reason. At times like this, more volume is what might be your solution. Train biceps after back since they’ve already been involved with your workout. That same principle applies to your triceps with chest or shoulders. You shouldn’t need more than two exercises for each and you don’t need to go too heavy.
Pinch Your Shoulder Blades
Some of you guys might think it’s weird to think about your shoulders while training arms but this one will go a long way in helping you. Your shoulders naturally want to assist when your other muscles start struggling. Squeezing your shoulder blades together can restrict the shoulders from rolling forward or adjusting to help. That means the biceps and triceps are forced to do the work on their own. This applies for any major upper arm exercise.
Lift Your Elbows Slightly on Curls
This one might go against everything you’ve been taught but stay with me. You should keep your upper arms to your sides when doing curls but this little tweak could be the difference between stretching sleeves and needing a tank top. When you’re doing a free weight movement for biceps like barbell and dumbbell curls, bring your elbows up a couple of inches at the top of the curl. Don’t try to turn it into a front raise but raising your elbows slightly at the top of the curl can place extra emphasis on the biceps.
Do Lying Triceps Extensions on the Decline
You probably know these as “Skull Crushers” or “French Press”. Typically these are performed on a flat bench which is fine. Next time you attempt these, try them on the decline bench. Why? When you lower the weight behind your head on a decline bench, you can get a deeper stretch in the triceps which means your flexibility can improve and your muscle fibers will have more room for blood to get in there. That means more pumps. Make sure you have a spotter to help you with these though. You don’t want to stretch back too far and risk injury.