Exercises for bigger arms


Find out how to get bigger arms by using exercises that target every major muscle

Nick Hutchings
2 Jun 2014

The biceps come high up on the list of glamour muscles for most men. It's what you flex when you want to show off your muscles. Go into any gym and you'll see rows of men curling barbells in an attempt to build bulging biceps. Yet the biceps are among the smaller muscles in the body, and they aren't even the biggest muscles in your arms.
Your triceps make up about two thirds of your upper arm muscle mass and, as the name suggests, they are made up of three different muscles or 'heads'. The long head and lateral head combine to form the horseshoe shape at the top of your arm, while the medial head runs beneath the long head down to the elbow. Their job is to straighten your elbow, so they come into play every time you push something away from your body, such as when you do bench presses.
Because the arm muscles are relatively small, many people combine arm training with bigger muscle groups. Biceps training goes well with back training because they both involve pulling movements, while triceps and chest training go well together because they both involve pressing motions.

The key to effective arms training is to focus on the muscles you areworking and not allow larger muscle groups to take over by swingingyour body.
What follows is the best selection of exercises for building your biceps, triceps and forearms, plus variations so that you (and your muscles) don't get bored.

5 tips for bigger arms

Keep the intensity high

If you want to stimulate arm muscle growth as a part of your bodybuilding routine it’s important that you increase the intensity of your exercise. Walk into the gym with the mindset that you are going to be forceful with your muscles, pushing them to adapt and grow for your routine, rather than just lifting what you already know you can manage with ease. You need to aim to increase the weight and / or the number of reps that you’re performing on each visit, or at least decrease the amount of rest time you’re having between sets. Your arms workout should always be progressive in its nature; you want to beat your previous session in at least one way.

Hit your triceps the hardest

While the biceps are indeed the showpiece muscle of the arms, don’t forget that the triceps make up the majority of yours arms muscle size, 60% of your upper arm roughly. Incorporating dips, push downs and close grip presses will help to increase the mass and overall tone of your triceps.

Multi-jointed exercises are a must

On the days when you’re training your chest, shoulders and back, be sure to utilise as many multi-jointed exercises as you can. This will work your biceps (back) and triceps (chest) as secondary movers. So incorporate shoulder press, row pull downs, bench press and pushups into your workout routines to build bigger arms faster.

Limit your sets and don’t overtrain

Overtraining your arms is a big no-no. They aren’t the biggest muscle group in your body so they need ample recovery time. A lot of people tend to do too much arm training in their pursuit of t-shirt stretching arms, but both your biceps and triceps do not need more than one primary workout and one secondary workout each per week. Don’t cut into arms recovery abilities by overtraining them, rest is just as important as reps.

Make time to stretch

Yes, you might be pushed for time at the gym but always try to make time to stretch. Doing this after you train your arms will help with recovery and there is ample evidence that stretching these muscles will also extend the fascia. Think of fascia like a white sock over your muscle that restricts their growth. The more that you open it up, the more space that you’ll have to build more muscle. This type of stretch is quite intense, not your usual light pre-workout moves, more weighted and lengthy stretches that really open your muscles up. 

Forearms: Wrist curl Triceps: Triceps press down Triceps: Dumb-bell kickback Triceps: Seated one-arm overhead triceps extension Triceps: Lying triceps extension Triceps: Bench dip Triceps, chest: Close-grip bench press Triceps, chest: Dip Biceps: Hammer curl Biceps: EZ-bar preacher curl Biceps: Seated dumb-bell curl Biceps: Barbell curl
Biceps, lats: Chin-up

This content is from the experts at Men's Fitness magazine.

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