OK. I GIVE UP. LET'S TALK ABOUT GETTING BETTER ARMS
I don't know of any man who doesn't want to know how to build bigger arms. I've never addressed arm workouts on this site simply because most people spend too much time already on their arms doing endless sets of barbell or EZ Bar curls to the exclusion of things they should be doing instead.
And a lot of people do even those simple exercises wrong. Sometimes very, very wrong.
And ladies, if your arms look like either of the pictures below, you should listen up too.
But first, a short anatomy lesson. Just as a point of reference. Relax, there won't be a test. The chart will help because the arm is a somewhat complicated structure simply because there are so many possible movement patterns. But we're only going to be talking about a few major muscles in the arm.
BICEPS-Note the "Bi". Meaning the bicep has 2 parts. The Long Head and the Short Head (and they have to be trained differently)
TRICEPS-Note the "Tri". Meaning the tricep has 3 parts. The Long Head, the Lateral Head and the Medial Head. (all 3 have to be trained differently)
BRACHIALIS-The brachialis runs along the outside of the upper arm and underneath the bicep.
The 3 "Extensor" muscles also add to the appearance of larger arms but often get sufficient stimulation for growth when the muscles of the upper arm are worked properly.
Why so many parts? To facilitate all the varied movements you can perform with your arm. To illustrate and show which head does what let's use the tricep as an example.
Stand in front of a mirror so your tricep is visible. Start with your elbow bent. With your palm facing downward, straighten your elbow while watching your tricep in the mirror. Now repeat except have your palm facing your body. Repeat again but with your palm up. See the difference?
What you should be doing;
1. Lose the fat. Your arms will get more attention if your gut isn’t hanging over your belt. And you’ll never get any definition in your arms until you lose the fat.
2. If you’re skinny, eat to gain lean mass.
3. Stop with the endless sets of single joint isolation exercises. (curls and tricep extensions). You don’t need an “arm day” in your program if you are a beginner or until you’ve been able to add 5% to 10% of your body weight in lean muscle mass.
4. Get stronger and build more lean mass by doing compound exercises. (Squats, dead lift, bench press, overhead presses, pull-ups, dips, weighted carries and rows) It is infinitely easier to add inches of muscle to your arms by doing compound exercises than by doing isolation exercises.
5. Only after pre-exhausting your arms doing compound movements should you do isolation work for your arms. Pushing compound movements (bench press, dips, over head press) will work your triceps. Pulling compound movements (pull ups and all rowing movements will work your biceps). Basically, do isolation movements for triceps at the end of chest day and isolation movements for biceps at the end of back day.
And ladies, stop with the cute little pink dumbbells that weigh less than your purse. And stop with the word "toned"- Build some lean muscle. Read This Article by Cassie Smith
In future articles I’m going to “assume” you’ve followed the advice above and built some lean mass and are ready to learn what the best isolation exercises are for building better arms and, more importantly, how to do them correctly.