One of the biggest fallacies in recent training lore is that you don’t have to directly train your arms for them to grow.
If you want massive arms, all you need are some rows, a few presses, and you’re good to go, right?
It’s like how you don’t have to hit the brakes for your car to stop. You can just hit whatever the hell’s in front of you, and that’ll do the trick.
Current gym culture says that if you’re one of the fools who do train their arms (or God forbid even enjoys it), then they’re a newb and an idiot.
Well, call me a newb and the biggest idiot in town because I love me some direct arm training.
In fact, any time you want to improve a lagging body part, the best thing you can do is give it direct attention, i.e. specific exercises that target those specific muscles.
When you’re in pursuit of the biggest arms in North America, you can’t get caught up on just training the biceps.
Although they seem to be synonymous with arms training, they’re actually just one of many of the muscles involved, and they may even be the least important when it comes to creating visual size.
With your biceps brachii, you have the brachialis which is a very small muscle located underneath your biceps, next to your triceps. The forearm muscle (brachioradialis) crosses outside the elbow and meets just under the brachialis. When you beast these muscles, you get one hell of an impressive looking arm.
The biceps brachii is actually a two-headed muscle located on the front of the upper arm.
Both the long head (which is located on the inner side of your arm) and the short head (which is located laterally) cross the shoulder and the elbow. This means that both heads’ primary functions are to create elbow flexion and supination of the wrists.
In order to create maximum hypertrophy, you need to stimulate all muscle fibers and hit them from every angle possible.
This means doing more than just barbell curls.Small changes in an exercise such as widening or closing in your grip, along with the elbow position relative to the body, will help stimulate one head of the biceps over the other.
Small changes in an exercise such as widening or closing in your grip, along with the elbow position relative to the body, will help stimulate one head of the biceps over the other.
To place the emphasis on the short head of the biceps, you can either increase shoulder flexion by bringing the elbows in front of the body or widen the grip placement of your hands.
If you want to target more of the long head, you should increase your shoulder extension while bringing the elbows behind the body, or more simply, place your grip closer together.
The biceps not only respond to a variety of rep ranges, but in particular, they love deep contractions of the concentric variety and moderately high time under tension.
If you’re looking to build arms that make even your largest shirts tight, then you’re going to need to make sure you’re not neglecting either the brachialis and the brachioradialis.
The brachialis is located underneath the biceps and has only one job: to flex your arm.
The brachialis benefits the most from controlled contractions, higher reps, and long walks on the beach while flexing to scare the sharks.
Along with your triceps, the brachialis and brachioradialis are responsible for giving you the fullness and thickness you’re chasing.
The triceps, which is compromised of three heads, often only gets a third of the attention of your biceps (which has only two heads).
The three heads of the triceps are the long head, the lateral head, and the medial head.
When the angle of your shoulder brings your arms closer to your midline, you’ll target the medial head more.
The farther the elbows are from the belly button and midline of your body, the more the long head will be emphasized. So, keep those elbows pointed to the sky.
To focus on using the lateral head of your triceps, do your best to keep your elbows and shoulders angled in as you complete the movement (think a flat dumbbell triceps extension).
Overall, the triceps are responsible for extending the elbow and assisting with shoulder extension.
Since we’re spending four days per week getting your guns to grow, stop worrying about the rest of your body.
Keep everything else on the backburner and focus all of your attention on your arms so you don’t compromise recovery.
Your squat and deadlift aren’t going to go down because you’re spending all your time training arms. Don’t worry. Unless you’re trying to hinder your growth, everything must be put on mega maintenance mode. You can (and should) spend one day a week, or even every other week, training your other body parts. The best day would be after Day Two or Day Four of the workouts below.
Day One and Two are going to be done on consecutive days. For example, Monday and Tuesday.
Day Three and Four are also going to be done consecutively, but only after at least a 24 or 48-hour break from Day Two’s workout.
The arms aren’t exactly comprised of the biggest muscles so at first they may not be able to handle a lot of volume. Because of this, over the course of four weeks, each session is gradually going to see an increase in sets.
Once you complete this program, go back to your normal volume for arm training.
Your goal is to lift heavy!
Don’t hold back. These are compound exercises primarily and you’re going to be attacking the fast twitch fibers.
You can’t build big ass arms without lifting big ass weights.
One big thing in this day is that each week you’re going to add a set to your “A” group. In week 1, you’re doing 3 sets, then week 2 you’ll perform 4 sets, week 3 we’re up to 5 sets, and then in week 4, 6 sets are to be performed.
It’s very important when you’re trying to build a significant amount of mass that you create enough stress and place enough damage that the muscle is forced to cope with these stresses by adding more muscles.
Higher reps and higher time under tension gives you a break from the heavier weight but also cause your arms to pump so much that you’ll feel like you could step on stage for any bodybuilding show.
This workout will not take you long. That’s precisely the point.
Get in, get pumped, get out.
Each week on your “A” group you’re going to increase a set (*) while decreasing a rep (^). So during week one you’ll hit push press with three sets and six reps. The following week will be four sets and five reps. And so on down the line.
Just like on day two, the primary goal of today is to attack the arms with higher reps and from a variety of angles to ensure all heads and muscles get thrashed.
If you can perform the overhead extensions seated, that would be awesome. If not, I understand.
Finally, you’ll see there’s no sets or rest for the C group. That’s because you’re going to perform these as a density set. Take as minimal rest and perform as many sets as you possibly can in twelve minutes.
If you want big guns, this is your ticket.
Perform four weeks of this and I guarantee you’re going to see substantial growth in your arms. And when you’re done, it’s time to get to work on your legs. Check out our four-week leg specialization here.