Big chest muscles, 6-pack abs, big biceps & triceps. That’s what most people want. Here’s how to build bigger arms and increase biceps & triceps size.
Train One or Two Times per Week
Many people think that working out every day builds bigger muscles, but muscle mass is actually built during resting days between workout sessions. Your muscles grow stronger as they recover between lifting sessions, enabling you to gradually lift more and more weight. If you don’t give your muscles time to rest, particularly your arm muscles, you risk overtraining them and delaying the results you want to achieve.
Train in 30-Minute Sessions
For the same reason, you should only train one or two times per week and each training session should only last about half an hour. Your arm muscles are easier to injure than other muscles in the body, and training for over half an hour per session greatly increases the risk that you’ll get hurt. Short, intense training sessions are your best bet for building arm mass.
Train As Hard As You Can
Lift the heaviest weights you are able to lift and make your training sessions as high-intensity as possible. Muscle-builders call this “training to failure,” because it means lifting weights that are heavy enough to cause you to “fail,” or be unable to complete the exercise after a few reps. As your arms grow stronger, and you find that the weight you’ve been lifting is no longer as difficult, add more weight.
Use Proper Form
Get the maximum benefit from your workouts and avoid injury by using the correct form when you lift weights.
Work Out Your Whole Body
It’s healthier to strengthen all of your muscles with compound exercises than to focus only on building arm mass. If you don’t work out your legs and core, you’ll end up with big arms and a lower body that isn’t as muscular.
We all know that the biceps are the show muscle for your physique. When someone asks you to show your muscles, 9 times out of 10 you flex your biceps.
It is great to have well developed biceps, but make sure you don’t forget to train the rest of your muscles in the upper and lower arm with the same volume and intensity as you do your biceps.
Many beginners fall into that trap and create terrible imbalances in their arms. Even the great Arnold Schwarzenegger admits he trained his biceps harder and more often than his triceps in the beginning. This built an imbalance that took him years to balance back out.
Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and hold between a 5 to 25-pound dumbbells in each hand hanging in front of your hips with palms facing upward. Bend your left arm upward to a 90-degree angle so that your forearm is parallel to the floor, and hold it in place. Keep both elbows close to your ribs throughout the exercise. Curl your right hand upward toward your shoulder and then lower back down to the start position with 8 reps. Switch sides for another 8 reps and then curl both sides simultaneously for 8 reps of double curl.
Pull-ups are popular in many fitness circles, and will target your back muscles, along with your biceps. They should be a shoe-in for any muscle-building workout.
Get into a push-up position with forearms flat onto the floor and make sure your spine forms a straight line with your legs. Focus your weight to shift onto your forearms and toes with your elbows horizontally aligned beneath your shoulders. Hold for 20 seconds with a slow inhale through the nose and exhale out the mouth. Don’t press your tongue to the roof of your mouth. Rest with knees bent onto the floor for 20 seconds, then repeat 6 times.
Sit on the edge of your chair with your feet flat on the floor. Place your hands on either side of the front of the chair next to your thighs. Bend your elbows into a 90-degree angle and lower yourself to the floor with your feet firmly planted in place. Then lift your body by straightening your arms and raising yourself into start position for 8 repetitions (reps).
Lie down flat on your back. Move your arms back and lean on them with your palms facing down. Raise your hips up to form a straight line with your toes pointing slightly. Stay for 8 counts. Roll your body onto the side, resting your weight on the right arm and extend the left arm straight up to the ceiling. Maintain a straight line again with your hips vertical to the groups and hold for 8 counts. Roll back into double arm position with your body in a straight line and hold for 8 counts then roll onto your left arm to support your body, extend right arm into the air, and align hips vertical to the ground for 8 counts.
Move into a plank position with your hands flat on the floor beneath your chest. Spread your fingers and turn your hands in so that the index fingers and thumbs form a triangle without touching. Make sure the spine forms a straight line with the legs and spread feet shoulder width apart. Bend elbows into a 45-degree angle outward to the side as you lower your chest toward the floor. Press upward and repeat with 12 reps.
Hold between a 5- to 25-pound weight in your right hand with right leg leaned back into a staggered position. Lower into a lunge and keep knees bent in a 90-degree angle with left arm resting on your front thigh. Extend your right arm straight back and lower it back into a 90-degree angle with 12 reps. Repeat on the left side.
Common Mistakes to Avoid
The number 1 mistake is doing endless biceps curls & triceps extensions to build bigger arms. This works at the advanced level, but for beginners it’s inefficient and counterproductive.
Curls & Extensions
Beginners need compound exercises to build overall muscle mass, not isolation exercises. First big picture, then the details.
Overtraining Your Arms
Arms are small muscles which you hit on all exercises. You can’t train them 5x/week. Muscles grow when they rest.
Neglecting Other Muscles
This will get you out of proportion. Your arms will be too big compared to the rest of your body and you’ll look funny.
Not Eating Enough Food
You’ll never get 18″ biceps if you only weigh 120lbs at 6′. You must gain weight to build bigger arms.