Get Bigger Arms Faster With This Arm Workout | STACK Fitness
X

Become a Better Athlete. Sign Up for our FREE Newsletter.

Big Arms Fast: A Scientific Approach

August 4, 2013 | Chris Hitchko

Must See Strength Training Videos

Guys want them and girls love them. A set of sleeve-busting arms is usually one of the top reasons guys hit the gym. Although thousands of variations of Curls may leave lifters sore, it doesn't mean they are effective. Building larger arms requires the right program, one that enhances a workout routine without wasting time.

Three muscles make up the bulk of your arms: biceps brachii, triceps brachii and medial deltoid.

The biceps lie on the front of the arm and have two main jobs, to bend the elbow (known as elbow flexion) and to rotate the hand inward.

The triceps have three heads: lateral, medial and long head. All three extend the elbow, but they also have individual functions. The long head extends the humerus, pulling the arm behind the body. This aspect is important. To maximize size, athletes need not only to bend the elbow to engage the triceps, but also to pull the arm behind the body to engage the long head specifically.

If you're looking to add size to your arms, your shoulders matter, too. Several muscles are involved, but the medial deltoid gives you the most big-arm bang for your weightlifting buck by improving the overall appearance of your arms and shoulders.

Although it seems rather obvious that building larger arms requires more direct arm work, frequency of training isn't the only factor to consider. Here are three main principles to apply to your workout routine for greater arm development:

1. Overload principle

To challenge their muscles to grow to their maximum potential, lifters must use overload stimulus. Continuing the same lifting routine will produce mediocre results at best. The muscles need to be challenged.

2. Train for hypertrophy

Hypertrophy, the growth of muscle cells, requires specific variables to be most effective. Of those variables, intensity and rest time are most important. Although heavier strength training does have a place, for optimal muscle growth, perform 8-12 reps and limit rest time to 30-45 seconds.

3. Consistency and frequency

Performing Curls once a week will not get the job done. Athletes looking to build bigger arms should train several times a week to provide a large enough stimulus for growth.

The following workout has an optimal mix of exercises to develop the biceps, triceps and medial deltoid. Perform them at the end of your workouts a few times a week for the next six weeks, allowing one or two days of rest between sessions.

Biceps

Triceps

Medial Deltoid

For an added challenge at the end of each workout, perform the following two circuits in order:

Circuit 1. Chin-Up/Close-Grip Push-Up/Upright Row 

Perform as many Chin-Ups as possible. Then perform as many Close Grip Push-Ups as possible. Finally, grab a barbell and perform a set of 10-12 reps of Upright Rows. Rest 30 seconds before repeating the circuit three times.

Circuit 2. Bicep Curl Drop Set

Find a weight that allows you to properly perform 12 repetitions. Move down to a weight that allows you to perform at least 8 repetitions. Lower the weight again so you can finish with 10 reps (aim for 30 total reps). See how Thomas Jones uses drop sets to build bigger arms.

Chris Hitchko
- Chris Hitchko, CSCS, owns ShowUp Fitness, a personal training facility with locations in Santa Monica and the San Francisco Bay area. He is also an...
Chris Hitchko
- Chris Hitchko, CSCS, owns ShowUp Fitness, a personal training facility with locations in Santa Monica and the San Francisco Bay area. He is also an...
More Cool Stuff You'll Like

The Best Single-Leg Exercises for Youth Athletes

Training with single leg exercises is a subject that comes up when in the context of almost every sport. We propel ourselves when we sprint from one...

7 Strategies for Faster Workout Recovery

7 Ways to Work Out Competitively Without CrossFit

Never Bench Press With Your Feet in This Position

A Better Way to Train Your Core

4 Deadlift Variations to Increase Your Pull

Kyle Lowry's 12-Week All-Star Training Program

Get Faster by Improving Your Core Mobility

3 Post-Activation Potentiation Combos for Explosive Strength

3 Sandbag Training Mistakes Athletes Make

Female Athletes: Get Strong, Not Bulky, With These Workouts

Notice On-Court Results With This Basketball Core Workout

7 Exercises That Safely Build Shoulder Strength

Blast Through Plateaus with Tempo Sets

5 Softball Catcher Drills for Throwing Power

Basketball In-Season Battle Rope Complexes, Part 1

How Functional Training Has Overly Complicated Strength Training

Make Lifts More Challenging With Resistance Bands

Don't Train Your Arms Until You Can Do These 4 Things

Bench Press Grip Guide: How Hand Placement Changes the Exercise

Improve Your Strength for Track & Field Success

7-Exercise Core-Blasting Workout

7 Best Lower-Body Strengthening Exercises

These 3 Single-Leg Movements Will Improve Your Squat Technique

The Simplest Bodyweight Workout Ever

Improve Your Back Strength with the Inverted Row

3 Explosive Exercises Designed to Increase Pitching Power

Master the Lateral Lunge to Improve Your Hockey Stride

4 Exercises to Build True Lacrosse Power

4 Lifts to Build Wrestling Strength

Get a Ripped Core With 6 Advanced Dead Bug Variations

Perfect Your Squat Technique With the Unloaded Squat

Dominate Your Bench Test With This Strategy

Break Through Plateaus With the 1-10 Drop Set Method

4 Sure-Fire Ways to Build a Strong Core

4 Weaknesses That Can Ruin Your Exercise Technique (With Fixes)

5 Isolation Exercises Your Workout Is Missing

Top 5 Baseball Strength Training Myths

Build Full-Body Strength With 5 Suspension Trainer Exercises

The Science of Building Muscle: 2 Ways to Maximize Hypertrophy

7 Strategies for Dealing With a Meathead in Your Gym

Build Powerful Pecs With This Multi-Angle Chest Workout

3 Nordic Hamstring Curl Exercises to Boost Your Performance

10 Ways to Get Stronger With a Sandbag