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...
Must See
Perfect Dwyane Wade's Signature Euro Step
Views: 1,307,107
Why You Should Never Doubt Colin Kaepernick
Views: 17,701,022
Jadeveon Clowney on Making Big Hits
Views: 3,768,138

Featured Videos

Dwight Howard Ab Workout Views: 62,466
John Wall Elbow-to-Elbow Shooting Drill Views: 186,478
Elite Performance with Mike Boyle: Build Explosive Power With Contrast Training Views: 17,723
Load More

Resources

STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers

Magazine

Latest issues of STACK Magazine

STACK 4W

Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice

Gamer

Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes

News

Find the latest news relevant to athletes

Most Popular Videos

Colby Lewis's Post-Game Band Splitter Routine
Views: 8,349,368
Dwight Howard Stays in the Gym All Night
Views: 3,988,602
Allyson Felix Explains How To Choose a Coach
Views: 8,690,610
Charging Ground Balls With Skip Schumaker
Views: 29,504
Antonio Brown Juggles 3 Footballs
Views: 1,175,033

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like

12 Strength Moves from NFL WR Harry Douglas's Full-Body Workout

Build Bulletproof Chest Strength With This Unconventional Method

Train Like a Pro: Dustin Pedroia's Baseball Power Workout

Build Strong Legs with the Leg Press Lockdown Workout

Train Like a Pro: Damian Lillard's Basketball Core Workout

6 Gym Machines That Are Actually Worth Your Time

Todd Durkin

3 Keys to Better Softball Workouts

Grab a Broom for This Fast-Paced, Full-Body Workout

Abby Wambach's Soccer Power Workout

When Not to Try Unstable Hockey Training

What Happens When You Do The Same Exercise Every Day?

5 Quick Workout Fixes for Faster Muscle Growth

4 Exercises From NFL Players to Build True Game Speed

5 Ways to Get a Higher Vertical Jump

The Top 10 Mistakes Athletes Make in the Weight Room

Deadlift Grip Guide: How Hand Placement Changes the Exercise

Get a Full-Body Workout With Just 2 Exercises

Can You Survive This Insane 100-Rep Push-Up Challenge?

How to Improve Shoulder Strength and Flexibility

The 4 Best and Worst Cable Machine Exercises

Train Like a Pro: MLS Soccer Strength Program

Build Wrestling Strength With the Gable Lock Isometric Hold

Train Like a Pro: Los Angeles Lakers Strength Training Program

7 Farmer's Walk Variations for Improved Core Strength

3 Tips to Blast Through Training Plateaus

Add Surprise Sets for a Great Workout Finisher

Build Awesome Arms With This 15-Minute Workout

How Strength Training Changed Rory McIlroy's Game

Putting Together an Off-Season Workout for Point Guards

Evan Longoria's Off-Season Strength and Resistance Workout

Train Like a Pro: Peyton Manning's Core Workout

How You Can Olympic Lift With an Injury

3 Keys to In-Season Baseball Training

Use Eccentric Lifts to Increase Size and Strength

The 3-Minute Total Arm Pump

Save Your Shoulders With These Barbell Landmine Exercises

3 Habits of Highly Successful Coaches

Jump Higher After a Month With These 3 Exercises

Prevent Volleyball Shoulder Injuries With These Exercises

The Best Lower-Body Landmine Exercises

Train Like a Pro: Henrik Zetterberg's Hockey Strength Workout

3 Tricks for a Stronger Front Squat

Todd Durkin's Complete Football Strength Training Program

Posterior Chain Fixes to Improve Your Game

3 Simple Strategies for a Better Workout