I could go on an on about how training arms is a waste of time, how big arms don’t benefit an athlete all that much, how doing isolation moves suck, blah blah blah, but here’s the reality of this:
ALL guys want bigger arms, and all girls want arms that look good in a tank top.
That is a FACT. And here’s another fact…if you are training seriously, then you DESERVE to have jacked arms that demand attention. So you want huge guns, you deserve to have ‘em, here’s how to get them.
Step one: Earn your right to big arms
This one might hurt some feelings, but you need to earn your right to having some guns. You need to focus on big compound movements that hit your biceps and triceps secondarily. Most guys can come pretty far without much curling and tricep work. If you focus on 3-4 movements and get them stronger over time while eating to gain muscle, you will get bigger arms, period.
My favorite movements for this are:
Barbell or Bodyweight rows.
Keep these movements in the 6-12 rep range for the most part, and overall volume of 30-50 reps 2-3x per week. Progressively get better until you can hit 3 sets of 12 reps of each. If you are at a bodyweight of 170+, by the time you hit these you will have much bigger arms and be well on your way to a full blown gun show. For row 185×10 is a pretty good goal to strive for at first, moving up to 275×10 after a few years of training (because you don’t train for 3 months and expect the world, right?)
Step Two: Gain F**king Weight
Alright I don’t even know why i’m making this a step, but if you’re not focused on gaining weight (read: quality muscle mass) then I can’t help you. Sure, if you’re 260lbs you might want to lean out a bit before putting on muscle mass, but the purpose of training is to get bigger and stronger to handle the stress of your sport.
Take your bodyweight x 15 and then add 500 calories to that. So if you’re 150lbs then:
150 x 15 = 2250 , 2250 + 500 = 2750 calories each day to gain mass.
Eat lots of quality meat, rice, potatoes, nuts, fruits and vegetables (although too many vegetables while gaining weight makes eating enough VERY hard sometimes…always remember your goal).
Plus, gaining weight while getting better at bodyweight movements makes them more effective. I weigh 235lbs and was called out to hit max reps on chin ups yesterday, a move I (unfortunately) have been neglecting. I hit 17, and i’m confident that in a month or two of training I could hit 20+ at the same body weight. NOT coincidentally, my arms are probably over 17”, which isn’t too bad for bigger arms not a main goal of mine.
Bottom line: Eat more, get stronger, get bigger, get bigger arms.
Step Three: Add in some isolation work
This one is gonna piss off some so-called strength coach gurus who think isolation work is a waste of time.
I don’t care. If you want bigger arms, at some point you need to address them directly.
If you’re squatting, benching, pressing, and deadlifting in your program regularly, AND you have hit all the bench marks in step one (with chin ups, dips, rows, and pushups) then you have every right to add in a little extra arm work. Here’s the catch. You can either:
A) Go back to the crappy bodybuilder magazine workouts that DIDN’T work in the first place and start dedicated an entire day for arms, blasting them for 20 sets.
B) Do things correctly by following a very simple format for getting even bigger guns.
The simple format:
1) Have your prerequisites in place (step one, guys).
2) Keep on training to be more athletic: sprint, do strongman stuff, deadlift, press, chin-ups, squat.
3) Once or twice a week, add in 100 reps of triceps and 100 reps of triceps at a weight where you can do 4-6 sets to get to 100 reps. Some moves I like are:
suspended BW curls
suspended BW extensions
OH Tricep extensions
fat grip curls
banded tricep extensions
ultra narrow low incline pushups
rope extensions w/bands
Add in 100 reps at the end of ONE workout per week and watch your arms grow. Want to know something else? If you address your triceps and biceps in this way, you’re going to get STRONGER. It’s amazing that we as strength coaches have forgotten that muscle moves you, literally.
In Closing, if you’re looking to grow your guns while still becoming the best possible athlete you can be, then do it the right way with the outlines listed here. The problem is that most guys are unwilling to accept that three arm workouts per week, blasting them to the point where they can’t wipe their own ass, is the best way to grow, and that just ain’t true.
Now, suns out, guns out (if you’ve got em)
Edge Strength & Conditioning
P.S. If you want to train at a facility that allows you to get strong and fast as hell, and look pretty good doing it, hit us up for a trial session HERE.