Muscular, Lean Arms
The "Arms Race"
Once you began to associate yourself with the fitness world, you will learn that unless you are a body builder or mass monster and just big all over the place, one of the first things that most people are going to take notice of on your body when the see you are the arms. If your gun show is kind of weak and only sporting 22' calibers, you might want to work on them a bit and join the big boy club. Besides, outside of during the summer or spring, everything else is usually covered up by clothing, unless of course you're in the gym, getting in a working out. If your ultimate goal when you enter into a room is wanting everyone to see those big, hard, lean, pythons hanging off of the sides of your shoulders, then following these few simple tips are quit helpful and a necessity.
Stretching your arms before a workout
Stretch and warm up
The are studies that show that there aren't really any advantages to stretching and then there are some studies that show there are. I always do prior to a workout. Before a workout with any body part or exercise routine, stretching and a warm up is always beneficial in my opinion. Pre-workout stretching and warm ups will reduce any kind of muscle stiffness, increase the speed of muscle contractions, improve your blood flow and assist with mental focus. A good warm up will also provide improved nerve transmissions through heat and increased oxygenation because of the warmer body temperature.
It's not very beneficial to apply mass building techniques to small muscle groups
How heavy should the weight used be?
If you are applying the same mass building techniques as you do to larger body parts such as your chest, back or legs, this type of training is simply just kind of crazy for smaller muscle groups. Your arms only consist of your biceps and triceps muscles, both of which are much smaller muscles groups with very few active parts. Any injury/muscle strain/etc to your arms could jeopardize a large portion of your workout routine, as it would be extremely difficult for you to train your shoulders, back and chest without the usage of your arms. The amount of weight you use is pretty much totally dependent on your fitness goals, how your arms react to a certain amount of weight and of course your body composition. If you are a naturally big/husky person and have intentions to get lean, using super heavy weights would not be in your best interest and really isn't going to help you at all. You will definitely get bigger, stronger and huskier, but not leaner. Moderate weight should predominantly be used when doing arm (bicep and tricep) training. A weight heavy enough that it will only allow you to perform 8 to 12 repetitions. Some occasional heavy dumbbell/barbell work is good (heavier weight that allows 5 to 8 reps) as long as you adjust your schedule and recovery time. You don't want your arms to get acclimated to any specific routine. Keep your body/muscles guessing to what's coming next.
Tricep extension isolates the tricep muscle
Using angles and isolation
As I previously stated, the arm muscles are a much smaller muscle group so isolation movements are absolutely necessary for leaning out and definition. If you fall short in isolating your arm muscles and allow the jerking, swinging, or elbow movement, the intensity of each rep will be divided up into other body parts and will take away a lot of the stress off the muscle you are actually trying to work on. Keep the motion in your torso and lower body to an absolute minimum. Changing the angle in any exercise even slightly will change where the stress/intensity is going to hit. For larger arm growth, you will need to hit your biceps/triceps from each and every possible angle. Changing your hand positioning on the bar (wide versus narrow, palms facing up versus palms facing down), the type of bar used (straight versus curl bar, or cable/rope) and varying high or low or at angles away or toward your body will all assist in optimum arm growth.
Proper form for the Bicep curl
Form and Apparatus
The form you use is everything and goes hand in hand with the usage of moderate weight. Using and swinging up super heavy weights might look really impressive to all the cute girls that are walking around in the gym, but not controlling the motion through the eccentric and concentric phase in the range of motion will greatly decrease the ability to gain mass. Using moderate weights equals much better form, higher quality of reps and exacts development. Concentration on specific spots in muscle groups also means you can control the way your muscle develops. You can build well developed muscle using only one machine or apparatus, however using barbells for compound movements and dumbbells/cables for isolation and specific angles is more beneficial for overall muscle growth and definition.
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Arms can be easily Overtrained
Because you use your arms in the training of several other body parts, such as when your work your chest, shoulders and back, you may include a lot more sets or higher reps. It is relatively easy to overtrain the arms because they are a smaller muscle, not a large muscle group like your back and chest. So basically you have to listen and pay attention to what your body is trying to tell you. Alternating the work out frequency from week to week, changing or decreasing the number of sets or exercises you do for your arms per workout will drastically reduce the chances of you over training them. Getting adequate rest and replacing everything the body lost during the work out is imperative. Following these simple steps will have you on your way to bigger, leaner, stronger, more muscular arm muscles.
More links with information on muscular development
- Training tips for those lagging body parts
Most people have a body part or parts that kind of lag behind the rest of their body. This article explores how to balance out your body.
- How to develop your Chest muscles
This article explores the different exercises that can help you build well defined pectoral muscles.
Jeff Zod from Nairobi on September 29, 2019:
Thank you so much for this excellent article. I will definitely implement what you have outlined.
Amanda from Maryland on July 07, 2013:
Good info! I feel like a lot of men focus on their upper body and neglect the rest. A lot of people go for brawn instead of equalized strength in their entire body