Best Way to Build Bigger Arms
By Jason Ferruggia
I get a ton of emails asking for the best way to build bigger arms. Unfortunately there is no single best way, but there are a lot of really good ways. First of all, if you are a beginner your arms will grow with no direct arm work whatsoever. You just need to focus on the basics like presses, rows, squats and deadlifts. Keeping piling on the plates and eating a ton of food and your arms will grow significantly. It will be quite some time until you really need direct arm work.
Dips and chin ups are probably the two best arm building exercises there are. As long as you are always doing a lot of those you probably won’t have a problem in the arm size department. The best way to build bigger arms is to make sure you always have some variation of a chin up or dip in your muscle building workout program.
Eventually when you need to add in even more direct arm work you can start doing some curls for the biceps but should stick with the big, compound moves for triceps. Pushdowns and extensions are ok for really advanced guys but they won’t do much for the beginner or intermediate lifter looking to add inches to their upper arms. Plus they can be a bit tough on the elbows if you do them too often. If you can handle a lot of weight on those exercises and do them too often they can flat out wreck your elbows. So stick with close grip bench presses, reverse grip close grip benches, floor presses, board presses and rack lockouts for the majority of your triceps work.
For biceps it’s hard to beat the old fashioned barbell curl. This exercise allows you load up a pretty good amount of weight and force the biceps to explode with growth. Dumbbell curls are another great option and can be done either standing or on an incline. Hammer curls are also an awesome biceps builder which can be done standing or inclined. Stick with these variations and make significant weight increases on them before you seek out fancier more high tech exercises that, honestly, won’t work much better than these tried and true basics. Only after you have hit a plateau on these movements will you need to try something else.
I recommend that intermediate lifters hit the biceps and triceps twice per week or once every five days. Go as heavy as you can while still getting a pump. The arms can be trained at the end of your full body workouts or after doing chest, back and shoulders on upper body days. Another option I like is to train biceps on the lower body focused day of an upper lower split. This allows you to hit them directly on the lower body days with curls and indirectly on the upper body days with chin ups and rows. Be sure to stretch both the bi’s and tri’s immediately after your last pump set of the day. If you really want to maximize your arm size you should train your forearms a few days per week as well.
Like I said, there is no single best way to build bigger arms, but rather a lot of very good ways. Hopefully this article gave you some ideas and you will be ripping your shirt sleeves in no time.
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