Use these tips and this workout to get ready for a sleeveless summer.
When the sun comes out to play, it’s time to put the sleeves away – as in long sleeve shirts. Many people that commit to fitness want to look their best for summer, and that includes having lean and muscular-looking arms. If you read that out loud and it sounds like you, keep reading because these tips and this workout will help you make the most out of arm day.
This article is going to provide several tips that can help you train the biceps, triceps, and forearms (yes, forearms too) effectively so you can make the most out of the time you train. There will also be a workout you can take for a spin to apply these tips and get the best results possible between now and your vacation, trip, or personal deadline to see improvement.
1. Heavy Weights Don’t Matter Alone
Notice that the word “alone” was in that tip. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t train heavy occasionally, but going for singles, doubles, or setting PR’s won’t do much when it comes to building muscle or getting leaner. You can push or curl weight for sets as low as five and still make great changes, but super-heavy weights like powerlifters would use aren’t going to get the job done. If you want to look like you lift a lot, start with a little less.
2. Concentrate on Working the Muscle
So, what does matter when it comes to building big arms? Form and concentration. Using less weight so you can zone in on that muscle is what will serve you best. Perhaps you can curl a 60-pound dumbbell but working with a 30 or 35 may be better because you can better isolate the biceps. You can also probably move the whole stack on the triceps pushdown for as many reps as you want. That’s great, but if you want to isolate the back of the arms most effectively (and you do), then placing the pin a little higher and keeping the rest of the body out of the movement will provide you with the proper tickets to the gun show.
3. The More Time Under Tension, the BetterIt isn’t only about the form. You need to make the arms work as hard as possible during the set. Time under tension can be a great way to really zone in on the muscle. Let’s use the incline dumbbell curl as an example. You could try to curl 40’s for a set of 10 and use normal speed. It may feel challenging, but at the end, you finish the set and it takes around 30 seconds.
Momentum may or may not have been directly involved. Instead, grab the 25’s and sit on the bench. Perform two-second lifts and three-second negatives. Each rep would be for five seconds. 12 of those reps equals one minute, and you’re concentrating on those biceps much more than simply swinging an object. Which set do you feel would be more effective?
4. Angles, Angles, AnglesThere is more than one way to skin a cat (but don’t try, it won’t work out well.) There is also more than one way to train the arms, and you should use as many of them as possible. If you’re using a similar angle twice in one workout, then you’re neglecting something else that could be important.
We’ll talk about the triceps this time. You could focus on an overhead movement to target the long head of the tricep, which goes down to your lat, then follow that up with a pressdown that keeps the arms to the sides to train the lateral head. A reverse grip cable extension for the medial head, and you’ve trained all three heads of the tricep very effectively. You can do the same thing with the biceps. A wide grip EZ-Bar Curl can help you hit the inner biceps, while a close grip cable curl can target the outer head. Throw hammers in for the brachialis and forearms, and you’ve had a solid session.
5. Don’t Forget to Train Your ForearmsYou’ve probably seen pictures of someone with massive upper arms and nothing below the elbow. Looked funny, didn’t it? Don’t be that person. The forearms need to be trained properly as well for both aesthetic and functional reasons. They can look more proportional to the upper arm, which makes the entire arm look better, and the strength you gain from training them can serve you on other lifts such as the deadlift and barbell row. One or two movements a workout would be all you need if you use the above tips for forearms as well.
6. Superset at the EndYou may be someone that likes to alternate biceps and triceps exercises on arm day, or you may want to train one completely before the other. Both approaches are ok, but you should definitely finish with a superset that includes both. For those that don’t know, a superset calls for you to perform two exercises in a row without rest. You take your break after finishing the
Pumping blood into both muscle groups with supersets can really maximize the effectiveness of the workout by stretching that fascia (skin around the muscle fibers) out. Once you eat, sleep, and recover, those fibers will compensate and grow. Plus, from a mental standpoint, the pump from doing this will be a nice way to leave the gym with confidence.
Maximize Your Arm Gains with This Arm Workout
Try this workout once every five to seven days for eight weeks, and get that tape measure out. You may not notice a huge increase, but two solid months on a program like this can help you add a little size and develop the shape of the upper arm muscles so you can feel confident the next time you wear a tank top to the gym or anywhere else. Rest for no more than 60 seconds between sets and exercises. This could take you as little as 45 minutes, and you should definitely be done in an hour at the most.
- Barbell or EZ-Curl Bar Strict Curl - 4 sets of 5-8 reps (last set should be with heaviest weight).
- Close Grip Bench Press - 4 sets of 5-8 reps (last set should be with heaviest weight).
- Seated Dumbbell Curl - 3 sets of 8-10 reps (use same weight for all sets).
- Single-Arm Overhead Dumbbell Extension - 3 sets of 8-10 reps (use same weight for all sets).
- Lying Cable Curl with a Rope - 3 sets of 15 reps
- Reverse Grip Cable Pressdown - 3 sets of 15 reps
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