Achieving weaponized arms is no easy task. It takes dedication and a continuous effort to push yourself, your weights, and your methods to get the results you are looking for. Basic arm training leads to basic results but lucky for you, we have compiled 15 of our best workout tips to propel you past basic and towards the arms you’ll need a permit to carry!
- Give your arms their own training day: Indirect training through compound exercise just isn’t enough to get the job done. Try completing an arms session prior to compound training sessions; pre-exhausting them before moving on to compound lifts will provide an additional point of attack.
- Train across the full strength curve: Load up at a variety of rep ranges. By doing so you’ll maximize the effects across all hypertrophy mechanisms (mechanical tension, metabolic stress etc.)
- Include Overhead Triceps: Work to effectively stress the long head of the triceps brachii with overhead triceps. This is an often neglected movement- it’s not all about rope extensions and press downs. By targeting the long head of the tricep you are adding additional definition to part of the arm that is otherwise neglected, giving a fuller and more intense look.
- Change up your grip for bicep training: Different grips work muscles differently. You should look at adjusting your position on the bar (underhand, neutral, overhand) and also mix up the thickness of the bar. This will help keep your arms from getting used to exercises and also target the brachii on many levels.
- Lighten your grip: Lightly grip the bar for triceps training (or better yet use a suicide grip if the exercise allows) as you’ll reduce brachialis activation and allow the triceps to work harder.
- Direct your elbows: During barbell curls target the biceps long head more by ensuring that you drive the elbows out and up at the end range (imagine a front raise type movement). As the long head attaches above the shoulder you’ll ensure you maximize tension through a greater range.
- Use the TREM effect: Triceps Reflex Extensor Manoeuvre. When you perform the triceps extension (cable straight bar or band works well) internally rotate the arm 5° so that pressure is predominantly through the ulnar surface of the hand (towards the little finger). This will trigger a reflex arc in the triceps that causes a heightened contraction.
- Contract your muscles: Focus on contracting the target muscle at the end range of each exercise. This will increase tension as well as strengthening the neuro-muscular connection.
- Get those pinkies up: When performing supinated biceps exercises (palms facing upward) focus on lifting the pinkie finger up and towards the palm. This will help activate a greater portion of your bicep throughout the lift.
- Incorporate advanced training methods: When progression start to stagnate think about adding more challenging systems like drop sets, stretch overload, clusters and eccentrics to get you back on track. Constantly challenging yourself is a great way to…
- Keep your arms guessing: There are a surprising number of elbow isolation exercises. Use them. This will allow your arms to constantly be introduced to new targeted movements and will avoid plateaus.
- Plan rest and recovery: As important as lifting is, rest may be even more important. By allowing your muscles to rest you are giving them a chance to rebuild torn muscle fibers which leads to bigger and stronger results. Rest is also important to avoid elbow tendinitis.
- Be aware of your arm and body positioning: Keeping the elbows behind the trunk of your body isolates the long head of the biceps while elbows in front increase stress on the shorthead of the bicep. Super-set the two opposing positions such as a drag curl to behind the head curl for an additional benefit.
- Concentrate your curls: Make sure you add concentration curls into your biceps training. Electromyography studies suggest these exercises get the highest rates of muscle activation in patterns that are shown to encourage results.
- Train regularly: Train your arms regularly aiming for twice a week (not including indirect training such as back or chest day) for 4 weeks.
Adding these tips to your workout routine over the next 4 weeks will get your arms on track for the weaponized results you have been working toward. Did we miss any? Share your own tips and thoughts on the list in the comments below!
This article was originally written by Lee Bell the Muscle Mechanic. He is part of the SportsArts Partner Envisage.