“My arms are too big” said no one ever! The big arms small waist look has been at the top of the aesthetic scale since bodybuilding began. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Serge Nubret, Lee Haney and Kevin levrone have some of the best arms of all time but trained using very different styles. But let’s be honest all these guys had awesome genetics, whichever way they trained they would have had monstrous arms.
For mere mortals like our selves it’s a little more complicated than that, unfortunately doing 64 sets with moderate weight like Arnold and serge isn’t going to work for the majority of people. If arms are a week body part for you there are a couple of protocols you could try.
Twice per week- A good way to bring up stubborn body parts is to train them more frequently. Hitting them twice per week with lower volume is one way. You would do this by completing 9 working sets for bi’s and another 9 sets for tri’s twice per week. Ensuring your supplementation and peri-workout nutrition is on point will prevent over training and increase recovery.
Train like a power lifter- Ever seen a power lifter with small arms… didn’t think so. Heavy bench press variations are an awesome way to add mass to the triceps, as well as exercises focused on building the lockout like floor press or board presses. With biceps and triceps it advised that you start your session with an exercise that will allow you to move the most weight. For biceps EZ or straight bar curls then move onto auxiliary exercises. For triceps start with close grip bench press or board presses.
If you really want to turn those pistols into weapons you must hit them from every angle. The 3 heads of the tricep, both heads of the biceps and the brachialis muscle must all be developed simultaneously for maximum growth. Let’s take a look at each one..
The most important head of the tricep is the long head, this is the meat of the tricep. As it originates from the scapular we need to reach over head to increase the stretch and gain maximal recruitment. Best exercises for this are overhead extensions using a bar or dumbbells. The lateral head is also important because it can add width to our physique and make our arms appear bigger. Rope pushdowns or close grip push down are my favourite to hit this head.
To work the long head of the bicep a neutral grip or close grip curl will do the trick just fine. Incline curls where your elbows are behind you are another great way of hitting the long head. Arms in front of you with shoulders away from the body i.e. Preacher curl will activate your short head greatest.
If getting a pump in the gym gets you as excited as it does Arnold Schwarzenegger then you may want to give occlusion training a go. Originally called KAATSU training it’s essentially an act of using a light tourniquet to restrict blood flow to an exercising muscle. This is said to work by a process called metabolic accumulation. Basically instead of letting your body flush through all the products of exertion, the tourniquet keeps them in the muscle. This stimulates a big release of anabolic growth hormone and recruits more fast twitch fibres. This also means we can use a lot lighter weight to create a huge pump which means this can be done when carrying injuries.
“Eat Meticulous, Train Ridiculous”