Everyone who trains with weights wants big arms. If you see a guy walking along the street with biceps bulging out through his sleeves, and shredded triceps, there’s no doubt he lifts weights. But what are the best ways to get bigger arms?
You often see people in the gym doing set after set of bicep curls and tricep pushdowns, yet their arms still resemble a couple of twigs sticking out of their tee shirt.
The real secret to getting bigger arms is to hit them hard and heavy with a few basic exercises.
Whilst most people regard chin ups as a back exercise, they really hammer your biceps and forearms as well.
To correctly perform a chin up, grab a chin up bar with your palms facing towards you, or in towards each other. Start with your arms fully extended, and lift yourself upwards by contracting your biceps, and squeezing your shoulder blades together, until your chin is level with the bar. Then lower yourself slowly to the starting position. That’s one rep.
Having to lift your entire bodyweight places a lot of strain on the muscles, and forces your biceps to work incredibly hard. The other advantage to chin ups is that once you’ve mastered bodyweight ones, they’re easy to add weight to, either by placing a dumbbell between your feet, or attaching weight plates to a belt around your waist, to make the exercise even tougher.
Fat Grip Barbell Curls
Straight bar curls seem to be a fairly popular exercise among people looking to build their biceps, but in reality, they can be an awkward, and not particularly effective exercise. The traditional straight bar can put a lot of strain on the wrists, and it’s all too easy to use large amounts of body momentum to get the bar up, rather than focusing on the biceps.
However, using either a fat bar, or putting a pair of Fat Gripz on a regular barbell causes the focus of the curl to be put on the forearm and biceps, rather than the wrist. You’ll have to reduce the weight slightly, but the slower more controlled reps, and increased demand on your grip make the fat grip barbell curl and excellent exercise.
Start with your hands about shoulder width apart on the bar, with your elbows tucked into your sides. Squeeze the biceps hard, and start bringing the bar up. Once the bar is level with your upper chest, lower it under control. Try to use as little body momentum as possible, and aim to keep your wrists cocked back slightly throughout the movement.
Close Grip Bench Presses
So we’ve covered the biceps, but unless you also work your triceps, your arms will start looking slightly strange.
The close grip bench press is an awesome tricep builder. Your triceps are involved a lot in any pressing movement, like shoulder presses and bench presses, but by bringing your hands closer together on the bar; it takes some of the stress of the exercise away from the chest and shoulders, and more onto the triceps.
The distinct advantage that the close grip bench press has over other tricep exercises is that you can use a lot of weight, as you should be able to use around 80 percent of your regular grip bench press weight for it.
Using this much weight stimulates the nervous system and fast twitch muscle fibers more than doing isolation movements like pushdowns and extensions do, resulting in more muscle growth.
Set up for the close grip bench press just as you would for a normal bench press, but bring your hands in closer together on the bar. Ideally, they should be about twelve to fifteen inches apart. Lower the bar slowly so it lightly touches your chest, pause for half a second, and then explode up. The key to getting the most out of this exercise is the slow lowering, and quick lifting of the bar.
With dips, I’m referring to dips done on a set of parallel bars, as opposed to bench dips, which are performed with the feet on the floor, and hands placed on a bench.
Parallel bar dips are a fantastic exercise for building muscle and strength in the triceps. Just like chin ups, having to lift your entire bodyweight forces all the muscles to have to work very hard, and again, you should be able to build up to performing them with weight added to you.
Find a set of parallel bars which have the handles about shoulder width apart. Start with your arms fully extended, and feet off the floor, then lower yourself down until your upper arms are parallel to the floor. As with the close grip bench press, you want to explode up from the bottom position, in order to really stimulate the muscle fibers in the triceps.
Those are my four top exercises to help you get bigger arms. Include them all in your training regime, and remember to eat lots of good quality food, and your arms will grow in no time.