My Personal Path Back
to a GREAT Set of Arms
Looking through my website, I recently realized that there is a major lack of "muscle-building" content...especially from a guy who spent over a decade competing at the highest level of drug-free bodybuilding and still continues to train as if he's at the top of the game.
More often than not, my articles center on fat loss (rather than muscle gain) because let's face it..the "weight loss" industry is a lot bigger than the "muscle gain" industry. More people are interested in losing weight. So I write to the numbers.
BUT...not everyone is focused on fat loss all the time. Sometimes, we’d like to know how to build a bit of muscle...whether it be adding some size or just improving the look of a body part.
Regardless of what camp you are in...fat loss or muscle gain...we all should know by now that the best path towards fat loss is by enhancing muscle. So in reality, any muscle building article I put up is relevant to both camps. Sadly, many of the "weight-loss" individuals out there are still brain-washed into being "cardio-first" people.
Let's Build a Great Set of Arms
If you read last week's post, you know that I train at MANY different gyms. I have a sick home gym, the facility I work out of (No Limit Fitness in Brookfield, CT), NYSC in Danbury, and World Gym in Brewster. As you could possibly guess, there are a lot of really impressive competitive bodies in each of these gyms. Not just bodybuilders, but figure and bikini competitors, BJJ and MMA fighters...even today's high school and college athlete.
One thing I notice while watching each of them work is that, even though all of these athletes train in a different way, most of these elite competitors have really great arm development.
I mean HEAD-TURNING, LEAN AND MUSCULAR ARMS!
Being surrounded by such greatness has made me want to get back to what I was. I've always had pretty decent arms, but over the last few years my training has been very different in its focus...so my arms are a little smaller than they were when I was competing.
Unlike my more genetically influenced body parts (calves, for instance, which I don't really have to train much at all and they still maintain most of their size and shape), my arms don't just exist...they need to be influenced. They’re a product of hard work and time under tension...meaning using weight lifting exercises and techniques that directly stimulate the biceps and triceps.
I believe anyone can have a really great set of guns, and, thankfully, it’s really not hard to do...especially if you have the right plan.
My current arm workout consists of three supersets. Each superset is intended to hit the muscles from different angles (position of flexion) and recruit different muscle fibers (working both red and white fast twitch). By alternating exercises for biceps and triceps, time is managed and more work is able to be included.
Here is what my actual workout looks like:
Superset 1 is focused on the Big, Heavy Compound Movements. These exercises involve multiple joints and muscles and have the most influence on muscle growth. So I prioritize them by putting them first within the workout when I'm strongest. The heavy weight forces me to recruit more white fast twitch muscle fibers; which have the largest propensity for growth. With these movements and workout, I will also need more time to recover. So rest periods are a little longer here. I perform 5 sets of 5 reps using a heavy weight, and resting 60-90 seconds between EACH exercise.
A1) Chin-Ups or Underhand Pulldowns: 5 sets x 5 reps
A2) Floor Press or Closegrip Bench Press: 5 sets x 5 reps
Superset 2 is focused on Basic "Midrange" Arm Movements. These exercises are more isolation based, but are considered the "bread and butter" exercises for big arms. I perform 3-4 sets of 8-10 reps for each exercise, alternating with only 30 seconds of rest in between B1 and B2 and 60 seconds rest between B2 and restarting at B1.
B1) Barbell Curl: 3-4 sets x 8-10 reps
B2) Lying Extensions: 3-4 sets x 8-10 reps
Superset 3 is time for some High-rep isolation work. This last superset provides maximum muscle building variety. I actually alternate two different supersets from workout to workout. One workout, I include a superset where most of the tension is in the contracted position of the exercises, while in the other workout I include movements where the bulk of the tension is in the stretch position. All of these movements work the target muscles intensely. I perform 2-3 sets of 12-15 reps for each exercise, alternating with zero rest between C1 and C2 and only 30-60 seconds of rest after C2 and restarting at C1.
Workout 1 (Stretch Option)
C1) Incline Dumbbell Curls: 2-3 sets x 12-15 reps
C2) Overhead Rope Extensions: 2-3 sets x 12-15 reps
Workout 2 (Contraction Option)
C1) Spider Curls: 2-3 sets x 12-15 reps
C2) Pushdowns: 2-3 sets x 12-15 reps
A nice set of arms looks good on anyone. It helps a man look strong and the woman look sexy. It also helps a woman look powerful and the man look hot.
But great guns come with a price: you have to put in the time and the effort.
You've got the workout...now you just have to put in the time and effort.
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