Improve you muscular showcase with these Arm workouts for men and women
Ask anyone with even a passing interest in working out to “show you a muscle” and they will inevitably raise their arm, bend their elbow and flex their biceps.
The biceps and their close cousins, the triceps, are arguably the most famous muscles in the body and very few men would admit to not admiring or aspiring to bigger arms.
The thing is, while a lot of men want bigger, stronger, fuller biceps and triceps, very few ever realize their goal. Poor exercise technique, improper program design, too frequent or too infrequent workouts and trying to develop the arms in isolation are just some of the reasons some guys never beef up their upper arms.
First things first, it is important to realize that it is almost impossible to build big arms without adding muscle mass to the rest of your body. Nature, that cruel mistress, likes everything neat and balanced and she won’t let you hang 18 inch arms off a scrawny pair of shoulders. Make sure you train your entire body and not just your arms if you are serious about filling out your sleeves.
Next, understand that stronger muscles are bigger muscles. Too many exercisers forget how important strength is for packing on muscle size. Light to moderate weights and lots of reps and sets will give you a wicked arm pump BUT don’t do a lot for increasing the size of your muscle fibres. Try to get stronger in the “big three” of squats, bench press and deadlift and your arms will grow by default.
Finally, remember you need to feed your muscles to make them grow. That means you need adequate protein, carbohydrates and good fats, plenty of vitamins, minerals and fibre and lots of plane water. Add in eight hours of sleep per night and you will ensure you are supplying your muscles with everything they need to grow. Failing to eat or sleep properly will stop your progress dead.
So, all of that being said, here are some tried and tested workouts that can add inches to your arms. Pick one workout, do it twice a week for four weeks and then move on to another. Keep trying to add weight to the bar or do more reps to ensure you push your muscles a little harder week by week. Doing the same weights, sets and reps week after week will simply result in maintenance of your current muscle mass and not trigger new muscle growth.
Workout 1 – High Intensity Arm Training – Arm workouts for men and women
Biceps – hang from a pull up bar using an underhand, shoulder width grip. Slowly pull your chin up and over the bar – take 20 to 30 seconds to pull yourself up. Without pausing, take the same amount of time to slowly lower yourself back down to full arm extension. Immediately move onto the next exercise…
Load a barbell with around 75 percent of the weight you normally use for a set of 10 to 12 reps of barbell biceps curls. As soon as you have finished your slow cadence pull ups, immediately grab the bar with an underhand, shoulder width grip and do as many curls as you can. Rest for 15 seconds and do another all out set. Rest for a further 15 seconds and go again. Stop when you have completed 30 reps in total. Rest for five minutes and then move onto the triceps portion of the workout.
Triceps – using the same slow tempo protocol that you used for the pull ups, do a single parallel bar dip. Start at the bottom of the movement and push yourself slowly up into full arm extension and then take a similar time to descend. Immediately move onto the next (and final) exercise.
Load up a triceps push down machine with around 75 percent of your normal 10 to 12 rep weight. As soon as you have finished your slow cadence dip, immediately grab the bar (or rope handle if preferred) and do as many reps as you can. Rest for 15 seconds and then do another all out set. Rest and go again. Continue until you have completed 30 reps in total.
Workout 2 – Escalating Density Training – Arm workouts for men and women
Choose a single biceps exercise and a single triceps exercise. Place them close together to make this workout as convenient and effective as possible. Load up the exercises with a weight you can lift eight to ten times and set your timer for 15 minutes.
Start your watch and do a set of six repetitions of your biceps exercise and then immediately do a set of your triceps exercise. With only a brief rest, go back to your biceps exercise. Continue moving back and forth from your biceps to your triceps exercise while trying to clock up as many repetitions as possible in the prescribed time. At the end of the 15 minutes, make a note of the number of repetitions you have completed and do your best to beat this score when you repeat the workout.
Workout 3 – The Singles Club – Arm workouts for men and women
Using an online calculator or smart phone/tablet app, calculate your three repetition maximum for barbell biceps curls and narrow grip bench presses. This is a weight with which you can do three reps but not four. Load up the bars and place the curl bar next to the bench press. After an appropriate warm up, do a single repetition of the curl and then a single repetition of the bench press. Rest exactly 60 seconds and then do another rep of each exercise. Keep going until you have completed 10 repetitions of each exercise or you are unable to safely complete another single. If you managed all ten reps then put the weight up by a kilo or two next time. If you didn’t get your ten, use the same weight for your next workout but strive to get all the required reps.
There you have it three very different workouts that are all equally very effective. Each one is hard but that’s why they work. Building bigger arms is not an easy task but that’s why a relatively small number of men actually have good sized arms. Work hard, work smart and you too can add significant size to your upper arms.