Everyone who hits the gym and lifts weights wants to build bigger arms. They spend hours doing push-ups, pull-ups, curls, kickbacks, pushdowns, and all the other awesome exercises meant to develop your biceps and triceps. But are they wasting their time? Are you working your arms the right way? Here’s what you need to know:
Secret: Do Full Body Routines
While it can be effective to focus on developing your arm muscles, the best way to see serious results is to work on your WHOLE body. If you’ve got your routine split into days (chest, back, legs, arms, etc.), you’ll see some good results, but not as much as if you did total body workouts. Total body workouts (like circuit workouts) can deliver results as much as 3% better than split routine workouts. It may not sound like a lot, but it can make the difference between good-looking arms and SHREDDED guns. If you’re not seeing the results you’re expecting with your split-day routines, time to go full-body and get a proper workout that hits chest, back, shoulders, and arms all at once!
Secret: Lift Heavy
We all know that lifting heavy is the key to building serious muscle mass, but what does that mean? Lean muscle mass basically raw size, which is exactly what you want for your arms. You may not develop the sleek, toned look, but instead you’ll have bulging biceps and triceps. You can always tone the muscles later, once you have put on the pounds of mass. When lifting to train your arms, focus on lifting heavy with fewer reps–usually in the 4 to 6 rep range. That’s the best way to grow your guns, and it will help you pack on the muscle mass like a superstar.
Secret: Skip the Extras
If you’re doing a lot of upper body work (specifically push-ups and bench presses for your chest and pull-ups and pull-downs for your back), you may not need to spend as much time on your arms as you are. In fact, your efforts to develop extra arm strength may be counterproductive. You’ll be using up the energy stored in your muscles, preventing you from hitting that total body workout like a superstar. Doing those total body movements will hit every muscle in your upper body, and there’s no need to do extra sets or reps focusing on the big muscles.
Secret: Rest More
Many lifters try to rest as little as possible between sets, as that helps them keep their heart rate up and increases the calorie burn. But if your goal is to build muscle, you may want to rest for longer. Instead of taking a 30-second break between sets, extend that to 90 seconds or so. The longer the rest period, the more time your body has to send fuel and oxygen to your muscles. When it comes time to hit your next set, you’ll have more power to push yourself to the max. It will help you to throw all the force of your muscles into your set–leading to better gains.
Secret: Change it Up
Don’t do the same routine over and over–that’s just going to get your body into a groove and won’t do you any favors in the long run. You need to change things up on a regular basis, at least once every month or two. This will help you to shred your muscles in a new way, attacking the muscles from a totally new angle or with a new exercise. You’ll find that this is the most effective way to see serious results from the time you spend at the gym.