The Arms WorkoutBy Adam Sinicki
Building a powerful physique is about paying equal attention to every muscle group in your body and crafting each part individually. However while it's important to look at the body as a whole that doesn't stop people from having favorite parts. And for a very large number of men one of the most popular body parts is the arms. The arms are a part of the body that are always visible, they are a part that is highly useful and they are popular among women. No wonder an arm workout is at the top of many gym goers' lists. And it helps too that for most people a good arm workout is quite a satisfying and enjoyable thing to do in the gym (unlike abs where it feels like you are never really doing anything...). That said for most people an arm workout is still something of a mystery and many people don't really know how to go about it. Here then we are going to look at how to do a powerful and effective whole arm workout that will blow your guns up like balloons.
Anatomy of an Arm Workout
First of all, recognize that an arm workout is distinct from a biceps workout. A biceps workout you see is just one part of an arms workout and doesn't even train the largest muscles in the arm. If you are doing a full arm workout then you will need to train the biceps as well as the other muscles in the arm to get your arm looking amazing. Better though is to spread your arm workout over a few days and do different arm muscles on each day as this will mean you can really go at it and hit those parts hard.
The major muscles that make up the arm workout are: Biceps Triceps Deltoids Forearms Working all of these is crucial because if you just have massive biceps with no triceps then your development will be lop sided, your arm will look ridiculous (like a skinny arm with a bulge) and your joints will suffer. Meanwhile if you want to make your arm look amazing even when it's straight then deltoids and triceps are what you need (deltoids are very important for that ripped model look - notice how the bulge of the shoulders makes the arm appear more defined). Your triceps are meant to take up 2/3rds of the thickness of your arm so these really are more crucial than biceps in the arm workout.
Making the Arm Workout Intense
Now on to the most important bit – not the arm exercises, but how you are going to abuse those arm exercises to make sure that the arm really hurts. You see if you just go through the motions of doing '3 x 10' curls even though you could do more then that just won't cut it. What you need to be doing is '3 x 4' curls – because the weight is so high you can't do any more, then forcing out two extra ones so that it really hurts (using your other arm or getting a friend to do it), then doing another two extra ones on a low weight, then quickly pumping out some pull ups after wards... on every set. And if it's working then do more than three sets... just keep going.
Don't come into your arm workout routine with a piece of paper with it all laid out for you. You do that and you'll end up being too regimented and your body will 'plateau' as a result of lack of variation and you'll end up losing pump as you wait for certain machines to become free. At the same time you won't be in tune with your body – the best guide to tell you how to do your arms workout is your own body. If it hurts then you're doing it right.
Things to Make Your Arms Routine More Intense
So when you're doing your arm workout you'll only need a through arm exercises which we'll come to in a moment. What's important is making it hurt and for that you can use the following techniques taken from the Joe Weider Training Principles. These techniques for a massive arms workout are:
Partial Reps: Instead of just curling a weight, instead curl it from the bottom to just half way and repeat this until you're close to failure – then go to the top half of the movement and do that for the same number of reps (or as close as you can get). Then end by going through the whole range of movement but don't expect to do more than like one....
Super Sets: Super sets are a great cornerstone of any arms routine. Their goal is to eradicate rest periods from your workout. They do this by simply getting you to switch to another workout while you wait to go back to the first. So you might do 10 curls, then 10 pull ups then right back to the curls. For a whole arms routine though, another strategy is to switch between say shoulders and biceps or triceps and biceps. You half the length of your arm workout and get more in as a result too.
Drop Sets: Every time you think you can't do anymore, you take one weight off the dumbells and continue going. So you're going past failure in a big way and by the end you'll be struggling to do one curl or kick back on 5kg (a sign of a good arm workout).
Giant Sets: Doing just loads of different weights, speeds and exercises and counting that as one set.
Right got the general idea? Make it so that your actual arms are crying (some people call that sweat...). And here are the actual exercises you can use to do this with... Separated into the particular muscle groups that make up the arms. I'll add to these arm exercises over time, so make sure to keep coming back.
Curls: It's hard to beat the classic curls. Here you simply take your weight in hand (with an underhand grip) and bring it up to your shoulder. There are plenty of arm exercises that are based on variations of the classic curls though, such as...
Chin ups: Here you hold onto a pull up bar with an underhand grip and pull your chin up to it. Simples. Variations include one arm pull ups – which you can learn by jumping up with the movement.
Tricep Kickbacks: Possibly the most popular arm exercises for triceps. Here you slowly swing the weight backwards so that your arm goes from a right angle to a straight line. Usually you lean with the other hand on a bench. Go light and focus on technique (one of the few times you'll hear me say that).
Tricep Pushdowns: Another hallmark of a good arms workout. Here you use a cable curl machine and then push down on the handle, but again doing so by pivoting on the elbow rather than using your weight.
Tricep Pullovers: Lie on a bench as though you are going to do a bench press, but then bend at the elbows and bring the bar back behind your head (you'll need it much lighter) and then straighten the arms again.
Skull Crushers: These delightfully named arm exercises are not for the faint hearted. Essentially the same as pullovers – except you hold the weight over your skull and touch it onto your forehead. Usually involves a narrower grip.
Narrow Grip Push Ups: Like it sounds. By going narrower you involve your pecs less and triceps more.
Tricep Extensions: Stand up and hold a light-ish dumbbell as though you're going to scratch your back with it then extend it out over your head.
Dumbbell Runners: This is essentially a standing up bi-lateral tricep kick back. While you kick back with one arm though, you hammer curl the other like you're doing a slow-motion Bay Watch run. Great for arm workouts because they train both the biceps and triceps.
Shoulder Press: Simply take the dumbbells or barbell and press them directly over your head. You can use the 'Arnold Press' variation by using dumbbells and twisting them in to face each other as you do the motion.
Incline Bench Press: Simply bench pressing in a far more upright position so that it is almost a shoulder press.
Forward Raises: Hold dumbbells and swing them up directly in front of you.
Lateral Raises: Hold dummbells and swing them upwards out to the sides (keeping your arms straight). You'll need relatively light weights for these arm exercises.
Hand Stand Press Ups: For the coolest arm workouts...
Wrist Curls: Hold a light dumbbell on your knee and then curl using just your wrist.
Finger Board Pull Ups: Pull ups where you use your finger strength to grip onto a very narrow ledge – such as the edge of a plank of wood.
Note: To really add size to your arms, try having a go at rock climbing and you'll very rapidly see growth.