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How many times per week to train arms? What body parts to work out on what days? How to get bigger arms? These are questions I receive a lot.
There are many strategies that will work to grow arm size. But one of my favorite ways that seems to work long term ( I have been training arms consistently for 35 years ) is to work your arms one and a 1/2 times per week.
What this means is once per week train your biceps and triceps with a very thorough, intense session; leaving nothing on the table. Totally exhausting them to complete failure. My recommendation for that work out is…
Perform a set of biceps to failure and then a set of triceps to failure. During the entire workout alternating between bi’s and tri’s
2-3 sets to failure of each exercise. Focusing on quality versus quantity.
Adding a little bit of weight to each set and shooting to get to failure around 12 reps for the 1’st set then 10 reps for the 2’nd and 8 reps for the 3’rd set.
Rep speed is slower for the first set ( 3-1-3-1 second rep tempo ), quicker for the second heavier set and even quicker for the 3’rd slightly heavier set.
3-4 exercises for each biceps and triceps
Now 3-4 days later I would recommend getting in what I call a 1/2 of a work out. My definition of a 1/2 work out is doing 2-3 exercises for biceps and triceps each that were different than the ones used for the work out performed earlier in the week.
This workout is designed more for the pump & blood flow versus lifting heavier weights to tear the muscle fibers down. We have found that this “1/2 workout improves the mind muscle connection. Below are some tips on a smart strategy for this “1/2 workout”.
2-3 sets of 2-3 exercises
use the same weight for each set. Shooting for failure in the 12-15 rep range, keeping the rep speed slow ( 3-1-3-1 second rep tempo ) for each set. Alternating between biceps and triceps sets
and focus on stretching and posing after each set
make sure to use different exercises than the ones you used earlier in the week to assure muscle confusion.
Tale of the Tape measure – Measure your Arms after your arm workout. Set a goal to increase that “pumped” size by 1 solid inch in 6 weeks. Utilize these techniques and focus on good nutrition / supplementation. Most people try a lot harder when they have a specific, measurable goal.
Second reason why we use the tape measure is to gage how our recovery, nutrition and supplementation strategy is working. Measure the arms cold, before an arm workout. And then again after the workout. I know that I can usually add 1 inch to 1 1/2 inches to my arms during a good arm workout. I want you to do the same. See how many inches you can add to your arm during a workout. Now when you change your carb intake strategy for your workout in the future, you can have a way to measure whether it worked or not. If the amount of size on your arm during a workout increases, then your strategy was effective.
My Favorite Arm building exercise – When building size on the arms, do not neglect the triceps. The triceps size potential is more than the biceps. So if you are only doing biceps exercise you are really limiting the size of your arm.
Lying dumbbell extension may be my favorite arm exercise. Below are some good tips that were covered in the video.
Raise shoulder blade off of bench on the working arm side
on the negative ( bringing dumbbell down ) part of the movement attempt to drive the elbow up to the ceiling slightly. This will increase the stretch on the tricep.
Exhale as you straighten the working arm, drive the pinkie up to ceiling for first 1/2 of movement, keeping palm and back of grip/knuckles facing your feet and head. Then on the second 1/2 of movement twist forearm so back of grip and knuckles rotate to walls on each side of you.
Tips to get the most out of each set of biceps and triceps
Go for the last 2 – 3 reps that you never thought you could get. Intensity is everything. While using your breath to release the pressure in your head work on the mind muscle connection of the target muscle. Think like you are squeezing water out of a sponge on each rep.
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