Almost everybody at the gym wants bigger arms. Period. Big arms are one of the most desired body part out there.
Despite hitting the gym, having the diet, supplementation, rest, etc, on point, far too people simply aren’t achieving the bigger arms they desire.
And there are a myriad of reasons for why they fall short, but the most common one I see at the gym all boils down to training too lightly.
Most of these tips aren’t anything new; but they have all benefited me in my sidequest for bigger arms.
How to Get Bigger Arms
Tip One: Progressive Overload
It goes without saying.
However, having said that, most lifters–natty and enhanced–need the constant reminder to train harder than last time.
Thousands of discerning lifters out there don’t train harder enough to stimulate muscle growth — especially for bigger arms, which requires more attention.
Perplexed, several lifters bemoan the hours-long workouts they dedicate to the gym, when in actuality, they crank out pitiful workouts.
In the meantime, they spend far too much time chatting, gossiping, flirting, cruising social media, and the like instead of actually pounding those pounds.
Their fingers might be getting a workout on their phones, but they fail to bring the intensity to the table — and bigger arms become a pipedream.
You’ll be pleasantly surprised how much you could gain just by training hard. In fact, the number one reason why gymgoers aren’t seeing the results they want is because they train like pussies.
I see this in every single gym I go to.
When you actually train hard, people will admire you, respect you.
Stop training like a pussy, and actually gain some bigger arms.
Tip Two: Compound Lifts
Again, this is a generic tip, but following on from Tip One, I am recommending this tip because people simply don’t train hard enough.
Compound lifts were indispensable in getting big arms for me, as a natty lifter.
Picture this, what do you think will put more size on your tris: close-grip benching 2 plates a side for 10 reps or a 95lb skullcrusher for 10?
Both exercises serve a purpose, but handling heavier compound loads will carry over to your arms.
You should absolutely do isolation work as well, but throw in another day of upper body compound lifts.
A Sample Arm Workout
It could look like this:
Day 1 Arms (Compound lifts):
Close-grip bench press w/ bands or chains
Inverted Bodyweight Rows w/ bands
Smith Machine JM Press
Day 2 Arms (Compound lifts):
Barbell Rows w/ bands or chains
Phillips’ Press (Military press from pins)
Chins w/ bands
This leads me to bigger arms Tip Three: The Squeeze or Pause
Tip Three: The Squeeze or Pause
Different lifters will apply different tempos when lifting their weights.
Some prefer greater time under tension, while others opt for a more explosive pattern.
Whichever you may be, there is great benefit to be had from squeezing or pausing at the top of a lift.
For bicep-dominant exercises, such as preacher curls or chins, a squeeze at the top of the contraction can go a long way in gains.
Of course, as this is fairly tiring, save the squeeze for your last rep or only for a split second at the top of each rep.
In tricep-dominant exercises, a pause between each rep, stretching the tricep, can a LONG WAY in muscle and strength gains for the lifter.
When you tricep pressdown, try pausing for 1-3 seconds at the top between each rep, then hold for 10-20 at the end of the set until it burns.
For exercises such as the bench press, JM press, skullcrusher, etc, try pausing an inch above your typical starting position, also stretching the tricep.
A similar principle is introduced in the sample workouts provided above; that is, the addition of bands and chains.
Since the muscles in the arms are relatively weaker than the other muscles in a compound lift, adding a band or chain to increase tension throughout the movement to develop speed and to increase the load your arms have to deal with to complete the exercise.
Bands and chains are often favored by powerlifters to increase lifting velocity at higher relative loads throughout the lift.
But there is a lot that can be added to spice up your arm regimen.
You can use bands to increase tension in your arm isolation exercises, too.
Kneeling curls with bands or chains are one option; tricep press downs with a band is another.
And finally, for bigger arms: Tip Four: CHEAT!
Tip Four: CHEAT!
Yes, you read that correctly — cheat!
The aim of the game is to train hard and to progressive overload.
This isn’t a license to cheat all of your reps.
It is a license to get bigger arms.
But kipping on your final bicep sets to get the extra volume in is good, actually.
If you don’t have the energy to do your exercises strictly towards the end of your workout, you can kip slightly to add momentum to your curls.
This is ugly, but it’s also progressive overload.
Although people don’t tend to progressive overload enough, they tend to oversaturate their training with too much volume.
Here’s an opportunity for progressive overload without doing a Rich Piana (RIP) style 8-hour arm workout which no ordinary person has time to do.
And attempting to get bigger arms than the late Mr. Piana would be extremely difficult for most.
The same applies for your tricep press downs: if you feel prematurely fatigued in your working set, engage your lats slightly to crank out the final few reps.
You are forbidding yourself extra gains, by when you strict form fails, you end the set. Just because your muscles can’t hit that weight in isolation doesn’t mean you should abandon the set.
Add all four tips together and I guarantee you, you will gain strength and size in your arms.
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