Let’s be honest: When it comes to nice, juicy arms, some of this is going to come down to luck of the draw and having the right parents. We’ve all met people in the gym who are printing off tickets to the gun show like they’re going out of style, but have never touched an arm day once in their life. So I decided to come up with three arm day training tips to overcome your genetics.
Genetics are an important factor that must be recognized. And that’s what makes this even more helpful to read. If you’ve got the short end of the stick where genetics are concerned, it’s going to take a gym-based approach to get the guns you’re looking for. And it’s probably going to transcend doing some triceps pressdowns and biceps curls. It’s got to do with how you incorporate arm training into your routine overall. Don’t worry—we got you with these three simple arm day training tips that will get your pythons growing.
Think Cumulative Volume
Instead of just scheduling an “arm day” in your weekly split and going to town, it’s better to think about how much weekly arm training you’re getting as a whole. Adding some smaller mini-workouts to your other training days in addition to your weekly arm day can go a long way in triggering new growth.
Try this: After your chest day, back day, shoulders day, and leg day, add 3×10 of any 4 of the following movements (2 biceps, 2 triceps):
- Weighted dip
- EZ-bar curls
- Dumbbell hammer curl
- Skull Crusher
- French Press
- Preacher Curl
Perform Compound Movements Big for Growth
This doesn’t mean lifting heavy weights….exactly.
It means thinking of movements from a more compound perspective. Patterns like rope pulls, rows, farmer’s walks, and close grip bench press have one thing in common: They’re pretty big lifts. And yes, they’ll enable you to move pretty heavy loads which complements the nature of these patterns.
For the most part, they also involve lots of time under tension because it takes longer to get from Point A to Point B. This will make your forearms, delts, biceps, and traps blow up as a result. Can you think of anyone who does really heavy loaded carries, very often, who has really skinny arms and shoulders?
Include These Exercises In Your Arm Day Routine
Simply changing the angle of the upper arm can open up a world of difference to the stimulation you receive—and the muscle in question.
Grow Your Biceps
As far as biceps go, you’d be doing them a disservice if you don’t include one staple exercise into the picture: chinups.
Not only will chinups make your V-taper look awesome, they’ll also better involve the brachialis muscle (especially if you use a neutral grip), which lays under the biceps and can help increase arm thickness when developed. Unless you’re hammering away at hammer curls, it’s unlikely other variations will attack this muscle enough to trigger significant gains. Chin up variations will be king.
If you can’t do chins, then throwing in some flexed arm hangs for that top end time under tension can go a long way in both developing your arms, and helping you progress toward your own chin ups. And the steps are simple: Keep your chin over the bar for 20-30 seconds in deep elbow flexion.
Grow Your Triceps
For the triceps, it’s important to realize that stimulating the long head can often be the missing link to their gains. Remember: The triceps don’t only extend the elbow—they also extend the shoulder, based on the attachment point of this long head (up high on the scapula). Now, this has been discussed above (the French press was mentioned as a good exercise to supplement with), but you can also exploit the overhead position by manipulating some old classics. Taking a skull crusher, for instance, and adding a pullover component is a great way to hit both long and lateral heads of the triceps. Take it a step further to do it with dumbbells.
You can also incorporate the long head into your triceps training by simply thinking about the physics and angle of your press. Adjusting pressdowns, for instance, to incorporate some shoulder flexion (resulting in the need for shoulder extension under load) is a great way to do this, as an example. Some will write it off as “bad form”, but it all depends on the context to which the exercise is applied.
To summarize, take these simple arm day training tips to adjust your arm routine to elicit gains. If you apply these tactics for six weeks, you’ll certainly see an improvement in their overall aesthetic, and you’ll be splitting sleeves in no time. Just make sure to always carry a license for those huge guns.