When it comes to areas of the body that most people want to improve the abs usually take precedence but the arms are usually a close second. The problem for many guys who are in the market for bigger, stronger arms lies in exercise selection. There are plenty of people out there who do set after set of dumbbell curls and expect huge results, but there are far better exercises out there for building big arms.
Many focus on biceps in the gym and completely ignore the larger part of the equation when it comes to building big arms – the triceps. The triceps are responsible for pushing movements and account for quite a bit more real estate than the biceps when it comes to overall upper arm size. If you really want to add size to your arms it is critical that you put the work in on triceps and the best exercise to add girth to the triceps is dips.
Hit the dip stand at your gym for 3-4 sets until failure, trying to keep your torso as upright as possible through the entire movement. Once you can hit 15 reps per set consider adding some weight with a belt or weighted vest to make the movement even more intense.
An added bonus to sips is that they are also excellent for building your chest. Performing 3-4 sets of dips during two workouts per week will not only add mass to your arms but it will help the overall development of your upper body.
Close Grip Bench Press
This is another compound movement that can be fit in on chest day that will blast your triceps. Simply get on the bench as you would to perform a traditional bench press, but move your hands closer together on the bar (approximately ten inches apart). Having your hands closer together redirects the stress of this movement from your chest onto your triceps (though the chest will get some work as well).
Start off this movement with a lighter weight as it can take a little getting used to (you will not be able to handle the same weight as you would on flat bench press do to the smaller muscle taking the brunt of the work). If you are using free weights work with a spotter as you increase weight to ensure that you are safe.
Grab a pull up bar with your palms facing you and pull yourself up until your chin reaches the bar. Perform the movement in a slow and controlled manner – no rocking, swinging or swaying for a killer bicep workout.
Just as with dips, hit the chin up bar twice per week and shoot for 3-4 sets to failure. When you can hit 15 controlled reps, add some weight with a belt or a vest and watch the peaks of your biceps get higher.
Like dips, chin ups are a compound movement. In addition to giving your biceps one heck of a workout, chin ups will also work to broaden and strengthen your back giving you better development throughout your upper body.
Hammer curls are a super effective but very underutilized bicep movement. To perform hammer curls stand with your feet shoulder width apart with a dumbbell in each hand. Curl the dumbbell up toward your shoulder as you would with a traditional dumbbell curl but without rotating your hand (at the end of the movement the dumbbell should still be parallel with your body).
Eliminating the hand rotation works the bicep in a slightly different fashion that a traditional dumbbell or barbell curl and works the muscle of the forearms as well providing more bang for your buck with each repetition.
You don’t need to devote an entire day (or days) in the gym for arms to get the best results either – add your close grip bench and dips into the day where you are focusing on your chest and add chin ups and hammer curls into your back workout day.
This type of split will allow for maximum development without adding unnecessary hours to your workout week.