|Erik Schreiber||Fri, Jan 20, 8:42 PM (3 days ago)|
|to Erik, bcc: Customfit360de.office|
“How do I get better arms?”
I get this question all the time. Sometimes we get folks who just want to get jacked arms, mostly though, we see people who are looking to achieve better tone. I’ll answer the question for both crowds here.
Here are five things you can do to get the arms you want.
1. Eat Properly
Surprised this one is first? Don’t be. Nutrition is the foundation of everything when it comes to fitness, function and overall health. If you want to build larger muscles, you’ll need protein. And if you’re looking to increase tone and definition, you’ll need to reduce body fat. To drop fat, you must have your nutrition dialed in: You can’t eat excessive amounts of food and lose fat, you have to take an active, mindful approach and take some ownership of your goals and your nutrition.
We have nutrition experts who can tell you exactly how to eat for your goals, but here’s the short, general version: Prioritize protein, and look to whole foods like fruit and veggies before processed, fatty foods with lots of added sugar.
2. Lift Heavy Stuff!
To build some toned arms, you need to lift enough weight to cause the muscle to grow. That means the last reps in any set should be challenging or near failure. This is relative to everyone’s current ability and strength levels but If you do a set of 8 biceps curls and the last rep felt very easy, you’re probably not lifting heavy enough.
You need to “feel the burn” and challenge yourself! That safe stress will trigger your body to grow new muscle to adapt to the work you’re asking it to perform. Muscle growth is called “hypertrophy.”
In the past, people often saw bulging bodybuilders and worried that heavy lifting would turn them into behemoths covered in veins. That just doesn’t happen without very hard, very specific training (and often anabolic steroids). So don’t worry that heavy lifting will make you “bulky.” Lifting heavy is exactly what you need to build muscle and achieve great arms.
How heavy should you go? That depends on the movement and the sets and reps you’re doing. A coach can give you an exact plan—and we’ll talk about that below.
3. Do Arm Movements
This seems obvious, but we’ll point out something most people miss: You shouldn’t just focus on the biceps if you want great arms. Sure, the biceps are prominent, but you can’t forget all the muscles of the forearms and the triceps on the back of the arm. Deltoids are considered shoulder muscles, but they still help move the arms, and you should work them, too. In fact, it’s my opinion that toning the deltoids is what really helps to accentuate the bicep and tricep.
Hundreds of movements can be used to train these specific muscles. You can use barbells, dumbbells, bands, cable stations, body weight and household objects. A lot of times people will use “single joint” or “isolation” movements to train the arms. Think biceps curls, triceps extensions, delt raises and so on. However, it is the opinion of this author that most of your core programming should come in the form of compound movements, with concentration work as a compliment. Concentration movements can be great if you want to target very specific areas. For best results, I suggest that you have the right quality and quantity of both but let’s talk about those compound movements!
4. Do Compound Movements
Compound movements work many muscle groups at once and involve several joints. Think about a pull-up, for example. It requires the elbows and the shoulders to move, and it trains a host of muscles at once.
Isolation movements are great, but don’t think you aren’t training your triceps in a bench press or your shoulders in a barbell press. You’ll get a huge bang for your buck with compound movements, and we use them regularly in the gym. As an added benefit, compound movements usually involve the muscles of the core and sometimes even the legs. That means you can improve your whole body even if you’re mainly focused on your arms.
A few great compound movements for arms: pull-ups/push-ups, chin-ups, bench presses, shoulder presses, bent-over barbell rows and any variation of these movements. Cable pull downs, banded pull ups, DB (dumbbell) presses and more.
5. Change Your Routine up
If you always do the same thing, your body will adapt for a while and then stop adapting. But if you change your routine at appropriate times, your body will keep adapting to new stresses and you’ll get the results you want.
That means you might do 3 sets of 8 reps of barbell biceps curls with 20 lb. for three weeks, then switch to 3 sets of 12 reps with DB Hammer curls with 15. You’ve increased your volume, changed a variable in the exercise to DB and therefore should see additional adaptation after several week’s until you change it again!
You can adjust the weights you use, the reps, the sets, the movements, the rest and the number of times you train. But it’s not random. You need to make the right changes at the right time. I could write a huge book on that (in process), and we carefully tailor workouts to our clients so they get results. I’ll just say this to get you started: Change up your routine at least every four weeks to ensure you don’t hit a plateau.
Get to Work!
There you have it! With these five tips, you’re well on your way to better arms.
I’ll even give you a simple workout:
2-3 sets of 8 reps of cable row followed by lying triceps extensions (rest 60 seconds between sets)
2-3 sets of 8 reps of DB Chest Press, followed by 8 reps of alternating DB curl
2-3 sets of 8 DB hammer curls to overhead presses, this is called a combination movement (rest 60 seconds between sets)
2-3 sets of 8 dumbbell bent-over rows to triceps kickbacks (rest 60 seconds between sets)
On the days that you’re not with your fabulous trainer, come in and try this out and then hit the rower or bike for 20!