Think muscle and what body part comes to mind – you got it, arms. After all, when someone asks you to show them your muscles, they don’t expect you to flash your quads at them. They want to see your biceps.
Simply because the arms are the showcase muscles of the male human body. We size guys up by the look of their arms; the vascularity of the forearms, the fullness of the biceps muscle belly, the horseshoe definition of the triceps.
Gyms the world over are full of guys obsessed with huge arms. You see them hoisting tremendous amounts of weight with terrible form on barbell curls, dumbbell curls and any other variation of curl that the muscle mags have invented. The vast majority of them end up with nothing back lower back pain for their efforts.
In this two-part guide we will present to you the ultimate guide to packing mass onto your upper arms. But, be warned. This program is like nothing you’ve seen before. It is, quite simply, brutal. It uses a lot of pull up bar movements that will shock your biceps, especially, to sit up and take notice. So, only read on if you’ve got the guts and strength to handle it.
In Part One, we’ll lay out the theory behind the program. Part Two will present the details of the program, showing you exactly what you need to pack a half inch of solid muscle onto your arms in the next six weeks.
Building arms to impress isn’t rocket science – but it does require an intelligent plan. And that plan starts with a little anatomy.
The arms consist of three distinct muscle groups:
The front upper arms consist of three muscle:
- The biceps brachii
- The brachialis
- The brachioradialis
The biceps brachiis is made up of two heads; the long head ad the short head. The short head attaches to the front of your scapula and comes straight down to attach to the radius forearm bone. The long head has the same insertion points but takes a longer route through the upper arm to get there.
The brachialis runs from the mid-point of your arm down to ulna bone of the forearm.
The brachioradialis is located on the outside lower portion of your arm. It connects to the humerus and radius bones.
The key joints involved in working the front of your arms are the shoulder joint, the elbow joint and radial ulnar joint. By using this last joint to rotate your forearm, you are able to pronate and supinate the the arm to work the biceps differently.
Working the front of your arm will always involved some sort of elbow flexion. Supination of the forearm by twisting it from facing the thigh to facing directly forward, allows you to work both biceps functions. Supination is especially when striving to build up the long head of the biceps muscle.
The best way to hit your brachialis is with neutral grip training, such as when doing hammer curls. A fully pronated grip, with the palm facing down, the focus of your work will be on the brachioradialis, of forearm muscle.
Your genetics will also play a part in how you train your biceps. You cannot change the genetic shape of your biceps, but you can maximize the potential that you were born with. Shorter arms will require les thickness and bicep peak than longer ones to look impressive. Also people who have disproportionately strong deltoid muscles may find it more difficult to isolate the work on the biceps muscles. They will need to find little tricks to isolate the biceps during training.
If you want truly impressive arms, then you need to give attention to the forearms. Forearms are another area that are dependent on the genetics that are passed on by your parents. Some people have forearm muscles that go all the way to the lower wrist. This is the result of a long muscle belly. Others have a very long wrist with a bunched up brachioradialis. You can’t change this. You can only accentuate what you’ve been given.
The triceps makes up around 75% of your upper arm. It is made up of three heads:
- The Lateral Head
- The Medial Head
- The Long Head
The lateral head starts on your upper arm bone and comes down and attaches to the elbow. The medial head sits underneath the long head. It also starts on the humerus, or upper arm bone, and comes down to the elbow. The long head of your triceps runs from your scapula (shoulder blade) and comes down to attach on the elbow.
Your triceps constitute the bulk of your upper arms and are what you give you that impressive monster mass look when then are hanging relaxed at your sides. Do not neglect them in favor of the more showy biceps.
When you go from a flexed to an extended elbow position, you are working all three heads of your triceps. A great exercise that directly stimulates all three heads of the triceps is bodyweight dips. When dipping for a triceps, as opposed to a pectoral, focus, keep your body as upright as possible as you move your body straight up and down.
Because the long head of the triceps originates at the scapula, you can move your arm and shoulder around to isolate that long head. When you do any overhead triceps exercise, you are really stretching out the long head of the triceps.
Devising a Plan
We’ve put together an arm specialization program that addresses each of the training considerations outlined above. This six-week program will blast your arms into submission, giving them no option but to grow. Hit it hard, get plenty of rest and protein in between training sessions and you can realistically gain a half inch of solid arm muscle.
You will be training your arms twice per week, with a minimum of 48 hours between each session. Your arms need that time to rest, recover, refuel and grow.
Each session will involve the use of back to front supersets where you work one muscle group and then directly work an opposing muscle group without any rest. So, you’ll do a biceps exercise, then go directly to a triceps movement. There are two key benefits of this training style:
- Scientific studies reveal that you can temporarily make a muscle stronger if you work it’s antagonistic muscle group directly before working it. The reason for this is that the antagonist no longer becomes the limiting factor. Because it has just been stimulated, it is able to contract with more force. So, when you work the biceps, and then immediately go to an exercise for the triceps, your biceps will work more effectively as the opposite muscle group. This will you train with more intensity, placing more stress on the muscle cells. The end result, so long as you get sufficient rest and you feed protein into the muscle, is that you will grow.
- Traditional single set training provides frequent rest periods between individual sets. During that minute or so that you are recovering from your set, there is a significant decrease in the blood flow to the working muscle. This lows down the recovery process. The working muscle will be quite a lot weaker for the upcoming set.
However, when you perform supersets, going directly from a biceps to a triceps exercise, the work that the opposing muscle group is doing is causing the blood to continue flowing at the same rate. You will recover faster and be stronger on your next set.
Super-setting has also been shown to speed up recovery after the workout. When you work the antagonistic, or opposite, muscle group you are assisting the body to get rid of lactic acid, in addition to products that have accumulated in the cell due to the stress of your workout. This excretion process will mean that you will have delayed onset muscle soreness after your workout.
Check back in 7 days to begin your awesome arm transformation.