Everybody wants bigger arms and we get that. But the thing many dedicated bodybuilders tend to forget is that regardless of how great it feels to have greatly developed biceps, you shouldn’t neglect the rest of the muscles in the arm. In fact, if you want to build truly admirable arms, you need to train every muscle in the arm with the same volume and intensity as you do your biceps.
Nobody admires guys with ridiculous muscle imbalances, so it’s crucial to create a balanced approach to training arms that won’t leave any muscle behind. Here are our suggestions.
The Anatomy Lesson
Arm Training for Maximal Growth
#1. Tricep Dips
- Approach the machine with your arms fully extended on both sides, then wrap your fingers around the outside of the parallel bars with your thumbs on the inside.
- Your wrists should be angled so that they allow the elbows to bend backwards.
- Hold your body at arm’s length with arms nearly locked above the bars.
- Slowly lower yourself down with an upright torso until your biceps touch your forearms and your triceps are fully stretched. The elbows should stay close to your body.
- Press yourself up, squeezing your triceps.
- If you’re a beginner, perform 3 sets of 8-10 reps. As your strength increases, progress to 5 sets of 10 reps.
#2. Rope Triceps Pushdown
- Pick a moderate weight and attach a rope attachment to a high pulley on a cable machine.
- Grab both ends of the rope with a neutral grip (palms facing each other) and stand upright with a straight torso and a very slight inclination forward.
- Bring the upper arms close to your body and have your forearms point up towards the pulley.
- Squeeze the triceps and pull the rope down, bringing each side of the rope away from the other and to the side of your thighs until your arms are fully extended and perpendicular to the floor. Only the forearms should move while the upper arms remain stationary and close to the torso in order to eliminate any momentum.
- Hold for a second then bring the rope to the starting position.
- Perform 5 sets of 12-15 reps.
#3. Preacher Curls
- Find a preacher bench and rest your upper arms on the preacher bench pad with your chest firmly against it.
- Grab an EZ curl bar (have someone hand you the bar or grab it from the front bar rest) at the close inner handle with your hands slightly tilted inwards
- Keeping the chest and arms firmly in place, hold the bar at shoulder length.
- Slowly lower the bar until your upper arms are fully extended and your biceps are fully stretched.
- Squeeze the biceps and curl the weight up to the starting position, in line with your shoulders. Hold this position for a couple of seconds, then start lowering the bar again.
- Perform 3 sets of 8-12 reps.
#4. Dumbbell Overhead Extensions
- Stand up with feet at shoulder-width apart, holding a dumbbell with both hands with your thumbs around it, palms facing up towards the ceiling.
- Use both hands to slowly lift the dumbbell over your head until both arms are fully extended.
- Keeping your upper arms close to your head with elbows tucked in, lower the dumbbell behind your head until your forearms touch your biceps. Make sure that only the forearms move and the upper arms are stationary.
- Squeeze the triceps and slowly lift the dumbbell back to the starting position.
- Perform 3 sets of 12-15 reps.
#5. Reverse Cable Curls
- Set the cable attachment on a low pulley and hold the bar with an overhand shoulder-width grip with palms facing down.
- While holding the upper arms stationary and keeping the elbows close to the torso, curl the weights up towards your head while contracting the biceps until they are fully contracted and the bar is at shoulder level.
- Hold the contraction for two counts while squeezing the biceps, then very slowly bring the bar back to the starting position. This part of the movement should take 3-4 counts.
- Perform 5 sets of 12-15 reps.
#6. Dumbbell Hammer Curls
- Stand up with an upright torso, holding a dumbbell in each hand at arm’s length with the palms of your hands facing your torso.
- Hold your upper arms stationary and keep your elbows close to the torso. Only the forearms should move.
- Curl the weight forward while squeezing the biceps until the dumbbells are at shoulder level.
- Hold the contraction for a second, then slowly lower the dumbbells back down.
- Perform 3 sets of 8-12 reps