If the legs are the foundation of the physique and the abs are the centerpiece, then the arms are the added features or the special accessories. The rest of the physique can look amazing but the biceps and triceps are what complete the masterpiece.
What makes a pair of arms truly great are size, shape, and strength.
Getting stronger on arm exercises aren’t much of a priority for many but it should be. That strength can translate to other major movements and maximize that potential residing under your sleeves.
This is a 30 day specialized program for the upper arms.
After one month, you should see that they look better, got bigger, and feel stronger as a result. Want more details? Keep reading.
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The Arm Workout Overview & Exercise Tips
This might not look like most arm workouts you’re familiar with. This one starts with one of the two muscles in the upper arm and you move on to the other. So you will do all four sets for the biceps before you start with the triceps. If you feel that your triceps are weaker or not as developed as the biceps, start with the triceps movement instead.
There will be different techniques incorporated throughout the workout so don’t simply look at the plan and assume you can go do it. Read the tips for each exercise and work them into the program when you’re doing it so you can get the best results.
You will do this workout every five days over the course of the next month. So when you create your overall training plan, figure out how to train around those arm days. If we’re looking at a 30 day calendar, your arm workouts would be on days 1, 6, 11, 16, 21, and 26.
The Growin' Guns Workout
|Close Grip Bench Press||4||8|
|Cross-Body Hammer Curl||3||10|
|One Arm Overhead Extension||3||10|
|A1. Incline Dumbbell Curl||3||12|
|A2. Diamond Pushup||3||12|
|B1. Angled Handled Cable Curl||3||20|
|B2. Rope Pressdown||3||20|
The first three sets of this workout should not result in failure at any time. Add weight between sets so you build up to that final set which will be your heaviest. When you go for that last set, the goal at that point is failure. If you are able to do 9 reps, you went too light. If you successfully get 8, add weight next time you perform this workout. If you’re not able to get at least 5 reps, you went too heavy.
After you perform that last set, slightly lower the bar and hold it there for at least 10 seconds. Your biceps will be flexing hard and could even be burning but tough it out. After ten seconds, put down the bar for ten more seconds. Pick it up, perform one rep, and do that hold again. After your second hold, you’re done.
Close Grip Bench Press
Your hands should be at least shoulder-width apart on the bar. Don’t put them any closer because lifting with your hands closer can take its toll on the wrists and elbows which is what we don’t want.
Perform the first three sets as you did with the barbell curls. Build up for that final set. When you go for the final set, have a spotter on standby to assist if necessary. As for that last set, when you reach that final rep, hold the bar at the top for 10 seconds and squeeze the triceps as hard as you can.
Rack the bar, wait 10 seconds, and take it back out of the rack. Perform one more rep and do another 10 second hold at the top. If you prefer, you can do the Smith Machine version of this exercise instead of using the traditional barbell method.
Cross-Body Hammer Curl
The key to this one is speed of the reps. There should be no explosive lifting or dropping of the weights. Take two seconds to lift the dumbbell across your body and two seconds to lower it back down.
Choose lighter weights to start with and determine how strong you are with this exercise. You should be approaching failure by the 10th rep but still be able to get it.
As for execution of the reps, hold the dumbbell near the top of the handle instead of in the middle. This can help you keep tension on the biceps and brachialis throughout the entire rep.
You can do all the reps with one arm before switching to the other or alternate arms until you’ve done all the reps for both. That’s up to you and either way will prove successful.
Single Arm Overhead Extension
You can do this with either a dumbbell or with a cable. There are benefits to both. Dumbbells force you to stabilize the weight which can increase strength. If you opt for this method, hold the dumbbell the same way you did for the hammer curls.
The cable can help you keep tension on the muscle throughout the entire rep which can fatigue the muscle faster. If that is the way you choose, don’t use an attachment. Hold the end of the cable and perform the movement that way.
Regardless of which way you prefer, start with your non-dominant or weaker arm so you can work that side with more energy and focus. Two seconds up and two seconds down with each rep is best.
Incline Dumbbell Curl
Now we add another intensity method to the madness. Supersets provide a new challenge but also decrease the overall time you’re committed to training. Just remember to make sure the reps you perform are quality so you can maximize the potential for success.
With the incline curls, keep your head back against the bench. You don’t need to watch yourself do these in the mirror. You look great, I promise. Keep your head, shoulders, and back against the bench.
When you curl, twist those hands so the pinkies are higher than the thumb. Your peak is genetically predetermined but this can help you make the most out of what you have.
Don’t worry about increasing weight with these. Go with a challenging amount of resistance for all three sets.
If you determined that your triceps are weaker, start with these before going on to the incline curls. This is one that the mind-muscle connection is going to have to be on point. Position your arms so you feel the triceps doing the vast majority, if not all, of the work when pushing up. Hold the position at the top for a second before going down.
Once you go down to the floor, stop just short and pause for a count of one. Then push up. Try to keep your shoulders directly over the elbows. This will decrease the toll on the joints and keep the focus on the triceps.
Angled Handled Cable Curl
Now we’re getting to the final superset of this program. The angled (or cambered) attachment can help take pressure off the wrists which can help you greatly when finishing off the biceps.
When you take the handle, step away so the pinned weight doesn’t touch the rest of the stack. Curl up and lower the weight down at the same speed. You should flex at the top but keep tension on the biceps at the bottom. Don’t let them relax.
It’s going to be tempting to cheat by the time you get to the last set. If you can’t do the weight you selected with proper form, go down. Form is more important than weight here.
Immediately grab the rope and step away from the weight stack. Lock those arms into your sides. Drive your hands and the ends of the rope down and spread the rope apart at the bottom. Squeeze those triceps hard and slowly let the rope back up.
Keep the same tempo with these that you did with the previous exercise. When you finish this pairing, take a few seconds to flex both the biceps and the triceps. Also keep in mind the decrease in rest time. We’re at the finish so we want to fatigue them and pump them full of blood before leaving the gym to recover. Make sure you finish this workout strong so you can leave with confidence.