Almost every guy at the gym has one thing in common. They want monstrous arms. They want to have baseball sized biceps with the horseshoe tricep. Muscle Mass, Density, and Aesthetic Appeal is what most male athletes are chasing. In this article we are going to go over 5 Tips to Build Bigger Arms.
Supersets involve working two opposing muscle groups in succession without rest. Not only does this increase your time efficiency in the gym but it allows you to target multiple muscle groups within a given training session. For example, performing bicep and tricep movements back to back is a superset because the bicep is the antagonist to the tricep. You may find out that your endurance is sub par, however after a couple Superset Workouts you will come to love them.
In this video Fitness Model Brian Casad shows us an intense Superset Arm Routine that is geared to put some serious muscle mass on your arms.
Time-Under-Tension or TUT for short is essential for growing any muscle group. TUT refers to the period of time that your muscles are under tension. This includes the time spent in the concentric phase, peak contraction phase, and eccentric phase. For example, if you perform a set of 10 reps, where each rep takes you 3 seconds to complete, then your muscles experience 30 seconds time under of tension. Alter your rep time to 6 seconds and the muscles experience 60 seconds of TUT. This extra time translates to more work done by your muscles, converting to increase in size and muscle mass.
If you believe in training with heavy sets only, you will soon learn that lifting lighter and increasing the TUT your muscles experience can translate to serious muscle growth. Remember that your muscles don’t know what your lifting. Whether your lifting a 30lb. dumbbell or a 50lb. dumbbell, your muscles simply feel mechanical tension that comes from contracting the muscle under the load.
What is the Optimal Length of TUT for Muscular Hypertrophy?
Legendary Coach and Training Pioneer Charles Poliquin focused on manipulating time under tension in his training methods. He found that the optimal ranges for muscular hypertrophy were between 30-70 seconds. For functional hypertrophy that focuses on strength and size. Poliquin recommends training on the lower end of that spectrum, around 30-50 seconds. Controversially, if you want maximum hypertrophy without an emphasis on strength, train on the higher end of the spectrum, around 50-70 seconds.
Compound vs Isolation Movements
Do you know the difference between a compound and isolation movement?
A compound movement is any exercise that engages two or more different joints to fully stimulate entire muscle groups and, indeed, multiple muscles. For example, Squats, Deadlifts and Bench Press are the major compound movements.
An isolation movement also know as a concentration movement in weight training, is any exercise that involves only one joint and a limited number of muscle groups. For example, bicep curls, tricep extensions and pectoral flies are common isolation movements.
It is highly regarded by bodybuilding athletes that compound movements are the foundational step to increasing muscle mass and size in the shortest time possible. Compound exercises help build a basis for strength and strength is directly proportional to muscle mass. This is why strongmen, powerlifters and bodybuilders have such a high percentage of muscle mass. On the other hand, isolation movements allow for the aesthetic appeal that many athletes strive for. The concentrated tension and control during isolation movements allow you to sculpt a particular muscle. Both movements are vital for building muscle mass and size. In comparison, compound movements are needed to build huge arms with massive amounts of strength. But it is the isolation movements that allow for the athlete to have the aesthetically pleasing arms.
Here is an example, Bent Over Barbell Rows are a compound movement that not only engage your lats, rhomboids, rear delts, traps, but even your biceps. This type of movement is great for building up strength and density in your back and arms. Preacher curls on the other hand are an isolation movement that focuses on the brachialis muscle, which is part of your lower bicep. The brachialis aids the flexion of your elbow. The Bent Over Barbell Row will build a meaty bicep that is extremely strong. While the Preacher Curl will define and sculpt the bicep specifically, to give it that shredded look.
Overtraining Killing Your Gains!
You know those guys that are always hitting arms when you walk into the gym? Day in and day out they blast their arms with workouts and put them under long durations of stress with little to no rest days. Well 9 out of 10 times these athletes will never see progress in their arms. Overtraining heavily diminishes the Muscle Protein Synthesis process which is one of the most important factors in the rebuilding process. Muscles grow and rebuild during rest periods. If you never give your muscles ample time to recover, then you will most certainly never see progress.
Do your arms ever feel sore after Chest or Back Day? This is due to the fact that you are utilizing your arms as a secondary muscle group in both cases. Throughout most compound movements your arms are utilized to assist in both pulling and pushing motions. This is why you are never supposed to train biceps right before back or triceps before chest. Due to this recruitment of arm muscles in all most every training day, they are very easy to overtrain.
If you have the typical 3 Day Split Push, Pull, Legs and want to throw an arm day in there. We recommend that you do arms right before leg day. This allows your arms to have leg day and the following day to recover. Giving your arms ample time to go through Muscle Protein Synthesis. Allowing you to get the most muscle mass out of your training.
Proper Nutrition Is Vital for Clean Bulking
Bulking is a controversial issue in the bodybuilding world and each has their own side. Some believe it to be the only way to effectively build muscle, while others see it as the past. The latter believe that if you eat properly and effectively then you can gain muscle without blowing up your body fat percentage. While the former believe that you have to eat big, to get big. It is a combination of the two that allow for bulking, but there are two forms of bulking, dirty and clean.
Involves eating an extraneous amount of extra calories from any food. This allows for muscle growth with a sever increase in body fat percentage. Dirt bulking is problematic because it causes unhealthy eating habits. For example, consuming to much junk food and cheating on diet to often. In addition, eating over excess amount of calories can drop insulin levels severely. Causing the to body burn less fat and build less muscle. In short, Dirt Bulking allows for less effective muscle building.
Alllows an athlete to effectively build muscle without a severe increase in body fat. Clean bulking is accomplished by a proper meal plan, consisting of a healthy diet without eating over excess. This is not to say that Clean Bulking does not involve eating more calories than you burn in a day. Rather that instead of eating 120% or 150% of your total daily energy expenditure your eating 110%. This slight increase ensures that you are not under eating but more importantly not over eating. This is essential to build lean muscle without packing on extraneous amounts of fat. This type of bulking also calls for 80% of the total daily diet to come from whole, minimally processed foods.
If your looking to pack on serious muscle mass to your biceps and triceps then you need to bulk effectively. That means adopting proper eating habits. Clean Bulking will allow you to build muscle while reducing the normal body fat percentage increase that is accompanied with dirty bulking. So set yourself up for success by creating an effective meal plan to build muscle.
The Bottom Line
In order to build those massive arms that almost every guy desires, you have to do so effectively. Following these 5 simple tips will ensure that your building muscle mass and size in your arms:
- Increasing muscle’s Time-Under-Tension
- Focus on Compound Movements
- Not Overtraining Arms
- Creating a Clean Bulking Lifestyle
The culmination of these will allow any athlete to build muscle effectively in not just their arms but overall muscle gain.
Looking to get big? Check out the this article on “The Fundamentals of Building Mass“