Training: Put an Inch on your Arms with this Routine?”
– CB ARM TRAINING FOR SUCCESS
The Pulse fitness facility at McMaster University has
lots of great equipment (power racks, power platforms, and
heavy dumbbells), hard working student-athletes, a nationally
competitive bodybuilder, and a former WWF wrestler. But
one thing that is not necessary is the small individuals
that walk around with their sleeves rolled up as if they
were sporting 20-inch guns. Well this article is dedicated
to them, in hopes that it might help them bring their arms
up to what is more likely 15-inches.
After all, one of a bodybuilder’s goals is big uns/arms/pipes/whatever
you call them, but does anyone really know what is the best
manner to develop your best biceps and triceps? To get a
picture of how difficult it is to add an inch onto your
arms, consider this quote from noted Canadian strength coach
Charles Poliquin, “To add an inch on your arms you must
gain ~ 10 lbs.”.
Now obviously that will vary among individuals based primarily on their
present size, but you must realize that big guns are not
built on triceps kickbacks and concentration curls alone.
In fact, scrap those pathetic light-weight exercises for
a while and get with this program. No wait a minute, there
is one other option: Use only those exercises for a month
and see how much muscle you lose on your arms, then try
this program. It will only make the CB ATHLETIC program
look that much better.
First off, you must re-examine your training schedule.
If you are on a 5-day per week program training 1 body part
per day, stop and change things up. If gaining size on your
arms is the number 1 goal, get ready to drop back to a 4-day,
and preferably a 3-day per week program. Don’t worry, you
won’t get fat and you won’t shrivel up. What you will do
is rest, recover, and grow. So your 3-day split will be
as follows (resting 1 day between each workout)…
1 = Chest + Back + Abs
2 = Legs + Arms
3 = Arms + Shoulders
Day 1 = Chest + Back
Day 2 = Legs + Abs
Day 3 = Arms + Shoulders
Day 1 = Chest + Arms
Day 2 = Legs + Abs
Day 3 = Back + Arms
Day 1 = Chest + Back
Day 2 = Legs + Arms
Day 3 = Arms + Abs
the 4-week assault on your upper limbs you need to cut back
on your arm specific training to ensure that all possible
adaptation (growth) can occur. If you regularly include
low-volume workout weeks, take it here, if not, perform
only 1 arm workout. By the end of this 5th week
the results should be strikingly obvious (i.e. tight sleeves,
fitness chicks hanging off you, calls from Mr. Olympia for
training tips, etc.).
training details: You cannot neglect the proper workout
parameters. This refers to the optimal number of sets, reps,
and exercises, the tempo of the lift, and the actual exercises
to perform. First, we will set a limit of 2 exercises each
for the biceps and triceps. Next, perform no more than 4
sets, preferably only 2-3 all-out intense efforts to failure.
the tricky part, determining the number of repetitions.
Fortunately at McMaster there is a lot of great research
and professors including Dr. Digby Sale who tested untrained
students that performed biceps curls for sets of 12 with
one arm and for sets of 3 with the other arm.
the end of the training program there was very little difference
in muscle growth between arms and suggests that the repetition
spectrum for growth is highly variable. While this may go
against the suggestions of other trainers and strength coaches,
there are certainly great benefits to be had by training
with both high and low repetition sets.
here is the best recommendation: Whenever the arm training
follows another body part, perform 1-2 exercises for 3 sets
of 10-15 repetitions. When the arm training is the focus
of that training day, perform 4 sets of 4-8 repetitions
for 2 exercises. The best of both worlds as both size and
strength should increase.
here is a brief recommendation for exercise tempo. Perform
the concentric (i.e. up part of a curl) movement explosively
and lower the weight (eccentrically) under great control
(3 second count). Both of these tempos will recruit type
II motor units and will stimulate the type II fibers to
grow (as most research show these can grow to a greater
extent than the type I fibers). Always perform a sufficient
warm-up prior to your explosive movements.
you have a surefire program foundation for growth with almost
any body part and all that is remaining are some suggestions
for specific exercises. While there are plenty of mainstay
arm exercises to keep us happy, have you ever gone to a
busy gym and realized the phrase “necessity is the mother
of invention” could never be more true? How can you get
a solid workout in when the machines you want are packed?
Well, this first triceps exercise was created from this
type of situation (and the other exercises are just ones
with proven effectiveness).
Dumbbell bench press
identical to the regular dumbbell bench press but a slight
change in hand position and exercise technique makes for
the triceps emphasis.
on a bench and hold the dumbbells at chest level and at
shoulder-width with your palms facing one another. When
you perform the chest press, emphasize the elbow extension
(triceps movement) by pushing straight up, rather than by
using the chest to push up and in. Lower the dumbbells to
chest level and always keep the dumbbells very close to
the body, do not let them move out to the sides as you would
in a normal dumbbell press.
effective triceps exercises
to Per Tesch in “Target Bodybuilding”)
narrow-grip]: stresses the long and lateral heads
stresses all 3 muscles if palms are turned down at bottom
of the movement
bar]: stresses all 3 muscles
curl + “Palms-up” DB curl superset
key here is to fatigue your forearms first with the hammer
curl and then do a modified version of the biceps curl for
maximal tension to be applied to the biceps muscle. By keeping
your palm up in the biceps curl you maintain constant tension
on the muscle (because the biceps functions to turn the
curl: Hold dumbbells at sides, palms facing in to the body,
curl the weight to shoulders bending only at elbow. Slowly
lower to the starting position.
biceps curl: Choose a light weight as your grip should be
exhausted by now. Turn
your palms-up and curl the weight to shoulder level.
The incline of the bench should be between 45 and 75 degrees. Sit with the
head and entire back resting against the pad and hold dumbbells
(DB) at the sides with the arms fully extended. Curl the
DB’s up to shoulder level BUT/ keep the elbows stationary
and the palms supinated (turned up). After curling the weight
up, lower the DB’s at the desired tempo (speed of movement)
and repeat for the given number of repetitions.
CB ATHLETIC CONSULTING