How can you get huge arms? How can you grow your biceps and triceps? I know you want to get these. I’ve been there, and I’ll tell you how I got them. Bigger arms don’t just look big; they look more muscular. They play a critical role in a man’s appearance. Biceps are usually called “beach muscles.” It is common to see people at the gym skipping leg days repeatedly, focusing mainly on training their arms to look better.
I had a hard time increasing my arm size, but I did it.
If you want to grow your arms, it is essential to give them an adequate training volume without overtraining them, while using a strict technique focused on the mind-muscle connection. Finally, you have to combine a high-protein diet and proper rest so that the muscle fibers regenerate and grow.
There comes the point in your training program where you have the opportunity to work individual muscle groups. These will help you increase the size of your arms during strength training. This way, you will be doing a complete workout, thus seeing progress in your arms. Now is the time.
How can I make my skinny arms look bigger?
Everyone thinks that to have giant arms, you only have to train your biceps. They couldn’t be more wrong.
If you want to make your arms look bigger and more imposing, the fundamental thing is to train your biceps and triceps very intensely by directing more blood into the muscles. A key part to looking bigger is prioritizing the triceps—they account for almost two-thirds of the arm size.
What do I have to eat to get bigger arms?
The fundamental thing to increase muscular mass im the arms—and generally in all your musculature—is to have a high protein intake. According to a study published in the journal Nutrients, the recommended protein intake to achieve muscle hypertrophy should be between 1.4 and 2 grams protein per kilogram of body weight.
Here are seven tips for growing your arms while increasing your strength using basic exercises.
How to get bigger and stronger arms
Find the right training volume for you
You must find the right volume of training for your body and lifestyle. There is a direct correlation between weekly training volume and muscle size.
If you have not achieved your desired results, adding a few sets or reps to your routine is the answer.
A study with people who regularly train compared the biceps and triceps’ muscle growth when performing 6, 18, and 30 weekly series, respectively. After eight weeks of training, they found a correlative response in muscle growth from increasing the sets performed.
This study emphasized that a greater volume of training leads to more significant muscle growth.
That does not mean that you should spend hours in the gym doing a thousand repetitions of biceps curls. Overtraining is in contradiction to the muscle gain you want.
First of all, keep training with the volume of sets and repetitions you have, but do so at a higher intensity. By intensity, I mean resting very little between sets, and lifting enough weight to complete the planned repetitions through a lot of effort.
Try to increase your total volume week by week if you don’t notice growth in two months. You can add one more series each week, a few more repetitions to each set, or increase the number of exercises gradually.
You should be able to do approximately 20 sets a week for both triceps and biceps. Finally, you should also consider the compound exercises that activate these muscles indirectly.
Give priority to the arms
If your priority is to increase arm size, start your training sessions with them.
All the experts have always recommended to start your routine with compound exercises, and then move to the isolated exercises.
Suppose your priority is to increase the size of your arms. In that case, you should plan to train them at the beginning of your routine. It has been proven that we can see more remarkable progress and muscular development in the first exercises of a session.
Spinetti collaborators conducted a study in 2010 comparing two groups:
- One group performed the compound exercises before performing the isolation exercises.
- The second group started with isolation exercises.
They found that the second group had more significant muscle development in the triceps.
Other authors have been able to replicate these results, concluding that, if an exercise is essential to an individual’s fitness goals, they should perform it at the beginning of training. It would be best to do this whether dealing with a large or small muscle, or an isolated or compound exercise.
Work toward progressive overload
In addition to having an adequate volume and routine, you must ensure that you have a progressive overload over time. That means that you should make some progress compared to the previous week.
You can progress in various ways; you do not necessarily have to increase the weight every week. Overloading can happen when:
- You rest little time between sets
- If you improve your technique
- If you rest a short time between exercises
- Finally, if your relative effort is less to complete the same number of repetitions
For these reasons, you should try to keep the same basic exercises in your routines, and not attempt eccentric exercises or change each routine’s movements. You should maintain your training routine for at least two months.
By having a solid base of exercises, you will measure the overload week by week and make sure that your arms grow. If you apply these tips, you will be much closer to getting results.
Use a strict technique
Low, heavy repetitions – six or seven, for example – are not suitable for the arms. These muscles are too small to achieve optimal results with power-type movements.
Arm training requires strict movement if you want to increase your arm size.
It is much more important to execute the arm exercises with a strict technique. If we lift a lot of weight with impulses and bounces, we will never develop our arms.
Look for the mind-muscle connection
The complete runs, the stretching in the initial position, and the maximum contraction in the final rep, all while doing everything under control, are parts of the muscle-mind connection. This exercise in complete isolation is what I call a “controlled intensity” technique. But no forced repetitions, superseries, or descending series—these are all things that, in my opinion, leads to overtraining the arms.
I don’t worry about not involving the forearms in the training. My forearms develop right away and can even overshadow my arms if I don’t focus on them. However, if you have poor forearms, you could use the arm movements to emphasize the forearms’ engagment. Either way, it’s an personal decision.
Train your arms intelligently
How have I managed to improve my arms due to applying more stringent and “intelligent” techniques?
Well, let me explain. “My arms are bigger and much denser while, at the same time, I have more “peak” and more veins. I have achieved this by exercing with a moderate weight to control the movement. I also focus on pumping blood to the muscle at all times.
In the past, I could barely see the large vein that runs under my arm. And the more massive the muscles, the more blood is pumped to the muscles by the heart and circulatory system, and thus the more pronounced the veins become. This is real improvement, which includes volume, definition, density, relief, and “peak.”
Going back to genetics, I think many bodybuilders and fitness guys do poorly when training muscle groups that are genetically inferior to others.
When we have a weak muscle group, we tend to train it harder and longer, but that may not always work.
When our nature has given us a powerful muscle group, we usually train it longer and harder than other muscles without feeling the effects of overtraining. But when muscles are genetically weaker, we have to be much more careful.
People with such big arms can afford many sets and repetitions, and still keep growing.
Someone with triceps and biceps of a weaker nature who wanted to train anyway could end up destroying their arms.
Overtraining is the most common mistake made in arms training. If you are desperate to increase your arm size, you will be frustrated by overworking. Don’t train harder instead of smarter.
Now, everyone compliments me on my arms, a muscle group that didn’t stand out until very recently.
I thought I had genetically weak arms, and if I had continued to believe that, I would never have gotten to where I am today.
Instead, I learned to intensely work my arms without overtraining them by reducing the number of sets and exercises, learning through trial and error which movements were most useful, using a strict form, and adopting a better technique.
Bigger arms workout plan
|EZ bar curl||3×10-12 reps|
|Dumbbell biceps curl||3×10-12 reps|
|Sitting hammer curl||3×10-12 reps|
|Inverted biceps curl||3×10-12 reps|
|Rope tricep extensions||3×12 reps|
|French press||3×12 reps|
|Overhead tricep extensions||3×12 reps|
|Tricep kickbacks||3×12 reps|
For this workout routine to be effective, you must maintain it for at least two months and never train your arms more than twice a week.
Train with a weight that makes you use a lot of effort to complete the reps. If it is easy for you, you should increase the weight load.
Best exercises for bigger arms
Below, I will tell you the four best exercises to grow your arms, and how to execute them correctly.
Rope tricep extension
Tricep pulls executed with pulley and rope are an excellent way to exercise the triceps’ lateral and middle heads. You can use a straight or V-shaped bar as an accessory.
It is an exercise during which you can slightly increase the weight, but the rope helps isolate the muscle more, so it will contract better than other exercises.
Don’t forget the most important trick of all before you start training. Turn off your smartphone, and focus on your workout!
- Stand up and tilt your upper torso slightly forward, and hold the position.
- Hold both sides of the rope with a regular grip.
- Bring the elbows to the body, and start the movement with the forearms.
- Keep your elbows close to your body throughout the entire stroke.
- The forearm should execute the motion.
Overhead dumbbell tricep extension
To exercise the long head of the triceps, you have to work with exercises above the head. One of the best movements for this purpose is the sitting overhead dumbbell tricep extension.
- Sit on a bench spacing your legs at the width of your shoulders.
- Hold the dumbbell with both hands and extend your arms upward, with your palms facing the ceiling and elbows near your head.
- Progressively lower the dumbbell and raise it, feeling a continuous tension in your triceps.
EZ bar curl
This exercise is undoubtedly the best among the biceps isolation exercises because it is practically impossible to cheat when lifting the weight.
You can use an open grip to impact the head on the biceps or a closed grip to move the short head.
I recommend a neutral grip, and performing the exercise with a zeta bar
- Hold the bar and lay your arms down firmly.
- Slowly lower the bar until you extend your arms completely.
- As you begin to breathe out, concentrate on squeezing your biceps and lifting your weight back to the starting position.
- At this point, it is essential to tighten your biceps before lowering the bar again.
Sitting Hammer Curl
The last exercise I recommend to strengthen the arms is the curl
hammer with a dumbbell while sitting. With this exercise, we will work the muscle from a different angle, and sitting down will prevent us from helping ourselves with back and leg movements.
- Sit down and grab a dumbbell with each hand, keep your elbows close to your body and back straight.
- Breathe out as you contract your biceps to raise the dumbbells to shoulder height.
- Squeeze for a moment as your contract.
- Begin to release the contraction by lowering the weights to return to the initial position slowly.
When someone asks me for advice because he does not notice the biceps’ contraction, I recommend raising the elbows a little to involve the anterior deltoid and get maximum congestion.
This trick can help you work your biceps better.
I recommend including these exercises in your arm training to see real results. We must always train with intensity and do the full course in each workout.
Training essentials to gain muscle mass in the arms
- Execute your specific arm work more effectively by choosing only 2-3 exercises per muscle.
- Perform them with high repetitions and more series. Instead of doing a bunch of arm exercises, focus on getting four sets of 12-15 repetitions.
- It seems that people get caught up in working for the smaller muscle groups at specific angles.
- Don’t get obsessed with different exercises. Instead, worry about the volume and intensity of the workout. That is essential to increase the size of your arms.
- The intense, concentrated work done with simple, more traditional movements will give you results.
Compound exercises to increase your arm size
Building a strong back requires you to have strong arms. If your arms get tired before you can finish a set of chin-ups, then you will never develop that powerful back.
By adding chin-ups to all your workouts, you will build muscle and strength. I suggest doing a mix of pull-ups with palms facing you, and also palms away from you. Implement this exercise at the end of your workout.
You should always do it after all your other multi-joint exercises, but before the specific arm work.
It varies between lower reps with added weight and higher reps with bodyweight only.
You may be interested in “How to get a wider back? All my secrets.”
If you can, try to deadlift with an Olympic bar using the proper technique. You can also do it with dumbbells, but always with the right technique.
This way, we will work only on the target muscles, and avoid an injury. Or, simply alternate these two exercises from week to week.
Either way, you have to do this exercise for at least one training session a week.
My two main reasons for including this exercise are grip and tension. The deadlift intensely works all the muscles involved.
Therefore, your arms have to grab the barbell with everything you have. Few exercises require this type of activation of your forearm.
Signals are sent to your body that will awaken your inner Popeye without the need for spinach.
Let’s not forget about tension. Muscular people are prone to create tension throughout their bodies.
After a heavy deadlift, I can feel my pectorals go into a spasm.
That means that, although you can feel the dead weight in your legs or core, your arms are holding the weight.
The tension that builds up in your arms is tremendous. Simply stabilizing that weight is incredible, and will lead them to experience gains.
3- Flat Bench Press
A heavy session should be 1 to 3 repetitions. This means that you literally cannot do more than 1 to 3 repetitions with the weight on the bar.
The other banking session should be something I call Russian volume training. Russians like to apply a lot of volume to specific workouts.
That means that you could be doing bench press every day.
I can’t entirely agree with the prolonged use of this method. One of my main points of disagreement is that it puts too much stress on my shoulders.
However, more volume is acceptable within a workout, as long as you allow the muscle to rest afterward.
For that bench press workout, it should be ten sets of 10 reps with a weight that allows you to complete all of them.
This type of training will call for a ton of arm activation, especially in the triceps.
Brando Lilly, an excellent powerlifter with superhuman strength, says he has never met a guy with a big ass who was weak.
If you’re going to insist on having an “arm day”—a whole session devoted to exercises for them—try starting with squats.
I must say, I don’t advise an arm day. I think it’s a waste, because time is such an important commodity and to train for an hour without doing a big muscle is a lost opportunity.
Working large muscles via squats releases essential hormones that keep your body balanced and growing.
I recommend adding five squats sets before you start hammering your arms to stimulate the release of hormones into your body.
You may think that you are working when doing heavy arm training, but when was the last time someone did a pull up while only using the biceps?
First, you have to stimulate the central nervous system before you can start working the arms.
That will increase both your energy levels and arm strength.
5- The Airdyne stationary bike
Although I believe there is a time and place for a treadmill, and I like to row, the Airdyne bike presents a unique opportunity to pump up on the arms.
The combination of rocking that occurs while doing cardio on the Airdyne stationary bike is ideal for the arms.
Balancing lower body distribution and upper body involvement will allow you to perform a high-volume workout.
Plus, just using your arms to move the handlebar will help push them to their limit.
Errors when training the arms
Years ago, I was not satisfied with my arm development, and it was not because of lack of training. In fact – that was a major part of the problem – I didn’t understand how small the biceps and triceps were, and how easy it was to overtrain them. I had to spend a lot of time working on my biceps and triceps, and did not see any progress until I started rethinking my training and realized what I was doing wrong.
What were my mistakes?
- Using excessive weights
- Working with a lax style
- Thinking about the weight instead of what the muscles were doing
- Doing too many sets
- Not realizing that chest and shoulder workouts also involve the triceps, and that working the back means the biceps
I used to do 16 to 20 sets of biceps and triceps. With everything that the upper body workout already entailed, it was enough to make those two muscles content, as they were then going to grow and develop.
I also used a loose style, as if I needed power training to develop the biceps and triceps. The worst example of all was curling with the bar in a push style, swinging the weights so that the deltoids and forearm did most of the work.
I think my biceps were weaker than my triceps because I did the heavy curl primarily with a barbell, and gave more variety to the triceps. However, my workload on the triceps was too large, and the muscles suffered as a result.
Don’t overtrain your arms
I do not believe in a large volume of bicep and tricep training, after learning from my past mistakes.
You have to work the arms hard, get to the bottom of their fibers, and then stop to give them a chance to recover and grow. I now train my arms using relatively high reps during my volume and pre-competition periods—between 12 and 20, depending on how I feel, but I don’t do many sets or excess exercises. When it comes to arm training, a little goes a long way, and going too far would mean overdoing it.
Instead, focus precisely with two to three series of two to three biceps exercises, with 12 to 20 repetitions. Add three series of three to four triceps exercises, with 12 to 20 repetitions, for a maximum total of 14 series. You’ll be set.
I do not count the repetitions and I guide myself by feeling. I keep doing repetitions until the muscle has fully congested, and I see that it has reached its deepest fibers.
But, I never reach total exhaustion. I think that is a mistake when it comes to the arms. Training such small muscles this way could destroy them.
When it comes to arm development, don’t worry about your genetics. You may never develop a bicep peak-like Schwarzenegger’s, or have Sergio Oliva’s triceps. The idea is not to look like someone else, but instead to reach your full potential. So, if you’re not making the kind of progress you want, don’t do more of the same.
Techniques for perfect arm training
If you want to increase your arm size quickly, you have to follow these rules:
- Avoid overtraining. Working the biceps and triceps too often, with excess sets and reps and heavy weight, is the worst mistake you can make when training your arms.
- Intensity techniques. Superseries, descending series, or giants are not necessary for developing small muscles like the arms. You can overtrain them more easily this way.
- Don’t think about weight when you train your arms. Focus on arm extension and contraction.
- Train your arms strictly. Always with isolation and concentration, feeling the tension of the exercise.
- Do not train your arms to exhaustion. Never; neither in training, nor in any series. These muscles are too small to be treated that way.
Finally, we have demonstrated some steps that you can take to increase the size of your arms and make them stronger.
Remember that your body works as a system. When all the parts are in tune and ready to workout, your results will be better.