Sunday, November 23, 2008

How to Build Bigger Arms

It's what most men want, bigger arms. The muscles that make up the upper arms are the "show off" muscles. Whenever asked to flex, men usually contract the biceps. So how should one go about building bigger arms? The answer may surprise you. Most guys think they need to perform endless sets of bicep curls and tricep exercises to develop the area. In fact, they've probably read magazines and articles taht encourage it and see guys at the gym doing an entire workout just for their arms. But what a waste of time and energy! There is a much more efficient way to workout the arms without doing so many isolation exercises.

First off, start with your base of support, which is the core or the spine. Think of your body as a tree with branches. The tree is your spine & core muscles. The branches are your arms. If the branches of the tree were to grow to large, the tree will lean over and possibly collapse. The body works in a similar way. It will not allow your arms to get any bigger if it doesn't have enough musculature or core strength. This is your body's way of protecting itself from injury. Perform exercises that strengthen your lower back and abs before anything else. Exercises such as deadlifts, overhead squats, lower back extensions, supermans, and abdominal exercises like the plank are all a good start for building that base.

Secondly, add muscle to your entire upper body. According to fitness expert Pavel Tsatsouline, you need about 15 pounds of lean upper body muscle to add just one inch to your arms. If you're taller, it's probably more. Therefore, it makes sense to focus on the exercises that build upper body mass in order to add inches to your arms. For biceps, concentrate on multi-joint exercises such as pulldowns, pullups, and rows using an underhand grip. For triceps, focus on exercises such as the bench press, shoulder press, and dips. These exercises will add mass to your upper body and at the same time put alot of tension on your biceps and triceps, more so than just doing a bunch of isolation exercises for each.

Lastly, do some isolation exercises for your biceps and triceps to get the most out of your arm building program. For biceps I recommend preacher curls, standing bicep curls, and concentration curls. For triceps, I recommend bench dips or tricep dips, tricep extensions, skull crushers, and close grip bench presses. I recommend you do about 3 sets of 8 to 12 reps for biceps and triceps. That's it. You don't need to do anymore.

In conclusion, to build bigger arms, start building a stronger core, follow with upper body training, and the finish off with bicep and tricep exercises.

Carlos Torres is a certified personal trainer with a Bachelor's of Exercise & Sports Science. For questions , email him at and check out his website

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