If you tell me one of the main reasons you started lifting is for any reason other than big arms then I’m going to call you a liar. Sure, maybe you were in athletics and started squatting or whatever. But we all wanted to build a great set of arms, because that’s what we thought the ladies liked.
Even though I’ve been lifting for well over a decade now, this hasn’t changed a bit. I still want to constantly work on my arms, because well, the pump is awesome.
I also know I’m not alone here. I work with a number of dudes who look to build bigger arms, and as such we typically spend time going through their previous programs to find out what they’ve been doing, and figure out why it wasn’t working.
And one of the biggest reasons I’ve seen after years upon years of talking with fellow bros is that they neglect some of the basics.
Exercise variety is great, and after a certain point it can really help round out your overall physique, keep you injury free, and make workouts more fun from a mental perspective. But far too many bros start trying to tinker with variety early on.
You have to earn the right to variety.
You can’t just go varying your arm workouts because you’re getting bored. You need to get great at the basics first and foremost. Then after you’ve gotten good at them are you allowed to start doing crazy shit like high rep incline Zottman curls for drop sets.
The 3 exercises:
Close grip bench press.
The close grip bench press is one of the greatest arm exercises that has ever been born into existence. Especially when it comes to building big arms. To understand why, we need to know a bit about tricepz anatomy.
The triceps has three distinct heads, the lateral, medial, and long heads. All three are used for different movements, and working with each one can cause your arms to blow up.
Close grip bench press is a kick ass movement because it maximally recruits all three heads above most any other movement you’re going to be doing. Not only that, you’ll typically be able to use more weight, which allows you to stimulate maximal growth.
Triceps Dip – on parallel bars.
The dip on parallel bars has been a longtime favorite of old school bodybuilders who built shirt-busting arms. And the reason is simple, it works.
Similar to the close grip bench, it works well in recruiting the three heads of the triceps, and allowing you to use heavier weight than you’ll typically be able to use for most other exercises, which means more growth.
However, there are a couple of things to keep in mind: The more upright you are, the more emphasis is placed on your triceps. Just don’t be completely upright, as this can cause harm to your shoulders.
Also, try to make sure that you’re keeping your abs braced throughout the movement, which will help keep your entire body rigid, and make the movement safer.
Close grip barbell curls.
Let’s be real, any version of curls is awesome. But close grip curls do an exceptional job of building massive biceps because they place a bit more focus on the outer portion of the bicep, creating a fuller look to your arms.
Just be wary when doing them because if you’re not careful, you can notice that it will place an inordinate amount of strain on the wrist joint. So it’s a better idea to choose a lighter weight and focus more on controlled tempo vs. just banging out reps.
But why aren’t there more bicep exercises?
I feel you, bro. But look, one of the most fundamental rules of training arms is recognizing the anatomical make up of the arms. Roughly 2/3 of your upper arm is made up of triceps, so if you want to truly build massive arms then it’s in your best interest to spend more time building bigger triceps over biceps.
That being said, still do a fuck ton of curls. Because they’re awesome.