3 Things You Need to Consider If You Want Big, Muscular Arms

Build big, muscular arms

These concepts are simple. But the fact is, if you want to build more muscle in less time you need to train at a hardcore bodybuilding gym. Click here and receive your own Gold’s Gym membership. 

These three considerations will help you design an arm building program that will make the muscles of your biceps and triceps bigger and more muscular and help you bust through your plateau of stalled muscle growth. The end  result will be building big, muscular arms.

1. The Triceps Are a Larger Muscle Group Than the Biceps

The triceps are made up of three separate muscles on the back of the upper arm while the biceps are made up of two relatively small separate muscles on the front of the upper arm.

By simple virtue of the fact that the triceps are made up of three muscles rather than two makes them approximately 33% larger than the biceps before considering muscle fiber arrangement, primary function and aesthetic value.

Because the muscles of the triceps are designed and most used for pushing, pressing and elbow extension, they are more prone to muscle growth than the biceps.  The relatively heavy loads that the triceps endure while bench pressing, overhead pressing and while performing arm extension exercises stimulates muscle fiber growth and development.

Measurement of Big, Muscular ArmsThe biceps are two small muscles that are not as prone to growth as the triceps.  They are designed for arm flexion and are called upon to assist when performing pulling movements such as rows and pull ups.

The muscle fibers of the biceps are generally not as thick or dense as the muscle fibers of the triceps which leads to slower muscle growth of the biceps.

In order to build large, muscular arms, all muscles of the biceps and triceps should be exposed to varying degrees of stress and workloads.

However, by placing priority on the muscles of the triceps through pressing and arm extension exercises, you will find that the overall circumference, size and thickness of the arms will increase much more rapidly than by placing the most emphasis on the biceps.

2. Over-training the Arms Will Halt Muscle Growth

The muscles of the biceps and triceps are used in just about every compound exercise that is performed.  Therefore they are already exposed to stress during most workouts and don’t require an abundance of additional work.

Performing an excessive amount of sets and reps of biceps curl variations and endless sets of pressing and triceps movements will result in over-training that can bring your upper arm muscle growth to a screeching halt.  Not only will overtraining the arms result in slowed muscle growth but it can lead to injury that will prevent you from being able to perform your workouts at the required intensity required to stimulate muscle hypertrophy and build big, muscular arms.

Fibers of big, muscular armsInjuries sustained as a result of over-training or overuse don’t always manifest themselves as pulled or torn muscles.  Cumulative micro-trauma of the muscle fibers can minimize contract-ability and flexibility and lead to extended periods of delayed onset muscle soreness.

Also, tendinitis of the elbows, wrists and shoulders are all common overuse injuries that can impede growth of the arms muscles by limiting the amount of stress that can be placed on the appropriate muscles.  Inability to perform targeted exercises at the appropriate intensities presents a significant barrier muscle growth.

3. You Need To Isolate For Optimal Muscle Growth

Cautious execution of isolation exercises that target the muscles of the biceps and triceps are essential for building large, muscular arms.  While it is true that big compound movements place a degree of stress on the biceps and triceps, complete and total development of the upper arms can only result from the intelligent use of isolation exercises that specifically target the muscles of the upper arm to build big, muscular arms.

In order to prevent over-training and overuse injuries and to ensure optimal growth of the biceps and triceps, isolation exercises should be used at appropriate frequencies with moderate volume.

Pains near and surrounding the joints are an early and important indicator that an injury is occurring or is right around the corner.  When pain is noticed it is time to back off and reassess.  One of the biggest mistakes people make is working through injurious pain and then sustain injury and experience lack of muscle growth.

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Exercise Programming For Big, Muscular Arms

Considering that you will be bench pressing and overhead pressing once per week, the below exercises, sets and repetitions are a guideline on how to stimulate muscle growth of the upper arms with minimal risk of over-training.  Keep in mind that your triceps will be exposed to stress while performing your big compound pushing and pressing lifts, therefore you don’t have to go overboard with isolation exercises. This example should be performed once per week for best results.

Close Grip Bench Press

3 to 5 sets of 8 to 12 repetitions with a moderate weight

Parallel Bar Dips

3 to 5 sets of as many repetitions as possible with body weight

Once you can perform bodyweight for 12 repetitions, add weight with a dip belt

Overhead Triceps Extensions

3 to 5 sets of 10 to 15 repetitions with a light weight using continuous tension


Arm Blaster Curls for Big, Muscular Arms
Arm Blaster Curls for Big, Muscular Arms

Your biceps will experience a degree of stress when you are performing pulling exercises like rows and pull ups.  Therefore you do not need to annihilate the biceps when targeting them with isolation movements. 

Biceps Barbell Curls

3 to 4 sets of 8 to 12 repetitions with a moderate weight

Hammer Curls

2 to 3 sets of 8 to12 repetitions with a moderate weight

Arm Blaster Curls or Preacher Curls (Read more about arm blaster curls here)

2 to 3 sets of 12 to 15 repetitions with a light weight using continuous tension

When you are planning your workout program to build big, muscular arms, you need to carefully consider that the triceps are larger and more prone to growth, over-training will seriously limit your growth potential and the careful execution and implementation of isolation exercises are required to fully develop the upper arms.

But the fact is, if you want to build more muscle in less time you need to train at a hardcore bodybuilding gym. Click here and receive your own Gold’s Gym membership. 

About Kristoffer Perry

Kris Perry is a former competitive powerlifter and certified personal trainer. He currently works as a police officer in the state of Maryland and is the physical fitness coordinator and consultant for the Annapolis Police Department. He also works as a fitness consultant and health and wellness freelance writer and blogger.

View all posts by Kristoffer Perry →

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