Who doesn’t see a greatest of muscular arms walking on the street or on the beach by a nice summer day and think they look amazing. Oh yeah, this is what I’m talking about here! Nice pair of “guns”! But if you look closely around you, not a lot of people can say ‘mission accomplished’ from their workout!
Why aren’t they getting great arms? What’s going wrong? A few things. First, so many people try to build their arms and focus way too much on their biceps. Did you know that the biceps is only 1/3 or your upper arms? Yes the other 2/3 is the triceps. If you look at someone with great arms, you probably don’t realize it, but this person has probably got some great triceps. You should give the same attention (if not more) to your triceps to build your arms. By building good triceps your arms will look much bigger, and a lot of people will be envious of you for sure!
Second, you need to have a good technique during your lifting. When you train a body part, like your biceps for example, make sure you feel the pump and you feel your biceps working to the maximum. Stay focused and look at your biceps every time you do a biceps curls. See your biceps working and focus all your attention right there. If you are not feeling your biceps working, pay close attention to your form. Maybe you are using too much of the momentum and swinging your upper body too much, or during your curls you are moving your elbows forward instead of keeping them by your side. A lot of people make this mistake. When you do this you are doing a shoulder flexion, and the stress is not on your biceps but on your anterior deltoid. Be sure when you train a body part, you really feel those muscles working.
I will tell you one thing, sometimes even I cheat during my lift. But not during all my sets. If you do, you will not get all the stress to the right muscles. For example, I will cheat if I do a set of 6 to 10 reps and I use a weight so heavy I am able to do only 8 or 9 reps, I will try to do my last reps by cheating a little bit. I can use the momentum or bring my elbows forward to help me for the last reps. I will use this technique if I don’t have anyone to help me (spot) and I want to push to the maximum. This is fine to finish up, but not for your whole set.
Third, too much or not enough training. What I mean by this is, if you read articles on how to grow your muscles you will see different techniques. Some people say you need to train each body part only once a week. Some will say you need to train 2 or 3 times a week. Which one is right? They are all good. It depends on you. Take me for example. I trained each body part once a week for years. Last year I tried to mix it up and changed my approach, and for 6 to 8 months I selected one body part and trained that one twice a week for 4 to 6 weeks. The next program I select another body part and do the same thing. Wow, I had some great results! I improved my physique big time with that. For me it’s better to target one body part twice a week for a better growth, but it depends on how you respond with your training. The best thing to do is try something different. Make sure you try any approach long enough to see if it’s working or not for you, that will probably be about 3 to 4 months.
Fourth, keeping the same kind of workout. You need to mix it up. Try to do some supersets (2 exercises back to back with no rest in between) for the same muscles. Or some drop sets (complete an exercise with a certain weight and then when you can’t do anymore reps, you lower the weight and continue on). Here you use single reps with a heavy weight with at least 45 to 60 seconds of rest in between sets.
It’s very important to change your program and try something different every 4 to 6 weeks. The last thing you want is see your body adjust to your workout. By mix it up you will keep your muscles growing instead of reaching a plateau.
Fifth, your forearms are part of your arms and you should train them as well. The forearms are the body part that is always exposed to the view of everybody. This is another way to increase the size of your arms and look amazing. The wrist curl with cable or dumbbells is a great way to target the forearms. When you train your biceps, you can add a few sets of hammer curls. The hammer curls target the brachioradialis and this muscle is part of the forearms.
Sixth, your nutrition. For your muscles to grow you need the right nutrition. Without the right amount of protein, carbohydrates (complex and simple) and good sources of fat, you will not be able to make your muscles grow. Now how much protein is right for you? You can read 10 different books and all of them will tell you something different. This is the just like the question of how often you should train each body part. You need to try different amounts. The guide line is between .8 gr to 1.5 gr per lb of your body weight. That mean if you weight 175 lbs you will need 140 gr to 263 gr daily.
The carbohydrates are very important – without the carbs, you will not get enough energy to lift heavy and that’s what you need to do! Focus on whole grains like brown rice, whole wheat pasta and bread, and oatmeal. And pile on the vegetables!
The simple carbohydrates are not the best, except after your workout when they help with recovery and replenishing the glycogen level in your muscles. My treat after my workout is a mix of my protein powder with 2 cups of juice. I get the best of both worlds – protein and simple sugars. Then I’ll wait 60 minutes and get a real meal with lean protein, complex carbohydrates and a lot of vegetables.
Seventh, Stretching. Yes guys, if you want big muscles you need to stretch. I don’t mean stretching until you are able to do a full split. I’m talking about stretching your muscles in between sets. Why can stretching increase muscles growth? When you are finished with your set, your muscles are filled with blood. The blood is what transports nutrients to your muscles, and this is crucial for building. But when you stretch your muscles in between sets, you increase the blood flow, and this means more nutrients for your muscles. This is why stretching will help you with muscle growth!
Try these 7 key points for your big guns and give me your feedback. I really appreciate hearing from you and learning about how you changed your physique. All the best and have a great summer on the beach showing off your amazing guns!
Keep Moving, Stay Fit,
Martin Bolduc, CPT, ACE, BCRPA
** Martin Bolduc is the author of the Ultimate Guide to Express Fat Loss and the winner of the Lean Body Challenge 2008. Martin is a Certified Personal Trainer ACE and BCRPA and a natural bodybuilder. Martin helps hundreds of clients to reach their goals. Get your Special Report on Express Fat Loss