Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The secret to BIG arms

OK, this weeks post is a little different. Instead of just talking about weight loss like i usually do, i want to talk about something i am passionate about ie muscle gain. Since i was young, i have been obsessed with having big arms. So i literally tried every kind of workout there is and none of them were as effective as the one I want to share with all of you. So here is the secret to having big arms. It’s a lot of hard work, but the results speak for themselves.

Go Heavy
If you want to get big (whether its your arms or chest), one of the surest ways is to train heavy. When i train my arms, i do between 8 to 10 reps and with heavy weights where you find it difficult to pass 10 reps. For me, I usually train till failure. I have tried training lighter 12 to 15 reps twice a week, but personally, I feel training once a week heavy helps you grow faster. Also, just a word of caution, I would not recommend this routine to beginners. To effectively try this, please ensure you have at least 6 months of weight training under your belt.

Don’t cheat.
When you are doing bicep curls for example, it is important that you use only your biceps and nothing else. I have seen people in the gym who pound on huge plates and when it comes to lifting, they sway and swing in every way possible just to bring the weights up. But the end result, you walk away with a back ache and your biceps barely did anything because your used every other muscle in your body except your biceps to raise the weights. If you are going to lift, don’t swing and don’t sway. Maintaining your form is extremely vital not only for the growth of your arms, but to avoid injury as well. Reduce the weights a little and do it properly making sure only your forearms are moving up and down.

Do it slowly.
Another way to avoid cheating is to do each rep slowly. Ideally, each rep should take about 4 seconds to go up and come down. You will have to do a mental time count when you first start doing this, but once you have the correct speed, you won’t have to count the time anymore as the speed and timing will come naturally. Chances are, you are already doing it fast, so next time you hit the gym, make sure you do it slowly following the 4 second count. 2 seconds to bring the weight up and 2 seconds to bring the weights down.

Bringing the weights back to its original rest position is equally important.
Let’s use the example of the bicep curls again. Once you pull it up to your chest, don’t drop it back to your start position in half a second. The time it took you to lift it up to your chest (which is about 2 seconds) is the amount of time it should take for you to return back down. So take about 2 seconds to bring it down slowly back to the original rest position. The movement of returning to the original rest position gives your muscles negative resistance. Doing it slowly increases the negative resistance and this negative resistance is also vital for growth.

Do your triceps as well
When it comes to arms, a lot of people only focus on their biceps. They forget that there is another important muscle called the triceps which accounts for another 50% of your arm. So, the best way to bloat your arms up fast, is to do triceps as well. The same rules mentioned above apply for your triceps workout as well. So don’t just focus on your biceps. Give the same amount of attention to your triceps as well.

Do super sets.
When it comes to arms, train only your arms and not any other muscle group for that day. I used to do my chest and then my triceps after that, but then I found super sets. Super sets are basically exercises that are done back to back without rest. When it comes to arms, I do my set of biceps, and then immediately hit my triceps without a break. Once I finish my triceps, I take a one minute break before I hit the next set. So this way, each set you do will consist of one set of bicep exercise followed immediately by one set of triceps exercise. Make sure you perform all your exercises for your arms and do them in supersets.

Do 3 varieties of exercise
When it comes to my arms, I have 3 varieties of exercises for biceps and 3 varieties of exercises for triceps, which are all done in the same work out. So when choosing your arm routine, make sure you have 3 exercises for biceps and 3 exercises for triceps and do them in supersets.
So its 3 Sets x 10 reps x 3 exercises for biceps and 3 sets x 10 reps x 3 exercises for triceps. So if you do the math, its about 90 reps total for biceps and 90 reps total for triceps.

Indirect work out for your arms are essential
If you are doing bench press, inevitably about 30% of your strength will come from your triceps. This also means that your chest is only doing 70% of the work during the bench press and your triceps are still working out and doing the rest. When you do lat pull downs or chin ups for your back, yet again 30% of your biceps are being used. Quite a big number if you ask me. Hence, even when it is not your arms day, your arms are still working out. This is why I recommend only doing this superset routine once a week. So make sure you push heavy on bench press, incline press and other chest exercises to boost your triceps and push heavy on your back exercises as well to boost your biceps.

Change your routine
Change the 3 varieties of exercises you do every 3 or 4 months. This will shock your muscle enabling it to grow further. If you do the same routine for too long, your body becomes accustomed to that work out, and it will stop growing. Another way is to take a break for 1 whole week and then come back again. There are a variety of ways to change things up and shock your muscles. I shall discuss this further in another posting. But with that being said, it does not mean that more changes / shocks make it better. You only want to change things up every 3 to 4 months.

To sum it up:

1) Do your arms in supersets
2) Train it only once a week
3) When you are doing your arms, don't train other muscle groups
4) Go heavy
5) Do your triceps as well
6) Keep your form
7) Make sure you work out your chest and back as well
8) Change your exercises every 3 to 4 months

So there you have it. Some of my friends who have tried this routine are amazed by the results that they have gotten. Hope you guys out there who want big arms try it and as usual, look forward to hearing your comments.

PS: please take a moment to cast your vote on the latest poll.


Anba said...

good tips...
I used to try this trick when i was lifting to increase my biceps n triceps...
In between sets while resting i used to squeeze a small ball like a squash ball or something that is rubbery and easy to squeeze and squeeze it like 10 times b4 lifting weights again...

Rajan said...

Anba: Wahh... impressive.

Supersets are tiring as hell... i dunno how you have the energy to do that. It's tiring, but well worth the effort i think.

PS: No vote on the poll?

ian yusof said...

great tips ....

Currently, I'm doing it once a week as well ...... but not because I plan to do it that way but more on time constraint .. :)

Anba said...

My browser doesnt display the poll

Rajan said...

Ian: I am still amazed at how you manage to do so many things...

But yeah, once a week is enough as long as you train heavy and train your chest and back as well.

Anba: Aiyoh... cannot see the poll? then you cannot see the "interesting" picture also-lah....what a shame. :-)

Aizan Suhaira said...

I don't focus on biceps and triceps alone. Most of the time I work my arms indirectly.

Chinups/Pullups (works the biceps)
Chest Press (works the triceps/biceps - depends on the position)
Dumbbell Stepups/Lunges (works the grip/forearms)

Personally I think bicep curls are pretty much a 'cosmetic' workout but compound exercises are more functional.

Get strong first, then get pretty :P

And yes, ppl should actually focus more on tricep workouts. What's the point of having huge biceps when you still have waddly triceps?

Rajan said...

Aizan: Good points.

Yes, triceps are usually forgotten by most people. I am not sure why either.

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