Arm Training Program
With the arrival of spring and the summer months just ahead you may be in need of some additional size and shape on those upper extremities hanging off your shoulders. Most women would agree that given a choice, they would prefer their man to sport a set of muscular arms himself. And most men agree there's a strong sense of power, pride and confidence that comes along with owning an admirable set of guns... especially during the summer months when they can be placed on display for all to see.
The necessary ingredients for admirable arms are brief intense weight resistive workouts coupled with sufficient rest and recuperation time, in addition to proper nutrition which provides the muscles with the means to fully repair and grow. This month's "Take it to the Gym" delivers an extremely effective arm blasting routine to help maximize your sleeve stretch.
Sets and Repetitions
Since both the biceps and triceps are smaller muscles, at least for most of us, the best rewards will be reaped when 4 sets of no more than 3 exercises per muscle are utilized. Before jumping into those 4 sets, begin each exercise with 1-2 warm-up sets of 15 repetitions using a light weight which allows you to effectively warm up the muscles without causing premature fatigue. Next, perform your first true set for 15 repetitions and decrease the repetitions on subsequent sets as follows: 15, 12, 10, 8. Start with enough weight for your first set to allow you to fully complete your 15 repetitions but so the last few reps are very demanding. Then, add the appropriate weight to each subsequent set making the final few reps of that set difficult to perform, but not impossible. The weight you add to each subsequent set will differ from person to person but will likely be in the neighborhood of 10-20 pounds.
Weekly Workout Schedule:
Workout 1 - Chest & Biceps
Workout 2 - Shoulders & Traps & Abs
Workout 3 - Back & Triceps
Workout 4 - Legs & Abs
The biceps muscle is the major muscle responsible for flexing the elbow. It also works synergistically with the muscles of the back in various exercises. Because of this, blasting the biceps with maximal intensity will mean avoiding biceps training on the same day your back is trained. And since the biceps is a smaller muscle, 2-3 exercises are optimum for it's successful development. Anything more can lead to bicipital burnout resulting in little of NO growth.
Exercise 1 - Standing Barbell Curls
This is a power exercise, demanding the utmost performance from your biceps. It has been around forever for one reason... it works great! Be sure to avoid swinging the weight as the only thing this will be effective for is getting injured.
Exercise 2 - Preacher Barbell Curls
This is more of an isolating biceps exercise. The preacher bench forces you to fight the resistance to hold the fully contracted biceps and also let's you anchor your body down for the negative portion of the rep. Keep the movement constant and controlled while focusing on squeezing the biceps and pumping the muscle to the max.
Exercise 3 - Single Arm Cable Curls
Perform the curl so that your forearm is about 45 degrees out from your abdomen. This will put your forearm half way between straight ahead and your abdomen ; the same angle your forearm making when you reach out to shake someone's hand. This plane of movement is much more natural for the biceps.
Although the triceps muscle often takes second stage to the biceps muscle, in your quest for admirable arms, triceps development mustn't be ignored. This is because the triceps is actually a much larger muscle than the biceps, making up 2/3-s of the upper arm! Also, the triceps muscle is more complex consisting of 3 separate heads. This is what gives the triceps it's distinctive horseshoe shape.
Exercise 1 - Lying Triceps Extensions
This exercise is also known as French Curls. The term "Skull Crushers" has also been used! Because of the biomechanics of this exercise, beginners and those without a spotter should be very cautious and begin with a very light weight that they can be easily managed. Be sure to keep the upper aspect of the arms stationary and perpendicular to your torso throughout the entire movement. Avoid flaring out the elbows by keeping the arms in close. Using an EZ-curl bar will minimize the stress placed on the wrists. It's a good idea to wear wrist straps for this exercise especially when you begin to use more weight or have a history of wrist problems or past wrist injuries.
Exercise 2 - Triceps Cable Pushdowns
This exercise is the most popular triceps exercise and also one of the most effective. Using an inverted V bar rather than a straight bar as well as maintaining the wrist in a neutral position while performing the exercise will help prevent wrist injury.
Exercise 3 - Triceps Flat Bench Pushups
This exercise is similar to dips but with this exercise you can place weights on your thighs to provide increased resistance. Be sure to keep your elbows in and perform the movement slowly focusing all your thoughts on squeezing those triceps. Maintaining slow steady motion without fully locking out your elbows will result in maximal blood flow to the triceps.
Remember these following important points to maximize your gains:
Concentrate on proper form while focusing on isolating and maximally squeezing the biceps/triceps. Don't compromise this by using excessively heavy weights or sloppy technique and remember to focus intently on the muscles you're training... this will minimize the chances of injury and increase the stimulation to the muscles you're training.
Avoid fully locking out the elbows or pausing in non-stress positions. Keep the weights moving to keep the blood flowing into the biceps/triceps and prevent pausing in positions where the muscles are not under resistance... rest when the set is over, not during!!!
Practice proper nutrition. Correct protein, carbohydrate and fat consumption, as well as additional vitamin and mineral supplementation are a must for the weight lifter not just serious about making muscular gains, but also concerned about his/her health.