Every guy I’ve encountered in the gym has made it a point that having big arms is a big goal of theirs.
Surprisingly though, many guys encounter plateaus very frequently with developing their arms.
For some, it’s just a genetic variation which just means they have to work a little harder and smarter.
But for others, it’s just simply misunderstanding what exercises target what muscle in the arm and what impact it will have on the overall look.
Many of the people closest to me have mentioned that my arms are one of my strong suites so I feel like I can definitely provide some key tips on this one.
Let’s dive right into it….
1. Close grip bench
Before I explain why this is a great exercise for arm growth I want to break down the anatomy of the muscles in the arm first.
The arm is made up of two major muscle groups, the biceps, and the triceps.
The biceps is composed of two heads, the biceps brachii, and biceps femoris.
The triceps are composed of three heads, the lateral, the medial, and the long head.
The triceps make up 2/3’s of the arm, so if you’re trying to grow your arms you’ll want to be targeting your triceps for more mass.
This is why I chose the close grip bench as primary triceps exercise number 1.
It is the movement that allows you to lift the heaviest amount of weight while specifically targeting the triceps.
Your muscles need to be under heavy resistance to maximize growth as well as breakthrough plateaus.
A key tip to implement here is to keep the triceps under constant tension when conducting the movement. You can do this by slowly lowering the bar to just half an inch above your chest and then extending your arms out to 90% of your lockout.
2. Overhead Triceps Extensions
When you are looking to gain size in your arms, you’ll want to stick to tricep movements that target the long head.
This is because the long head is the largest head of the 3. The triceps extension targets the long head better than any other movement for triceps.
A key tip with this exercise would be to keep your elbows in as close to your head as possible. Many people develop elbow tendinitis over time from all of the pressure the weights put on them, so keeping your elbows tucked will help to ease the pressure.
And just like I previously stated in the last exercise, you’ll want to create constant tension which means perform it slow and controlled.
Do not lockout on any of these movements because it’ll take the pressure off the triceps, we want to hit them hard to stimulate growth so building up that lactic acid is key!
3. Skull Crushers
I absolutely love this movement for various reasons…
The stretch that you get if you’re performing the movement correctly will feel amazing.
Remember, looking to pack on mass is straight bodybuilding, so it’s all about feeling the weight throughout the movement while tearing the muscle fibers in the process.
The better the stretch is on the triceps during a movement, the better.
Skull crushers also improve overall elbow extension abilities necessary for sports performance.
If you’re looking to enhance the movement, try performing it on an incline bench for a deeper stretch as well as to target the muscle from a different angle.
Dips are a great exercise for the triceps because they hit every head of the tricep all at once.
You can perform this movement with bodyweight or with weighted vests/chains on for added resistance.
When performing this movement, you’ll want to keep your body as vertical as possible, that’ll hit the triceps more.
The more you bend over slightly the more you’ll be targeting the chest for hypertrophy.
5. EZ-Bar close grip curls
The EZ-bar curls target the long head of the biceps. Performing this movement will generate that “peak” that you want your biceps to portray.
I chose the EZ-bar over the straight bar because it decreases the amount of tension that’s placed on your wrists.
Whenever I’m training biceps, one of the biggest limiting factors is how much sharpness I’m feeling in my wrists.
I know If I’m feeling discomfort I won’t want to go as heavy and ill limit how hard I go to reduce the chances of injury.
It’s good to develop the consciousness to protect your joints ASAP because longevity is key and as you get older you’ll begin to have pain if you don’t train with caution.
A tip here would be to keep the elbows tucked in at your sides and lift with your biceps. Do not jerk your upper body to get the weight up as that will reduce the work of the biceps.
Also, be sure to fully flex and extend during the entirety of the movement.
6. Hammer Curls
This is by far my absolute favorite exercise for overall arm size.
Every time I perform this exercise consistently I see great results from it.
The hammer curls build the brachialis and brachioradialis. The brachialis sits under your biceps and the brachioradialis is a long muscle that runs from deep inside the center of your upper arm to the center of your forearm.
By hitting this exercise, you’ll be targeting the muscles between your biceps and triceps which will thicken the size of your arms by expanding it outward.
Perform this movement with the heaviest weight you can do without sacrificing good form then drop down to half that weight and burn out as many reps for sets of 3.
7. Concentration curls
In all honesty concentration curls are one of my least favorite bicep exercises to do.
I usually like challenging exercises but for some reason, these always are a drag to do, but I do them anyway because they are extremely effective at hitting the biceps for peak growth.
The reason for this is because the movement puts your elbow on your inner thigh which if done correctly, will get rid of any possible help from other muscles that exercises like bicep curls will.
This means the constant tension of the bicep will be at an all-time high which is why you probably won’t be able to go as heavy as you would with a traditional bicep curl.
Nonetheless, this is great for hypertrophy. Just make sure that you perform the movement slow and controlled and are fully flexing and extending at the elbow.