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Building Bigger and Stronger Arms

Oct 18, 2007
Big arms have been much sought after by many people who work out in the gym, and for good reason. For one, the arms are one of the most visible parts of the body. In fact, inferior arms are hard to hide, even with long sleeves shirts or polos. On the other hand, poorly built thighs can be hidden with loose pants, while an average chest can still be compensated by a "chest out" posture. A back lacking in development can also be hidden by looses shirts.

Fortunately, like the shoulder, the arms also get a good amount of workout when doing the traditional "compound" exercises of a weightlifting program. Let's make a rundown:

Bench-press and overhead presses work the triceps
Bent over rows give the biceps a workout.

Nonetheless, since the arms have larger, longer and more muscles than the shoulder, it can take direct workouts with the following exercises:

Curls - work the biceps.
Triceps extensions - work the triceps.

Other weight and bodyweight training exercises that work the arms are:

Close grip bench-press - works the triceps (as well as the middle of the chest).
Pull-ups -work the biceps (as well as the upper back)
Push-ups - work the triceps (as well as the chest).

When building or strengthening the arms, some trainees make the mistake of putting more emphasis on the development of the biceps. This may be due to the fact that bodybuilders who make the traditional bodybuilding pose (standing up with arms flexed hard) emphasize the size of the biceps.

What must be made known to trainees is the biceps are actually the smaller muscle of the arms, having two muscle components (that's why it is called biceps). The triceps actually are the larger part of the arms, because it has three muscle heads (that's why it is called triceps).

Likewise, it is large triceps that makes the arms look large when your arms are just "dangling" from your body. On the other hand, you have to curl your arms to emphasize the size of your biceps.

The triceps also has "martial" value, since it is one of the muscles that help generate punching power (aside from the shoulders, back and legs).

So the message is clear here: emphasize the development of the triceps as much as the biceps. Or you might even have to increase the volume of triceps training if your biceps looks "overdeveloped" compared to the triceps.

Although a well-rounded weight training program can help build big and strong arms, there may be a need to go into a "specialization" phase for the arms in case that body part is lagging behind in development (due to some reasons like genetics). Let's face it there are some people who can build their arms faster than us. But that is no reason to cry or despair.

In a specialization phase, the trainee increases the number and volume of exercises needed for a body part that is lagging behind, like the arms. The secret here is to lessen (or even drop) the other exercises that also work out that body part. In the case of the arms, reduce the volume you do for exercises like the bench-press, bent over rows, pull-ups and push-ups.

Then increase the volume you do for curls, triceps extension and add other exercises like partial curls (with a really heavy weight), triceps kick down (using a cable machine) and close grip bench presses. Since the biceps usually thrive on curls, vary your curls workout by using a dumbbell and barbell. Dumbbell presses also give the triceps a good workout, not to mention the shoulders.

You can also do supersets alternating between a triceps and biceps exercise. In a superset, two exercises are done immediately one after the other. Examples of supersets are: dumbbell curls-kick downs; close grip bench-press-barbell curls.

One thing good about training the arms under the specialization phase is you can really feel a "good burn" or "pump" after a grueling workout.

And once your arms reach the size and power you desire, there's no stopping you from wearing that sleeveless shirt or tank top.
About the Author
Joshua Watson is the author of Promotional Branding Products, Make Money Online and Viatical Settlements . If you like this article, please take a look at the other sites and share your feedback.
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