Winter is quickly approaching and you’re likely finding yourself covering and layering to stay warm but regardless of the temperature outside, your arms are likely one of your main areas of concern in terms of your training. You may not be able to show off your abs, or your pecs or other, ahem, attributes out in public but regardless of the season other guys will notice and judge the size of your arms. In a recent issue of Men’s Fitness Sean Hyson, C.S.C.S. offered a few tips that can help transform your arms from little string beans into pythons. Start incorporating these tips into your training routine now and by the time spring comes back around you’ll have earned the right to bare your arms out in public.
1. Train till you’re pooped. You’ve likely heard the phrase “train till exhaustion.” Well, do you do that when working out your arms? Probably not or if you do, not enough. If you want your arms to grow, train them to the point of fatigue and exhaustion. The muscle fibers in your arms respond better when they’re fatigued. If you work them to the point of exhaustion you’ll be training your muscles more, forcing them to grow, leading to bigger arms. Do this safely; work your arms until you can’t perform another rep with good form.
2. Change your grip. When you’re doing the bench press or working with free weights, do you pay much attention to your grip? Many do not and these guys are missing out on the potential to really work their arms and grow bigger. Changing your grip can turn ordinary exercises into completely new and challenging moves. Changing your grip, hand positions and the intensity of your grip can all activate different muscles and give you a more complete workout. For long-term change, try something new during your usual routine and you may be surprised at how much your arms will grow.
3. Don’t overwork your arms. Trainers will caution you not to overwork any muscle, your arms included. On days when you’re focusing on other muscle groups, don’t forget that some of the moves you’re doing are actually indirectly working your arms as well. Moves like the pushup, pull-up, rows are not necessarily viewed as arm workouts but you’re still using your arms to perform the moves. Be mindful to give your arms a rest. Overtraining them to will lead to fewer gains and unremarkable growth.
4. Mind your form. Another piece of advice trainers and fitness gurus dish out that you may not pay much attention to is to always watch your form. Instead, you watch the weight your lifting or the guy on the other side of the gym that you’re trying to impress. Slow your roll, fella. Having poor form can lead to injury and limit your range of motion, meaning you’re not really getting the best workout you could be. Whenever you’re working with weights, every curl should begin with the arm fully extended. Do not bend forward, do not use your hips to get the weight up. If you have to do either, you’re working with too much weight and need to reduce the load.