Time to lighten things up! Today’s post will focus on tips for solid arm workouts. Whether you’re new to the bodybuilding world or are looking to change up your routine, these tips will hopefully help you get those arm gainz you’re looking for.
When I first started working out, big arms topped my wish list. Imagine 18 year old me praying for puberty to be kind. Instead, it decided to take its sweet a** time. No, there is nothing wrong with being thin, but I was 135 pounds and I wanted to put on mass. I had also stopped being active for 3 years and wanted to get back into regular exercise. So, I jumped into weight-lifting. Fast forward 12 years, I’ve mastered my arm workouts. Here are my favorite 6 tips for a killer arm workout:
- Let your reps be your guide. One of the most common questions I get is “what weight should I be lifting?” There are many answers out there but let’s simplify things: let your goal number of reps be your guide. For example, if you want to do a set of 10 reps, choose a weight that will allow you to do a max of 10. That 11th one will be impossible to do with good form.
- Form, form, form. Speaking of which, good form is key to maximizing the effect of each exercise. Common mistakes include using your lower back for momentum, not locking your elbow in place, and not moving through the entire range of motion. Quality over quantity reigns true here.
- Incorporate one new exercise per workout. Bored? Each workout, switch out one regular exercise with a new one. It’ll allow you to move through different angles, positions, and movements. Example: Instead of dips, try skull crushers or overhead tricep extensions.
- You don’t need to work your arms out multiple days/week. It’s easy to believe that constantly pummeling the same arm muscles will help them grow. Not exactly. Sure, you’ll need to workout consistently, but remember a couple of things. Rest is important for your muscles to repair and grow so give them a minimum of 2-3 days to heal before hitting arms again. Also, don’t forget that your arms support other exercises during non-arm days (like during chest and back exercises). So even if you’re not specifically targeting your arms that day (depending on your split), compound exercises may include them and you’ll be exercising your arms anyhow.
- Drop-set it. Drop-sets are integral to my arm day. Whether I’m short for time or I want to push myself to max reps, I include drop-sets with my tricep and bicep exercises. Each drop-set has 3 sets, 30% weight drops, and continue nonstop for at least 8 reps each.
- Take your time. A while back, I talked about “muscle maturity”. You may be able to drop weight quickly to reveal your “shreds” but building muscle takes time. If you compare bodybuilders from when they start to a few years later, there’s a difference in the refinement and growth of muscle. Trust the process and push yourself to lift hard (but smartly). Give your muscles time to grow.
Also, don’t hate fat. It’s cool. Focus on building muscle instead. Hear the difference?
Happy lifting, friends!
Thomas Ngo RD