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How To Build Bigger Arms

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Believe this! You can have significantly bigger arms in only 31 days! How much bigger?

That depends on a lot of factors. You weren’t able to select your parents so you’re stuck with your genetic potential to build muscles. You may have a good potential or you may be like many of the rest of us who have average (or worse than average) potential.

My bet is if you’ve been training for any length of time and are the proverbial easy-gainer (good genetics) then you probably wouldn’t even be reading this article. If you’re an easy-gainer just about anything you do works to build bigger muscles. (I’ve always hated those guys!)

If you’re like the rest of us, you’ve had to practically sweat blood for every single ounce of muscle you’ve built. Don’t feel bad, you’re not alone, my friend! So let’s get back to my original question. How much can you increase your arm size in 31 days? If you follow a practical arm specialization program and do everything else correctly (diet, rest, supplements, etc.) I think it is realistic for a person of average genetics to gain 1″ on your arms.

Can I guarantee that? No, it might be more and it might be less. But even ½” gain on your upper arms can make a fairly impressive change in your physique. So how are we going to get you started?

First of all, when following any kind of specialization program, you’ll need to cut back on the volume and frequency of training for the rest of your body. You want to simply maintain the rest of your physique while specializing on arms. We’ll be stressing your recovery abilities by more frequent training for the arms, along with increased volume and intensity so we need to keep that delicate balance in your recovery ability.

Here’s a routine that I suggest you follow (this excludes your arm routine which we’ll get to in a minute):

Monday & Friday

  • Squats 3 sets 8 to 12 reps
  • Bench press 3 sets 6 to 10 reps
  • Chins 3 sets 8 to 12 reps
  • Seated dumbbell press 2 sets 8 to 12 reps
  • Standing calf raises 2 sets 12 to 20 reps

The first thing most people think is that this routine is pretty basic and simple. That’s exactly right! Like I said before, we’re simply trying to maintain your physique while focusing on arm development.

If you’ve been doing a lot more volume than this for a while and your gains have been stagnant, you might find yourself starting to gain strength and size on other body parts.

That’s great! It’s probably an indication that you’ve been over-training and not recovering enough to make gains. This abbreviated program is finally giving your body the chance to recover and over compensate which causes muscle growth.

Just a few pointers on the above routine:

  • Do NOT go to absolute muscular failure on each set. Your last rep should be pretty hard but not to total muscular failure. As a gauge, you should physically be able to do about one more rep if you pushed to failure.
  • Use the same weight for each set. Let’s take squats for example. If you can do all 3 sets for 12 reps it’s time to increase the weight. If you do set 1 for 12 reps, set 2 for 10, and set 3 for 8, then the next workout stick with the same weight.
  • If you find your strength increasing on these other exercises during your 31-day arm specialization program, then by all means, go ahead and increase the weight.
  • Only rest 1½ to 2 minutes between each set.

Arm Specialization

Now comes the fun part. We’re going to start with your new 31-day arm routine.

You’re going to work arms three days a week. I’d suggest Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

On Monday you will work your arms after you do the whole body routine I described above.

Here’s our plan of attack on Monday:

Monday Arm Specialization

Standing Dumbbell Curls (super-setted with…) 5 sets 12 to 15 reps

Seated Dumbbell Tricep Extension 5 sets 12 to 15 reps

Some guidelines:

  • The Seated Dumbbell Tricep Extension is done by grabbing one “bell” of the dumbbell with both hands and lowering it behind your head while keeping your elbows pointed toward the ceiling.
  • The Standing Dumbbell Curls can be done in an alternating fashion or both dumbbells can be curled at the same time, whichever you prefer. I like to do them alternating style because it feels like I can direct more concentration and contractile power to the muscle that way.
  • These 2 exercises are done in a super-set fashion. Do a set of the standing dumbbell curls and then immediately do a set of the seated dumbbell tricep extensions. This is considered one super-set.
  • Never go below 12 reps on these exercises. If you have to lower the weight to get the reps in then do it.
  • Do NOT go to absolute muscular failure on each set. Your last rep should be pretty difficult but not to total muscular failure. As a gauge, you should physically be able to do about one more rep if you pushed to failure.
  • Only rest 45 seconds to 1 minute between each super-set.

Wednesday Arm Specialization

Standing Barbell Curls 5 sets 5 to 8 reps

Lying EZ bar Tricep Extension 5 sets 6 to 8 reps

Some guidelines:

  • This is your “heavy day”. Try to use as heavy a weight as possible while maintaining good form. It’s OK to cheat just a little on the last rep.
  • Rest periods will be longer than your Monday workout. Rest as long as necessary to recoup your strength so you can go all out on the next set.
  • Each Wednesday try to use a little more weight than you did the previous Wednesday’s workout.

Friday Arm Specialization

Scott Dumbbell or Barbell Curls 3 sets 8 to 12 reps

Overhead Pulley Tricep Extension 3 sets 8 to 12 reps

Some guidelines:

  • The Scott Curls are done on the “Scott” bench (made famous by Larry Scott) or “Preacher” bench. Feel free to use either a barbell or dumbbells, whichever you prefer.
  • These sets are all done to temporary muscular failure. In other words, keep going until you can no longer physically complete a rep in good form.
  • Only rest 90 seconds between sets.
  • On Fridays, do your arm workout first before the workout rest of your body.

Nutrition

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. You’ll never make any significant gains if you aren’t eating plenty of high quality food with an emphasis on lots of protein…preferably at least 2 grams of high quality complete protein per each pound of bodyweight.

What is a “complete” protein? That is a protein source that contains all the essential amino acids (protein is composed of amino acids) that are required by your body to support growth. These sources are: red meat, chicken, fish, eggs, and dairy products. Other foods like beans and nuts have protein, but it is an incomplete protein. They do not contain all the essential amino acids to support growth, so don’t depend on those to supply your protein needs. Just eat plenty of good wholesome food and try to avoid the sugary junk. A little now and then won’t hurt you, though.

If you’re going to follow a specialization routine and try to build as much arm size as possible in 31 days, then I wouldn’t be too worried about “bulking up” a little and adding a few pounds of body fat. It’s nearly impossible to add significant muscle mass without putting on a little bulk.

I am including the type of diet you should follow to gain some good muscular bodyweight. Diet is very important, both myself and a lot of my trainees didn’t gain until we started eating a very large amount of protein, it makes a big difference. I don’t expect you to dive in and eat all this the first day, I want you to eat progressively (just like you will train progressively) try to eat a bit more each week.

You don’t have to use protein powder, it’s not totally necessary. You can drink milk, or you can use powdered milk instead. Any protein drink can be made with powdered milk instead of commercial protein powder.

BREAKFAST

Meat 1/4 lb
3 eggs
2 slices wheat toast
Milk or protein drink

SNACK

Cottage cheese 1/4 lb
Fruit
Milk or protein drink

LUNCH

Tuna Sandwich (6 oz tuna)
Cottage cheese 1/4 lb
Salad
Milk or protein drink

SNACK

Cheese sandwich 2 oz cheese
Milk or protein drink

DINNER

Chicken 8 oz
Baked potato
Cooked vegetable
Salad
Milk or protein drink

SNACK

2 eggs hardboiled
Fruit
Milk or protein drink

This is also very convenient because most of this food can be prepared and taken to work or school in a lunchbox or “Lil Playmate” type of cooler.

I learned a secret that many successful bodybuilders know to keep their bodies in a positive nitrogen state for growth. A positive nitrogen state means that there is always complete protein (protein is the only nutrient containing nitrogen) available in the bloodstream for growth and repair. The secret is to never let more than three hours go by without consuming some kind of quality complete protein. Constantly sipping on a protein drink throughout the day should take care of that.

I’m sure if you follow this program and constantly strive to increase your training weights, while eating plenty of good food, you can’t help but make gains.

I wish you success in your training and hope to hear that you gained that magical extra inch on your guns over the next 31 days.

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