So here it is, the one breaking down how to get massive tree trunk arms! I would like to start off by saying that although we will be looking at it as a single ‘arm workout’ this is just for simplicities sake, so we can focus and give adequate attention to each of the muscles in the arms and how to work them. Personally, I think it is most effective to group working muscle groups together and train them in a split which favours this system. For example; Push (chest, shoulders and triceps), pull (back and biceps), legs or Upper body and lower body split. This is because most of the research currently indicates that training frequency is very important in regards to maximising hypertrophy (muscle development), this is because there is a peak after a workout at which point the stimulation on the muscle is maximised, from this point onwards the stimulation slowly declines, the estimates for this time vary from source to source (and probably in real life application they likely vary a lot from person to person too) but most estimates are between 24 and 48 hours. So using this logic, if you train your arms once per week, then it could be another 5 days before that stimulus is reapplied, which definitely isn’t maximising your growth potential. When you apply that same logic to all the other muscle groups it becomes clearer why it’s often easiest and most effective to group these muscle groups together.
Additionally, if you train arms really hard on the Monday for example and then on Tuesday go to train chest, then likely your triceps already being fatigued will limit your workout rather than your chest, this is another reason it is easier to group working muscle groups together otherwise it becomes increasingly complicated.
Okay, so onto the arm workout portion of the post, most people are aware that in the arm there are two muscles called Biceps and Triceps, there are also some other muscles including in the upper arm the Brachialis and then in the lower arm (forearm); Brachioradialis, Pronator Teres, Flexor Carpi Radialis, Flexor Carpi Ulnaris and Palmaris longus.
We will mostly focus on the upper arm, because while no one wants to have a completely underdeveloped forearm and for grip purposes it is a very important group of muscles, most of the effective training of these muscles comes from exercises on other days such as back exercises.
The biceps have a short and a long head to the muscle, the short head lies underneath the long head, but effectively training both is needed to maximise the appearance of your arms.
The main two functions of the biceps are flexion of the elbow, which is the movement performed in a standard bicep curl and also supination of the forearm (this is twisting your hand and forearm upside down so it is facing upwards). The biceps are also activated in shoulder elevation exercises, meaning there will be a bit of a cross over with your shoulder training.
· Bicep curl (Barbell or Dumbbell)
· Cable bicep curl (has a more consistent tension curve)
· Hammer curl
· Zottman curl (this is a regular bicep curl on the way up/ concentric part of the movement then a reverse curl on the way down/ eccentric part of the movement)
· Several other curl variations such as concentration curls or EZ bar curls
· Most back exercises are also very effective at building the biceps such as bent over rows, chin ups and pull ups
The brachialis muscle sits beneath the biceps and is actually the prime mover of elbow flexion generating around 50% more power than the biceps. Although these muscles sit deep, building them up will significantly help when it comes to building and developing your arms.
Some exercises which effectively work your brachialis are:
· Zottman curl (mentioned above)
· Hammer curl (mentioned above)
· Reverse grip curl (barbell, dumbbell or cable)
The triceps are made up of 3 heads; the medial head, lateral head and long head. Most trainees, especially in their early months of training have a tendency to ‘train what they can see’, this means the biceps and chest get plenty of attention, but the back and triceps can often get neglected. If your goal is to build up the size of your arms then it is really important that you don’t neglect your triceps, since they make up an incredible 60-70% of your overall arm mass. This means that you could do bicep curls all day, 7 days a week, but if you aren’t building up your triceps you likely won’t see the results that you want.
Some exercises which work the different heads of the triceps include:
· Diamond push ups (works all 3 heads of the triceps)
· Dumbbell or cable kickback (works all 3 heads of the triceps)
· Overhead Dumbbell tricep extension (long head of the tricep)
· Tricep cable press down (lateral head of the tricep)
The forearms are made up of several muscles especially if you include the ones which enter onto the hand, but some of the main ones are; Brachioradialis, Pronator Teres, Flexor Carpi Radialis, Flexor Carpi Ulnaris and Palmaris longus. The muscles of the forearm help to move the elbow, forearm, hand and fingers. Strengthening the forearms will help you progress in many other areas of your training, especially on back exercises where your grip strength had previously been a limiting factor. Building up your forearms can also have aesthetic benefits and make your overall arm appear bigger.
Some exercises which you can do to work on building up your forearms are:
· Palms up wrist curl
· Palms down wrist curl
· Pull ups
· Dead hangs (hanging from a bar)
· Farmer’s walk
· Forearm grips can also be an effective tool to train your forearms on the go and they don’t take up much space to travel with or carry around with you
I hope this blog post has been helpful and given you some ideas and more information when it comes to training your arms. As I mentioned at the start, I personally don’t think having an ‘arm day’ is the most effective way to train, so I would recommend finding a way to work these exercises into your current routine so that you can most effectively and efficiently train. If you have any questions or are interested in any of the services on the website, then feel free to drop me a message.
Next week’s topic – The Perfect Abs Workout