Question: My arms have stopped growing. Can you give me some movements to break through this plateau?
Adam: The first thing you need to ask yourself in this situation is:
A) Am I eating enough calories to support muscular growth?
B) Am I progressively training heavier to provide a stimulus for the muscles to grow?
If you can answer yes to these questions with conviction, then we can look for unique techniques to facilitate new growth and get the ball rolling again.
Remember, the fastest way to add arm size is always going to be getting big, eating a lot of calories, and improving strength on the big compound movements. I believe it was famous strength coach Charles Poliquin that said for every 10lbs of muscle added, you should expect 1inch on your arms.
But, for those of you that show adherence to these principles, it's usually common to look for specific movements that may pave the way to better results.
So, without over-emphasising the first two points to stress their importance, let's get right into some fantastic mass builders to get those guns growing and the sleeves tightening again!
Incline Hammer Curls
It's very easy to get caught up wasting time and being inefficient with training the biceps for obvious reasons. When somebody asks you to "flex a muscle", it's usually not a request to turn around and hit a lat spread. If your arms suck, you'll struggle trying to convince them with the old "genetics" argument or why it's really irrelevant.
Incline hammer curls have gave many people I've trained amazing results. Not only are they unparalleled for overall mass, the incline variation puts an exaggerated stretch on the brachioradialis; a unique stress that your arms probably won't have encountered too frequently. Don't mistake them just for forearm builders though; they really give a nice, hanging look to the biceps' longer head in a relaxed, side-on pose.
If you don't possess the natural "peak" to your arms that many aim for, you can make amends by paying particular attention to this great movement.
I love Spider Curls. I've got a feeling that if the biceps boys knew more about this one, they would too. It well and truly is the epitomy of "masturbatory training". If you've got a good peak on your biceps, you're going to want to stand in front of a mirror for this one.
Bullshitting aside, did I mention it's a fantastic movement? I've had an overwhelming response from guys telling me how this movement completely changed the way they "feel" their biceps working on a curling movement.
A wise man once told me, "if you want to get big arms, stop worrying about the biceps - train your triceps hard". True to his word, my triceps, in my earlier years, sucked. I decided to rectify this immediately, and this led me to a truly wonderful exercise that gave me DOMS beyond my wildest dreams. Decline skullcrushers / extensions, quite simply, kick ass.
They really hit the lateral head of the triceps hard which is responsible for the main bulk of the arm. If you don't have elbow issue's, then these will neutralise shoulder activity to a large degree and allows you to really focus on good quality contractions. Doesn't that sound sexy?
Gymnasts have long been admired by bodybuilders and the general public for their phenomenal tricep development. They don't care for horseshoe triceps like many of us, but they sure do have them.
Are there really many things more masculine than strapping 50kg around your waist and pushing yourself up against the force of gravity? Besides an intimate night in out with Jenna Jameson, I can't think of many (pre plastic surgery, mind you..).
Dips really smash the whole of the triceps like no other. Keep the elbows tucked and push hard through them. You'll reap the rewards of this punishing exercise like no other. If you don't have much time to do anything else, dips should be your first port of call.
P.S - Did I mention that dips are awesome?
So hopefully that gives you, and whoever else is reading, a bit of fresh impetus for your arm training. Go get them guns growing! (Did you like the alliteration attached to that last sentence?).
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Photo: Courtesty of MuscleTime