Why do you swing your arms when you walk?
Researchers used to believe that arm swinging was simply an old habit we picked up from our primate ancestors. However, it turns out allowing your arms to move while you walk helps you maintain balance, without requiring extra energy from your muscles.
Go ahead and try taking a few steps without moving your arms at all. You’ll notice that it takes a lot more effort from your muscles, and feels awkward.
Arms are incredible extremities, and investing time in learning how to get bigger arm muscles is a great way to improve your overall health. To help you create an effective strength training routine, we’ve created this arm workout guide. We’ll show you the best exercises for your triceps and biceps, as well as the best body-building practices.
Read on to learn the secret to bigger and stronger arm muscles.
Understand Your Triceps and Biceps
The first step in learning how to get bigger arm muscles is to fully understand the muscle groups in your arm. The more you understand about your arm muscles, the easier it’ll be for you to customize your workouts. For this article, we’ll be focusing on your triceps and biceps.
The triceps brachii muscle belongs to the back upper part of your arm. The name triceps indicates that the muscle has three (tri) parts. The 3 parts are the long head, medial head, and lateral head. The medial head is on the inside of the muscle, and the lateral head is on the outside.
Whereas the long head extends down from the shoulder blade. When you’re strength training, you can safely train the biceps by themselves, or with other muscles. To include other muscle groups, you’ll simply need to practice bending and straightening your elbow, while holding something.
Moving on, let’s take a look at what the biceps brachii is all about. Your biceps have two parts, which is where the “bi” in biceps comes from. The 2 parts are the long part and the short part. It’s the biceps job to help move your forearm when you’re using your elbow.
Exercises to Bulk up Biceps
Now we can dive into the best exercises to bulk up your biceps! When your goal is to have bigger muscles, you’ll need to train for mass. We find that anywhere from 2-6 sets per biceps exercise works best.
Doing more than 6 reps can wind up reversing your progress. If you don’t feel like 6 reps are enough of a challenge, you may need to increase the weight you’re using.
Here’s a shortlist of the top 5 exercises your workout should include:
- Barbell curl
- Hammer curl
- Cable curl
- Straight bar curl
- Reverse-Grip Bent-Over Row
Are there any exercises on the list above, that you’re not familiar with? Take the time to fully master the movements of a workout, before you try completing an entire set.
Barbell vs. Alternating Dumbbell
When you’re training for mass, barbell curls are much more effective than dumbbell curls. As you get stronger, you can max out the weight on the barbells, which is vital to building bigger muscles.
Whereas, dumbbell curls are more helpful when you need to correct or prevent muscle imbalances. If you are going to do dumbbell curls, make sure you avoid alternating. Instead, move both arms at the same time to maximize your energy usage.
Benefits of Barbell Exercises
Barbell exercises make it possible for you to lift more weight than you normally could. By holding the bar with both hands, you’ll have more muscle power and control. We find that well-executed barbell movements are the best way to target large muscle groups as well.
Workouts for Toning Triceps
Now we can look at how to get better muscles for your triceps. We suggest using a similar approach for reps with your triceps as you do with your biceps. For instance, if you’re doing 6 reps for the bicep exercises, do 6 reps for the tricep exercises as well.
Here’s a list of our 5 favorite tricep workouts:
- Overhead tricep extension
- Lying down tricep extension
- Close grip bench press
- Rope tricep pushdown
Remember that having the correct posture, and movements, matters more than doing the exercises quickly. Start nice and slow as you perfect each of the tricep workouts.
How to Do a Kickback
The kickback is a great way to activate all 3 of the tricep muscles. Start by propping your right foot up on a platform, and rest your right forearm on your thigh. Next, place a weight in your left hand and pull the elbow up to your torso. Keeping your elbow in position, extend your arm fully behind you.
Work on contracting your tricep muscles, while keeping good form. Next, lower your forearm about 90 degrees, and repeat the set 1-3 times, with about 8-16 reps. Your upper arm should be stationary against your body during the entire exercise.
Why Kickbacks Work
By bending forward, gravity will add extra resistance, making the results of a kickback very profitable. The trick to doing a kickback properly is to use your shoulder to keep your upper arm stable. You also should be allowing your forearm to fully extend behind you. If at any point you’re having difficulty keeping your elbow in place, try using a lighter weight.
Exercising Without Weights
As you continue learning how to strengthen your arm muscles, it’s a good idea to learn exercises that don’t require weights. One of the biggest advantages of weight-loss exercises is that you can take your workout with you, no matter where you are!
Here are a few of the best arm exercises that don’t use weights:
- Arm circles
- Tricep dips
- Kickboxing punches
- Plank tap
- Side plank
- The forearm plank reach out
Chin-up Tips for Beginners
Stand on a box, and grab the bar with an underhand grip. Jump up so your chin touches the pull-up bar. Pause for a moment, and slowly lower yourself. The lowering should be slow, controlled, and takes about 5-10 seconds. When your arms are fully extended, release your grip and place your feet firmly on the box.
Eat a Muscle Friendly Diet
Moving on, let’s look at how to get bigger arm muscles by improving your diet. When you start a new workout routine but don’t update your diet, you can wind up stressing your body out. Instead, you need to focus on eating foods that provide the right type of protein to help your muscles grow.
You can also check out websites that have sarms for sale, to take your workout to the next level. Here’s a list of our favorite muscle-building foods that contain a lot of protein:
- Greek yogurt
- Chicken breast
- Lean meats
In addition to the list above, you should also be incorporating fresh fruits and veggies into your diet. Vegetables and fruit are a great source of vitamins and other vital muscle-building nutrients. Natural sugar will also give you a much-needed boost of energy.
Certain fruits, like blueberries, even have antioxidant properties to help prevent cell damage. We find that making smoothies is one of the most efficient ways to incorporate these new foods into your diet.
Fruit Protein Smoothie
Immediately following your workout, it’s a good idea to give your body a natural sugar boost, along with protein. Here are the ingredients for a tasty, muscle-building smoothie:
- ½ cup greek yogurt
- ½ cup almond milk
- 1 tbsp peanut butter
- 1 banana
- Ice as needed
Smoothies are a great choice since they’re easy for your body to absorb. Since the entire goal is to consume protein right after your workout, the quick absorption of the smoothie will help you get the best results.
Strength Training Best Practices
When executed properly, a solid strength-building routine can completely change your life. In addition to gaining muscle mass, strength training can also improve your cardiovascular health, reduce cancer risks, prevent osteoporosis, and improve your overall flexibility. However, to enjoy these additional benefits, you have to follow the best strength training practices.
Have a Warmup Routine
A well-coordinated warm-up will help you get stronger muscles by making them more elastic. The more pliable your muscles are, the easier it’ll be for them to complete each exercise using the proper form. You’ll also be increasing your heart rate and overall mobility.
Rest Between Sets
While resting may seem counterintuitive to getting stronger, it’s a vital part of any type of workout. We suggest resting anywhere from 3 to 5 minutes between each set. As you rest, your body will restore itself so you can have more energy for the next exercise.
Don’t Forget to Breathe
When you’re lifting a heavyweight, the temptation is to hold your breath. However, what you should be doing is focusing on maintaining a steady breathing pattern. When you breathe throughout your workout, you give your muscles the oxygen they need to contract.
Change up Your Workouts
To avoid hitting a workout plateau, you should switch up your workout from time to time. When you change your workout it’s more challenging for your body, and more interesting for you! Switching up your workout will also help you avoid injuries caused by overuse.
Focus on stretching throughout the day to keep your muscles strong and flexible. When you’re holding a stretch, experts suggest holding it for about 30 seconds. You should feel tension holding the stretch, but not pain.
Creating an Effective Workout Schedule
Next on our list of muscle-building tips, let’s talk about creating an effective workout schedule. It can be tempting to jump in headstrong and work out your arms every day. However, if you work out your arms every day, you’ll never give your muscles a chance to rebuild. Instead, we suggest training your arms 2-4 times a week.
Should You Train to Failure?
Training to failure is the practice of repeating an exercise to the point that the muscle can no longer keep going. When done correctly, training to failure can be a powerful anabolic tool. Anabolic refers to the building up of muscle from nutrients and protein.
However, if you rely on failure training too much, you’ll wind up creating a catabolic effect that tears down your muscles. We suggest training to failure on the last set of an exercise and to only do it once each workout.
Post Workout Care
Perfecting your post-workout routine is just as important as knowing what exercises to do. Here are some of the best post-workout care tips:
- Stay hydrated
- Compression garments
- Epsom bath soak
If you’ve never had an Epsom salt bath before, you owe it to yourself to give it a try. However, make sure you’re buying a product that’s 100% Epsom salts. Steer clear of products that include a bunch of additives, since this will only dilute your results.
Epsom salt baths are a game-changer for bodybuilders since they help their muscles recover in record fast times. Once in the water, the salts break down into sulfate and magnesium, which is believed to be absorbed through your skin.
Next, make sure you’re getting a full night’s rest every day of the week. When you sleep, your body can repair itself, and that includes your growing muscles.
Lastly, don’t underestimate the power of a massage. Deep tissue massages tend to work the best since they can release muscle tension.
Know-How to Get Bigger Arm Muscles
Now you know how to get bigger arm muscles and improve your overall health. Remember, you must maintain the correct form when you’re exercising. Take a few minutes today to review the proper ways to execute all of the exercises we outlined in this article.
Once you feel comfortable completing 3-5 exercises, you can begin to build your workout routine. Be sure to include rest days, and don’t forget to have a post-workout care routine. When you take the time to do things the right way, you’ll get the best workout results! For more tips, read another article.