When it comes to training plateaus, we all know that the best way to crush them is by changing some crucial aspect of your routine, but in reality this can be a lot harder than it sounds.
For many guys, arm training is the most redundant part of the routine even though the size and development of their arms is the first thing people notice when evaluating their physique.
Sure, everybody wants impressive arms, but once you get them to grow with the help of heavy compound movements, the next step is carving out detail by a ton of isolation exercises, which can be quite a snooze-fest.
Taking your arm development to the next level requires a lot of focus and patience, consistency and of course, the right exercises.
Since every bodybuilder wants to know the secret for big guns, the internet is flooded with articles that list the best biceps exercises, many of which offer great tips and the topic seems like it has beaten to death many times. And yet, too many people still don’t have a clue how to set up their arm training for best gains or simply hit training plateaus too often.
That’s why in this article we’ll uncover one unconventional way to work your arms that’s basic but also unique in its ability to hit them from as many angles as possible, and it can definitely help you unlock a brand new level of growth.
The chin-up is considered the “upper body squat” by many because of its superior ability to build mass and functional strength in the core and the entire upper body. And if you want to use it to emphasize your biceps, the supinated grip, i.e. palms facing you, will help you inspire tremendous bicep growth.
Many top-level gymnasts with otherworldly arm development rely heavily on chin-ups in their upper body routines, while most elite police organizations require candidates to perform a certain number of chin-ups as a part of their application. So what makes chin-ups so great?
First of all, they provide a solid overload in the upper arms and upper back muscles by forcing you to move your entire body around a fixed object. Second, the movement itself is very close to real-life physical activities, which is why it translates so well to other fields of athletic performance.
If you want to build a great back and massive arms, chin-ups should be at the core of your training because no other exercise can enable you to kill these two birds with one stone on such an efficient way. In addition, chin-ups allow you to target the brachialis muscle (which can be difficult to hit with regular bicep curls) and build that peak you’ve always dreamed of.
While many spectacular chests have been built via endless sets of dips, when it comes to arm development, very few lifters view this exercise as more than average. But the truth is that dips aren’t only great for hitting your stubborn pecs – in fact, they are one of the best exercises for building up the entire front side of your upper body.
More specifically, the dip is pretty intense and effective compound exercise with a small range of motion that can be of crucial assistance in the process of growing some well-defined, potent triceps. One of its greatest advantages is that it allows you to keep on progressively overloading your muscles with more weight and constantly increasing your dip strength.
On the other hand, dips can also improve your lockout strength, which then transfers directly to the lockout phase of related exercises, ultimately improving your bench press and overhead press performance and gains. The lack of momentum during the dip movement keeps the muscles contracted throughout the whole range of motion, which naturally results with powerful muscle growth.
And if you want to train your triceps to efficiently team up with other neighboring muscles and perform at their best, dips are the way to go. For optimal triceps activation and minimal contribution from the pecs, make sure to keep your body upright and elbows as close to the body as possible all throughout the movement.
#3. Band-resisted curls
If you simply can’t let go of your precious biceps curls, you could at least upgrade their efficiency by introducing resistance bands. Resistance bands are made of strong, thin rubber with handles at the end and can provide almost any type of strength training exercise some additional resistance and muscle-building tension without the need for heavier weights.
Like free weights, resistance bands provide a force against which your muscles must work – but unlike free weights, as you stretch the band, the tension increases while the movement remains equally safe and effective.
As one of the most versatile pieces of workout equipment, resistance bands can be easily adjusted to meet the demands of a harder workout and challenge your muscles more by creating resistance in multiple directions, resulting with increased strength in the targeted muscle group and the secondary stabilizing and supporting muscles.
Furthermore, resistance band training is surprisingly easy on the joints, keeping them pain-free, which can be a very nice change for athletes who are already taking a beating from their vigorous routines.
All of this makes resistance bands the perfect addition to your biceps curls – they will help you up the intensity of the workout and get a lot more out of your favorite exercise. Just wrap one end of a band around your barbell or dumbbells and stand on the band while holding the handles with palms facing out to create an adequate amount of tension, then curl away.
#4. Skull-crusher plus
Struggling with triceps growth? Forget everything you’ve learned so far and enter the mighty world of the skull-crusher plus. The decline skull-crusher plus is a tough, powerful exercise that can help you optimize the activation of your triceps’ long head by making you move your elbows away from your torso.
The long head of the triceps is perhaps one of the most neglected muscles in the arms, so you have to give it enough work in order to encourage adequate stimulation.
Unlike squats, deadlifts, presses and rows, skull-crushers are much better suited for generating maximum muscular fatigue than progressive tension, so you’d be better off pushing for higher reps rather than aiming to constantly up the weight and risking your form.
To ensure an efficient performance and save your wrists from pain, make sure to pick a weight that’s lighter than your regular skull-crusher weight and use an EZ curl bar with a very narrow grip. Also, put the bench on a slight decline to reap the advantages of gravitational forces.
Drag your arms away from the body at the bottom of each rep, then once you feel a good stretch in the triceps, reverse the movement by dragging your arms back toward your head. Finally, return to the full extension position. Remember to keep the elbows facing forward and don’t let them flare out.
Arms are arguably the most trained and most attention-grabbing part of any well-built physique. No matter how you feel about them, the fact remains that the size of your arms defines the stage of your bodybuilding progress, so you’d better roll up your sleeves and get ready for some hard work.
Just as with any other body part, developing huge guns requires a lot of dedication and consistent work, regardless of your genetic potentials or disadvantages. The routine described above is only one way to build rock hard arms – use these exercises and their variations to upgrade your arm training routine and spur new awesome gains.
If you want greatness, you’ll have to think outside of the box and this routine is the first crucial step in that direction, given that your nutrition and sleep are already in order. Good luck!