Want huge arms worthy of a Mr. Olympia title? You’ve come to the right place. Welcome to Phil Heath’s arm training guide that has helped him build his massive guns!
Genetics have a lot to do with your bodybuilding success and that’s the hard truth. It’s a fact that not everybody can be Phil Heath. But, not even a man with substantial genetic advantages like The Gift himself could reach the very top of the game without a ton of hard work and a superb training routine. So if your arms are lagging, don’t just blame it on Mother Nature.
Heath, who now owns some of the greatest triceps the world has ever seen, didn’t just rely on his genetic gifts – he kept pumping until he drove his arms beyond everyone’s imagination. This article will revitalize your motivation and give you a valuable piece of Heath’s training wisdom on how to make your arms turn heads whenever you walk into a room.
Phil Heath’s arm training – frequency and rep range
First of all, more is not better when it comes to stimulating optimal growth in the arms. Heath recommends training them twice a week. The best way is to hit your biceps and triceps after working a major body part on separate days and devote one day later in the week to just training arms. The ideal rep range is 8-12 reps for each exercise, which should ensure that each rep is a great quality one.
Most importantly, make sure to use a weight that’s heavy enough to provide a decent contraction and make the muscle work hard through the full range of motion. Prevent your body from getting too comfortable with one way of doing things by switching to heavier weights and fewer reps once in a while.
Below you will find Phil Heath’s arm training guide and his 6 favorite arm-builders for ultimate strength and size.
1. Triceps Pushdowns
Heath frequently uses triceps pushdowns, alternating between a bar and a rope handle, to get the blood flowing and prepare the elbow joints for the upcoming workout. “I definitely don’t recommend jumping right into heavy extensions because that can really thrash your elbows over the long haul”, he points out.
“I’ll start off with 10 reps, then increase the weight by 10 pounds and do 10 more reps, and then increase that by another 10 pounds and get 10 more reps with that. That counts as one set. My next set starts 10 pounds heavier than the last so that by my last set I’m starting with the same weight that I ended with the first time.”
2. Barbell curls
When performing barbell curls, don’t let your elbows drift up and shift the stress from the biceps to the front delts – it’s crucial to keep them locked all throughout the movement. According to Heath, the grip is the second most important aspect of performing barbell curls. Varying your grip is of vital importance since it enables you to target all muscle heads from every angle possible.
A shoulder-width grip will effectively hit the entire biceps, a narrower grip is great for stressing the outer biceps, while a grip wider than shoulder width will strongly emphasize the inner biceps.
One key attribute of impressive arms is equal development, so don’t leave any muscle behind. But if you want to really make your arms burn, hit them with 21s – three sets of these will be enough to pump a great amount of blood in the arms and spur insane growth.
Dips are perfect for building mass in the upper triceps, as long as you remember to keep your head up and your body as vertical as possible because if you lean too far forward, you’ll place more focus on your chest. In Heath’s experience, dips can be a great workout finisher after a heavy triceps routine. Add some variety by using a machine or performing the bench version from time to time. Sets 3, reps 10-12.
4. Incline dumbbell curls
The great thing about dumbbell curls is that they work each arm independently, which allows for an optimally symmetrical development. “I also supinate, which means that I start with the dumbbells facing each other at the bottom, but as I bring them up, I start turning my wrists out so that by the time they are at the top, they’re in the standard curl position”, explains Heath.
5. Lying triceps extensions
Lying extensions allow you to go heavy while placing all of the workload on the tri’s. In this case Heath prefers the cambered bar since it places less stress on the joints. To provide a constant tension in the muscles, try keeping the bar slightly angled behind your head instead of holding it above your chest at the top. “Keep your elbows stationary to keep your delts out of the movement”, adds Heath. “Sometimes, afer reaching failure, I’ll do a few reps of close-grip bench presses with the same barbell to flush more blood into the muscles.”
6. Overhead dumbbell triceps extensions
These are perfect for working the long head of the muscle, which is very important for achieving full, thick triceps. “I don’t point my elbow straight up toward the ceiling. I like keeping it at about a 45-degree angle to minimize pressure on my joints”, shares Phil. Avoid letting your elbow drift away by tucking your tailbone underneath you, keeping the shoulders down and engaging the core.
Remember that regardless of your genetics, with enough determination you can successfully overcome your flaws and accentuate your best assets, just like the pro’s do. Incorporate these tips into your regular routine and watch your guns explode.