Hour-long arm building sessions are not necessarily the thing that will put more lean meat on your physique. If arm training makes you grumpy because you don’t have the time to give your biceps and triceps the real attention that they deserve and your muscle size seems to never grow, we have the perfect solution: a workout that will allow you to squeeze out maximum effectiveness and steady progress and lasts only 20 minutes!
The thing is, your arm muscles will refuse to grow bigger if they’re not being targeted with the proper amount of direct work, even though some dubious online sources would have you believe that it’s better for you to totally exclude direct arm work from the menu, especially if your training is based around heavy compound moves.
If you want really big arms, or insanely strong arms, for that matter, alongside the compound movements, you also need to work your arms with isolation exercises designed specifically for that – effectively isolating the target muscle so that you can hammer it with all you’ve got.
We’re not suggesting that you should replace multi-joint movements with isolation techniques, but we are 100% that if you want best results, you must supplement your big lifts with direct arm work.
And now comes the hard part – finding your sweet spot between going counter-productively radical with direct arm training and doing too little to cause any significant muscle impact.
Here we have 4 rules that you can use as a guide when creating an arm-blasting program, and a workout that will allow you to take maximum advantage of them!
1. Give priority to compound movements
The cornerstones of every bodybuilder’s program should always be multi-joint barbell lifts such as deadlifts and squats, with all of their more difficult variants. Combine those with close-grip bench presses, heavy dips, chin-ups and close-grip pull-ups.
2. Deadlift first, curl later
Isolation movements are accessory work, and you should always keep this in your mind. Do your isolation work such as curls, extensions, etc. at the end of the session, after your big lifts.
Expect that your form will break down pretty quickly, so don’t opt for heavy loads as this will increase your risk of injury. Stick to 6-8 reps per set.
3. Short Rests
Keep your rest periods short when doing your direct arm work – somewhere between 60-90 seconds but no more. It doesn’t matter how many sets you do if you don’t keep the training intense enough to cause significant muscle damage, thus stimulate growth.
4. Stick to the Basics
You don’t need to complete a long list of exercises on every gym sessions in order to push your muscles to grow bigger and stronger. If nothing else, it usually is impractical to use too much variety, given the conditions of local gyms and the fact that you can instead use only a few movements that guarantee maximum results.
If you want to focus your routine on triceps activation, pick one heavy movement such as dips or close-grip bench presses, one extension such as skull-crushers or cable press-downs and one overhead triceps variation.
When it comes to biceps, you will need one pull-up or chin-up variation, an arms-behind-back curl and a curl with the arms positioned in front of the body.
We’ve put these four tips together into one super-effective workout for those of you with a busy weekly schedule: it only takes 15-20 minutes to complete and it can deliver outstanding results, as long as you train with proper form and technique.
Also, make sure that your diet is as healthy and growth-oriented as possible, and consider using intensity-enhancing supplements to accelerate your efforts even further.
20-Minute Arm Workout
- Chin-Up: 4 sets, 6 reps, 0 sec. rest
- Dips: 6 reps (30 sec. rest)
Perform as many sets of 6-10 reps as possible in 10 min.
- Preacher Curl: 6-10 reps.
- Standing Overhead Barbell Triceps Extension: 6-10 reps.
- Incline Dumbbell Curl: 6-10 reps.
- Lying Triceps Press: 6-10 reps
Perform this workout twice per week, preferably with one or two days of rest between two sessions. Good luck!