This topic doesn’t need much of an introduction. It’s rare to find a serious lifter who’s satisfied with his current level of arm development.
When things are going well, the arms are one of the most fun body parts to train. But there’s nothing worse than when you reach a plateau. Below are a few ideas should that, unfortunately, happen to you. Just don’t try to use them all at once.
Strategy 1: Train for strength
The biceps and triceps undoubtedly look impressive after a high volume pump session, which makes it tempting to stick with that training style indefinitely.
But it would be a mistake to do so.
For continuous progress, you’ll need to shoot for strength and periodically lift heavy weights in rep ranges below the standard 12-15 range.
Here are a few effective methods that can do just that.
6-8 x 3-5
A high number of sets in the 80-85% range was one of the most common ways for the old-time strongmen to gain strength.
Progress in the following manner:
Week 1: 6×3
Week 2: 7×3
Week 3: 8×3
Week 4: 6×4
Week 5: 7×4
Week 6: 8×4
Week 7: 6×5
Week 8: 7×5
Week 9: 8×5
There is nothing fancy about this approach. But with the slow and steady increase in volume over the weeks, you’re almost guaranteed strength gains.
There are countless methods for developing strength, but these are three of the best and certainly worth a try.
Strategy 2: Don’t neglect incline curls or reverse grip curls
Scott curls and standing barbell curls are popular biceps exercises. While neither of these is a bad exercise they can leave the long head of the biceps brachii and the brachioradialis underdeveloped in relation to the short head of the biceps brachii.
To bring them up to par prioritize supine incline curl variations and reverse curl variations.
A sample arms routine:
B2-B4 is a mechanical advantage extended set. Use a 10-rep max for the 45° Zottman curl, keep the same weight for the 45° supinated curl and do as many reps as possible, keep the same weight for the 45° hammer curl and do as many reps as possible.
Strategy 3: Don’t neglect the lower arm
For the most part, strapless deadlifts and the occasional use of thick-handled implements will cover your basic forearm and grip needs.
But if you’re looking to take arm your development to the next level consider focusing on one of the following for 5-10 minutes at the end of every training session:
-Wrist curls & extensions
-Heavy-duty hand grippers
-Ulnar and radial deviation
-Forearm supination and pronation
-Towel or fat grip chin-ups
The forearms recover quickly so daily stimulus won’t be a problem. Be sure to rotate through the different variations above. Don’t just stick with the ones you’re good at or that you like.
And don’t be surprised that the extra forearm work increases your curling poundage also.