6 Week Workout Program For Bigger Arms

6 Week Workout Program For Bigger Arms

how-to-get-bigger-arms

One of the most common goal in the gym is to build bigger arms. Give this 6 week workout program to build bigger arms a try and crush that goal!

In recent years, it feels as if training arms is seen as a waste of time.

Why focus on such small muscles when bigger muscles will provide greater strength gains?

There are even some trainers out there who claim that training arms is pointless as chest and back exercises provide enough stimulation, and no isolation work is required.

This is understandable, but it ignores a common issue – particularly in new lifters.

This is that weak biceps and triceps can prevent you from realizing your potential in the bench press, or pull ups, or similar chest and back exercises.

Plus, I think we can all agree that bigger arms just look impressive.

Goal: Build Muscle

Training Level: Beginner/Intermediate

Duration: 6 Weeks

Days Per Week: 4 Days

Workout Length: 45-60 minutes

Equipment: Yes

Skip To Workout

What Does a “Bigger Arms” Workout Program Look Like?

build_bigger_arms

We’re not going to create a workout program that focuses solely on arms, this would be short-sighted and do us no good.

We’re going to create a standard program (ideal for beginners, but still effective for experienced lifters) but put a bit more focus on arms than usual. However, what you’re going to notice is that this workout does prioritize your arms – for example, your 4th day is purely arms day.

Yes, that means you’ll still have to squat and deadlift. Those legs need loving too!

The training program is going to be a four-day plan using a push/pull protocol.

This workout structure allows us to train our arms twice a week, fully benefiting from protein synthesis.

The program utilizes exercises that cause a higher EMG activity in the biceps and triceps (muscle activation).

Another important note about the workout is proper form. Especially when dealing with eccentric contraction.

Eccentric contraction is when weighted stress is applied to the muscle as the muscle stretches. Try and image when you are lowering the barbell during barbell curls, or when you are lowering the dumbbell behind your back during overhead extensions.

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This image summarizes it pretty well:

Most people don’t focus on eccentric contraction because they lower the weight way too quickly, or they lift too heavy and prefer to swing the weight around instead of maintaining proper form.

Whatever the case might be, if you want bigger arms then you must focus on maintaining proper eccentric form.

Eccentric contraction is considered to be the main driver of muscle growth and strength development (studystudy).

And lastly, targeting the right parts of the muscles.

Very rarely would I see beginners who wants bigger arms utilize movements that emphasize the long head of the biceps and triceps as well as their partners-in-crime: the short head.

Don’t get me wrong, compound exercises such like the barbell curl are AMAZING when it comes to building arm size.

But if you want bigger arms you’ll need to be hitting your arms from various angles, which is exactly what this workout program does.

Anatomy of the Arms

 

bigger-arms-anatomy

When it comes to the upper arm, the muscles that everyone associates with them is the biceps.

But the biceps brachii (to use their correct name) actually only make up 25% of the muscles of the upper arm. The brachialis makes up around 18% and the triceps make up over 52%.

The brachialis is a muscle that starts in your upper arm and continues down to your forearm.

It is mainly worked performing exercises such as hammer curls where you use a neutral grip. So to train your arms correctly, you want to be training triceps at a 2:1:1 ratio. Two triceps exercises, one biceps exercise, and one brachialis exercise.

It doesn’t need to be exactly like this, and our program won’t follow this ratio.

But in terms of importance it is good to keep this ratio in mind. Don’t ignore your triceps, prioritize them.

Bigger Arms Workout Program

get-bigger-arms-fast

The following program is based on a four day training week, train Mon/Tues/Wed, rest Thurs, train Fri, rest Sat and Sun.

Obviously, you can move this around to suit your own needs.

Just make sure that your muscle groups are getting enough rest between sessions – roughly 48-72 hours of rest.

Remember, that when you train your chest you are also using your shoulder and triceps, and when you are training your back you are also using your biceps.

The substitute exercises that are given in the workout program are intended for you to swap the exercises around every two weeks or so. You want to make sure and maintain a certain level of variability to your workout to ensure proper muscle development. And also make your workouts less monotone and boring.

If you are training for fat loss as well as muscle gain (very difficult but certainly possible) then you may want to add a 5th session that is cardio based.

Alternatively, you can just concentrate on maintaining a calorie deficit and keeping your step count high.

 

Day 1: (Pull)

Exercise Sets Reps
Barbell Curls (Video)
Go heavier on your last two sets (4-5 reps).
4 4-10
Cable Pullovers (Video)
Substitute: Dumbbell Pullovers (Video)
3 10-12
Lat Pulldowns (Video)
Substitutes: Pull ups (Video)
V-Bar Pulldowns (Video)
Reverse Grip pulldowns (Video)
3 8-12
Bent-Over Barbell Rows (Video)
Substitute: Seated Rows (Video)
T-Bar Rows (Video)
3 8-10
Incline Dumbbell Curls (Video)
Substitute: Behind the Body Cable Curl (Video)
Drag Curls (Video)
3 8-10
Hammer Curls (Video) 4 8-10

Day 2: (Push)

Exercise Sets Reps
Incline Dumbbell Bench Press (Video)
Substitutes: Incline Bench Press (Video)
Bench Press (Video)
Chest Dips (Video)
4 8-10
Chest Machine Flys (Video)
Substitutes: Dumbbell Flys (Video)
Incline Dumbbell Flys (Video)
4 8-12
Dumbbell Shoulder Press (Video)
Substitute: Seated Barbell Shoulder Press (Video)
3 8-10
Lateral Raises (Video)
Substitute: Side Laterals to Front Raise (Video)
4 8-10
Overhead Triceps Extensions (Video)
Substitute: Overhead Cable Triceps Extensions (Video)
4 6-8
Dumbbell Kickbacks (Video)
Substitute: Cable Triceps Kickbacks (Video)
3 8-12

Day 3: (Legs)

Exercise Sets Reps
Bulgarian Split Squat (Short Stance)(Video)
Substitutes: Barbell Squats (Video)
Goblet Squat (Video)
4 8-12
Leg Press (Video) 4 10-15
Leg Extension (Video)
Substitute: Seated Leg Curls (Video)
3 12
Dumbbell Lunges (Video)
Substitute: Lateral Lunges (Video)
3 15-20

Day 4: (Arms)

Exercise Sets Reps
Dumbbell Biceps Curls (Video) 4 5-8
Concentration Curls (Video)
Substitute: Preacher Curls (Video)
3 8-12
Incline Dumbbell Curls (Video)
Substitutes: Behind the Body Cable Curl (Video)
Drag Curls (Video)
3 8-12
Triceps Dips (Video)
Substitute: Triceps Pushdown (Video)
3 6-8
Tate Press (Video) 3 6-8
Overhead Triceps Extensions (Video)
Substitute: Overhead Cable Triceps Extensions (Video)
4 5-8

 

Notes

  • Warm Up Sets = You can perform more warm up sets if you think you need to. The weight should be progressive. Start off with a medium to light weight for the first set. Increase slightly for the second set. Perform an additional set if you feel you need to. Otherwise, start your working sets.
  • Rest Between Sets = For the big compound movements (deadlifts, leg press, bench press etc) you’ll want around 3 minutes rest in between sets. A little longer if you really need it. For the isolation movements (leg extensions, bicep curls, tricep pushdowns etc) you can have a rest period of around 90-120 seconds. No rest in between the supersets obviously, but a rest after one set of each.
  • Recovery from Workouts = During a rest day you’ll want to first ensure that you are getting enough sleep. A minimum of 7 hours, but more if possible. Keep your protein high, and keep your step count high on off-days.

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Matthew Smith

Matthew is a Level 3 Personal Trainer with the Register of Exercise Professionals. He has trained people both online and in person for over 7 years, and has written over 1 000 articles on fitness and nutrition subjects. He excels in fields such as: Nutrition (Weight loss and Performance), Exercise Science, Supplement Reviews, Gym Equipment Reviews. His website: www.beernbiceps.com

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