Everybody wants to know how to gain arm muscle fast, but few appreciate the simplicity of the formula for doing so and needlessly complicate things. It’s really an overarching 4 step formula which you can take and apply in almost any way you see fit, and it’ll hold true and work. So, rather than give you an actual static muscle building workout with specific exercises that’ll be useless within a few weeks when the effects wear off, I’ll give you the blueprint – the formula – to apply any way you see fit.
1: Increase the tension and/or the volume of your exercise
Whichever arm exercises you ultimately choose, it’s important that you always seek to increase the tension (weight) on the muscle fibers, and/or increase the volume (reps and/or sets) of the work you perform with the same weight. Without doing so, you won’t reach new muscle fibers and won’t cause enough muscle protein breakdown and won’t get enough stimulus for growth.
Although overtraining is common, most people who ‘think’ they’re doing enough but not experiencing results will actually find they are undertraining and if they can’t lift heavier, will certainly benefit from lifting greater volume. Try it and see what happens.
The prime repetition-per-set range (before failure) for optimal muscle building tends to be between 6-10, so if you aren’t approaching failure (or failing) within this bracket, you aren’t using sufficient tension, so need to increase the weight somehow. Repetition volume far beyond this per set won’t reach the right motor units and fiber types (fast twitch type 2b and 2a) and you won’t experience much muscle growth.
2: Work the triceps, biceps and brachialis
These are the 3 muscles of the upper arm which create upper arm size, and if you aren’t hitting them all with sufficient tension and volume you won’t experience growth in all of these muscles and can’t seriously hope to build big arms. Don’t fall for the myth that the biceps are the be-all of bigger upper arms, they’re not; if anything the triceps will contribute twice the size the biceps will, but this isn’t something to concern yourself with because I’m sure you’re willing to work all muscles as advised.
I’ll give you some idea of what type of exercises work each muscle to get you started:
- · Triceps are built by… bench pressing (particularly close grip) and triceps extensions (skull crushers, other triceps extensions seated, standing and laying).
- · Biceps are built by… curls, pull ups and rows.
- · Brachialis are built by… concentration curls, hammer curls and reverse curls.
If gaining arm muscle fast is your chief concern and maybe all you’ll be doing at the moment, I recommend you work all of the arm muscles in the same day. In fact, many people report full arm workouts on the same day (particularly on a day when they do nothing else but arms) gives them the best results.
I do recommend that you mix the order up a bit, so maybe triceps first one session and biceps first the next, so you get a shot at each of the main muscles when you’re 100% fresh. As a rule, train the small brachialis after the biceps so biceps involvement is diminished through fatigue and more emphasis is then put on the brachialis. If you train the brachialis first, you can impair the effect of your biceps training.
3: Change exercises every 3-6 weeks
There’s an old saying: “If you keep on doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep on getting what you’ve always gotten.” Well, that saying doesn’t apply in muscle building. Things work – almost everything works – at first, but the law of diminishing returns quickly kicks in and within a few weeks you will notice your gains have stopped almost completely. Although muscle gains do inevitably slow as you progress, the way you maximize the gains it is possible to still get is to regularly change your exercises for each body part so your body cannot so easily block change (the state of homeostasis). You can also shake up your routine by changing the repetitions and set schemes from time to time. It’s a game of experimentation and nobody can guarantee what’ll happen – nobody. You’ve just got to get your hands dirty, experiment and see what happens.
4: Eat and Rest and GROW:
Eat enough calories and protein to support the growth of extra muscle tissue, and rest your arms enough to allow them to recover and in general, limit other physical activities to avoid burning up calories which are now needed to make your arms grow.
How many calories you eat is a gray area. It depends on whatever it takes for you personally, and it can only be discovered through trial and error, which is why set diet plans are a great idea as you can adjust upwards and downwards and fine tune it all easily.
Aim for around 1g of protein per 1lb of bodyweight each day, and take your protein from good sources such as fish, eggs, beef, milk, cheese and maybe even whey protein supplements.
Once you see the tape measure start to move, you know you’ve gotten sufficient nutrients to support growth, and once the tape no longer moves – and the scales don’t move either – you know you’re not eating enough.
Part of rest is structuring your program to prevent overtraining. Generally, muscles will be able to recover within 72 hours but in some instances, it’ll take longer – maybe even significantly longer if you’ve really battered the life out of them. Only train your arms again when you feel like you’ve recovered fully.