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Getting Big Arms
Q. Vince, I need to bring up my arms to match my delts and chest to balance out my symmetry. I wanna shock these garden snakes and turn them into giant pythons! Can you put a workout together for me?
A. This is why I’ve always felt that the goal of any bodybuilder is to eliminate or diminish their flaws—and everyone has them. So, if you believe your arms need more development to match the rest of your body, here’s a 21-day specialization program that will get your “garden snakes” growing again.
My 21-Day Arm Blitz
Focus nearly all of your recuperative power and energy towards breaking down and rebuilding your arms. Work arms three times per week, and limit all other body parts to one workout per week. Do six “work” sets of 6 reps for arm exercises (plus one warm-up set per exercise that’s not counted as a work set). Perform only one exercise for biceps and one for triceps in each arm workout. You’re doing low reps for maximum tension, but this doesn’t mean using poor form! A good split is to do arms on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, but do no upper body work on weekends. The best arm exercises are described below. Remember, do only one movement for biceps and one for triceps each arm session, alternating between the below exercises for variety.
Triceps (specialized exercises to beef up the high/meaty portion of the triceps)
Exercise 1: Triceps Barbell Pullover
This movement looks a bit weird, but it packs slabs of beef on the largest areas of the upper arm. To do the movement properly, lie on a flat bench with the top of your shoulders hanging slightly off the top end (you could look down and see the floor). Now, place a barbell held at arm’s length over your chest. This is not a pullover position, but a modified lying press position. The reason your shoulders are slightly off the top edge of the bench is to take the power away from them and fully target the triceps. Your grip should be 12" wide. Keep your elbows in, and lower the bar behind and just below your head. Return to the starting position and repeat.
Exercise 2: Barbell Rollover and Press
Lie on the same bench with your body in the same position as described in the previous exercise. From this position, pull the bar over close to your face and rest it on your chest. Now rotate your elbows out to the sides and press the bar to arm’s length over your chest. Try to press downward toward your feet to get a better contraction. Now lower the bar to the starting position and repeat the movement.
Biceps (specialized exercises to beef up the bottom and the peak portion of the biceps)
Exercise 1: Barbell Preacher Curl
I suggest you perform your preacher curls with the left foot forward under the bench and the right foot back. You can look up the preacher bench on bodybuilding.com for a review of this apparatus. Keep your stomach pressed against the elbow rest and your head and shoulders inclined forward. Your grip should be shoulder width apart and “thumb under” fashion. Start the movement by bending your wrists up and curl to the shoulders. Use smooth, pumping reps, and don’t lean back at the top of the movement.
Exercise 2: Alternate Incline Curls
Lie back on an incline bench; keep your chin on your chest and knees slightly bent. Curl your left dumbbell first, keeping your elbows back. As the dumbbell comes up, lean to that side, look at the weight and forcibly contract the biceps when the weight touches the front deltoid. When lowering the left dumbbell, curl the right one using the same techniques.