Let’s face it – we all want large massive looking arms. This is the ultimate sign of male dominance and screams to the world that you are an alpha male that takes charge!
The fact is I have hardly met any guys that are satisfied with the size of their arms. It seems like growing large and impressive arms is the single hardest thing to do for most guys.
I used to always dream of having huge arms when I was a kid and thought that it would be impossible. I did endless sets of bicep curls and my arms barely grew.
Thankfully I got started in the fitness industry and had the opportunity to learn from some of the smartest and most intelligent fitness models and bodybuilders. I have picked up many “outside the box” tricks over the years that have helped me grow my weakest and most stubborn muscle group into an asset.
While I may not have the biggest arms in the world – I am flirting with 18-inch arms at the moment and feel that I can still grow them another inch or 2. Keep in mind that I have very long arms and am not “genetically gifted” when it comes to building huge arms. I find that guys who have really long arms have the hardest time sculpting big arms. From my experience it is much easier for someone shorter with very short limbs to have huge arms.
Long story short – if these tips helped me get huge arms they will certainly work for you. I have a 6 ft 5 wingspan and am only a shade over 6 ft tall so I actually have super long arms.
If you are having trouble building up the size of your arms make sure to try out these 5 tips to take your gains to a whole new level.
1. Weighted Pull Ups
One of the best exercises for building up your biceps is a weighted pull-up.
You actually work your biceps during every pull up variation from different angles. Sure the close grip pull-ups place a huge emphasis on your arms – but the wide grip pull-ups are also great for elongating the bicep muscle and creating healthy micro tears in different sections of your arm.
Most guys avoid pull ups for one simple reason – they are hard. I highly suggest that you place a huge emphasis on pull ups and perform them at the start of your workout when you have the most energy. Pull ups require a great amount of energy and intensity – so make sure to do them right away before you lose your momentum throughout your workout.
I was friends with a minor league baseball player who had the biggest biceps I had ever seen. He told me he literally NEVER trained his arms directly. He put all of his emphasis on wide grip pull-ups and doing different weighted pull up variations.
If you want huge arms, try the weighted pull-ups for an extra overload! To work your biceps from every angle make sure that you try weighted pull-ups with all three grips (wide grip, medium grip and close grip).
During my back and arm days I will perform 6 total sets of wide grip pull ups (2 sets each of weighted close, wide and medium grip pull ups).
2. Compound 1st
One of the best tips of information I ever received was from Greg Plitt at a fitness convention. I got to talk to him personally and asked him some insight on a few things I was struggling with.
The topic of big arms came up. Greg’s advice was that you should never step foot in the gym and have an entire workout dedicated to a small muscle group like the biceps or triceps.
If you want to grow your arms you should be performing compound exercises 1st such as the dead lift, barbell row, pull up, bench press, or squat. These exercises place the most overload on your largest and strongest muscle groups. Not only does this help you build muscle all over your body but it also increases the free testosterone in your body.
This translates into more gains on smaller “shaper” exercises later in your workout. Whether this is purely Greg Plitt “Bro science” or not is hard to prove – but I can personally tell you that I have gained an inch on my arms in the last 6 months from this training principle.
Before I would step foot in the gym and dedicate an entire day to arms. Now my arm days consist of 6 sets of heavy dead lift before I am allowed to do a bicep curl!
3. Pre Fatigue Pull
Out of all my advanced training principles for building up your arms, this is by far my favorite! The pre fatigue pull will give you the most massive arm pump of your life – guaranteed!
One of the best ways to increase your arm size is to increase the amount of weight that you can “pull” with. Exercises like the underhand grip barbell row, seated row and underhand grip lateral pull down place a huge emphasis on your biceps.
To take these pulling exercises to the next level, try working out your biceps before you perform these heavy pulling movements.
For example – perform a high repetition set of Ez Bar Curls until failure and then try performing a heavy underhand grip barbell row for 4-6 repetitions. The pre fatigue pull strategy will create a ton of healthy micro tears in your arms.
This advanced training principle is brutally hard but yields tremendous arm size gains! Get creative and try out a ton of different pre fatigue pulling strategies.
4. Negative Overload
Another vital component to your huge arms blue print is the concept of low reps with high weight emphasizing the negative portion of your curls and triceps exercises. This is vital when it comes to building lean muscle mass in your biceps and triceps.
Going down with heavy weight slow and controlled on exercises like the barbell standing curl, EZ Bar triceps extension, Db Hammer curl and weighted dips will stimulate your arm muscles into maximum growth.
A good rule of thumb is that you should triple the amount of time it takes to lower the weight. If you are taking 1 second to squeeze out a bicep curl, take 3 seconds to lower the weight back to the starting position.
Your arm muscles respond best with slow and controlled overload so try this with heavy weight and keep your rep sequence between 4-6 repetitions.
Remember – you break down more muscle fibers and create a lot more healthy micro tears on the eccentric portion of the repetition. Negative training is a type of training that places a huge emphasis on the negative portion of the repetition so you can create more healthy micro tears.
Many bodybuilders and fitness models solely perform negative training with smaller shape muscle groups such as the biceps, triceps and calves.
Combining negative training with a lot of overload is super powerful when it comes to building huge arms.
Just incorporating 4-6 sets of negative overload training on your biceps and triceps per week will yield great arm gains over the course of a few months.
5. Equal Parts Biceps and Triceps
It is easy to get carried away with working out your biceps for countless sets and to forget about the larger muscle in your arms – your triceps!
This is why it is crucial to track the amount of sets you are doing for each muscle group. At the absolute minimum you should be doing the same amount of sets for both biceps and triceps.
Your triceps are actually a larger muscle (almost twice as large FYI) – so if your main goal is huge arms, you better start working those triceps!
When I made my biggest arm size gains the last year I was actually working out my triceps a lot more than my biceps. I felt like I had over trained my biceps for years and undertrained my triceps and the results were immediate. It was almost as if my triceps grew quicker because I was neglecting them for so long.
There are a ton of awesome triceps exercises most guys hardly ever perform. You can even work out your triceps with great bodyweight movements such as the diamond pushup and bodyweight dips.
Some of my favorite triceps exercises for packing on mass are the Db Overhead Triceps Extension, Underhand Grip Triceps Press down, Db Triceps Kickback, and the Incline Ez Bar Skull Crush.