Mar 18, 2012
We all want big baseball biceps and horseshoe triceps. The kind of arms that will make you proud to wear a short sleeve shirt and show them off. But most people go about arm training the wrong way. A typical arm workout for most guys involves endless sets of curls, usually lifting way too heavy and swinging and cheating the weights up.
When training the major muscle groups like the legs, back, and chest I generally recommend that you constantly strive to increase your training poundages on a regular basis. After all a stronger muscle is a bigger muscle. However, with arm training constantly trying to up the weights can actually back fire. There is a big difference between adding 5 lbs. to a 400 lbs. deadlift and adding 5 lbs. to a 30 lbs. dumbbell curl.
With arm training you’ll make better gains over the long term if you focus on simply working the muscles, rather then moving maximum weights. Obviously, as your arms get bigger they will also get stronger and you’ll have to increase your weights accordingly, but don’t force it. You’ll know when it’s time to up the weights for your arm workouts.
Since your arms come into play with so many other bodypart workouts (i.e. biceps are worked with all rowing exercises and triceps are worked with all pressing exercises). You’ll only need to devote one training day per week to direct arm work.
One of the most effective workouts for building muscle in the arms is using a training technique called “Positions of Flexion”. Which basically means training each muscle group through it’s full range of motion; starting with a compound mid-range exercise, then moving on to an exercise that works the muscle in the completely stretched position, and then finishing with an exercise that works the muscle in the fully contracted position.
IronMan Magazine writer Steve Holman has written a lot about “Positions of Flexion” workouts, but the concept is certainly not new. In fact if you watch the movie Pumping Iron you can see that Arnold used this style of training for his workouts, and his arm development was simply incredible, even by today’s standards.
To give you an example, here is a typical bicep workout that Arnold used to do:
(this is a mid-range exercise as most of the tension is on the biceps in the middle of the rep)
Incline Dumbbell Curls
(this is a stretched position exercise as most of the tension is on the biceps at the bottom or fully stretched position)
(this is a peak contraction exercise as most of the tension is on the biceps at the top of the rep when the biceps are fully contracted)
Lately I’ve been focusing my own workouts around the “Positions Of Flexion” concept and the results have been awesome, I’ve gotten the most intense muscle pumps that I’ve felt in years. In the past I usually just focused most of my efforts around the big basic compound mid-range exercises, but by incorporating fully stretched movements and fully contracted movements I can tell that I’m working muscle fibers that are not getting touched with just basic compound lifts. POF training utilizes the best of both compound and isolation exercises to work the muscles through a complete range of motion .