Personal trainer Terence Li offers expert tips and a killer workout routine to get the arms you've always wanted
There's something about having a well-defined set of arms that just makes you feel good, and there’s always that guy at the gym who’s got that “arms day every day” mentality, doing every exercise he can to get his biceps fired up. "100 bicep curls every day and I’ll have massive arms," right? This couldn't be further from the truth.
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Muscle-building is about rep quality, not quantity. You should also remember that building big arms isn’t just about building big biceps. The tricep muscle at the back of the arm actually constitutes over two-thirds of the typical arm circumference.
If you’re looking for a killer arm workout, try this:
A workout for killer arms
A1 and A2, B1 and B2 should be grouped together with no rest between sets. Pick a weight that allows you to hit the target reps only if you are unable to hold the cool on your face with the level of effort and intensity.
A1: Dips—5 sets of 8 reps
A2: Standing Overhead Cable Extensions—5 sets of 12 reps
B1: Reverse Grip EZ Bar Curls—5 sets of 8 reps, pause for 1 second midway through the lowering of the movement
B2: Incline Curls—5 sets of 12 reps, flex your triceps momentarily at the bottom of the movement
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Tips and tricks
A few tricks will help maintain the quality of each rep. First, emphasise full range and really feel the biceps/triceps stretch at the bottom of each movement.
Second, always control the weight—the portion of the movement where you are controlling the weight actually creates the most damage to the muscle fibres for muscle growth. If you can’t control the weight, it is too heavy. Finally, flex! Don’t try to move the weight. Try to flex your biceps/triceps against the weight.
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Remember, it takes an extra 10-15lbs of overall lean bodyweight to add an inch to the circumference of your arms. So you need to be adding size to your whole body. Focus on compound movements that will make you stronger (think bench press, bent-over rows, squats and deadlifts). This is especially true for those who are at a younger training age.
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