In the fitness world, it seems to be every males goal to have giant arms because its seen as a masculine attribute. Since every male wants to have larger arms, it results in most guys spending 2-3 days a week in the gym constantly performing curling exercises with as heavy as a weight load as possible.
Will this allow you to build larger biceps and triceps? Yes, of course, but after a while the fast increase in muscle tissue will cease to increase and it will be a much harder process to build muscle. So how does one train to make their arms wider or fuller in appearance and size?
Exercises For Arm Width
The first step is to not simply increase your training volume and frequency, but to also learn how to properly and effectively train the antagonistic muscles of the biceps and triceps in a way in which you are actually tearing down the muscle fibers correctly. Anyone can lift weight and move the weight load around all day long, but to truly use that weight you are lifting to create a constant tension and workload on the muscles is an entirely different aspect that most people tend to overlook when training.
If you want your arms to become wider, the first step is to increase the size of your triceps. The upper arm itself is made up of 3 major muscles: 50% Triceps, 30% Bicep and 20% Brachialis. Since the triceps make up 2/3 of the upper arm, this will be your main focus for getting wider arms. When it comes to training the triceps, it’s important to recognize that the triceps themselves are made up of 3 heads: inner, outer and mid heads.
This requires training in many different ways to actually target each head accurately. The mid heads are going to fatigue the fastest which means heavy compound exercises, such as close grip bench press, are going to be most effective. The inner triceps are going to take the longest to fatigue so more isolation exercises, such as triceps cable push downs/extensions, will be best for the inner head. The outer head will be targeted by performing compound and isolation exercises.
For training the biceps, you will want to understand how the bicep works. To activate your biceps brachii, you will need to focus on flexion and supination exercises to target this muscle. For the brachialis, exercises that incorporate elbow flexion will be most beneficial. Elbow flexion is simply the bending of the elbow joint to allow the arm to curl upwards. Since the bicep is made up of 60% fast twitch fibers and 40% slow twitch fibers, 60% of the time you should be training the biceps fairly heavy at around 60-80% of your 1 rep max weight load for around 6-12 reps or so.
It’s important to control the weight properly as well. The remaining 40% of the time perform reps at a lighter weight load of around 50% your 1 rep max for around 12-20 reps or more. I also recommend when performing these higher rep ranges to incorporate super sets of multiple exercises back to back to train the bicep as close to failure as possible. The point of these supersets is to apply a constant tension to drive the bicep muscle to fatigue at a faster rate.
I also recommend training the bicep at different angles because the angle of the lift you are performing will change the amount of muscle activation in the exercise. Preacher curls are always a great exercise to start with and once fatigue is reached I recommend switching to an exercise such as dumbbell alternating curls or single arm curls. The preacher curling method will target the bicep head at the bottom while standing will target it at the top of the muscle.
An example of a good training routine for maximum arm growth for fullness and size would be something like this:
|Close Grip Bench Press||6sets, 8 reps|
|Triceps Cable Push Down||6 sets, 10-15 reps|
|Superset: Cable Push downs with Dips||6 sets, reps till failure|
|Single Arm Triceps Dumbbell Overhead Extension||6×10 reps|
|Dumbbell Concentration Curls||6×10 reps per arm|
|Standing Barbell Curls||5 sets, 8-10 reps (keep elbows tucked in)|
|2 Arm Preacher Curls||6 sets, 8-15 reps|
|Dumbbell Preacher Curls||6 sets, 10 reps|
|Alternating Dumbbell Curls||6 sets, 12-15 reps|
Help your recovery after working out with these supplements to help promote muscle growth:
Protein is the essential nutrient for muscle growth and repair. Whey is a fast absorbing protein source, making it the perfect post workout supplement to promote muscle growth.
Creatine creates ATP, which is the energy resource required for muscle contraction. Taking creatine helps you to complete more reps, on higher weight, leading to more muscle fiber breakdown, and with the right post recovery nutrition, more muscle growth.
This is a slow digesting protein source, making it the perfect supplement to take before you go to bed to promote muscle growth and repair as you sleep.
Take Home Message
You should now have a better understanding of the structure of the arm muscles and know how to better target your biceps and triceps to achieve maximum growth and widen your arms.