Big chest muscles, 6-pack abs, big biceps & triceps. That’s what most people want. I feel big shoulders, traps & back are more impressive, but to each his own. Here’s how to build bigger arms and increase biceps & triceps size.
Common Mistakes to Avoid. The number 1 mistake is doing endless biceps curls & triceps extensions to build bigger arms. This works at the advanced level, but for beginners it’s inefficient and counterproductive.
- Curls & Extensions. Beginners need compound exercises to build overall muscle mass, not isolation exercises. First big picture, then the details.
- Overtraining Your Arms. Arms are small muscles which you hit on all exercises. You can’t train them 5x/week. Muscles grow when they rest.
- Neglecting Other Muscles. This will get you out of proportion. Your arms will be too big compared to the rest of your body and you’ll look funny.
- Not Eating Enough Food. You’ll never get 18” biceps if you only weigh 120lbs at 6′. You must gain weight to build bigger arms.
How to Build Bigger Arms. You’ll never have big arms as long as you’re under-weight. No matter how many biceps curls you do. To build bigger arms, increase your overall muscle mass first by getting stronger and eating a lot.
- Eat More. Eat every 3 hours. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, post workout & 2 snacks. Eat your stomach full on each meal.
- GOMAD. Drink 1 gallon of whole milk a day. This is the fastest way to gain weight. Read the GOMAD guide for more info.
- Get Stronger. Increase your Squat to 1.5x your body-weight for at least 1 rep. Increase your Deadlift to 2x your body-weight for 1 rep.
- Rest. Muscles grow when at rest. Give your arms a break, they’re small muscles. Check StrongLifts 5×5: the routine allows for plenty of rest.
- Track Progress. Weigh yourself, track your body fat using a fat caliper and measure your flexed arms every 2 weeks. Keep a training log.
- Avoid Curls. Increasing your Squat & Deadlift will build your arms faster than biceps curls & triceps extensions. Get stronger and eat more.
StrongLifts 5×5 & Arm Growth. Popular question: can you add exercises to StrongLifts 5×5 to hit your biceps & triceps? No, you already get plenty of arm work with StrongLifts 5×5.
- Biceps. Pull-ups, Chin-ups & Inverted Rows work your biceps. Pull-ups work several muscles at the same time and force you to pull your own weight up. Compare your body-weight with how much you’d curl.
- Triceps. Bench Press, Overhead Press & Push-ups work your triceps. Especially the Overhead Press will hit your triceps hard.
- Forearms. Deadlifts work your forearms hard. Avoid straps. Squeeze the bar hard, use chalk and use a mixed grip on your max sets.
Another reason you must focus on getting stronger on Squats and Deadlifts to build bigger arms, is that these work your arms indirectly. Your arms squeeze the bar hard during heavy Squats & Deadlifts. This will make them grow.