Look around the gym on arm day, and what do you see? Most guys doing concentration curls and skull crushers. Well, you can do those 'till rocks go soft and still not get substantial growth. The solution isn’t just jacking up the weight, or number of reps but attacking the issue from another angle: compound movements such as rows and presses. You’ll finally get those thick arms you’ve always talked about while growing the rest of your upper body in proportion.

 

Why does it work?

The nature of compound exercises is to engage more muscles at once, causing your body to release huge levels of muscle-building hormones and doing isolation exercises has the opposite effect. Small amounts of tissue targeted equals small levels of hormones, huge amounts of tissue equals Hercules. Most of the exercises can be incorporated into your other major muscle groups, like chest, shoulders and back but specifically targeting your arms too.

 

How does it work?

Frequency: Perform the workouts (workout 1 and workout 2) once each week, with at least 2 days in between. Maybe look at doing your lower body, cardio or core exercises in the days between. Like always, make sure the weight is sufficient but not at the cost of your technique. Keep your rest times between sets to about 1 minute and run this program for 4 – 6 weeks.

 

WORKOUT 1

1. CLOSE GRIP INCLINE BENCH PRESS

  • SET UP: Adjustable bench – 30 degree incline
  • SETS:4  REPS 12/12/12/12
  • HAND POSITION: Overhand & Shoulder width apart
  • REP RANGE: Full extension of the arm to chest.
  • ACTION: Take the bar off the rack and lower the bar to meet the upper chest, once reaching your chest push the bar up, this completes the rep.

 

2. SHOULDER WIDTH CHIN UP (WEIGHTED)

  • SET UP: Chin-Up bar
  • SETS:4  REPS 10/10/10/10
  • HAND POSITION: Underhand & Shoulder width apart
  • REP RANGE: Full extension, finishing with your chin over the bar
  • ACTION: Hang from the bar, contract your shoulder blades back and using your back and biceps, bring your chest up to meet the bar. Return to your initial state to complete a full rep

 

3. SMITH MACHINE – INVERTED ROW

  • SET UP: Smith Machine – set up bar to meet your hip level
  • SETS: 4  REPS 20/18/16/16
  • HAND POSITION: Underhand & slightly wider than shoulder width apart
  • REP RANGE: Full extension, finishing with your chest touching the bar
  • ACTION: Lay underneath the bar holding the bar with an underhand grip. Allow your body to hang below the bar but keeping your core engaged. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and pull your body so your chest touches the bar. Imagine a reverse push up.

 

4. NEUTRAL GRIP FLAT BENCH DUMBBELL PRESS

  • SET UP: Flat bench
  • SETS:4  REPS 20/20/20/20
  • HAND POSITION: Neutral
  • REP RANGE: Full extension of the arm to chest
  • ACTION: Holding the dumbbells in a neutral position and lay on a flat bench begin with the dumbbells near the side of your chest, squeeze your shoulder blades and push the dumbbells over your chest. Return the dumbbells to your chest to complete the rep.

 

5. BARBELL CURL 21’s

  • SET UP: Standing on the floor. Feet shoulder width apart.
  • SETS:3  REPS 21/21/21.
  • HAND POSITION: Wide/Neutral/Close.
  • REP RANGE: 7 reps bottom half contraction/7 reps top half contraction/ 7 reps full.
  • ACTION: First set hold your hands wide, second set hold your hands neutral and third set, hold your hands close. Begin with the barbell gripped underhand with the bar near your hips. Begin the first 7 reps bringing the bar up to finish parallel to the floor. The second 7 reps begin parallel to the floor and finish at the top of your chest and the third 7 reps are a full bicep curl. The total of 21 reps completes the set. Move onto the next 21 reps with a different hand position.

 

6. HANDSTAND PUSH UPS

  • SET UP: Handstand position with your feet supported by a wall.
  • SETS:4 REPS 6/6/6/6.
  • HAND POSITION: Wide enough so that you can comfortably get to 90 degrees.
  • REP RANGE: Full range, finishing with your head almost touching the floor.
  • ACTION: Begin with your arms slightly bent and lower your head to almost touch the floor, push your body back up to complete a full rep.

 

WORKOUT 2

1. WIDE GRIP CHIN UPS

  • SET UP: Chin Up bar.
  • SETS:4  REPS 12/12/12/12.
  • HAND POSITION: Overhand & Shoulder width apart.
  • REP RANGE: Standard Pull up exercise.
  • ACTION: Perform pull-ups with hands at shoulder width apart. Try and focus slightly more effort to be done with the biceps. If needed, an elastic band can be used to assist full motion.

 

2. MEDICINE BALL PUSH-UPS

  • SET UP: Medicine ball.
  • SETS: 4  REPS 16/15/14/13.
  • HAND POSITION: Close.
  • REP RANGE: Standard Push up exercise.
  • ACTION: With a medicine ball on the floor, get into a standard push up position. Grip the ball with your thumbs on top and your fingers pointing at the floor. Lower your chest, to meet your solar plexus to the ball then push up to regain your initial position.

 

3. REVERSE GRIP TRICEPS EXTENSION

  • SET UP: Triceps pull down machine.
  • SETS:4  REPS 20/15/12/12.
  • HAND POSITION: reverse grip/underhand.
  • REP RANGE: Standard push down.
  • ACTION: Normal triceps pushdown, but reverse your grip so that your palms are facing up. Start with your hand position close to your chest then extend the arm so it finishes straight. To fully engage the triceps, rotate the wrist so your knuckles end up toward your body.

 

4. OVERHEAD CABLE CURL

  • SET UP: Cable machine.
  • SETS:4  REPS 12/12/12/12.
  • HAND POSITION: Grip with palms facing your head.
  • REP RANGE: Isolation curl.
  • ACTION: Stand in the middle of the cable machine and use an underhand grip to grab each handle. Your arms should be fully extended and run parallel to the floor. Keep your feet shoulder with apart, feet facing forward and knees slightly bent. Contract your biceps so that you bring your hands in to meet your head. Release the weight slowly to the beginning position to complete a full rep.

 

5. ZOTTMAN CURL

  • SET UP: Dumbbells.
  • SETS:4  REPS 12/12/12/12.
  • REP RANGE: full biceps curl.
  • ACTION: Pick up the dumbbells with your palms facing the ceiling. Keep your elbows close to your core, and contract the biceps so that the weight is lifted to your chest. Only your forearms should move. Once the weight is at your chest, rotate your palms so that they face the floor, then lower the weight to the initial position. Rotate so your palm faces the ceiling and repeat.

 

6. OVERHEAD TRICEPS EXTENSION

  • SET UP: Cable machine.
  • SETS:3  REPS 20/20/20.
  • HAND POSITION: Overhand.
  • REP RANGE: full triceps extension.
  • ACTION: Grip the cable grips with your back away from the cable machine. Bring your elbows up to your ears and point your palms to the ceiling. Extend your forearms so that your hands finish directly above your head. Hold for a second, then slowly return to the initial position to complete the rep.
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