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November 19, 2020 2 min read

Stronger and bigger arms are a common goal for bodybuilders and weight lifters.

They are sought after not only for their aesthetic appeal but also the contribution that strong arms can make to a range of upper-body exercises. 

Here, Built for Athletes looks at five key ways you can build bigger arms.

Think About Training Tempo

The tempo of a lift comprises the speed of a concentric portion of the exercise and the eccentric portion. So if your tempo for a dumbbell curl is 1:1, it means you’ve spent one second raising the dumbbell and one second lowering it. 

Having a long eccentric contraction is important for building bigger arms because this is the portion of the lift where you are breaking down the muscle considerably, therefore leading to enhanced growth. Try lengthening the eccentric portion.

Make Every Day Arm Day

Simply increasing training volume in a safe way is one of the best ways to build any muscle. So while every day might be a little excessive depending on your experience, working arm exercises into most of your gym sessions will likely result in growth. A good way to do this is by doing two or three high-intensity arm exercises at the end of each workout.

Incorporate Drop Sets

Lifting a heavy load to allow a high number of muscle fibres to be recruited, and this can then be followed up by repping out at a lower weight to build endurance in a drop set. Aim for a heavy weight you can just about manage for five reps, and then drop it down. 

Vary Rep Ranges

Building bigger biceps and triceps can be done with all sorts of rep ranges. By switching up the number used, you endure your body continues to be challenged with a new stimulus. Try varying between 2-6, 10-12 and even 15-20 reps.

Try Negative Preacher Curls

Negative preacher curls with a heavy load are a great way of making the most of eccentric contractions, which is a great way to enhance growth as we’ve already discussed. Put your upper arms and chest against a preacher bench pad and slowly lower a dumbbell until your bicep is fully stretched and your arm is extended. Then go again.


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