You need to be uncommon if you want above-average arms!
If you said you didn’t want bigger arms… well, we probably wouldn’t believe you. Arms are the one group of muscles which just hang there for everyone to see (Unless you wear shorts or long-sleeve shirts most of the time).
Now, if everyone has the pleasure of viewing your arms out in public, you want to make sure they are at least somewhat impressive!
But, don’t just think you can train biceps and have large arms because it doesn’t work that way. You MUST train your triceps and forearms too if you want to have the biggest guns possible.
Well, if you’re looking for some uncommon methods to get those arms growing then you’ve come to the right place.
Here are “7 uncommon methods for growing your arm size”…
Let’s get something straight once and for all… you will never have big arms unless you are eating enough calories and there’s no way around it. Now, don’t mistake this for thinking you can get fat and eat crap all day because too many calories (The bad kind especially) will not benefit you in any way.
You’ll simply need to eat above your daily maintenance in calories by about 250 calories per day, and this is enough to put on quality muscle tissue. Whether or not you choose to bulk is up to you but if you eat too much, you’ll have a harder time cutting within a reasonable timeframe.
If you need to find your daily caloric maintenance requirements, there are several calculators which can provide you with a good starting point.
Here are some great bulking options which are high in calories per serving:
- Lean meats (Chicken, beef, fish, Pork etc.)
- Nuts (Peanuts, Almonds, Cashews etc.)
- Olive/Coconut oil
- Low-fat dairy
- Beans/Legumes (Chickpeas, Lentils, Black beans)
- Sweet Potatoes
- Fruits (Bananas, Apples, Berries)
- Protein supplements
These foods should be staples in your diet because they are calorically dense and are also, most importantly, good sources of protein, carbs, and fats. Not to mention, these foods provide most of the nutrients which are necessary for good health. (1)
Using a good quality protein supplement can really help you to get in your required daily grams of protein because we all know it’s essential for building muscle tissue.
You should be consuming at least 1.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight per day.
Eating the proper foods in the right amounts is crucial for arm growth. Too many lifters focus on training, and while it’s a very important factor in arm growth; muscles will never grow without the proper nutrients.
Eating enough is always a huge part of your progress and most people who complain about having small arms, usually only focus on the weights as a solution. However, this is FALSE!
Don’t Train Your Arms…
Ok, so this isn’t exactly what it sounds like but it sort of is… Stop training arms directly and let the compound movements stimulate them through heavy intensity. Then… see if your arms start to grow.
Since the arms receive a beating during your heavy pulling and pushing movements, you don’t want to train them too much. The reason being is they are small muscles compared to the back and chest/shoulder muscles.
Basically, your arms get plenty of stimulation when you lift heavy and hard during the compound exercises.
Now, this may not be the case with everyone. Some people may need even more direct arm work than what they are currently doing, in order to make gains. Just try it out and you might be surprised to see better arm development by backing off the curls and pushdowns.
Train Arms with More Volume
So this is the complete opposite of the prior recommendation for getting bigger arms (Stop training arms) but some people need more volume for muscle growth. Now, don’t get it twisted… you’ll know if you need more direct arm work. Don’t try this method if you train arms 3 times a week or more because you don’t need an excuse to train arms more often.
If you train arms with other muscle groups, then add an extra movement for each arm muscle group. Or you can have a day where you just train arms solely. Try to use movements which place the most stress on the muscle for the majority of your arm training.
Then after that, you can think about adding in an isolation exercise to really focus on the contraction.
Here’s an example workout:
Barbell bicep curls 4 x 8-12
Hammer curls 4 x 8-12
Preacher curls 4 x 8-12
Close-grip bench press 4 x 8-12
Tricep rope pushdowns 4 x 8-12
Skullcrushers 4 x 8-12
Tricep kickbacks 2 x 8-12
This is an example of an arm workout you can start with. The volume here is decent and you’ll be able to tell if “more volume” is what you really needed for effective arm growth.
This example is for an “arm only” day since it’s pretty intense. However, if you normally work arms with other body parts, you can cut down on the sets (3 sets per muscle) or cut the exercises in half. Just make sure to work your arms more frequently (Every two days) if you don’t have a specific day dedicated to arm training.
If the volume is too much, simply cut back on the exercises. You may even want to avoid training the arms for a few workouts in this case.
Try Higher Reps for a Few Months
The typical 8-12 rep range is phenomenal for muscle growth. But, it’s not the best way to train arms all the time. Different rep ranges hit different muscle fibers and often times; change is needed for the body to respond.
Try the 25-30 rep range (Or slightly more) with decent weight and perform your reps with high intensity. You’ll definitely see some form of growth but it’s important to change your rep ranges if you want to see results. Low reps, moderate reps, and high reps are all a necessity in your arm training routine.
The great thing is you can pick any exercises to perform high reps with. Get that blood pumping in the muscle and watch the changes occur over time. You can always go back to your low to moderate rep ranges but repetition is an important factor when it comes to muscle activation.
You’ll never know until you try but if you don’t try you’re missing out on the potential gains!
Start Cheating During Your Reps!
Before you jump to conclusions… hear us out. Strict form is important and everything but every now and then you need to cheat your way to more gains!
You see, most people believe you have to have perfect form during each exercise… blah, blah, blah!
It’s not true and we will explain why…
Muscular contractions and tension are important for muscle growth, so when your muscles cannot do all the work by themselves, you need some momentum to assist them in contracting the muscle against resistance. That’s right; you can assist a muscle in performing a repetition which is beneficial for both strength and growth.
We need to be able to progress with the weights we lift in order to get bigger, and the muscle needs to be conditioned to know what it “feels” like to handle more weight than what it’s used to. Cheating is an amazing tool (When done properly) which can help us to break through plateaus and provide a new stimulus for the muscle.
Cheat more often and you’re guaranteed to experience more size and strength!
Blood Flow Restriction Training
This is a very unconventional method of training and we’d be surprised if you’ve even heard of it. Blood Flow Restriction training (Occlusion training) is a method where blood is trapped in the muscle by using a band, pressure cuff, or elastic wrap; which tightens around a limb to keep blood in the muscle.
The real benefits come from the light resistance load required to see results. You can give your joints a break while still building muscle mass.
There is a specially pressurized cuff called the KAATSU device which applies an exact pressure necessary for proper blood flow restriction. It’s pricey and you don’t need it but hey, just throwing that option out there!
Now, BFR is not an exact science but there are many theories as to how it works for muscular hypertrophy:
- The low oxygen levels during the blood accumulation in the muscle activate the fast twitch fibers, which promotes muscle growth.
- The restriction causes “cell swelling” in combination with the buildup of metabolites (Lactic acid) in the muscle, which causes “metabolic stress”. This, in turn, results in increased activation of the muscle fibers due to the low-intensity training.
These are the most common beliefs related to how BFR works to promote muscular hypertrophy.
Performing BFR training:
- You’ll wrap the device (Band, wrap or cuff) around the top of a limb (Right under the armpit for upper body training or upper thigh for legs).
- You want to make sure the level of tightness is about a 7 out of 10 so that you can safely occlude blood, through restricting the veins without interfering with the arteries.
- Then you’ll train with around 30% (No higher than 40%) of your one rep max. This allows for the joints to recover while still stimulating muscle growth.
How many sets and reps?
First off, if you’re going to do Occlusion training, make sure to not exceed 15 minutes of blood restriction. With that being said, you can perform 3 sets per muscle group with an isolation exercise of your choice. This will allow for maximum effectiveness.
So a sample workout for biceps would look like the following:
Set 1 – 30 reps at 40% 1 RM
Set 2 – 15 reps at 30% 1 RM
Set 3 – Go to failure with 30% 1 RM
You want to perform high repetitions and save failure for the last set.
It’s important to note that if you have any vascular issues, refrain from performing any type of blood flow restriction training.
Stretch Every day!
Tight and short/cramped up muscles are a big problem. When your muscles and joints have a limited range of motion and are not able to fully extend, you lack the full potential of the mechanical potential for a muscles ability to get really grow. So how do you correct dysfunctional muscles?
You must stretch them out!
If you have tight, forward-leaning shoulders and flexed elbows, you’re going to have tight biceps. You’ll notice that people with bigger arms have a full, resting extension when the arms relaxed by their sides. This is because they have a full mechanical advantage which is crucial for maximum muscular growth potential.
You need to be able to extend your limbs freely if you want bigger arms. So take time and stretch your body out and your joints/muscles will experience a very necessary full range of motion.
Try it out for yourself and see if you get bigger arms from stretching out!