Well-built and muscular arms are immediately noticeable. Attaining tree trunk arms is not that difficult but it does require dedication and lots of sweat and toil. Today, my objective is to provide 5 stupendous workout tips for getting those scrawny arms in shape, so without any further delay here are the tips:
1) Understanding the Physiology of the Arm
Say what? Where are the workout routines? That’s the most common reaction of most people who are eager to pump their “guns”. I have seen many newbies working out like mules and not get the desired results, because they have no comprehension of the physiology of the muscle they are training. Simply stating that arms are composed of biceps and triceps isn’t going to suffice if you crave Arnie like arms. The bicep itself is composed of three primary muscles namely: Biceps Brachii, Coracobrachialis and Brachialis. In order to get that peaked up buff bicep look you have to hit all the muscles by undertaking different exercises.
Biceps Brachii: The biceps brachii is composed of the long head and short head. This muscle equals to 1/3 mass of the upper arm. Biceps Brachii is what helps you in flexing and supination of the elbow.
This exercise is affectionately called the “mother of all bicep building exercises” and for good reason. Barbell curls target biceps brachii and with variation in grip width can also target the other parts of the biceps (hence the mother of all bicep building exercises title). The process of barbell curling is fairly straight forward: grab the barbell with underhand grip; the distance between your hands should be shoulder width. Keep your shoulders relaxed and let the barbell hang at arm’s length in front of you. This is the initial position; now using your biceps and keeping your upper arms still, lift the barbell up to your chest.
Protip: Feel the pulling sensation in your biceps as you curl the barbell towards your chest. Basic rookie mistake is to involve the shoulders and bend the back to gain some leverage. Remember not to swing the weight towards your chest instead it should be a smooth controlled motion. Use a barbell that’s easy for you to handle weight wise and always maintain proper form.
Once at chest height pause for a second and squeeze your biceps and then proceed to lower the barbell to initial position in a controlled manner. Do 8 to 10 reps for three sets and move on to the next exercise.
Coracobrachialis: This difficult to pronounce muscle is found along the inside of the upper arm. Although not as prominent as biceps brachii, coracobrachialis does serve several functions at the shoulder joint.
Because of its strategic placement in the anatomy of human arm, coracobrachialis gets worked on during exercises such as front raises, chin pull ups, bench press and Olympic lifts. There’s no need to specifically train this muscle.
Brachialis: Brachialis is even more deeply embedded in the arm than biceps brachii. It’s found in the upper arm and we use it to flex the elbow joint. This is the muscle responsible for giving the peaked up look you mostly witness professional bodybuilders sporting and novice bodybuilders craving for.
Concentration curls are done best while sitting down. Find yourself a bench and sit down with your knees apart. Now place the back of your upper arm on your inner thigh and grab a dumbbell with palms up grip. This is the initial position for this exercise. Now proceed to pump the dumbbell towards your shoulder using the same principal as barbell curling i.e. no shoulder involvement and using only biceps. Lower dumbbell back to initial position, do 3 sets of 8 to 10 repetitions.
Protip: Keeping your upper arm tightly pushed against your inner thigh during the whole movement would act as a fulcrum and isolate the brachialis.
Finally, you can’t hope of having tree trunk like arms with biceps only. You also need to have well developed triceps to complete the look. Triceps or triceps brachii is the large muscle on the back side of your upper arm that starts right below the shoulder deltoid.
This exercise is a great warm up to prepare the triceps for weighted workout later on. The aim of this workout is to provide resistance to the triceps and jolting it into growth. Now depending on your preference you can either let your body weight provide the resistance or you can put weight plates in your laps for extra resistance.
You’d require two benches placed apart according to your height because you are going to sit on one while your heels are resting on the other. Now place your palms firmly on the bench you are sitting on and slide forward using your arms. Slowly lower yourself till your elbows are bent and make a 90 degree angle, hold this position for a second or two and pull yourself back up till your elbows are fully extended. Since this is a precursor exercise to weighted workout, do it till you begin to feel a pulling sensation in your triceps.
Protip: A warm up exercise shouldn’t be so exertive that it would tire your muscles out before the main workout. Use warm up exercises to prepare your muscles for the poundage to come, feel the muscles warm up and tingling slightly and then move on to the bulk of your workout.
Stand shoulder width apart with a dumbbell in your hand with a grip you’d use when grabbing a hammer. The dumbbell should be resting on your shoulder and your elbow should be pointing towards the ceiling. Now proceed to raise the dumbbell up till your elbow is fully extended, pause and then lower it back to the original position.