Massive Muscle Building for Your Biceps
Welcome to The Gun Show! No, I do not mean the one where you see a lot of Battle Dress Uniform’s or old men with beards down to their chest, looking at a Luger that Rommel had strapped around his ankle. I mean The Gun Show were the armory consists of your GUNS! That’s right, your biceps and your triceps!
When you fist started to lift weights, chances are the first exercises you did where:
1. Barbell Curls
2. Barbell Triceps Extensions.
While these are fine exercises, there is much more to building huge guns. Read on and I will tell you how to turn your .22’s in to .50 caliber Desert Eagles.
1. Train Compound Movements: I don’t know if I can say anything else that hasn’t already been said about compound movements. They use a ton of muscle and they get you thick and strong. You train your legs and upper body with compound movements, so your arm training should be no different. Also, before we get on a roll here, remember that the triceps account for about 2/3 of all of your upper arm size, so prioritize accordingly. For the biceps I like to use chin ups. When you do curls (barbell or dumbbell) it is a single joint movement. We kick this up a notch when we do chins, especially close grip chins. Action is taking place at the elbow joint (elbow flexion) as well as the shoulder joint (shoulder flexion). Few biceps movements allow this to occur. Also, when doing chins you are using your body weight which is probably more than you could ever curl with a barbell or a dumbbell. Added to that, you can externally load the movement to increase it’s difficulty. For triceps, I have found that close grip 3 or 4 Board presses are excellent strength and mass builders. For big triceps just press and extended and do it heavy!
2. PUMP IT UP!: After you blast your biceps and triceps with heavy compound movements, get some blood pumping through the muscles with some basic single joint movement exercises. DB curls, DB hammer curls, Incline DB Curls, triceps push downs, DB extensions, single arm cable extensions etc., all work well to get blood rushing into your muscles. This helps with growth and recovery. By getting blood moving through the muscle you promote recovery via oxygen and nutrient rich blood, and you also promote growth via cross sectional increases to the muscle fibers. Think high rep stuff here.
3. Form is everything: Just like any other exercise, form is everything when doing Gun Show work. One of the reasons I like doing chins for the biceps is that it is impossible to cheat. You cannot hyperextend your back to get extra reps. It’s either you get it or you don’t. Either way, when doing bicep and tricep work, make sure to pinch your shoulders together and keep your wrists and elbows in-line. Do not cheat for the sake of handling more weight. Remember, you can’t get big Guns if you are injured.
I hope this gives you some insight on how to train your arms for the Gun Show. Follow the sample below and watch your Guns become something that will make Dirty Harry’s Day.
Sample Vanity Work Day:
1. Chins: 5 sets of max reps (2 min rest)
2. Close Grip 3 Board Press: 5 x 5
3. DB Incline Curls: 3 x 12
4. Band Triceps Pushdown: 3 x 20
Jim Smith, CSCS is a highly sought after lecturer, author and renowned strength coach. Jim is an expert for Men’s Fitness and a member of the Elite Fitness Q/A staff. He speaks regularly at clinics, conferences and seminars about the Diesel Method. His distinctive and comprehensive training approach has helped athletes and fitness enthusiasts of all skill levels attain their goals and "Achieve Beyond Potential". Jim is an active student of strength athletics and is always seeking new ways to innovate and provide a unique perspective for gaining muscle, rehabbing injuries, improving performance and building better athletics.