The Only Two Exercises You Need To Build Bigger Arms
Let’s be real…who doesn’t want to build bigger arms?
And so it is that we’ve come to the final instalment of the Spartan Muscle Series. In case you’ve missed the memo over the past month, the Spartan Muscle Series highlights my two favourite exercises per muscle group, explains why I love them us, how to execute each movement for maximum gain, and send you on your way with a handful of different sessions to try.
That is, sessions that will get you max results, in minimal time (40-45 minutes, tops).
Without further ado, here’re my two favourite exercises to build bigger arms.
Took a quick break amidst all the graduation festivities to squeeze in my final training session of prep. Many thanks to the fine folks at @fitnessexcellence for letting me have my way with their weights today. Being able to wrap up this prep at my "home gym" seems rather fitting. • Now it's time to shift the focus to recovering, making weight, then filling back up for Saturday morning. #roadtonationals #thewanderingmeathead #sweetswollenbiceps • • • • • #massthetics #masstheticsclan #doyouevenlift #meatheadproblems #teammpt #legworkouts #legday #gymflow #gymrat #bodybuilding #truenutrition #ironrebel #CBBFF #BCABBA #mirin #instabodybuilding #gains #quadzilla #swole #trainhard #shredded #bodybuildingnation #meathead #fitfam #muscle #elitefts #bodybuildinglife
Meathead Mullan’s “bread and butter” arm movements
Close Grip Bench Press
Why the Close Grip Bench Press is my “bread” movement:
Here’s how to do ’em:
- Using a grip width that’s just inside shoulder-width, un-rack the bar from the pins, and flex your triceps hard once you’ve got the bar in position.
- Let your elbows flare slightly to the side as you lower towards your mid-chest.
- Generally speaking, take 3-4 seconds to lower the bar from top to bottom of your range of motion.
- When the bar is just above your chest, pause for 1-2s, and flex against the weight.
- Flex your triceps as if you’re squeezing the life out of a tube of toothpaste, and drive the bar into a peak contraction.
- At the top (in the peak contraction), you can either press to just shy of full lockout (I recommend this if you’re playing with heavier loads), or squeeze the life out of your triceps until they cramp.
- Rinse and repeat. The degree of control you exert, especially on close grip presses – is paramount.
Why Preacher Curls are my “butter” movement:
Here’s how to do ’em:
- At the end of the day, you’ve almost gotta try to fuck up preacher curls. Yet, it seems to happen time and time again.
- Keep your shoulders back, and locked down. I can all but guarantee that you’ll feel each curl deep in your biceps, and any nagging aches and pains will vanish.
- Squeeze the bar as if you’re trying to impress a statue of Zeus with your handshake (nobody likes a wimpy, flaccid, handshake) for the entire duration of your set.
- Lower into the stretch position over 2-3 seconds, pause just long enough to take any momentum out of the equation, and flex your biceps to initiate the contraction, and bring the weight back up.
- Curl up as high as you, flex hard in the peak contraction, then move into your next rep.
Cake, Baby. It’s just cake.
Tying the two together to build bigger arms
In keeping with the tradition of the Spartan Muscle Series, I’d be remiss to not send you on your way to with what could well be the best damn arm workout of your life. Below you’ll find four different options, each making the most of the two exercises above, and will have you in and out of the gym in 45 minutes or less.
Now, that’s quite enough reading. Set forth, session in hand, and build bigger arms.
A1. Close Grip Bench Press
Do 2-3 feeler sets to build up in weight, then you’re going to launch in to 7 sets of 7. Take 3s to lower the bar on each rep, pause for 2s, then drive to a full peak contraction, and flex the life out of your triceps. Move right to A2.
A2. EZ Bar Preacher Curl
Here you’re going to knock out 7 sets of 10, but I want you to increment up in weight on each set. So, your first few sets will somewhat “easy,” and your final sets should be balls-to-the-wall. Keep up a smooth, constant tempo during each set, and flex hard at the top. Rest 90-120s before starting back at A1.
A1. EZ Bar Preacher Curl
These are gonna be done a little differently. Lean over the bench, and drop your arms down the pad, as if you’re going to emulate a Spider Curl. Lower to just shy of a full stretch, then curl up into a wicked contraction. Hold each contraction for 2-3s. 5 sets of 15-20 reps here. Move right to A2.
A2. Close Grip Bench Press
All I want here is clean, crisp, controlled reps. Aim to only leave 1-2 reps in the tank on each set, and keep your form tight. 5 sets of 8. Take 90s before moving back to A1.
A1. Close Grip Bench Press 9,7,3,9,7,3
Ah, one of my all-time favourite rep schemes. Wave-loading, from top to bottom. The first time you go through each set of 9,7,3, aim to leave 2 reps in the tank on each set. So, push yourself hard, but keep perfect form, and a little energy in reserve. Then on the second round, ramp up in weight, flirting with failure on each set. Rest 90-120s between sets. I’d rather you take more time to rest and nail your execution than rush back into sloppy reps.
B1. EZ Bar Preacher Curl
Nice and simple — 6 sets of 8 reps here. On the last two sets, we’re going to dive into my bag of intensification techniques, and whip out a double-drop set. Aim for 4-6 reps on each drop. Rest for 60s between sets.
A1. EZ Bar Preacher Curl
Prepare for a wonderful, glorious, skin-tearing arm pump courtesy of 4 hard ramp-up sets, followed by a double-dose of Scott Stevenson’s Muscle Rounds (on both exercises). You’re ramp up sets will consist of 4 sets, jumping up in weight until you’re at a challenging weight for each set of 12. The 4th set should be challenging enough that you cannot get out a 13th rep. Then, it’s time for the muscle rounds (using the load you just worked up to).
The sets and reps for each Muscle Round are: 4/4/4/4/Failure/4. Rest 10 seconds between sets, and two minutes between muscle rounds. Do two rounds.
B1. Close Grip Bench Press
Follow the exact same setup as the preacher curls above.
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