Alongside the chest and back, bodybuilders have always considered colossal arms the most striking body part, a presentation of truly exceptional size and strength. The perfectly balanced arm is ordinarily one-third biceps and two-thirds triceps. Achieving this means knowing which muscles to train, with which exercises, and what quantity of effort to give to all. There are various means of approaching arm training. You can train the entire arm in one session, either completing each muscle area before proceeding on to the next or alternating sets for biceps and triceps, training the whole arm at once. On the other hand, you can divide your training into segments where you train triceps one day, biceps the next, and forearms at any time it suits you. Anyway, moving on to some other important points (note that these serve as general guidelines):

  • Both investigation and practical experience have demonstrated that bodybuilders get the best results when using a weight in each exercise that denotes about 70% to 75% of their one-rep maximum – that is, the quantity of weight one could use completing one full-out repetition of that specific exercise without taking a break. 
  • If you use this quantity of weight you will normally find you can do sets of:
    • 8 to 12 repetitions for upper-body muscles
    • 12 to 16 repetitions for the major leg muscles.
  • It is recommended to do 4 sets due to:
    • Necessity for sufficient volume to fully stimulate the muscle
  • Here is a typical upper-body set scheme:
    • First set: a warm-up set with a lighter load; 15 reps or marginally more
    • Second set: Add load so that the muscles are completely fatigued at roughly 10 to 12 reps
    • Third set: Add even more weight to move the failure point to 8 to 10 reps
    • Fourth set: For strength, increase sufficient weight so your muscles cease to function after 6 reps
    • Optional fifth set: Use the identical load, attempt to get an additional 6 reps; if not, get some assistance from a training companion if needed to complete the set (known as forced reps)
    • Try to keep your rest periods between sets down to a minute or less.
  • Training in this manner provides you with the greatest of all possible worlds: You begin relatively lightly, which provides your muscles with enough time to fully warm up; you go on to do a tad fewer reps with a heftier weight, which forces blood into your muscles and thus provides you with a pronounced ‘pump’; and lastly, you increase the load so that you are training relatively heavily for strength. 

 

With these points in mind one can create his or her own arm training programme, but provided below are some sample workouts based on these points. Feel free to mix it up as you wish, as training arms is not as complicated as it some make it up to be.

Sample 1

Upper Arms

 

Standing Barbell Curls

5 sets of 15, 10, 8, 6, 4 reps

Incline Dumbbell Curls

4 sets of 8 reps each

Concentration Curls

3 sets of 8 reps each

Lying Triceps Extensions

4 sets of 15, 10, 8, 6 reps

Triceps Cable Pressdowns

3 sets of 8 reps each

One-Arm Triceps Extensions

3 sets of 10 reps each

Forearms

 

Barbell Wrist Curls

4 sets of 10 reps each

Reverse Wrist Curls

3 sets of 10 reps each

 

 

 

Sample 2

Upper Arms

 

 

Superset:

Standing Barbell Curls

4 sets of 15, 10, 6, 4 reps

 

Lying Triceps Extensions

4 sets of 15, 10, 6, 4 reps

Superset:

Alternate Dumbbell Curls

4 sets of 8 reps 

 

Triceps Cable Pulldowns

4 sets of 8 reps 

Superset:

Concentration Curls

4 sets of 8 reps 

 

One-Arm Triceps Extensions

4 sets of 12 reps

Reverse Press-Ups

 

4 sets of 15 reps

Forearms

 

 

Triset:

Wrist Curls

4 sets of 10 reps

 

Reverse Curls

4 sets of 10 reps

 

One-Arm Wrist Curls

4 sets of 10 reps

 

Bibliography

  • Baechle, Thomas R., and Roger W. Earle. NSCA Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning. 2nd Edition. Champaign, Illinois: Human Kinetics, 2008. 

 

  • Hoffman, Jay. NSCA's Guide to Program Design. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics, 2012. 

 

  • Rippetoe, Mark, Lon Kilgore, and Glenn Pendlay. Practical Programming for Strength Training. Second Edition. Wichita Falls, Texas: Aasgaard Company, 2009. 

 

  • Schwarzenegger, Arnold, and Bill Dobbins. The New Encyclopaedia of Modern Bodybuilding. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1998.