Thursday, February 2, 2012

Arm training

I probably receive the most comments about my arms. Now, I realize that my arms are also the most visible part of my body, but when you walk around the gym like this, just about everything is showing anyway right?

I was recently attending a class for work- I have to maintain a certification that requires constant training. There was a woman working there who came up to me and asked how I get my arms to look the way they do. She explained she has been doing lots of bicep curls and doesn't feel anything and doesn't see any results.

After talking with her a bit I realize that I don't really do a lot of bicep specific training, I feel that my biceps and triceps get trained quite a bit with my back training. I do throw some bicep and tricep moves in, but not as much as people seem to think. 

When people ask about my arms, I automatically think my shoulders, but my biceps have gotten so big that I realize now they are talking about the whole arm, shoulders, biceps, triceps.

I think that most people think that the training comes all together, "the arm' but it doesn't, not at all. The shoulders require a lot of detail and love, a lot goes into big, broad shoulders. The biceps and triceps are easier, they get trained when other body parts get trained, if you do it right that is.

It is a rare day you will find me doing a bicep concentration curl, it just isn't necessary. let me put it this way, you can develop beautiful arms while working other body parts at the same time, how's that?

So what exactly is my training? It varies, as it should. I have always been known for having great, broad shoulders (at least in the last few years competing), but they really have popped since training with Roy.

An example of what I do for shoulders:

Dumbbell Lateral Raises
Dumbbell Front Raises
Dumbbell Rear Delt Raises
Barbell Press
Behind the Neck Barbell Press
Dumbbell Press
Arnold Press

But they get trained when I work back too. I always incorporate pull ups and chin ups, these are probably one of the best overall exercises you can do. They hit the back, triceps, biceps, lats, traps, abs, neck...need I say more? If you are not doing several sets of chin ups a week, you should.


What do I do for my biceps and triceps? 

Most of it is my back training. It hits the biceps too!

The Cable Lat Pull Down, we all use that right? It hits your biceps too.
The Low Cable Row? That hits the biceps and rear delts also.
Again, the chin ups and pull ups.
Dips, they hit biceps, triceps and back.
Barbell Bent Over Row: Use a supinated grip (the palms towards your face), this targets the biceps, if you change the grip to a pronated grip, you target the triceps (I almost always use supinated).
Single Arm Bent Over Dumbbell Row, it hits the biceps too.
T-Bar Row, hits triceps, back, rear delts, biceps

There are two "arm" specific exercises I do, that is the E-Z bar curl and skullcrushers.

The other consideration is the weight- everyone wants to know "how much is the right weight?"

Well that all depends on your goal- is it strength or hypertrophy or weight loss? I am assuming it is hypertrophy. So the weight would be as heavy as you can go anywhere between 8 to 12 reps.  That means you can do 10 reps with good form, but are struggling, that's a good weight. If it is easy to knock out 10, then it is way to light. It should be difficult.

I do change it up and sometimes I will use heavy weights with low reps then lighter weight with higher reps. It must always change.

So you can see why my shoulders and arms look so good- I devote two days a week solely to shoulders, then one day to Back, so the arms are getting hit three times a week, and close to competition I add one more Back day so they get hit four times a week!

So my advice to anyone who is trying to have killer arms (but not look like Jay Cutler), concentrate on your back and shoulders, the rest will follow.