Ever wonder why the mirrors in the gym show your waste up only?
Most people new to bodybuilding pay a lot of attention to building big arms, sometimes to the point of overtraining. Don’t forget, the arm muscles are brought into play during most exercises aimed at other body parts so care must be taken not to overdo things.
Having said that, the arms are complex body parts in their own right and deserve a properly focused exercise program. In basic terms the arm consists of three main muscle groups:
1. Biceps brachii – two muscles at the front upper arm that run from the elbow to the shoulders.
2. Triceps brachii – three muscles at the rear upper arm that run from the elbow to the shoulder.
3. Forearm – several smaller muscles that run from the elbow to the wrist.
There are seven classic exercises that will allow beginners to get off to a good muscle building start without overstraining their bodies. For all of the exercises that follow, use a weight that is light enough to allow between 12-15 reps.
Three biceps building exercises are recommended for beginners:
1. Standing barbell curl – 4 sets of 12-15 reps.
2. Alternative standing dumbbell curls – 4 sets of 12-15 reps.
3. Preacher bench curls – 4 sets of 12-15 reps.
Three triceps building exercises are recommended for beginners:
1. Dips – 4 sets of 12-15 reps.
2. Close grip bench press – 4 sets of 12-15 reps.
3. EZ bar lying extensions – 4 sets of 12-15 reps.
One forearm building exercise is recommended for beginners:
1. EZ bar reverse curls – 4 sets of 12-15 reps.
As with all exercises you need to take care in scheduling specific body parts. To begin with you should incorporate your arm exercises into a program similar to the one suggested below:
Day 1: Biceps, Back, Abs
Day 2: Hamstrings, Shoulders, Abs
Day 3: Quads, Forearms, Calves
Day 4: Triceps, Chest, Abs
For the first couple of weeks complete one set but then add one set each week to a maximum of three. At the end of three months you will be ready to move on to more intensive intermediate level exercises.
The length of any training session should not exceed one hour. And you only need to train one muscle group once per week. This means a split routine should only need to be three days per week. In fact, most professional bodybuilders only train four times per week. Remember, it’s quality not quantity.
Do I get enough rest and recovery time?
When you workout you’re not building your muscles, you’re breaking them down. The reason why you looked “pumped up” when you’re in the gym is because your muscle tissue is swollen and damaged. Your muscles actually grow when you are resting. So in simple terms, no rest equals no muscle growth.
So take it easy when you’re not working out. Ease up on the cardio. And make sure you get plenty of sleep. Sleep is the body’s number one time for building muscle. This is also why it’s important to eat before bed, so your body has the fuel to repair muscle in your sleep.
Simple isn’t it?
So you can see that despite what you read in magazines or on the web about building muscle, it’s surprisingly simple. If you get the four aspects I have mentioned in this article right, you will build muscle. If you’ve got any questions, please contact us.