Arms are one of the cornerstones of any self-respecting bodybuilder’s workout routine.
When you picture someone working out at the gym, probably the first image that comes to mind is someone lifting weights. That’s because getting totally shredded, massive arms is basically the birthright of every bodybuilder. But are you sure that you’re getting the most gains for the energy you’re exerting? Here are the top 5 moves that are essential for making massive gains in your arms.
1. Bicep Curls
Bicep curls are probably the best exercise you can be doing to increase muscle mass in your arms. This is because they force you to keep your back completely straight as you lift, which focuses the muscular tension of your entire body down into your arms as you lift. It’s a simply exercise, but it’s a classic for a reason – it really works.
One tip for great, effective bicep curls is to increase the intensity of your workout by using a “thumb-less grip.” If you keep your thumb on the same side of the barbells as your fingers, you actually increase the workout you get all through the bicep muscle.
Another classic, dips are a great way to work out the arms while also feeling a nice burn in your core and upper back. It requires you to hold your spine in an upright position, so basically all of your body is getting a workout with this one, even if most of the strain is concentrated in your arms.
Dips are exhausting but, when done correctly, are one of the best arm exercises and one of the best full-body exercises overall. An important health and safety tip for dips is to make sure that your back is always straight and you are leaning a little bit forward over your hands to prevent injury.
3. Triceps Pull (Cable Machine)
The cable machine is extremely useful for arm workouts because it allows you to put your muscles to work without the extra wear-and-tear on the knees and shoulders that can come from more mechanical arm exercises. Adjust the cable machine to an amount of resistance that feels right, but still challenging, to you.
Then, do as many tricep pulls as you can – this exercise will focus right it on that area of the bicep and help to develop the musculature there. An important tip to remember for the triceps pull is that you should never lock your knees and always pull straight towards your sternum. Keeping a relaxed stance helps the tricep pull work only on your arms; anything else, and you end up getting more of a core or back workout, instead.
Another classic, chin-ups are a great way to maximize definition in your arms. Like some of the other exercises on this list, the key to chin-ups is to keep your back straight and really focus on using your arm muscles to lift up your torso, which should feel like a completely rigid object for the duration of the exercise.
Maintaining that control is what develops the arms so completely and fully from this exercise. A great tip for getting the most out of your chin-ups is to move at a slow, highly controlled pace. It’s easy to use your momentum coming down to swing yourself back up and over the bar, but that really doesn’t give you the best workout. Do it slowly for the ultimate burn!
5. Band Pushdowns
Pull down using a low-resistance band attached to something above you — a bar, a doorframe, etc. Just like using the cable machine to do a tricep pull, this exercise maximizes how much muscle mass you gain with minimal exertion in the joint department.
An important tip to remember when doing band pushdowns is to always scale the resistance of your band to your difficulty level. Remember, the goal isn’t to do what you’re comfortable with, but to push just beyond that. If you’re a veteran bodybuilder, you’re going to want a band with extra resistance, otherwise you simply won’t make huge gains.