Build Powerful Arms With These Upper Arm Exercises And Routine

If you want to build powerful upper arms, you need the right exercises to do the job and the right routine to get those arms growing.

I'm sure you've seen those people with fantastic arms, the kind of arms that are full, round, and defined, hanging out of a well fitting t-shirt. You know, the kind of arms that look square, usually with a garden hose sized vein running through them.

It be nice to have a set of arms like that, wouldn't it? Well, if your reading this page, chances are, you'd like to have a cool set of pipes too.

How do you build a big arms?

Building a set of large, powerful arms requires special attention and like anything else in building muscle, it requires specialization. The term specialization is used to describe how to improve a specific body part. For example, let's say you have weak calves, or in this case, weak upper arms. What you want to to do is structre a weight training routine that specifically targets this area.

In other words, your main focus is on arms . Your sole aim is to build your upper arms with the right exercises that stimulates growth and builds muscle.

Your whole weight lifting routine will be a specialized weight lifting program designed to build your upper arms using targeted and effective upper arm exercises. The weight training progam will be more advanced but you will build bigger, fuller arms.

Okay, let's put together your arm routine, complete with exercises and get you on the road to building large, powerful arms.

Diet and Nutrition

I'm going to very honest here. Your not going to build huge arms if your planning on getting ripped. Building big arms requires a lot of calories. You need to consume plenty of quality protein, carbohdyrates, and fats to build impressive arms. If you're dead set on adding two inches of muscle to your arms while trying to get shredded, it's not going to happen.

I suggest you increase your calorie intake in order to accommodate the compound exercises you will be doing for this particular routine. How much caloris should you eat? I suggest you multiply your body weight by 23 to 25 and you'll see how many calories you should be eating each and every day until you see the growth in your arms. However, your going to see growth all over your body so, you'll know when that happens.

I'm not going to get into nutrition here, but I strongly recommend you visit the pages below to understand what you need in terms of food to build some serious muscle mass:

Eating to gain muscle mass

Weight lifting diet

The Workout Routine


Since you want to build a pair of power house arms, your going to need to specialize. This means a restructuring of your current routine. That is, your going to totally change your whole routine around and really concentrate on compound movements. First, we zero in on arms with a specific routine and than we back up our specialzied routine with compound movements.

Why compound movements?

Plain and simple, compound movements build hard, dense muscle mass. The is no arguing here because these exercises have been proven, time and time again to work. I'll tell you right now, that if you can add in some heavy barbell bent over rowing, squats, and heavy close grip bench presses to your current routine, your arms will have no choice to grow.

Compound movements such as the squat, dead lift, power cleans, barbell rows, shoulder press, and the bench press all use multiple joints and muscle groups to lift the weight. If there is one constant in building muscle and strength it's that the more muscle fibre you employ in any given exercise, the more strength you'll build. Also, the harder you work for any given exercise, the higher the intensity levels which paves the way for more muscle growth. Compound movements are extremely difficult to do, but the rewards are well worth the effort. The next time your in the gym, look for the biggest dude and watch what he (she) does. I'm almost positive your going to see some sort of compound movement being done.

I won't go into complete detail about compound movements here but I suggest you go to the following page for more info:

Compound Movements And Building Big Arms

Alright, let's take a look at the arm routine. Here's what your new routine will look like:


Upper Arm Exercises and Routine

Day one
Biceps, Triceps and abs

Day two
Quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves

Day three
Rest

Day four
Chest and abs

Day five
Rest

Day six
Shoulders and back

Day seven
Rest

Repeat

Here are the exercises you'll be doing for each body part.

Day one: Biceps, Triceps, and abs

Biceps super set with triceps

Exercise 1:

Standing barbell curls super setted with close grip bench presses;

Warm up 1 x 20 reps
First set: 1 x 12 reps
Second set: 1 x 10 reps
Third set: 1 x 8 reps
Fourth set: 1 x 8 reps

Exercise 2:

Seated alternate dumbbell curls super setted with standing triceps extensions;

First set: 1 x 12 reps
Second set: 1 x 10 reps
Third set: 1 x 8 reps
Fourth set: 1 x 8 reps

Exercise 3:

Preacher curls super setted with Lying triceps extensions;

First set: 1 x 10 reps
Second set: 1 x 8 reps
Third set: 1 x 8 reps
Fourth set: 1 x 12 reps

Abs

Crunches

4 x 20 reps

Day two: Quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves

Quadriceps

Leg extensions:

First set: 1 x 12 reps
Second set: 1 x 12 reps
Third set: 1 x 12 reps

Squats

Warm up 1 x 20 reps
First set: 1 x 12 reps
Second set: 1 x 10 reps
Third set: 1 x 8 reps
Fourth set: 1 x 8 reps

Leg press:

First set: 1 x 12 reps
Second set: 1 x 10 reps
Third set: 1 x 8 reps
Fourth set: 1 x 8 reps

Hamstrings

Leg curls:

Warm up: 1 x 20 reps
First set: 1 x 12
Second set: 1 x 10
Third set: 1 x 8
Fourth set: 1 x 8

Calves

Standing calf raises:

4 sets of 15

Day three: Rest

Day four: Chest and abs

Bench press:

Warm up: 1 x 20 reps
First set: 1 x 12 reps
Second set: 1 x 10 reps
Third set: 1 x 8 reps
Fourth set: 1 x 6 - 8 reps

Barbell incline press:

First set: 1 x 12 reps
Second set: 1 x 10 reps
Third set: 1 x 8 reps
Fourth set: 1 x 8 reps

Flat bench fly super setted with dips:

First set: 1 x 12 reps
Seconds set: 1 x 12 reps
Third set: 1 x 12 reps

Abs

Crunches

4 x 20 reps

Day five: Rest

Rest

Day six: Shoulders and back

Shoulders

Press behind the neck:

Warm up: 1 x 20 reps
First set: 1 x 12 reps
Second set: 1 x 10 reps
Third set: 1 x 8 reps
Fourth set: 1 x 8 reps

Seated dumbbell press:

First set: 1 x 12 reps
Second set: 1 x 10 reps
Third set: 1 x 8 reps
Fourth set: 1 x 8 reps

Dumbbell side laterals:

3 sets of 12 reps

Back

Seated front pull downs:

Warm up: 1 x 20 reps
First set: 1 x 12 reps
Second set: 1 x 10 reps
Third set: 1 x 10 reps
Fourth set: 1 x 8 reps

Barbell bent over rows:

First set: 1 x 12 reps
Second set: 1 x 10 reps
Third set: 1 x 8 reps
Fourth set: 1 x 6 - 8 reps

Low cable pulley:

First set: 1 x 12 reps
Second set: 1 x 10 reps
Third set: 1 x 8 reps

Shrugs:

4 x 12 reps

Day seven: Rest

The following illustrations will show you how to do each exercise as well as the weight increments and rest periods between each set. The method of the exercise is also explained.

Day one - Biceps, triceps and abs

The following biceps and triceps routine is in a super set format. If you're not familiar with the term super set, it means the following:

Super sets allows you to work two opposing muscles using different exercises. Super sets are designed to increase the intensity of your training routine by allowing for minimum rest between exercises.

An example of super setting is alternating bicep curls with triceps pushdowns with minimum rest between exercises.

The super set is used to add more intensity to your routine. More intensity equals more growth. This routine is fairly short but it is very intense so be prepared for a good workout.

You may be wondering why you need to do super sets for your arms. I honestly feel, that this workout will give you the best chance at building big arms. What your going to do is pump your arms full of blood and really get muscle pumping. You want to stimulate and on top of that, this workout will make you feel like a monster. The heavy work will come from the big compound movements you'll do in your other workouts, such as the back. Beleive me, your going to be doing some heavy biceps work when you start doing heavy bent over rowing.

I use this routine on all of my arm workouts and have been using it for a long time. I don't change the workout because it works for me every time. The workout will pump your arms up like they've never been pumped before.

Here's the workout:

Exercise 1:

Standing barbell curls super setted with close grip bench presses;

Warm up 1 x 20 reps
First set: 1 x 12 reps
Second set: 1 x 10 reps
Third set: 1 x 8 reps
Fourth set: 1 x 8 reps

For this exercise, you'll do the warm up with about 40% of your max for the standing barbell curl and than you'll immediately head over to the bench and do 40% of your max for the close grip bench press. For example,

Let's say your max curl is 135 pounds, you'll start the exercise off with about 40% of 135 pounds (50 - 55 pounds) do 20 reps. After you've completed your set, you'll immediately head over to the bench and perform close grip benches with 40% of your max. If your max is 150 pounds, you'll start off with 60 to 65 pounds.

After you've completed the superset, rest for about 30 to 50 seconds.

Repeat the exercise for a first, second, third, and fourth set. Try and increase the weight for both exercises for each successive set. Aim for a 10% increase in weight with each set.

By the time you reach the fourth and final set, you should be at 80% to 85% of your max. Remember, use a spotter for the third and fourth sets, especially for the close grip bench press.

For your last set, you should be using weight that allows you to perform 8 reps but with some difficulty. You want to just barely complete 8 reps in good form.

The repetitions scheme is for both exercises. You should be following the repetitions as stated above.

For the first couple of workouts this may seem a little weird but trust me, this workout will do wonders if you stick with it. By the thrid or fourth workout, your arms should be pumped to the maximum!

The movement should be under control and fluid. Try and aim for a 5% to 10% increase in weight from set one to set two in this program.

Remember to drink some water in between sets. Rest periods between warm up and set one: 30 to 50 seconds

Here is the illustration and method for each exercise:

Standing barbell curl

Warm up: 20 reps
Set one: 1 x 12 reps
Set two: 1 x 10 reps
Set three: 1 x 8 reps
Set four: 1 x 8 reps

Super set with close grip bench presses:

Close grip bench press

Warm up: 20 reps
Set one: 1 x 12 reps
Set two: 1 x 10 reps
Set three: 1 x 8 reps
Set four: 1 x 8 reps

Rest periods between sets: 30 to 50 seconds.

Exercise 2:

Seated alternate dumbbell curls super setted with standing triceps extensions;

First set: 1 x 12 reps
Second set: 1 x 10 reps
Third set: 1 x 8 reps
Fourth set: 1 x 8 reps

This is a great combination that will give your arms a super pump. Perform this exercise smoothly and at a quick pace.

Try and increase the weight from sets on through sets one to three by 5% to 10%. Remember to squeeze at the top of the movement and keep those elbows in close to your body at all times. For your first set, start off with about 60% of your max.

For example, if your max is 70 pounds for the alternat curl, start with 40 pounds. As soon as you've completed your first set, head over to the triceps pressdowns and do 12 reps wtih 60% of your max. If your max is 100 pounds on the pressdowns, use about 60 pounds.

Try and get at least 12 reps with this weight for these two exercises. For the second set, try and use 70% of your max or in this example, 45 to 50 pounds per dumbell and 70 pounds for the pressdowns and aim for 10 reps.

For the final two sets, add another 5% to 10% to maybe 75% to 80% of your max. For example, if your max is 70 pounds per dumbell for alternate curls, use about 55 pounds per dumbell for these final two sets.

If your max is 100 pounds for the pressdowns, try and use about 75 to 80 pounds. I suggest you keep using this weight until your curls gets stronger. I don't recommend you go any higher than 75% to 80% of your max for this exercise. You want to really pump your arms up with this exercise so keep the reps steady and smooth.

Now, if you find yourself struggling with this weight, reduce the weight and perform the exercise in good form.

Remember, as soon as you've completed a set of alternate curls, head straight over to the cable pressdown and perform the set. Don't wait around, you must immediately perform the set.

Here are the illustrations and methods for each exercise:

Seated alternate curl

Super set with standing cable pressdowns:

Set one: 1 x 12 reps
Set two: 1 x 10 reps
Set three: 1 x 8 reps
Set four: 1 x 8 reps

Exercise 3:

Preacher curls super setted with Lying triceps extensions;

First set: 1 x 12 reps
Second set: 1 x 10 reps
Third set: 1 x 10 reps
Fourth set: 1 x 12 to 15 reps

This super set exercise is meant to really pump your arms up. So, I recommend you do two weight increments, one after the first and second set.

For you final set, your going to drop the weight and do another 12 reps. At this time in the workout, your arms should be pumped and filled with blood. Now you want to give them one last push.

For the first set of preacher curls and lying triceps extensions, start with about 60% of your max. The trick to this exercise is to do them nice and slow.

For example, if your max on the preacher curl is 125 pounds, start with about 70 to 75 pounds for your first set. If your max on the lying triceps extension is 150 pounds, start off with 90 pounds. After the first set, add another 5% to 10%.

So, if your max for the preacher curls is 125 pounds, use about 85 pounds for the second set. If your max for the lying extension is 150 pounds, use about 100 to 105 pounds. Use this weight for the second and third set.

For the final set, reduce the weight to 60% of your max for both exercises and perform 12 to 15 repetitions.

In order to get the maximum benefit of this exercise, make sure you do them nice and slow.

Rest for about 40 to 50 seconds between each set. Here are the illustrations and methods for each exercise:

Preacher curl

First set: 1 x 12 reps
Second set: 1 x 10 reps
Third set: 1 x 10 reps
Fourth set: 1 x 12 to 15 reps

Supersetted with lying triceps extensions

First set: 1 x 12 reps
Second set: 1 x 10 reps
Third set: 1 x 10 reps
Fourth set: 1 x 12 to 15 reps

Abs

Cable crunches

Position

1. Attach a rope handle to the overhead cable pulley apparatus.

2. While kneeling, hold the rope handle with both hands in an overhand grip.

3. Hold the rope behind your neck keep you body upright and head turned downwards.

Execution

1. Slowly bend the trunk of your body downwards until your abdominal muscles are fully contracted. Raise and repeat.

2. Keep the movement fluent, slow, and controlled.

Set one: 1 x 20 reps
Set two: 1 x 20 reps
Set three: 1 x 20 reps
Set four: 1 x 20 reps

Day two: Quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves

Quadriceps

Leg extensions

First set: 1 x 12 reps
Second set: 1 x 12 reps
Third set: 1 x 12 reps

Rest periods between sets: 45 seconds

To see a description, please click here.


Squats

Warm up 1 x 20 reps
First set: 1 x 12 reps
Second set: 1 x 10 reps
Third set: 1 x 8 reps
Fourth set: 1 x 8 reps

Remember, always use a spotter when you are using 80% of your max. Perform this set slowly and smoothly - really concentrate on your quadriceps.

Rest periods between sets: 60 to 90 seconds except the fourth set.

For a description of the squat and how it's performed, please click here.


Leg press

First set: 1 x 12 reps
Second set: 1 x 10 reps
Third set: 1 x 8 reps
Fourth set: 1 x 8 reps
Fifth set: 1 x 20 reps

Weight increments: Increase the weight for set two that allows you to perform the prescribed repetitions in good form. You should be using about 60% to 70% of your max on set two. You should be increasing the weight by at least 10% for the third set or close to 80% of your max.

Rest periods between sets: 60 seconds

Please click here to see a description of this exercise.


Hamstrings

Lying leg curl

Warm up: 1 x 20 reps
First set: 1 x 12
Second set: 1 x 10
Third set: 1 x 8
Fourth set: 1 x 8

Click here to see a description.


Calves

Standing calf raises

Warm up 1 x 25 reps
4 sets of 15 reps

To see a description of this exercise, please click here.


Day three: Rest


Day four: Chest and abs

Bench press

Warm up: 1 x 20 reps
First set: 1 x 12 reps
Second set: 1 x 10 reps
Third set: 1 x 8 reps
Fourth set: 1 x 6 - 8 reps

To see a description on how to do the bench press, click here.


Incline Bench Press

First set: 1 x 12 reps
Second set: 1 x 10 reps
Third set: 1 x 8 reps
Fourth set: 1 x 8 reps

To see a description of this exercise, click here.


Flat Bench Dumbbell Fly supersetted with dips

This superset is a tough one. As soon as you complete your first set of Dumbbell fly’s head over and do a set of dips. Repeat this exercise scheme three times.

Flat bench flyes:

Set one: 1 x 12 repetitions
Set two: 1 x 12 repetitions
Set three: 1 x 12 repetitions

Super set with:

Parallel Bar Dips

Set one: 1 x 12 repetitions
Set two: 1 x 12 repetitions
Set three: 1 x 12 repetitions

Weight increments: First, do a set of 12 for the flat bench dumbell fly. As soon as you've finished 12 repetitions, head on over to the dip station and perform 12 repetitions. Rest for about 30 to 50 seconds and repeat the exercise for a second and third set. Use your body weight for this exercise.

For the first couple of workouts you’ll be lucky to get 8 reps out since you’re going to be super setting these with flat bench fly’s. Don’t worry, you’ll get 12 repetitions sooner or later as long as you are consistent.

Try and use a slight increase in weight for the flyes. You should slightly increase the amount of weight you used, if at all. The reason being is that this exercise is all about form. You want concentrate on the exercise and really feel the chest working.

Really squeeze your pectoral muscles throughout the whole movement, especially at the top. What you want to start doing is “flushing” your chest and filling it with blood in order to really get the “pump” happening.

Really squeeze those pecs hard.

Rest period between sets: 30 to 50 seconds.


Abs

Cable crunches

Set one: 1 x 20 reps
Set two: 1 x 20 reps
Set three: 1 x 20 reps
Set four: 1 x 20 reps

Weight increments: Try and use about 60% of your max. Keep the weight constant for the first couple of weeks and increase the weight by 10%.


Day five: Rest


Day Six: Shoulders and Back

Shoulders

Press behind the neck

Warm up: 1 x 20 reps
First set: 1 x 12 reps
Second set: 1 x 10 reps
Third set: 1 x 8 reps
Fourth set: 1 x 8 reps


Seated dumbbell presses

First set: 1 x 12 reps
Second set: 1 x 10 reps
Third set: 1 x 8 reps
Fourth set: 1 x 8 reps

Click here to see a description.


Side lateral raises

Click here to see a description of the side lateral.


Back

Lat machine pull downs

Warm up: 1 x 20 reps
First set: 1 x 12 reps
Second set: 1 x 10 reps
Third set: 1 x 10 reps
Fourth set: 1 x 8 reps

Weight increments: Warm up with 20 repetitions. This weight should be less than 50% of your max. Do these reps nice and slow.

For the first set, use about 60% of your max. For example, let’s say your max is 200 pounds. For your first set, you’ll do 60% or 120 pounds in this case. What you want to do here is stretch your back out and give it a good pump.

Rest for about 40 seconds and remember to stretch your back. For your second set, you should be using 70% of your max. So, if your max is 200 pounds, you’ll be using about 140 to 145 pounds. Do 10 controlled repetitions.

Rest about another 50 seconds. For your third set, you should be nearing 75% of your max. If your max is 200 you’ll be using about 155 pounds to 160 pounds.

Try and get 10 reps with this last set. For your last set, add another 5 to 10 pounds and go for 8 solid repetitions.

This exercise is very effective provided you use the proper form. Do not add more weight at the expense of form.

Rest periods between sets: 50 seconds

Click here for a description.


Bent over barbell rowing

First set: 1 x 12 reps
Second set: 1 x 10 reps
Third set: 1 x 8 reps
Fourth set: 1 x 6 - 8 reps

Click here for a description.


Low pulley cable rowing

First set: 1 x 12 reps
Second set: 1 x 10 reps
Third set: 1 x 8 reps

Rest between sets: Proceed immediately to shrugs. No resting.


Shrugs

4 x 12 reps


Day seven: Rest


Now, your probably wondering if you should be increasing the weight with each set. My answer is yes, but only when you can do the repetitions in good form. You should be increasing the weight by 10 to 15% with each passing set. For example, let's say you do 55% of your max for your first set, you should be using an additional 10% for your second set, another 10% for your third set and so forth. Remember, once you get to 80% of your max, you will need a spotter for that set. I don't care who you have to ask, get a spot because it can save you from possible injury.

The only exception I have with increasing the weight is when you don't get the prescribed repetitions for your second and third sets. If you can't perform the repetitions outlined above because the weight is too heavy for your second set, lighten the load until you can. You shouldn't be nearing failure until your last set. No exceptions.

For more information about repetitions, please see this page here.

At the end of each workout, I want you to consume the following drink:

2 scoops optimum nutrition's 100% whey protein powder- 40 grams protein- vanilla
1 cup orange juice
1 medium banana
1 1/2 cups 2% milk
5 grams of creatine
1 tsp honey

Blend all ingredients for 1 minute or until smooth.

The following drink will put a serious kick in your gains if you remember to drink it immediately after your workouts. You should follow up with a well balanced, muscle building meal. I suggest you eat 6 meals per day, spaced about two hours apart.

For more information on tasty body building meals, please see Building muscle101's recipe section here

Read this page here for important information about meal planning.

All the best,

Blake






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