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Just about every guy who walks into the gym wants to build big arms, but that’s no easy task for most of us. It doesn’t help that arms are one of the trickiest muscle groups to train, either.
The problem with building arms is training enough to make them grow, but not so much that you overtrain them. See, no matter how freaky we THINK our arms are, the fact is that they’re one of the smallest muscle groups in our bodies.
To make matters worse, arms get hammered every time we train chest, shoulders, or back, so it really is easy to overdo it.
But no bodybuilder worth his protein powder is going to give up direct arm training for long, so what’s the answer?
Many times, it’s cutting down the volume and training HARDER. In that spirit, here are five high-intensity training methods that can help you build bigger arms.
If you want to wake up a pair of sleeping biceps, you can’t find a much better alarm clock than super slow chins. The goal here is simple, but the execution is brutal.
Take an undergrip (or curl grip) on the chin bar with your hands about shoulder width apart and hang at full extension. Next, slowly begin to tense your biceps and back muscles, squeezing into the repetition.
In this case slow means really slooooww … like taking 30 full seconds to reach the top of the rep with your chin over the bar.
You’ll be VERY tempted to speed up your rep, and most guys can’t make 30 seconds their first time out.
However long it takes you to get to the top, pause at the top for a moment, then slowly lower to the starting point. How slowly?
Yep, 30 seconds.
If you even want to do a second rep, you may already be Superman, and your biceps might brush against your earlobes when you’re putting on deodorant in the morning.
Much like their chinning cousins, super slow dips are simple but vicious. Get ready to torch your triceps and chest.
Grab a pair of parallel dip bars with your knuckles facing outwards and straighten your arms so that your feet are off the floor. Bend your legs behind you and tuck your feet, then slowly lower your body.
After 30 seconds, you should be at the bottom position, where your chest muscles are starting to feel a real stretch.
Smoothly reverse direction and then push back to the top in, yes, 30 seconds.
By this point, your arms should be quivering.
The fact is that many guys aren’t strong enough to get much out of 30/30 chins and dips, at least not right off the bat. Another great biceps/back variation that just about anybody can do is the the negative-only chin-up.
To do this exercise, pull a stool or chair over to the chin bar and climb up to grasp the bar with a shoulder-width, underhand grip. Standing on your toes if necessary, move yourself into the top position of the chin, where your biceps and back are contracted, and your chin is over the bar.
Now, lift your feet off the chair and lower yourself slowly, in about 10 seconds, to the fully extended position. Immediately climb back up on the chair to get in the starting position, then lower again.
The set is over when you can’t control your descent for a full 10 seconds.
For negative-only dips, pull your chair between the dip bars and climb up so that you are in the top position, arms fully extended and chest contracted.
Lift your feet and lower to the bottom position in 10 seconds, and then repeat. As with the curls, terminate your set when you can’t last for 10 seconds on the negative portion of the lift.
Most of the time, HIT will have you training your big muscle groups first in your workout, then moving to progressively smaller muscles. That usually leaves arms for the end of your workout, which can rob them of your full energy.
Occasionally, you can move arms to the leadoff spot in your training routine. Even without changing exercises or techniques, you will likely pump out more reps with your usual weight and give your guns a quick growth boost.
Just don’t fall into the trap of ALWAYS training your arms first, or you could end up with bulging biceps and twiggy legs!
By it’s very nature, HIT is very intense, and these arm-training methods are extremely demanding. As always, talk to your physician before changing your routine and always use caution when employing radical training methods. You’d do best to limit your to one or two of these per session.
If you’re up for the challenge, though — physically and mentally — these HIT blasts can definitely help you build bigger arms.
If you want to learn ALL about high-intensity training to figure out if it’s the right approach for you, be sure to check out High Intensity Training Bodybuilding Workouts.