by Tony Gjokaj March 10, 2020 7 min read
The arms are one most heavily sought after muscles to grow, and it makes sense: it's typically the first muscles we see in a t-shirt.
Lean arms are visually appealing to both a man and a woman.
In this post, we will discuss the anatomy and function of the biceps, triceps, and forearms. In addition, we will go over the best strategies and exercises for overall development.
This is an excerpt from our Muscle Compendium eBook.
The Biceps are a muscle group that consists of two muscles, or “heads” that work together. These muscles control the motion of both the shoulder and elbow joints. Our biceps are used in both lifting and pulling movements, and allow us to bend the arm and rotate our forearms.
The biceps have three main functions:
Understanding these main functions, you can utilize the following balloon-building bicep strategies in the following section.
According to a study by Oliveira (2009), it’s important to note that you should train them in various angles to achieve these functions. We will discuss this in this section!
The Triceps are a muscle that allows for extending and bending of the forearm. In addition, the muscle itself serves as a stabilizer muscle for the shoulder joint.
The Triceps has the following main functions:
Keeping these movements in mind, we replicate these exact movements to strengthen the triceps. To build some horseshoes on your arms, check out the following section on Tricep strategies.
Although the forearms are a smaller muscle group, they are pretty complex in that they consist of many small muscles. To begin, understand that the forearm muscles assist in moving the fingers. So it is important to improve these muscles so that grip strength is increased as well.
The forearm muscles in the front assist with the following:
The forearm muscles in the back assist with the following:
If you cannot open a jar of peanut butter or grip bags for long-distance, you may need to focus on the next section’s strategies for grip development.
When it comes to the most effective arm exercises for development, you will find that some compound movements from other sections will overlap. Some of these exercises will provide an indirect, but highly effective arm development (these exercises will be indicated with a *).
For example, in the deadlift, we target our biceps and forearms, and they can provide great isometric development in these muscles in that the heavier they are, the stronger these muscle groups could get. Strength development does improve the opportunity for hypertrophic response (muscle growth), so training the arms in isolation will provide improved development.
Remember that when it comes to the biceps, you want to have the following:
With that in mind, here are a few exercises you can target your biceps with:
Here are some exercises you can use to push your development:
When it comes to training your arms, you can summarize it like this: they respond easily and recover quickly. Being that you utilize your biceps and triceps on your chest and back exercises, this provides us with the benefit of training our biceps and triceps with direct work. It’s important to note, however, that too much volume on your biceps and triceps can be detrimental to your chest and back exercises.
In training the Biceps, 8-16 weekly sets are ideal. Since they recover quickly, you can spread your volume over 2-4x weekly. With the biceps, training in the 8-15 rep range and the occasional 20 reps can be used. For the best development, train using a variety of curls (Hammer Curls, Barbell Curls, Preacher curls, and so on).
In training the Triceps, 10-14 weekly sets are all you need. This is because this muscle is commonly trained in pressing movements like the Bench Press or Shoulder press. If following the weekly set recommendations, you can recover quickly and can spread your volume of 2-4 days weekly. Finally, the best development occurs in the 8-20 rep ranges.
In training the forearms, direct work might not necessarily be needed if you utilize Farmer’s Walks, Shrugs, and heavy Deadlifts. However, if you are emphasizing forearm development, be sure to take your weekly bicep sets into account. The biceps are also trained with the forearms.
I couldn't resist a cringe-worthy pun, but here we are.
With this conclusion, we really hope you understand everything you need in developing muscular and powerful arms.
Have anything you would like to add? Throw them in the comments below and let's discuss!
Tony is the Owner of Reforged. He is a PN1 Certified Nutrition Coach and has been in the fitness space for over a decade. His goal is to help millions exercise their way out of depression and anxiety.
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