Ever since I was a little kid reading the latest fitness magazines, I have always dreamed of having huge and ripped arms! Big bulging biceps and massive triceps are the main reason I started lifting weights and bodybuilding in the first place. The problem is no matter what I do, I can’t seem to add any real size and definition to my arms. What are the best exercises to develop bigger arms that are shredded and cut?
Let’s face it, most guys want big impressive arms and I have to tell you this is probably the number one question I receive from men who visit ShapeFit and inquire about needing help with some aspect of their training routine or diet. Having well-defined arms is one of the key indicators of someone who lifts weights. You can’t really see if someone has a huge chest or gigantic back but you instantly notice when someone has massive vein laden biceps popping out of their short-sleeved shirt. This is what is called “beach muscle” in the powerlifting community since aesthetics and overall symmetry play zero role in the wants and needs of these athletes. However, in bodybuilding and general fitness circles, having a set of impressive arms is an instant sign you are fit and doing something right.
Since your goal is to build huge and ripped arms, you need to focus on two key elements in your training. This includes lifting heavy enough weight to stimulate muscle growth and eating clean to burn off all the fat on top of the muscle. Most guys just want massive arms and they don’t care about cuts or definition. They eat like absolute pigs and lift heavy to get those huge guns but the problem is that much of the mass around their arms is body fat. So, they roll up their sleeves thinking they accomplished their goal only to see a guy next to them in the gym who not only has bigger arms than him but they are also absolutely shredded with enough tree branch veins running down their forearms that it would make a phlebotomist salivate.
So, ask yourself which type of arms you really want. Do you want the huge and soft ones or the massively jacked ones? Hopefully you chose the latter since the rest of my tips are going to favor this goal. Remember, it’s not too difficult to eat everything in the fridge, lift some weights and do zero cardio. It’s a little tougher to be disciplined and eat the right foods, do cardio and lift your butt off to build solid, lean muscle tissue.
To add some serious size to your arms, it’s paramount that you focus on the core mass building exercises like barbell curls, preacher curls and dumbbell curls for the core of your arm training. Forget about all the “shapers” like concentration curls with 10 pound dumbbells, since this will not benefit your goal of adding massive amounts of rock hard muscle mass. Your rep range should be on the lower end of around 6-8 reps per set and you should always try to go to failure on every set and really push yourself to grow!
Remember to hit all 3 main muscles of the arm which include the biceps, triceps and forearms. Most people forget to do any forearm training but it will add an element of impressiveness when you can build solid slabs of muscle onto your lower arms. Since your forearms contain a far less overall amount of body fat than your biceps and triceps, any new muscle will have a much easier time achieving vascularity (eye popping veins)!
Great Mass Building Arm Workout!
- Barbell Curls (2 sets of 6-8 reps)
- Preacher Curls (2 sets of 6-8 reps)
- Seated Dumbbell Curls (2 sets of 6-8 reps)
- Close Grip Triceps Press (2 sets of 6-8 reps)
- Skull Crushers (2 sets of 6-8 reps)
- Straight Bar Pushdowns (2 sets of 6-8 reps)
In terms of getting your arms cut and defined, this simply comes down to your diet and being able to shed all of the excess body fat in order to have “shredded” and vascular arms. Along with a clean diet, you really need to add some cardio into your routine to burn extra calories and help burn additional body fat. The amount of overall cardio and the level of how clean your diet needs to be completely depends on your current body fat percentage and body type. If you are already pretty lean, then you will not have to be as stringent as a heavier person who is carrying more body fat. An easy way to see if you are lean enough is to look at your arm and see if you have a vein running down your biceps muscle. If you don’t, then you have some work to do. Read our Nutrition 101 article to learn the basics for clean eating and also check out our cardio guides for ideas on which types of fat burning exercises to include in your plan. Best of luck reaching your goal of having massively jacked guns but also remember to keep training the rest of your body for overall symmetry since the last thing you want to have is a Popeye physique with gigantic arms and skinny chicken legs!