The Ultimate Arm Training Guide

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The Definitive Guide To Arm Training

Presented by Swol Headquarters.

Welcome to the Swol Headquarters Ultimate Arm Training guide.

If you want to gain massive amounts of size to your arms, this is the guide for you.

Over the past 12 months alone, Swol Headquarters has helped over 150,000 gym rats get massive results using our free guides.  
Using this guide, you will learn the correct methods and exercises to use in order to bring up lagging muscle heads, as well as which training techniques  have been proven to work best for arm training.

On top of all that, you'll  find an exclusive arm training workout which has been shown to rapidly add inches of muscle to your arms.


This really is the Definitive guide to Massive Arms


Key Features of this guide that you will not find anywhere else:​

  • Optimise your arm growth according to your own genetics.
  • Find out which techniques work best for maximising muscle growth in your arms.
  • Get our FREE Arm Workout which has proven itself to be one of the most effective arm workouts ever created.

Sections Included In This Guide

  • Growing Bicep Thickness
  • Growing Your Bicep Peak
  • How To Ensure Even Tricep Growth
  • Swol Headquarters' Top Arm Growth Techniques
  • Bonus FREE Arm Workout
  • Growing Bicep Thickness
  • Accelerate Your Tricep Growth - Tricep Tips
  • How To Ensure Even Tricep Growth
  • Bonus Arm Growth Tips

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Biceps are easily the most renown body part. When we first start going to the gym, all we want to do are bicep curls.
However most people have lagging biceps, which completely goes against what I just said.

The reason is that they aren’t really putting much thought into how they target their biceps.

Everyone uses different variations of the bicep curl in order to make our workout more effective.
To hit your biceps properly, you need to target the different heads of the muscle; the short and long head.


Getting Thick Biceps – Developing The Short Head

Ever seen someone from the side who has massive arms, but once their facing you, their arms seem to have disappeared. Thats because the short head contributes to the biceps thickness, and they haven’t developed that head enough. The short head runs from the inside of the arm, adding to the thickness when viewed from the front.
I personally have this problem, and trying to fixing it. Here are a few tips to help you develop that arm thickness.

Many lifters starting out believe that changing your exercise changes the angle you are hitting your bicep, this isn’t always so, and is often quite repetitive, contributing to no extra muscle growth.
You see, there are two main variations of bicep curls which apply more force to one of the bicep heads than the other; Supinated and Pronated curls.

Supinated curls are what we are going to focus on for this section.
Supination occurs when the arm is in a position where if you hold your hand open, your palm will be facing upwards. When applying this to your bicep movements, it puts more pressure on contracting the short head of the bicep than the long head of the bicep.
In other words, supinated curls will develop arm thickness rather than arm width.
Here are a few exercises which focus on developing the arm thickness:

Short Head Movement 1: Preacher curl

The preacher curl, like all bicep movements contract both heads of the muscle, however it puts more force onto the short head of the bicep. This is due to the (usually) supinated hand position and the fact your arms are positioned in front of your body. You can used dumbbells, EZ curl bars or standard barbells for this movement.

Starting Position

  • Hold the barbell in front of you.
  • Place your elbows as far down the preacher curl machine as you can ensuring your arms are in a comfortable position.
  • Ensure that your hands are a littler narrower than shoulder width apart to help get target the shorter head better

Upward phase

  • Hold  the bar with your arms fully extended.
  • Quickly bring up the bar so that your forearms are perpendicular (90 degree angle) to the floor in a controlled fashion.
  • Pause for a second to build tension.

Downward phase

  • Lower the bar in a controlled manner until your arms are fully extended.
  • This phase should last twice as long as the upward phase in order to emphasise the eccentric contraction.

Short Head Movement 2: Cable curl

The cable curl is a staple in my training routine. it uses a cable machine to create resistance.
The reason i like this exercise is that it provides even tension on the muscle throughout the entire movement, unlike barbells and dumbbells.

Starting position

  • Stand up holding the straight bar (attachment for the cable machines) with a supinated hand position.
  • Make sure your feet are shoulder width.
  • Your shoulders should not be rolling forward.
  • Make sure your elbows are in front of your body.

Upward phase

  • Keeping your arms fully extended, bring the bar up so it is about 2 or 3 inches away from your shoulder. This should be  perpendicular to the floor.
  • Keep this position for a full second focusing on the isometric contraction.

Downward phase

  • The downward phase of this movement should last approximately 2-3x longer than the upward phase in order to maximise time under tension and the benefits of eccentric training.
  • Lower the bar in a controlled manner until your arms are fully extended.

Building A Massive Bicep Peak – Targeting The Long Head

The long head of the biceps is the head which contributes to the size of your bicep peak. A good example of a well developed bicep peak is Kai Greene.
The biceps long head is the part of the bicep which makes your arm look huge when viewed from the side or when you flex your biceps. Without a large long head, your biceps will look quite small.

Long Head Movement 1: Incline Dumbbell Curl

The Incline Dumbbell curl is a popular exercise for a single reason; It produces results.
The reason the incline dumbbell curl targets the long head so well is simple, it stretches the bicep head to its limit as your arms are hanging straight down unlike most other variations of the bicep curl.

Starting position

  • Set an incline dumbbell bench to a 45-60 degree angle.
  • Grab a weight you can lift properly for 10-15 reps.
  • Lay down on the bench and keep your shoulders back, allowing your arms to hang freely to your side.

Upward phase

  • Keep your arms fully extended.
  • Bring the dumbbells up so it is approximately  perpendicular to the floor.
  • Keep this position for a full second focusing on the isometric contraction.

Downward phase

  • The downward phase of this movement should last approximately 2-3x longer than the upward phase in order to maximise time under tension and the benefits of eccentric training.
  • Lower the dumbbells in a controlled manner until your arms are fully extended.

A common mistake many lifters make with this exercise is swinging the weight and using momentum to lift the dumbbell. To minimise the swinging, focus on keeping the elbow as still as possible during this exercise whilst trying to feel the movement as much as possible in the muscle.


Long Head Movement 2: Reverse barbell curl.

The barbell curl is the most well known variations of the bicep curl due to its ability to lift heavier weights than other bicep exercises, as well as the glorification of it from the “Golden Era of bodybuilding”.

Starting position

  • Stand up holding the bar with a slightly narrower pronated hand position keeping the bar slightly in front of you.
  • Keep your feet approximately shoulder width.
  • Ensure your shoulders are not rolling forward to avoid posture issues whilst keep

Upward phase

  • Keep your arms fully extended.
  • Bring the bar up so it is about 2 or 3 inches away from your shoulder. This should be approximately  perpendicular to the floor.
  • Keep this position for a full second focusing on the isometric contraction.

Downward phase

  • The downward phase of this movement should last approximately 2-3x longer than the upward phase in order to maximise time under tension and the benefits of eccentric training.
  • Lower the bar in a controlled manner until your arms are fully extended.

A common mistake found in gym goers doing this movement is using momentum. This movement should be controlled in order to maximise the mind-muscle connection. Many lifters lean back during this exercise for just a little bit more force to get the weight up, if this is you, the weight is too heavy.


The Complete Tricep Training Guide

We’ve been there, starting out at the gym, doing endless reps on bicep curls to try to massive arms to show off during summer, suns out guns out right? Eventually we discover the triceps. Where the f*ck have they been all this time? This is when we decide we gotta train the triceps if we want our arms hugging sleeves. This all makes sense considering the tricep makes up approximately 66% of our upper arm (compared to a measly 33% for the biceps). If you want to know how to properly train your biceps, click here.

First, a few tips to help you target the triceps


Compound Exercise First
We all know we should do compound exercises first on shoulder, chest and leg days, so why should this change for arm day? I see so many people making this mistake. If you want to know how to get bigger arms, this article is for you, you need to perform a heavy compound exercise like close grip bench press or tricep dips first. The close grip bench press is one of the best exercises to hit all heads of the tricep hard, with tricep dips being second. These movements are best done first so you are the rested in order to move the most weight. No point in prioritising something if your already exhausted before you get to it. Don’t be afraid of going heavy, these compound movements will greatly help your other push exercises such as bench press and the overhead press.

Increase your training frequency
If you didn’t already know, hitting a muscle every 36-48hours is optimal. Muscle Protein Synthesis (the process your body goes through to build and repair muscle) lasts between 36-48 hours per muscle after you train it. As you could imagine, you’ll get twice the results if you increase your training frequency of your triceps to twice/week.

Go Past Failure
If you want to spark that extra bit of growth, you cannot look advanced training techniques such as Drop Sets and Rest-Pause Training
These techniques are sure to stimulate the triceps enough to kick up your muscle growth to the next level.

To perform drop sets, you will need to be able to quickly change weights with the minimal rest time possible. This is why movements such as tricep dips, cable tricep extensions and tricep kickbacks are often used. When you hit failure on your set, instead of stopping and resting, immediately halve your weight and continue performing reps until you hit failure again, then halve your weight and repeat. This should absolutely smash your muscle.

Rest-Pause training is my favourite training technique. To do this, you simply choose a weight you can perform for 8-10 reps, then hit failure, have a 10 second rest, then begin your next set. This set should get you about 4-6 reps before failure. Then rest 10 seconds and perform your final set, you should get about 3-5 reps in.


Targeting The Three Tricep Heads To Maximise Tricep Growth
The Tricep is composed of three muscles. Each muscles serves a slightly different purpose; creating force to push something away from your body at different angles using your arms. Each of these muscles are classified as a tricep head; The Long Head, The Medial Head and the Lateral Head. Each of the tricep heads need to be trained different ways.


Long head
Want massive tricep gains? The key is to begin with a heavy movement which focuses on the long head. The long head is the meat of your tricep, it runs down the back of your arm and is often called the inner head as it isn’t very visible, however it will add a lot to your tricep size. Due to this muscle being the largest of the group. its best to wear this muscle down first so in later exercises the other heads get activated to a higher degree. The other two heads will be partially stimulated whenever you train the long head, so it makes sense that they shouldn’t be exhausted by the time you train the long head. Allowing the triceps to stretch fully is the key to fully utilising the long head. The following exercises are known to hit the long head the most.

Long head exercise 1: Skullcrushers
There are heaps of ways doing this exercise, with a barbell, EZ curl bar, dumbbells or even a cable machine. This exercise relies heavily on the full extension of the elbow in order to properly hit all the heads of the tricep hard. This exercise really smashes both the long head and the lateral head.

Starting position

  • Lay down on a bench with the setting on flat.
  • Using a close grip, lift the bar off the rack so you arms are perpendicular to the floor.
  • You should let the bar fall slightly backwards, so the bar is directly over your head in order to keep the tricep stretched.

Downward phase

  • Keep your arms fully extended.
  • Slowly let the weight, only allowing your forearm to move down to just above your head.

Upward phase

  • Hold this position for a second.
  • Bring the weight back to original position faster than the downward phase.
  • Hold position for a second then repeat the downward phase.

Long head exercise 2: Close Grip Benchpress
The close grip bench press is one of the few compound exercises for the triceps. With this exercise you can lift heavy amounts of weight, targeting all the heads of the muscle efficiently. No wonder so many bodybuilders swear by this lift.

Starting position

  • Lay down on a bench with the setting on flat.
  • Using a bar/dumbbells thats heavy enough to do about 8-10 reps on, bench it up the air and have a narrow grip.

Downward phase

  • In a controlled manner, slowly lower the weight to your chest, stopping about 1 inch before the bar touches the chest.
  • This phase should be slow and controlled to emphasise the eccentric portion of the lift.

Upward phase

  • Hold this position for a second.
  • Explosively push this bar up until you reach the starting position,

Medial Head
The medial head is the middle of the tricep. This head is visible and and often called the middle head. When training this head, you also train the long head considerably. You don’t really need to focus on this head of the muscle as training the long head would be sufficient, but if you do decide to train specifically for this, here are two of the best exercises for it.

Medial head movement 1: Tricep Dips
Tricep dips are a long head exercise, but they also smash the other two heads really hard, which is why I’m including it. I highly recommend this exercise.

Starting position

  • Find a dip station.
  • Hold your body up with your arms fully extended. This is your starting position.

Downward phase

  • Keep your arms fully extended.
  • Slowly lower yourself downward ensuring you keep your chest out until your elbows have bent to a 90 degree angle.
  • Hold this position for a second.

Upward phase

  • Explosively push your body up until your elbows are nearly fully extended.
  • Hold this position for a second then repeat the downward phase.

tricep dips


Medial head movement 2: lying tricep extension
This movement is just another name for skull crushers, if you didn’t read how to perform it, here it is again.

Starting position

  • Lay down on a bench with the setting on flat.
  • Using a close grip, lift the bar off the rack so you arms are perpendicular to the floor.
  • You should let the bar fall slightly backwards, so the bar is directly over your head in order to keep the tricep stretched.

Downward phase

  • Keep your arms fully extended.
  • Slowly let the weight, only allowing your forearm to move down to just above your head.

Upward phase

  • Hold this position for a second.
  • Bring the weight back to original position faster than the downward phase.
  • Hold position for a second then repeat the downward phase.

Lateral Head
The lateral head is located on the outside giving that horseshoe shape that makes your tricep stick out. This head is referred to as the outer head and is the most visible of all the tricep heads, hence its very important to focus on. All the exercises posted under this aren’t lateral head only exercises as the tricep heads always work co-operatively.

Lateral head movement 1: Tricep Extensions
Tricep extensions are usually performed with a single dumbbell in a standing position. This exercise primarily targets the lateral head of the tricep and is highly favoured by many bodybuilders.

Starting position

  • Stand up with a dumbbell held by both hands.
  • Feet should be shoulder width apart from each other.
  • Lift the dumbbell over your head until both arms are fully extended.

Downward phase

  • With elbows in and arms perpendicular to the floor, Lower the weight bending only your elbows behind your head until your forearms touch your biceps.
  • Hold this position for a pause.

Upward phase

  • Explosively lift the weight until your elbows are nearly fully extended.
  • Hold this position for a second then repeat the downward phase.

Lateral head movement 2: Tricep Kickbacks
Tricep kickbacks are good at targeting the lateral head. The popularity of this exercise has somewhat diminished in recent years, nether less it is a good exercise to have in your tricep routine.

Starting position

  • Put one knee up on a flat bench and lean over so you are supporting your upper body with one arm.
  • You upper body should be parallel with the floor.
  • In the other hand should be a dumbbell.
  • Your upper arm holding the dumbbell should be tucked against your body so that the lower harm is hanging perpendicular to the floor.

Upward phase

  • Explosively move the weight until your elbows are nearly fully extended so your arm is parallel to the floor.
  • Hold this position for a second.

Downward phase

  • Gently lower the weight to starting position.

We’ve all been there. First time stepping foot into the gym, hoping that one day we would have the body of our dreams, we look around and immediately spot him, the huge guy. Every gym has him, he’s probably competed in competitions, everyone respects him and seems to know all the regulars. His arms are huge, and you wondered how long it took to get them, and what he did to do it.

Many people struggle to build their arms. There could be many reasons as to why:

  • Not enough volume.
  • Performing exercises wrong.
  • Not using periodisation.
  • Not training frequently enough.
  • Performing the wrong exercises.

5 Muscle Building Secrets That Are Guaranteed To Add Size To Your Arms

  • Get the order right
    Perform the heavier exercises before you train the lighter exercises.  Why?
    What’s the point in tricep kickbacks first when you can do a heavy movement  like close grip bench press first? CGBP is one of the most powerful tricep movements one can do, guaranteed to put mass on your arms.
  • Focus on your triceps
    Everyone loves training biceps, its what everyone sees when you flex your arms.  The truth is, the biceps are a small muscle, only 1/3 of the natural size of your arm. The biceps only have 2 heads.
    The triceps, when not flexed are the part of your arm which takes up the most size,  and consists of 3 heads.
    As the triceps are bigger than your biceps, it means you need to place more volume on that muscle.
  • Increase the intensity
    If you’re not doing enough for your arms, they won’t grow. It’s that simple.But sometimes adding more and more exercises to your routine just won’t do anything. You’ll need to increase the intensity or your frequency to get those next level gains.
  • Quality over quantity.
    What does this mean? It means that every rep you should do needs to be a good one. You should focus on full range of motion for each rep while squeezing the muscle as hard as you can, really focusing on contracting that muscle to its’ limits.
  • Train arms twice per week
    F*ck those rubbish bro splits that you see in your monthly subscription to your favourite bodybuilding magazine. They suck, they know it, but these magazines don’t want you to know that they don’t work, so you keep buying their magazine for more BS routines and “tips”. If you’re routine isn’t focusing on arms at least twice per week, then you need to change your workout to one like this.

The Best Arm Training Techniques

Eccentric Training
Eccentric Training is an awesome training technique which helps you focus on activating more muscle fibres, which is awesome if you want massive arms. Eccentric training is pretty self explanatory, you simply focus on the eccentric (negative portion) of the lift.

Starting position

  • Stand up holding the bar with a slightly narrower supinated hand position keeping the bar slightly in front of you.
  • Keep your feet approximately shoulder width.
  • Ensure your shoulders are not rolling forward to avoid posture issues.
  • The weight you should use should be heavy enough to perform 6-8 repetitions

Upward phase

  • Keep your arms fully extended.
  • Bring the bar up so it is about 2 or 3 inches away from your shoulder. This should be approximately  perpendicular to the floor.
  • Keep this position for a full second focusing on the isometric contraction.

Downward phase

  • The downward phase of this movement should last approximately 4-5x longer than the upward phase to fully max out the benefits of eccentric training.
  • Lower the bar in a controlled manner until your arms are fully extended ad repeat for 6-8 repetitions.

For the unaware, the eccentric phase (downward phase of a movement) is the most important and muscle growth inducing phase of the exercise. Studies suggest that Muscle Protein Synthesis (MPS) is greater after eccentrically enhanced lifting (doing slow negatives) vs concentrically focused training. It’s even been suggested that nearly all if not most of the hypertrophic gains you make are from the eccentric portion of the lift. There you have it, use this technique on ALL of your lifts, not just your arm training.


Supersets
Ok, we all know what supersets are, perform two exercises of adjacent muscle groups (bicep, tricep) or of the same muscle group consecutively so there is no rest between the exercises.
But what are the benefits of supersets when it comes to arm training?
When performing supersets, you get a few benefits you won’t with most other training techniques.
For instance, a major benefit is the fascia stretch that occurs when heaps of blood is pushed into the muscles your training. I’m talking about the pump. Supersets allow you get a huge pump in your muscles, more than what usually would happen if you were doing regular straight sets. This insane pump stretched your fascia, much like FS-7, it’ll give you some pretty big size gains, however the gains will diminish if you stop performing them.
The second main advantage of supersets is intensity. Try performing two bicep exercises consecutively with no rest, then tell me that wasn’t intense. It’s an awesome way of reaching a point of training past failure. Training past failure is a sure fire way of breaking any strength plateaus  you may have come across recently.


Drop Sets
Drop sets are essentially a training technique where the goal is to train past failure. The idea is to perform an arm exercise until you hit failure, then you reduce the weight and repeat for as many times as possible. This works by not only smashing strength and size plateaus, it also uses different types of muscle fibres as the weight gets lighter.

Related: The best exercises to get bigger biceps and triceps

There are essentially 2 ways of doing drop sets. The first method:

Running the rack
Running the rack is fairly simple. If you are using dumbbells, you simply perform, for instance dumbbell curls until failure, then drop down to the next lighter weight and continue until you’ve repeated this three or four times.
With a barbell, its extremely similar except that you use smaller plates to make the same weight you would usually do for that exercise and you would strip off one plate at a time. There is no rest between sets apart from the time it takes to strip the weight.

The percentage method
The percentage method is essentially the exact same method as the running the rack method except for one thing. You calculate the weights you lift by a percent of the previous weight. We do this by using 50% of the previous weight.

For instance, if you are doing tricep pushdowns on 70lbs, once you hit failure, you switch the weight so it is 35lbs, then 20lbs and so on.


Rest-Pause
Rest-pause training is incredible when it comes to getting bigger arms. It’s equivalent to combining three working sets into just one. It is also a staple of Dante Trudell’s DC training system, which is an awesome training method. Add rest-pause to the end of your bicep or tricep workout, and you’ll be seeing gains in no time.
For arm training, I recommend you perform cable or dumbbells for both triceps and biceps purely for the ease of use and safety of this equipment.
To perform rest – pause for arm training, you need to select a weight you can perform for 8-10 reps.
Perform your chose exercises (ie. Tricep Pushdowns) for 8-10 reps until failure, then you need simply take 10 seconds rest, perform the next set. The second set should put you at about 4-5 reps before you fail. Then you take another 10 second rest and repeat the set until failure.



Try Our Exclusive Arm Workout

You will be focusing on this 2 day week program for 12 weeks using an Undulating periodisation style of training. In this program, there are four workouts to be done, two workouts per week with at least 2 days in between workouts.
Each workout will be focusing on something different.
In this program, you will be required to be on your bulking phase as it is quite intense and you will need the energy to properly recover and grow.

During these workouts, there will be two periodisation techniques used. The first one is Wendlers 5/3/1 and the second is basic linear periodisation.There will be one Post failure technique used throughout the entire program: Rest Pause training.

Workout A

Workout A focuses on getting stronger and hitting the fast twitch muscle fibres. The workout is fairly short with 6 sets on biceps and 8 sets on triceps. As it focuses on the fast twitch fibers, you will be doing a heavy compound exercise for triceps and a rest pause set on bicep to stimulate the muscles.

Exercise Sets Reps Techniques
Close grip bench press  3 5/3/1 Wendlers 5/3/1
Tricep pushdown  3 5-8  
close grip pushups  2 As many as possible  
Barbell curl  3 5-8  
Hammer curl  3 5-8 Rest Pause

Workout B

Workout B is the complete opposite of Workout A.This workout is a longer, slightly lighter session comprising of higher reps, more sets and more exercises. It’s designed primarily to focus on slow twitch fibres.

Exercise Sets Reps Techniques
Close grip bench press  3 5/3/1 Wendlers 5/3/1
Skullcrushers  3 8-12  
Tricep Pushdowns  2 6-10  
Close grip Pushups  2 As many as possible  
Barbell curl  3 5-8  
Hammer curl 12-15  

Workout C

This workout is going to be a combination of both Workout A and Workout B. There will be both Heavy exercises and light exercises designed to hit both fast and slow twitch fibres of the muscle.

Exercise Sets Reps Techniques
Close grip bench press  3 5/3/1 Wendlers 5/3/1
Skullcrushers  3 8-12  
Tricep Pushdowns  3 6-10  
Close grip Pushups  2 As many as possible  
Barbell curl  3 5-8  
Hammer curl  3 12-15  
Alternating dumbell curl  2 8-12  

Workout D

Workout D is essentially a de-load workout where we focus on lower volume and higher reps. This ensures plenty of lactic acid gets built up in the muscles so tendons and ligaments can repair quicker.

Exercise Sets Reps Techniques
Skullcrusher  3 15-20  
Rope pushdowns  3 15-20  
Alternating dumbell curl  3 15-20  

If you are serious about getting huge, you must check out our own training programs:

  • 12 Weeks To Swol

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