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  • Ciaran O’Connell

3 tips to build your arms at home


If you’re stuck at home self isolating and still want a good pump on the arms, use these tips to build your swans:

1. Increase your reps or sets

This is probably the most obvious tip that most of you know and try. You might not get the same satisfaction from curling 10kgs over your 16kgs but I promise you you’ll enjoy seeing the pump and size of your arms in the mirror.

A classic meta analysis (looking at a collection of studies) by the king of hypertrophy, Brad Shoenfield, showed that while high reps and low weight increased muscular endurance, and low reps and high weight increased muscular strength, they both elicited almost the same results in muscle mass.

The importance here is to focus on the contraction of the muscle, not aimlessly lifting, and going close to or until failure.

2. Slow it down

Work your muscles through various tempos. For instance, increase the lowering (eccentric) phase of your exercises.

The research has shown that focusing on eccentric phases of exercises develops more lean muscle mass as well as creating more metabolic stress in the muscle.

Metabolic stress is one of the key pillars to increasing muscle mass and size.

This slow lifting can be applied to more than just bicep curls. I’m sure you already know that if you want big arms then you shouldn’t focus on just isolated arm movements, but compound lifts too. At home this can be press up variations, chin ups if you have a bar, shoulder presses etc etc.

3. Add a resistance band

Resistance bands, or pull up bands as they can be called, are used by many to manipulate the force-velocity curve. When you lifting normally, the early concentric phase is the hardest to perform. Take a bicep curl, the initial lift from hip height to a 90 degree elbow is much harder than getting from the 90 to hand near shoulder. This is because of the momentum created to finish off the movement.

Now if we add a resistance band to this, the exercise becomes harder in the 2nd phase rather than the first. This forces the muscles to contract harder and recruit more muscle fibres to complete the exercise.

In turn, this creates stronger biceps due to an increased strength via velocity.

Hopefully you can utilise some of these tips to help you keep the arms ready for summer season this year.

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