It’s funny isn’t it, how the chap in the gym that only ever seems to train arms, can still have relatively small guns compared to the people training them in accordance to a daily muscle group split… the mind boggles. This could of course be attributed to a number of things, not least to diet, age, body type, oh… and THE WAY YOU’RE TRAINING YOUR ARMS!
In order to stimulate muscle growth in the biceps and triceps there are a few things to consider, these include range of motion, time under tension, load and rep range. In order to optimise muscle growth, take a moment to read through these common pitfalls and if you’re guilty of any, fix them.
First on the list…
1.) Your rep range is wrong… In other words, you’re doing too many reps, or not enough reps. Granted, a rep range that is too high is likely to be less beneficial than a rep range that is too low, a low rep range is usually because the weight is high, and therefore you’re increasing strength which is only a good thing in the long term pursuit of arm mass. However, too fewer reps, and indeed too many reps are both outside of that perfect sweet spot for muscle growth. If you want to gain muscle size you need to maximise blood perfusion to the area, and if you want to increase blood perfusion to the muscle then you need to find the weight that enables you to ALMOST fail on your 10th or 12th rep. If the weight enables you to lift any more or any less than this, then you need to amend it accordingly. Aim for 4 sets of 10 reps initially and watch those guns outgrow their holsters!
2.) Your range of motion is wrong… I’m not a critic, my hat goes off to anyone exercising in the gym, however quite often I see people performing the correct exercises for muscle growth, but the execution is all wrong. Classic examples include the tricep pushdown, when performing this movement be sure not to let your elbows come forward on the way up, as soon as you do this you alleviate some of the tension on the tricep and in turn recruit the lats. Another example is the good ol fashioned bicep curl, when performing this classic exercise ensure that you squeeze the muscle at the top, and you fully extend at the bottom. Sounds simple, but you’ll be surprised just how much of a difference this can make when trying to achieve a muscle pump.
3.) You’re doing it too fast… TUT TUT TUT… no, I’m not telling you off, I’m merely referring to Time Under Tension (TUT). TUT is a fashionable term used to describe the ideal conditions for muscles to grow. In order to invoke growth potential, your muscles need to remain under tension for a good 2 seconds up, and another 2 seconds down, any less than this and you’re going too fast, any slower and you risk losing that muscle pump!