The 3-Week BIG GUNS Challenge is here!
We’re bringing a focused 3-week big guns challenge to help you develop the most effective arm workout. It’s crucial to understand which bicep exercises work for building mass and which triceps exercises will help bring out that coveted bicep “peak” or the triceps “horseshoe.”
This article will go over some arm training tips that can help pack on serious size. With all of the information provided, we’ll set you on a 3-week challenge to see how much your arms can actually grow!
Now let’s get to the main sauce!
Before we get to the actionable part where we tell you exactly what to do to grow your arms, let’s briefly explain the anatomy of your arms’ anatomy to better understand how to stimulate their growth.
Here’s a simple breakdown – The upper arm is made of the two primary muscle groups:
- The biceps
- The triceps
These two primary arm muscles are opposite in placement and function, meaning that when one of them contracts, the other relaxes.
This first muscle group is responsible for flexion of the arm at the elbow and rotation of the wrist.
The biceps engage during pulling movements, such as pull-ups, rows, as well as bicep curls.
Its name “biceps” derives from “bi” meaning “two” and “ceps” meaning “head,” implying that the bicep is a two-headed muscle.
The long head of the biceps is on the outside of the arm, and it forms the so-desired “bicep peak.”
Oppositely, the short head is on the inside of the arm and gives a bulkier, broader look to the arm.
Though biceps are the typical first choice to grow bigger arms, the truth is that the triceps make up the more significant portion of your upper arm.
The triceps are a 3-headed muscle group with two heads on the inside and one head on the outside of the arm.
Properly developed, the triceps give a more swept, aesthetically pleasing look to the arm, and will support you in your other pushing movements!
Triceps engage during pushing exercises, such as bench press, overhead press, triceps close-grip press, dips, pushups, etc.
To target the arms now, we have to pick exercises that engage all the zones of both muscle groups.
Below, you can find a list of exercises for the biceps and the triceps.
Pick two for each muscle group and carry on with reading our guidelines towards week 1!
- Straight Barbell Curls
- Standing Alternating Dumbbell Curls
- Close Grip Z-Bar Curls
- Hammer Curls
- Preacher Curls
- Incline Dumbbell Curls
- Close Grip Bench Press
- Lying Dumbbell Triceps Extension
- Straight Bar Cable Pressdowns
- Dumbbell Kickback
- Bench Triceps Dips
In week 1 of the challenge, you have two straightforward tasks:
- Pick 1 – Biceps Exercise and place it in your Back Day training routine, performing 4 high-effort sets of 8-10 repetitions, taken close to failure.
- Pick 1 – Triceps Exercise and place it in your Chest Day training routine, performing 4 high-effort sets of 8-10 repetitions, taken close to failure.
NOTE: If you’re training chest and back twice in one week, do this twice with different exercises every time. Track your recovery, and if pushing/pulling performance starts lagging, reduce direct arm work volume as needed.
During the second portion of this challenge, you will take the same concept and apply one fundamental principle of muscle growth, namely progressive overload.
Progressive overload implies an increase in training load, which can be done by increasing:
- the resistance.
- the repetitions.
- the workload (sets)
In week 2 of the challenge, do the same thing you did in week 1 but with additional reps and resistance.
Focus your effort!
In week 3 it is time to take a rest from the same exercises and do something else.
Pick one different exercise for the biceps and one for the triceps, add it to your back/chest days, respectively, just like you did previously.
HOWEVER, instead of focusing on lifting as heavy as possible, lift a challenging weight but maintain a slow, focused pace that places all the tension on the working muscle groups.
This method will again be a means of progressively overloading, as you increase the mechanical tension, but in a less aggressive manner that does not require redline exertion.
Rinse And Repeat
The 3-week Big Guns Challenge is not a shortcut to 18-inch guns. In reality, this challenge is about feeling and doing what is effective, consistently, to grow your guns BIG.
After week three, take the same principles and exercises to continue doing what you’ve been doing so far. Progressively training!
Pair this with a slight caloric surplus and assure you’re consuming enough protein to build new muscle, and you will be well on your way to increasing the size of your arms.
If you want to achieve results going through this challenge, you will need some further knowledge.
Here are some tips for you:
- When picking biceps exercises, choose ones with different wrist positions
- supinated wrists (palms facing the front) will target the bicep peak
- a pronated wrist engages the shorter head on the inside of the arm.
- Do the same for triceps – Pick movements where the elbows are at different positions relative to the body.
- Overload on pushing/pulling exercises that indirectly target the biceps/triceps (i.e., pull-ups, chest presses, etc.)
- Flex your arms! Do double-biceps, side-triceps, and other bodybuilding poses. Flexing will bring out the details in your arms!
- Stay consistent – Arms are long and hard to fill out! Focus your effort, and you will see results.
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