Have you been hitting those arms hard, but they still aren’t growing? Well, in case you are wondering where you’re going wrong, worry no more as we present you advice from one of the greatest bodybuilders of all time, five-time Mr. Olympia Phil Heath.
Truth be told, the growth of your arms—or any muscle group in general—is not only dependent on how much effort you put in. A major factor that plays a role here is genetics. But with correct training and proper nutrition, you can leave even those who have better genetics than you in the dust.
Phil Heath loves the eight-to-12 rep range and says this is the ideal rep range for muscle hypertrophy, but he doesn’t always want you do perform sets with this range only. Confusing the muscles makes them grow, so sometimes it’s best to perform low reps with heavy weights to gain strength, and sometimes high reps to increase muscle endurance. Phil wants you to work arms two times a week.
As biceps and triceps are not such big muscle groups, Heath recommends training each separately with some bigger muscle group, and then training just arms on one separate day.
Here are some of Heath’s favorite arm exercises for muscle hypertrophy:
1) Incline Dumbbell Curls
Incline dumbbell curls are one of the best exercises to build huge biceps, because they isolate each bicep and it is difficult to cheat in the incline position, so the tension is always on the head of the bicep.
Heath likes to do a somewhat modified form. When at the bottom position, his hands are facing each other and when bringing them to the top, he rotates his wrist to get them in the standard position.
2) Barbell Curls
The other exercise Heath recommends to build big biceps is barbell curls. He focuses on the point that how the grip on the barbell can help hit biceps from all the angles. A narrower grip will hit the outer biceps and a wide grip the inner head.
If you want to keep it simple, the most effective grip is the shoulder width grip, which will hit both the heads effectively.
Dips are one such bodyweight exercise Heath loves to do. The major muscle group affected by dips is the triceps, but it also helps to build other muscles like chest and shoulders. This is one advantage of doing dips over other exercises, but the correct form is very important here.
Here is a video by ScottHermanFitness explaining how to perform tricep dips:
To isolate the triceps, try to leave the body free and vertical. Then, try to perform dips. You’ll feel the required burn in your triceps only. Heath recommends doing them at the end of you workout session.
4) Overhead Dumbbell Tricep Extensions
Overhead dumbbell tricep extensions are Phil’s favorite exercise for working out the long head of the triceps, but he doesn’t like doing the normal variation and rather recommends a slight modification.
He says that keeping the elbow at 45 degrees gives him a better pump and effectively isolates the long head.
5) Tricep Pushdowns
Heath likes going intense on tricep pushdowns, but warns us beforehand not to go heavy immediately as there’s a greater risk of tearing muscle.
You shouldn’t always depend on the rope handle or the straight bar while performing tricep pushdowns. Mixing both of them will hit the triceps from all the angles and make your triceps grow like anything.