You love to train your arms, but you could be in a workout rut. You’re constantly performing the usual suspects—tricep kickbacks, cable pressdowns, barbell curls, or preacher curls. You could stay in the gym for hours doing arms but unfortunately, quantity never replaces quality, especially when it comes to building arm size. You need to get out of your comfort zone.
Your program is only as good as the one you are not doing. If you don’t change it often, you will be wasting a whole lot of time and effort. Although results and programs should be individualized, trashing body parts will always be part of gaining new lean muscle mass and busting through plateaus.
The best ways to create chaos in those muscle fibers is to push them over their limits. Can we do that without going through excruciating pain? We can’t get around pain, but we can trick our arms and the mind-muscle connection into believing that there is still strength and energy left. Here are some principles to get you there.
Usually, drop sets are done wrong. You don’t have to drop half the weight to do a drop set properly. It was proven that decreasing the weight by as little as 5-10% is the ideal drop and still respects your repetition range. For example, do tricep pressdowns with 100 lbs. for 10 reps, drop it to 90-95 lbs., and you’ll be able to crank out another clean 8 to 10 reps.
Start with the toughest version of an exercise and finish with the easiest. For example, start with an incline bench press at a 45-degree angle for a given number of reps—no rest—followed by the 30-degree incline bench press, and finish off right away with the flat bench press. Using this principle, you can use the same weight on all three exercises in a superset/giant set manner.
If you use them properly, finishers are great muscle thrashers. I like to use a compound movement to bring in support and finish off the target muscle without cheating too much. Example: Do a barbell tricep French press before doing a close-grip tricep press. By doing so, you can push your triceps pain threshold to new heights since the pectorals and shoulders will assist them, when he is already tired from the barbell French press.
Without further ado, here’s a workout that uses some of these principles to thrash your guns in half the time.