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Curls, curls curls. When I first started working out at home my elaborate scheme to build the body of my dreams was based solely around the principle of training biceps every evening, without fail. I soon realized that sheer volume on one exercise wasn’t getting me far. Looking back now I realize that everyone that has built an impressive set of arms knows how to train them correctly – thousands upon thousands of light weight, slow bicep curls won’t get you arms .

Arm Training Mistake #1
Neglecting Triceps

This is without a doubt the biggest arm training mistake I see. Period.
When it comes to building big arms the triceps are often neglected, with arm day consisting of a variety of different bicep curls and only one or two tricep exercises.
The triceps makes up 2/3 of your arm and has a far bigger overall impact on the size of your arm (especially when viewed side on).

Although the triceps are the secondary muscle group on exercises such as the barbell bench press when training chest in order to build impressive triceps they need to be hit directly with the right exercises such as the close grip bench press, skullcrushers and bodyweight (or weighted) dips.

Arm Training Mistake #2
Avoiding Compound Exercises

Quite often in commercial gyms, you’ll witness the bros going through their routines for arms, and they will mainly be doing set upon set of curls, or some fancy machine exercise. This is a big mistake. Your arms, similar to other muscles, respond well to properly targeted, heavy training. It’s important that you include at least two compound exercises into every arm workout. Isolation is great, but compounds build slabs of muscle. Close-grip bench presses, barbell curls, weighted dips on a bench or the parallel bars, and more are all great exercises to make a staple in your arm training routine.

Arm Training Mistake #3
Static Stretching Before Your Work Out

We all know that stretching is important. It improves your flexibility, increases mobility and helps prevent injuries, including pulled muscles or joint problems. However, not all stretching is created equal.

There are two basic types of stretching: static and dynamic. Static stretching is probably what comes to mind for most people when they think about stretching. It involves placing the muscle into a stretched position and holding it there. (For the triceps, the classic stretch is to place your bent arm behind your head, to grasp your elbow with the other hand, and to gently pull.) Dynamic stretching, on the other hand, involves moving the muscle through its range of motion in order to warm it up and gradually get it ready for work.

While stretching can be a good thing, doing static stretching before working your arms when they’re not good and warm can increase in the likelihood of injury. This isn’t to say that static stretching is always a triceps training mistake though. After a workout, static stretches can be very beneficial in lengthening your muscles and helping increase your flexibility.

Arm Training Mistake #4
Doing too much

The popularity of biceps doesn’t make them any larger in relation to their peers. Compared with your lats and quadriceps, your bi’s are puny, so if you’re pumping out as many sets in your biceps workout as your back workout, you’re likely piling on the “little guys.” More than any other muscles, biceps are frequent victims of overtraining, which halts or even reverses their gains.

Arm Training Mistake #5
Arm Training Frequency Too High

As I mentioned earlier, it didn’t take me long to realize that training my arms every single day wasn’t getting me very far in terms of results given all the effort I was exerting.

Train smart.

The biceps act as the secondary muscle group when we’re training back, and the triceps act as the secondary muscle group when we’re training chest.
Training chest, back and one dedicated arm day per week (or triceps and biceps split up onto seperate days instead) is more than enough to build big, strong arms.

More isn’t always better – if you’re training frequency is any higher than this you may very well be hindering your own progress, like all other muscle groups the biceps and triceps require time to recover.