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ADD 2 INCHES TO YOUR ARMS
Our 2006 Men’s Health poster series delivers the results you want in the time you have— with workouts from the world’s top experts. This month: Build the perfect pair of arms. BY M YAT T M U R P H Y
YOUR GOAL: BIGGER ARMS YOUR TIME : 24 MINUTES
Unless you can complete a set of ﬁve chinups and eight dips, you should limit exercises that isolate your arms, such as biceps curls and triceps extensions. “Your arms will grow best when you focus on the basics,” says Kelly Baggett, a certiﬁed personal trainer with the International Sports Sciences Association. The basics, he explains, are compound exercises—such as the chinup and dip—that force you to move at more than one joint. These movements allow you to use heavier weights than you would with single-joint isolation exercises, while also training either your chest or back. So don’t worry: By using these moves, you’ll fully engage the muscles of your arms with each repetition, and you’ll also shore up any weaknesses in the larger muscles of your upper body. If you can’t yet perform ﬁve chinups and eight dips, do Workout A, on the other side of this poster, twice a week. When you’re able to complete a full complement of both exercises, progress to Workout B, performing the routine once every 3 to 5 days for bigger arms—and a better total body.
2006 POSTER SERIES BUILD A BETTER BODY
FULLER BICEPS This routine places your arms in front of you during some arm curls and behind you or at your sides during others. Varying arm positions builds the biceps evenly. As a result, you’ll raise your peak and build thickness throughout your arms.
STRONGER TRICEPS Your triceps consist of three distinct muscles—the lateral head, on the outside of the arm; the long head, which provides bulk; and the medial head, which lies between the other two. This plan develops all three.
A BIGGER UPPER BODY The chinup and bench press in this workout develop your arms with help from your back and chest, respectively. The beneﬁt: You’ll build a bigger and more balanced upper body to support larger—and stronger—arms.
B E T H B I S C H O F F,
2006 Poster Series Build a Better Body
A DD 2 INCHE S TO YOUR A RMS
BENCHMARK OF SUCCESS
Do this workout if you can’t complete five chinups and eight dips.
Perform this workout when you’re able to complete five chinups and eight dips.
HOW BIG ARE YOUR ARMS?
Since it requires only a tape measure, ﬁnding the circumference of your arms is an excellent way to gauge the effectiveness of your arm workout. Your arms may look slightly larger after a workout or meal, when blood and water rush to your muscles. So, for the most accurate results, take all your measurements at the same time of day, such as before breakfast. Extend your arm in front of you (unﬂexed) and wrap a measuring tape around the largest portion of your upper arm. Record the circumference, then measure your other arm.
1B CLOSE- GRIP BENCH PRESS
1A NEGATIVE CHINUP
Set a bench under a chinup bar, then stand on the bench and grasp the bar with an underhand grip (palms facing you) and your hands about shoulder-width apart. Give yourself a boost from the bench so you don’t have to use much effort to pull your chest up next to your hands. Slowly lower yourself for a count of 6 seconds. Then hop back up to the bar and repeat. The plan: Perform five or six repetitions. Rest for 90 seconds, then move to the next exercise.
Grab a chinup bar with an underhand grip (palms toward you), your hands about shoulder-width apart. Pull yourself up until the bar is below your chin. Squeeze your biceps at the top, then slowly lower yourself until your arms are almost straight; keeping a slight bend maintains tension on your biceps. The plan: Do six to eight repetitions. (If you can do more, ask a workout partner to place a dumbbell between your feet.) Rest for 90 seconds, then move to the close-grip bench press (1B) at right.
Lie faceup on a bench with your feet flat on the floor. Grab the bar with your hands shoulder-width apart. Keeping your elbows tucked at your sides, lower the bar to your chest, then press the weight overhead. (See the photos in Workout A, at left.) The plan: Perform six to eight repetitions. Rest for 90 seconds, then do a second set of chinups (1A). Continue alternating between exercises for a total of four sets of each move. Rest for 90 seconds after each set.
1B NEGATIVE DIP
Grab parallel dip bars and use your legs to boost yourself up so your arms are straight and all your weight is resting on your hands. Keeping your elbows tucked close to your body, slowly lower yourself by bending your elbows for a count of 6 seconds. Your upper arms should be parallel to the floor at the end of the move. Place your feet on the floor to boost yourself back up and repeat. The plan: Do five or six repetitions. Rest for 90 seconds, then perform a second set of negative chinups (1A). Continue alternating between exercises for a total of four or five sets of each movement, resting for 90 seconds between sets.
2A DUMBBELL TRICEPS E X TENSION
Sit on a bench holding a heavy dumbbell in your right hand. Extend your arm straight overhead with your palm facing forward and place your left hand on your right elbow for support. Without moving your upper arm, lower the weight down in front of your face until the end of the dumbbell touches the top of your chest. Finish the set before repeating with your other arm. The plan: Do eight to 10 repetitions with each arm. Rest for 60 seconds, then move to the next exercise.
WEIGHTS & MEASURES
P ER C EN TAG E G R E AT ER C H A N C E O F D E AT H F O R O L D ER M EN WITH SMALL AMOUNTS OF ARM M U S C L E C O M PA R ED W I T H THOSE WITH L ARGE AMOUNTS
95 26 67 10
Percentage of men who admit to performing an excessive number of exercises for their biceps while ignoring their triceps
TRACK YOUR PROGRESS
Record the total circumference of both your arms in the chart below. Then follow this workout and remeasure every 2 weeks. Go to MensHealth.com/ poster to chart your improvement and get more exercise tips.
2A CLOSE-GRIP BENCH PRESS
Lie faceup on a bench with your feet flat on the floor. Grab the bar with an overhand grip, your hands shoulder-width apart. Keeping your elbows tucked at your sides, lower the bar to your chest, then press the weight overhead. The plan: Perform six to eight repetitions. Rest for 60 seconds, then move on to the next exercise.
2B CABLE PREACHER CURL
Place a preacher-curl bench in front of a low-pulley cable station. Attach a rope to the cable and grab an end with each hand. Rest your upper arms on the pad in front of you with your palms facing each other. Keeping your back straight and your upper arms pressed against the pad, bend your elbows to curl the rope up toward your shoulders. Pause, then slowly lower your arms to the starting position. The plan: Do eight to 10 repetitions. Rest for 60 seconds, then perform a second set of the dumbbell triceps extension (2A). Alternate between exercises for a total of three sets of each, resting for 60 seconds between sets.
PERCENTAGE OF MUSCLE IN YOUR UPPER ARMS MADE UP OF YOUR TRICEPS
Pounds of muscle you’ll need to build in order to add an inch to the circumference of your upper arms
2B BARBELL CURL
Stand holding a barbell in front of your thighs with an underhand grip, your hands shoulderwidth apart. Keeping your back straight and your elbows at your sides, slowly curl the bar up in a semicircular motion until your forearms touch your biceps. Pause, then slowly lower the bar to about an inch in front of your thighs before repeating the move. The plan: Perform eight to 10 repetitions. Rest for 60 seconds, then do a second set of close-grip bench presses (2A). Alternate between exercises for a total of three or four sets of each move, resting for 60 seconds between sets.
3B CABLE SINGLE-ARM CURL
Stand with your back to the weight stack of a cable station and grab the low-pulley handle with your right hand. Step forward so your right hand is a few inches behind you and your arm is straight. Keeping your elbow in place, curl the handle up until it reaches the side of your chest. Pause, then slowly lower your arm. The plan: Do 12 to 15 reps with each arm. Rest for 45 seconds, then do a second set of exercise 3A. Rest for another 45 seconds and do a second set of this cable curl.
Grooming: Charlene Burris/Susan Price
3A CABLE INCLINE-BENCH TRICEPS E X TENSION
Attach a rope to a low-pulley cable and place an incline bench a couple of feet in front of the pulley. Grab the rope and lie facedown on the bench with your arms straight and beside your ears. Without moving your upper arms, bend your elbows 90 degrees. Pause, then straighten your arms. The plan: Do 12 to 15 reps. Rest 45 seconds, then go to the next exercise.
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