So you want a bigger pair of guns? Stronger, leaner, tougher arms that get envious stares from your peers? The question is: should you use concentration exercises that target individual muscles (or individual areas of muscles) to create the micro-trauma that results in muscle repair and growth? Alternatively, do you opt for compound bodyweight exercises that prompt your body to release more testosterone, boosting muscle growth? How about an exercise programme – recommended by personal trainers – that does both?

1. Preacher curls

Sit at the preacher bench with your elbows on the pad (shoulder distance apart) and your palms facing you. Inhale and lower the EZ bar toward the pad and then exhale, bringing the bar back up to your shoulders. Focus on slow, controlled movement (rather than fast reps) and don’t take strain into your shoulders or neck. Perform four to five sets of 10 reps.

2. Cable curls

Keep your elbow in close to your waist. Inhale as you curl the handle of the cable machine up so you finish with your fist against your collar bone. Exhale as you return to the starting position. Make your reps slow and controlled so you really focus on the bicep.  Perform five sets of 10 reps, alternating sides.

3. Body-weight chin-ups

Grip the bar with your palms facing you and your hands just inside of shoulder width. Inhale and use your arms to pull yourself up until your chin is above the bar and then lower yourself back down as you exhale. Don’t do this at high speed – focus on a full extension up and down. Aim to perform three sets of 10 (though you may only be able to do five chin-ups when you start out!).

4. Cable push-downs

Stand facing the cable machine, leaning your torso forward slightly. Lock your elbows in to your sides. Inhale and push down through your hands on the handle, without moving the upper arms at all. Squeeze the triceps! Instead of sets, perform this in a descending ladder (i.e. 15 reps, then 12, then 10, then 8, then 6, etc), at increasing weights.

5. Tricep dips

Start by locking your elbows so your body is held at arm’s length above the dip frame bars. Now inhale and slowly bend at the elbows to lower your body. Make sure you keep your torso upright and your elbows tucked in close to avoid injury. When you’ve reached the lowest point you can reach, exhale and push your torso back up (again, keeping your torso upright and your elbows in). Do three sets of 15 reps.

Some pointers from the personal trainers:

  • Remember that this sort of intense workout stresses the muscles and causes micro-trauma in the muscle fibres. You MUST rest your arms after the workout.
  • Make sure you breathe correctly so you get the most possible oxygen to your muscles during the exercise.
  • Remember to eat a high-protein meal after the workout to give your body the nutrients it needs to repair and build the muscles.

If your guns are already pumped, and your buddies ask you for advice so they can build their own guns, maybe you should consider a career as a personal trainer? Check out the Comprehensive Personal Training Certification from Trifocus Fitness Academy. Click here for more information.