One of the most popular muscle groups that bodybuilders seek to improve is the biceps, with possibly the most common question asked of large bodybuilders from impressed onlookers being "how big are your arms?" Weight lifters will focus upon a wide range of biceps movements in order to enhance the size and shape of their arms, but despite such a targeted focus with isolation exercises, many bodybuilders find that their upper arm size does not reach what they would consider to be an ideal level.
What is the missing ingredient that many bodybuilders neglect while attempting to build impressive upper arms? Other than wasting time with a large number of exercises when only 1-2 are necessary for total biceps development, the most common mistake is believing that impressive upper arm size is contingent solely upon biceps improvements, while in reality, there is a much more vital factor impacting upper arm circumference.
Most are oblivious to the fact that the majority of upper arm size is occupied by the triceps, and since many bodybuilders in hopes of producing maximum upper arm size concentrate solely upon a wide array of biceps movements, triceps are often neglected, which amazingly, has more of a detrimental impact on upper arm muscle mass than if a bodybuilder were to completely avoid direct biceps training. Since biceps shape cannot change regardless of the lifting technique or weight lifting exercise selection (this characteristic is genetically determined), instead of wasting time on a wide range of biceps exercises, choose the most potent movements (such as preacher and barbell curls) for the biceps, and focus an equivalent amount of volume and effort on the triceps to encourage far greater overall size gains.
Even bodybuilders who already feel as if they have nicely shaped triceps should not neglect direct triceps exercise in favor of extra biceps work, because adding 1-2 inches of triceps thickness will automatically result in an apparent biceps size increase, a fact that many bodybuilders are not aware of. Many seek to achieve a specific arm size, but since approximately two-thirds of the upper arm is comprised of the triceps muscle, logically, the triceps actually becomes far more important than the biceps in achieving this goal, despite many classifying this as a "biceps" measurement (nobody seeks to learn the size of a bodybuilder's triceps, when this is a more significant factor comprising upper arm muscle size). There is no effective way of measuring the biceps without also accounting for triceps thickness, and although this may seem obvious, there are many bodybuilders who do not realize that building massive triceps also provides an illusion of larger, thicker, more impressive biceps muscles.
Although the triceps occupy a greater percentage of upper arm volume than the biceps, a bodybuilder need not train the triceps with more sets (volume), as the heavier weight used during triceps exercises will address the size disparity. The key is to target the biceps and triceps with an identical total number of sets, realizing that blitzing both for maximum growth will produce much improved upper arm volume. Weight lifters who have reached a lengthy plateau in biceps size may find that by training the triceps in a more focused way, upper arm mass will begin to increase, and the added triceps growth will at least offer the appearance of improved biceps development.
Finally, make sure that you avoid isolation movements for both the biceps and triceps, such as concentration curls and triceps kickbacks, as these are not geared towards impressive size improvements; instead, implement exercises that allow for heavier weight (such as close grip bench press and standing barbell curls) to promote maximum size in the upper arm region. If you begin focusing on the triceps muscle with as much emphasis as the biceps, you will see that upper arm size will experience a renewed size improvement spurt that many will mistakenly assume is a result of added biceps mass.
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Francesco Castano owns FatVanish.com, where you will find his natural fat loss program.
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