Often I am asked how did I build the muscle in my arms? Do I do a lot of biceps curls and triceps extensions?
The answer: NO. NOT AT ALL. I never program these things in my own daily training or even in my clients’ daily training! I built the muscle in my arms by regularly training pull-ups and kettlebell military presses. AND, 7 years ago, when I started to add weight to my pull-ups and started to train weighted pull-ups, that’s when I really started to see a noticeable difference in my triceps and lats and even in my pecs.
In addition, barbell deadlifts and barbell bench press helped to build the muscle in my arms. Even though barbell deadlifts are a lower body pull, with my 1 rep max at 315 lbs, it requires a significant amount of upper body strength to pull that kind of weight off the floor for reps (not 315 lbs for reps, but weight that helped me to reach 315 lbs) and by default you will build muscle in your arms and upper body in general.
I also remember when I started bench pressing regularly I joked with my powerlifting coach about, “Forget implants, just barbell bench press & you’ll be all set 😉 !” When your body is under that much load under the bar, it’s inevitable that you will build sexy pecs and triceps.
So NO, you do not have to train isolation exercises like triceps extensions and biceps curls in order to get the sexy, muscular arms you desire. Train the bigger movements like pull-ups (hangs and band assisted included!) and kettlebell military presses, focus on a performance goal, and not only will you build overall functional strength, but also, the aesthetics will fall into place.
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