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Fitness & Health

19th Jul 2018

Two essential arm training tips from a professional bodybuilder

Struggling to grow your guns? Put this advice into your programme

Alex Roberts

Struggling to grow your guns? Take this pro bodybuilder’s advice into your arm training

Gym memberships can be quite costly nowadays, so put these tips into place to avoid being short-changed.

To spark new growth in your biceps and triceps, you must create tension. It’s not as simple as throwing lots of plates on the barbell, or heading for the heaviest dumbbell at the gym.

An IFBB pro bodybuilder, Ben Pakulski has two particularly important pieces of advice.

Shoulder stability

Speaking on his YouTube channel, Pakulski says you need to ‘create a stable environment for your muscles to contract’.

If you’re swinging up an excessively heavy dumbbell to try and blast your biceps, only your ego is getting bigger. Your muscle cells will fail to contract optimally if the correct form isn’t applied.

Without that tension, you’ll struggle to experience new growth.

If you’re attempting a bicep curl, ensure your shoulder joint is firmly stable. Pakulski advises visualising a piece of rope to illustrate this.

If both ends of a rope are swinging freely, there is very little tension at the midpoint. Similarly, if both ends of your arm (wrist and shoulder joints) are moving, there is insufficient tension placed on the bicep muscle.

Put your back into it

What’s the best way of ensuring shoulder stability? Train your back first.

According to Pakulski, engaging your lat muscles before arm training allows you to retract your shoulder blades easier, meaning that your shoulder joint sits firmly in place.

When you do then curl that weight up, tension will remain on the bicep.

You can also create tension in the way you focus on flexing a muscle. Imagine trying to squeeze your bicep or tricep against an immovable object, to the point where it can’t move any further.

Hold that state of contraction against the resistance of a barbell or dumbbell for the whole exercise, and you’ll be sporting Popeye-like peaks in no time.

Want to build a bigger back? Here are the workouts that get the job done.