How To Build Massive Arms

Ever since I was just a kid, I can remember in all the video games, movies, and cartoons that to be a "manly man" you had to have big arms.

I believe this bread the obsession we see today with almost every guy in the gym to build big arms, a wide back, and a narrow waist line.

When it actually comes down to building big arm muscle, our first instinct is to go straight to the gym and start knocking out sets of bicep curls.

After all the saying is "Curls for the girls", right?

However, if your goal is to truly build bigger arms, you need a healthy balance of triceps exercises in your arm training routine.

What is truly funny about it all is, most of us believe that if we train our biceps enough that our whole arm is going to grow huge...

Unfortunately, if that is your plan. You are going to have a very hard time building bigger arms.

One thing that you must know is, your triceps consist of 2/3s of the mass of your arm.

Meaning workout your triceps more often and properly to build mass on your arms.

 <img src="bigarms.png" alt="How to build big arms">


Understanding Your Triceps

First, we must understand what the point of your triceps are.

The triceps motor movement role is to extend your elbow, and help keep your shoulder stabilized during movements like a fly, pull down, push ups, and presses.

<img src="tricepmovement.png" alt="Best Tricep Workout">

There are three (3) heads of the muscle on the back side of the arm that look like this:

<img src="tricepsdiagram.png" alt="Triceps Muscle Diagram">

To give you an extreme look at what Triceps can look like, check this out:

 <img src="bigtriceps.png" alt="Triceps Pose">

Well, odds are you're Triceps will never look like Bodybuilder Mahmut Irmak from Turkey. This guy is a genetic freak and dedicated his life to the sport of bodybuilding. (IG: @mahmutirmak1)

However, with the proper training, nutrition and supplementation here is a more realistic natural goal from our IFBB Pro Jay Coss. (IG: @Jayy_coss)

<img src="Tricepspose.png" alt="Jay Coss Triceps">

 As you can see from the pictures and diagram above, your triceps are the majority of you arm. So when it comes to building bigger arms, we will need to put proper emphasis on training triceps.

So, What is The Best Way To Train Triceps?

I am sure if you have been working out for over a year now, you have either tried or heard over five different ways you can train your triceps. 

While some guys prefer one method over the other and tend to stick to that style of training, the goal of this article is to help you find our which method is truly best for you goals and how to get the faster.

1. Stop Training Triceps For A "PUMP" 

The goal when training Triceps should not be to chase the "Pump", instead you should be focusing on; Building Strength.

One of the biggest lessons when it came to working out was to stop chasing the pump.

Even though the "Pumped" feeling in the gym was highly addicting, I never really seemed to grow or get stronger.

I found myself stuck in this trap of going to the gym for years and training solely for getting as pumped as I can. This works really only when you first start training, but as your body learns and adapts. This style of training is not really effective anymore.

It was not until I hired a professional coach, and started training with athletes like who did cross fit, and power lifting. That I learned, training for strength was the most important factor to unlocking muscle growth.

Don't get me wrong, I love the "pump" in the gym and having blood rush into my muscles, but this is just a side effect of proper training now.

Train Triceps For Strength & Size 

If your at a point in your weight lifting career where training for "pumps" isn't changing your physique anymore, you may want to consider changing your training to focus on heavy compound training to develop more strength.

The truth is, unless you are running high amounts of illegal inject-able performance enhancing substances "Volume" training you see inside the magazines probably isn't going to work well for you.

That is why, natural weight lifters who are not juiced to the gills on illegal substances primarily focus on heavy compound training and generally have better workout programs than substance abusers.

When we talk about training heavy, this means working in the weight range of 65 to 90% of your one rep max. 

When you break this down into reps, that would mean doing reps of 8-12 with the lighter loads, and reps of 4-6 with heavier weights.

One thing I should note is, this is not limited solely for your triceps. This methodology can be applied to every body group you train.

Pro Tip: Stop copying the high intensity "bodybuilding" workouts you see on youtube with all these crazy drop sets, pyramids, and insane levels of volume. Remember it's fun to go blast a arm workout and catch a pump, but odds are you are smart and not loaded down with heavy amounts of gear. Focus on building strength with intensity and frequency. Not high amounts of volume. 

 2. Introduce Compound Workouts Into Your Workouts.

Like with any body part you are training, make sure you are not leaving compound movements out of your tricep workouts.

If you leave these important workouts out of your programming, you are really limiting your potential for growth.

Compound movements are such great way to build mass on your arms, if done properly. 

You may be thinking right now;

What are the best compound lifts for triceps?

  • Skull Crushers

  • Close Grip Bench Press

  • Dips

Something to remember when you are doing these exercises for the tricep is to not over train and go overboard with volume. 

I have found that increasing my frequency of how often I hit triceps weekly, without over doing the volume allowed my body to be "fresh" and stronger when doing these movement. (2 compound lifts, 3-4 sets each, twice a week)

Little did I know that these finding were actually backed up with real science to support that breaking my "bro workout" into 2-3 workouts through out the week had better muscle growth effects on my body. [1] 

This study shows that training your body part once (1 time) a week was too little to stimulate proper strength and muscle growth. 

How To Do The Best Triceps Exercises

1. Skull Crushers

<img src="Skullcrushers.png" alt="How to do Skull Crushers">

I personally believe that Skull Crushers are one of the best movements for building strong triceps and developing mass on your arms.

When doing Skull Crushers there are two forms you can perform.

  1. Dumbbell Skull Crushers
  2. Barbell Skull Crushers

Most people you see in the gym doing Skull Crushers tend to use Ez Curl Bars, or barbells. 

However, in order to do this movement properly you have to have good wrist mobility, and shoulder mobility. Otherwise if you lack mobility in these two areas, the elbows start to flair out.

To do Skull Crushers with proper mechanics, it is actually easier to learn or do this movement with Dumbbells. 

<img src="sumbbellskullcrusher.png" alt="Dumbell Skull Crushers">

When you are setting up for this movement, you want to have your elbows in a fixed position at a 90 degree bend.

As you are holding the dumbbell, you want to extend your arm all the way out (contraction), and resist the weight in a 3-4 second negative movement on the way down.

As the dumbbell makes it way down, it should end up near you ear.

If it helps, focus on doing this tricep workout with one arm at a time. This way you can use your opposite hand to lock your elbow and place and keep it from rocking.

Thing's Not To Do When Performing Skull Crushers.

Usually when people perform this tricep exercise, they start to rock with the shoulder and the elbow. 

When this "rocking" movement starts to happen, it will engage the lats & delts and take the load off your triceps.

2. Close Grip Bench Press


The close grip bench press may be the best triceps exercise out there, when preforming this movement there is truly no "facny" techniques you need to do.

Simply start out with your hands a placed inside of shoulder width, control the movement down in a 3-4 second descent, keep your elbows in tight, then contract all the way up to an extension.

Performing close grip bench press removes a lot of the deltoid, lat, and shoulders from the movement and allows you to have a higher level of resistance for your triceps.

3. Tricep Dips

<img src="tricepdips.png" alt="Tricep Dips">

Tricep Dips may be one of the most famous compound tricep exercise known. 

Just like Skull Crushers, there are many variations you can do, from:

  • Bench Tricep Dips
  • Weighted Tricep Dips
  • Assisted Tricep Dips
  • Standard Tricep Dips

When preforming tradition dips on any station, you want to make sure your following the following steps:

  1. Start out on the top with a nice tight grip
  2. Go down in a 2-3 second descent
  3. Lean forward slightly as you get towards the bottom
  4. Then press yourself all the way up
  5. Squeeze the triceps real hard at the top of the movement
  6. Repeat

Generally, you will read that a narrower grip will put more emphasis on the triceps and wider grip will put more focus on the chest and shoulders.

Start off with your body weight, and as you continue to build strength in this movement add more resistances gradually over time. 

Adding Supplements To Build More Muscle

As we always preach, you wont build muscle or burn body fat unless you have proper training and nutrition. Supplements are not the magic answer, like many companies preach. 

However, if you have your foundation built and you want to add more fuel to your fire. They can be a great accelerator to building muscle.

Remember, not all supplements are created equal. 

In fact, most supplement companies are simply just brokers that buy "pre formulated" products from a manufacture, put their label on it, make unrealistic claims and take a huge mark up when they sell it to you. Be Extremely Careful of These Companies. 

So make sure you do your research before buying supplements from just any company.

Which Supplements Are Best?

Creatine Supplements

Creatine is naturally found in foods like red meat, eggs, and is naturally occurring inside your body.

Creatine supplements increase your body's Phophocreatine stores, and allow you to produce more ATP energy to fuel your muscles during intense workouts. [2]

Studies have shown that creatine can have many benefits like:

  • Strength [3][8]
  • Explosive Power [4]
  • Muscle Mass [3]
  • Reduction of Fatigued Muscles [6]
  • Recovery [7]

When it comes to using creatine, we believe we have one of the most superior creatines on the market: CRE-ABSORB

CRE-ABSORB contains one of the best forms of creatine on the market, called Creatine HCl, which is advanced creatine that is more bio-available than standard forms of creatine.

Wrapping Up The Guide To Building Bigger Arms

At the end of the day, our focus should be to strive to be better each and every single day. 

We work hard to develop the bodies we dream about, and we are relentless in our pursuit.

We hope you got great value from this article and have some good take away's on how to build bigger arms!

  • Focus on compound movements
  • Focus on building triceps
  • Focus on how to properly train triceps
  • Focus on the best triceps exercises
  • Workout Triceps 2-3 times weekly
  • Eat Right, Train Hard, Supplement Wisely

Remember always train within your limits and always have a spotter when performing some of these workouts.

Until next time, 

Alchemy Labs