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Do you wish you could throw on a tank top and show off big, bulging biceps? Everyone loves big guns – they’re eye-catching, flashy, and impressive.
But for skinny guys, beefing up your arms may seem like an impossible challenge.
Hard gainers, or ectomorphs, have a hard time putting on weight and packing on muscle (thanks a lot, genetics).
But that doesn’t mean you’re stuck with scrawny arms – there are ways you can take control and work hard for bigger guns.
Just remember, it takes time to sculpt the arms of your dreams – but it can be done!
If your flex game could use some work, read on to find out how to build those rock-solid biceps you crave.
Build Your Biceps in the Gym
Related: Why Are My Arms So Skinny?
Growing monster guns requires targeting the right muscles when you hit the gym. For most people, big, muscular arms mean big, muscular biceps.
While biceps aren’t the only muscle you should focus on, they are no doubt an important factor in looking jacked.
So, let’s figure out how to max out your bicep growth.
There are a lot of exercises out there that will work your biceps, but you only have so much time at the gym – so which ones should you focus on?
Here are three of the best bicep-boosting exercises you should definitely incorporate into your workout.
This movement is the foundation of a great bicep-building routine. Barbell curls primarily target your biceps, but they also hit the muscles in your forearms and even your shoulders.
Incline Dumbbell Curls
A variation on a regular dumbbell curl, incline curls give you a greater range of motion and really hit that inner bicep area, which gives you a monster flex.
Hammer curls will help you build those brawny arms by working your brachialis (the muscle between the bicep and tricep), while also strengthening your grip. And it’s easier on the wrists as well.
Build Your Triceps in the Gym
While blasting your biceps is important, don’t neglect the rest of your upper body. In particular, let’s focus on your triceps – these bad boys make up well over half of your overall arm volume.
So if you want muscular, rock-solid arms, target your triceps with these exercises.
The tricep extension homes in on your triceps, while also working the muscles on your back and upper arm. There are many variations to this exercise, so this video is a great place to start.
Tricep dips are great because they can be done just about anywhere – even at home. Not only do they blast your triceps, they also engage your forearms, shoulders, and chest.
Also, consider adding in exercises that target your shoulders, chest, and back to complete an overall muscular upper body.
Compound upper body exercises, such as bench presses, bent rows, and pullups, hit multiple muscles all at once and are packed with awesome bicep-building benefits as well.
Training Tips for Building Bigger Biceps
But it’s not just about WHAT you do, it’s also about HOW you do it. Here are a few training tips to keep in mind to help you plan your workouts and get the most bicep bang for your buck.
- Lift weights regularly – 4 to 5 days a week – but don’t focus solely on your arms. Do big compound movements (deadlifts, squats, etc.) at least 2 days a week. And work in those other upper body exercises, too. Also, make sure you schedule at least 2 rest days each week.
- Avoid exercising the same muscle group back to back. Muscles need time to rest so they can repair and grow, especially smaller muscle groups like the biceps. So if you blast your biceps and triceps one day, try targeting your chest or shoulders the next day.
- Choose a weight that allows you to do around 10 repetitions for 2 to 3 sets. That weight should go up over time, while keeping your reps fairly constant. Big arms come from big effort, so you should increase the weight when 12+ reps become too easy.
- Occasionally, go heavy to speed up your gains. Increase your weights and drop reps (3 to 6) every once in a while to really pack on muscle. This should only be done every few months and ideally should only last a few weeks.
- Don’t waste too much time and energy on cardio workouts. Too much cardio exercise can impede muscle growth, so try to limit cardio sessions to 1 or 2 times per week.
Build Your Biceps in the Kitchen
Now that you’re ready to kill it in the gym, you need to learn how to kill it in the kitchen. Manly biceps come from manly meals – in order to grow big, brawny arms, you need to give your body plenty of fuel.
To get started on the gains train, boost your daily caloric intake by about 500 calories.
Here’s what should be on the menu for this muscle-building diet.
Protein is the building block of muscle – you can’t grow your biceps without it! Make sure to work a protein source into every meal and add extra protein in your meals immediately around training as well.
How much protein? Try to match your weight in pounds to your protein intake in grams.
So if you weigh 130 pounds, then try to consume 130 grams of protein daily.
Yes, you need to eat carbs! Especially around your training. Carbs are a “fast energy” source and will help you power through weight training workouts without starving your muscles.
Here’s where you get the most bang for your buck in terms of calories.
Remember, your goal is to increase your daily calories, and this macronutrient is packed with calories to help you grow.
Pop open a jar of peanut butter and dig in!
Big biceps are built through big effort and big eating. Combine the two, and you’ll be rocking monster guns in no time!