Here Is the Best Time to Train Your Biceps and Triceps Muscles

biceps and triceps muscles

If you want to build big arms, then you need to train your biceps and triceps intensely, eat well, and get plenty of rest. But did you ever stop to consider that WHEN you train your arms can have an impact on your overall results?

Here are the factors and options to consider when you’re trying to figure out when the best time to train your biceps and triceps muscles is.

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Arms Are Small

No matter how much it may hurt to admit, your arms are always going to be one of your smaller muscle groups, at least in terms of potential. Generally, that means they don’t need and can’t tolerate as much work as bigger muscle groups like legs, chest, shoulders, and back.

It also means they’re prone to overtraining, especially when you consider ..,

Indirect Work

Your arms are involved to a significant extent when you perform any compound upper body exercise. Bench presses, rows, pulldowns, shoulder presses all require a LOT of work from your arms. It’s not direct work to be sure, but when you add it to your arm-focused training, other upper body work contributes a great deal to your overall arm training.

In fact, some claim that you can grow pretty big arms with NO direct exercise for your biceps and triceps muscles.

While that’s probably a little extreme for most trainees, you DO need to consider this overlap effect when planning your arm workouts.

All of this leaves you with three basic choices for arm timing:

Beginning of the Workout

It should be clear from the above discussion that training your arms first, before larger body parts, is not desirable most of the time. Sure, you will be hitting your arms when they’re fresh, but you’ll also be wiping them out before they can help with the bigger movements in your workout. Training arms at the beginning of  your workout will set you up for weaker lifts when you move on to chest or back.

End of the Workout — or After Major Body Parts

Training arms at the end of your workout means that they will already be somewhat fatigued by the presses  and rows you have performed earlier. This has pluses and minuses — your arms will be warmed up, but they will also be weaker. All in all, training arms AFTER bigger bodyparts is a generally sound strategy, though, because it allows you to use the most weight on your big exercises and then isolate your arms to finish things off.

Separate Workout

The final basic option, and one that many lifters love, is to give arms their own workout. This allows you to really focus in on just your arms for that one training session without impacting, or being impacted by, other body parts you’re trying to hit on the same day. Disadvantages include a tendency to do too much work for arms on “their” day, a long span of days between arm workouts, and finding the time to do specialized body part wokouts in busy modern schedules.

So which of these options is best? It comes down to personal choice, of course, but most lifters will do best by positioning arm training toward the end of their workouts.

This will allow you to train your major muscle groups as hard as possible and take advantage of the indirect effect this can lend to your arm growth. Then, you can STILL give some limited but direct and intense work to your bis and tris to make sure they get the total stimulation then need to grow to their max.