Big arms are a hallmark of a hard-training lifter and key to a great physique. It’s understandable, then, why so many guys focus in on arm training as a priority, but they often get carried away in the process. Bombing and blitzing biceps and triceps with smaller movements often gets in the way of more productive exercises for other bodyparts and limits overall growth.
In fact, it’s not a bad idea to occasionally drop direct arm work in favor of really digging in on compound movements if you want to improve your physique.
And, if you take this approach, your arms just might grow anyway thanks to the overlap arm stimulation that comes with working your whole body hard.
Here are several exercises for OTHER body parts that can help you build huge arms.
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Chin-ups, with your grip at about shoulder width and your palms facing you, is one of the best exercises you can do for your lats, which give your back a wide flare. As it turns out, chins also put tremendous stress on your biceps and can lead to all kinds of new arm growth, particularly if you resist hard on the negative portion of the movement.
What chins are to biceps, dips are to triceps. While dips primarily hit chest and shoulders, they also nail the triceps hard, particularly if you hold your body more upright than leaning forward. Make sure you pay attention to the negative stroke here, too.
The bench is definitely a chest exercise, but it also loads your shoulders and triceps with heavy weights. The closer you get to lockout on each rep, the more stress is transferred to the tris.
Similar to the bench, the military press targets other bodyparts (shoulders), but also provides a nice dose of heavy resistance for your triceps.
While not quite as direct as the chin-ups, all kinds of rows give your biceps plenty of work with heavy weights, and they also tax your grip (forearms).
Squats are often hailed as the “king of exercises” because they allow you to lift more weight than just about any other movement. This can deliver a spike in anabolic hormones AND provide some upper body pump as well. Squats also require you to hold the bar across your upper back, which engages your arms powerfully throughout the movement.
Like squats, deadlifts provide a great overall body workout, and they also work your grip (or forearms) hard.
Chances are that you won’t want to skip direct arm training, at least not forever and especially if you’re a bodybuilder. By focusing most of your energy on big, compound movements, though, you can build a great body and build huge arms with massive guns at the same time.