Bodybuilders generally approach arm workouts with isolation exercises and very low rep ranges. As a personal fitness and bodybuilding coach for over a decade, I agree that this arm workout approach is highly effective.
But if you look at the routines of professional bodybuilders, they often include high-volume workouts for their biceps and triceps as well.
To see how well this might work, I got a few personal fitness coaches to help me put together an ideal routine, and then we tested it with five clients over a two-month period.
Here’s what we found.
High-Volume Workout Routine for Bigger Arms
Here is a list of arm workouts that you want to consider for your biceps and triceps training days.
I generally recommend that you stick with at least three sets, but if you’re stuck for time, then either pick fewer exercises or do just two sets of each.
Start off by choosing a weight that is about half what you’d lift for a set of 6–8 reps, but aim to increase it gradually over time.
Try these out to feel the difference after training:
- Dumbbell Curl: I always like to start with a regular dumbbell curl arm exercise, as it's also a great way to warm up for the rest of the workout.
- Reverse Grip Dumbbell Biceps Curl: Once you’ve completed the regular sets, do the same movement but with your palms facing down. You’ll notice this will engage your biceps and forearms quite differently.
- Spider Curl: To further isolate the bicep muscle groups, try doing spider curls, as they eliminate upper body movement.
- Preacher Curl: These are great for getting your mind-muscle connection working at optimum levels, as you can get that concentrated stare during this arm workout, as stated in the European Journal of Applied Physiology study .
- Barbell Curl: For these arm workouts to burn fat faster, I generally recommend using an EZ bar, as you can get some great variation in hand position as well, and variation will translate into more muscle growth.
- Triceps Pushdown: Finally, get the cable machine set up at about head height with the rope handle attached. Go for a full extension with slow movements to get maximum results.
What Are the Benefits?
The main benefit of high-volume training is that you can get your muscles to hypertrophy while at the same time building up more endurance and burning more fat.
See, most bodybuilders will do an arm workout with 6–8 reps per set. And while that has great effects on muscle building, you burn fewer calories.
But what a lot of people don’t realize is that increasing the reps and going to failure will still help you effectively build muscle mass, according to a study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research .
Yet, because the muscles are under tension for longer during each exercise, you’ll also metabolize more fat as it becomes more of an aerobic workout, as shown in the Journal of Applied Physiology study .
“When increased hypertrophy is the goal, that means the focus of progressive overload should be on increasing training volume over time.”
- Tom MacCormick, BSc in Sports Science & Coaching
Do Arms Respond Better To High-Volume?
Yes, arms may respond better to high-volume arm workouts. However, aiming for a variety of low and high-volume training over different days is probably going to give you the best results.
Should You Train Arms Every Day?
No, you shouldn’t train your arms every day. While some professional bodybuilders have claimed to do arm workouts on each training day, that’s not how they got to that level of muscle mass, and they probably used that approach for competition preparation.
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