Arm farm has definitely become popularized in recent years for obvious reasons.
Everyone wants to fill the sleeves.
Well, now that summer is upon us, it’s a good time to start!
Without getting too far ahead of ourselves though, let’s highlight key areas that you’ll want to target on your quest to Arm Farm County:
- Build the biceps
- Train the triceps
- Strengthen the shoulders
- Use tempo work to your advantage
- Change up the implement to challenge grip strength
Locking in these 5 areas will help you round out a sweet pair of biceps, triceps, shoulders, and forearms while filling the sleeves.
BUILD THE BICEPS
The first step in incorporating arm farm without going overboard is checking off the box when it comes to the biceps. When people think of the arms, they think about the biceps. It’s the first muscle on the arms that comes to mind and one that shines through when flexing.
Some will argue that building a strong pair of biceps doesn’t necessarily translate to athletic performance or general health and function. I’m not sitting here arguing against you. However, from an aesthetics standpoint, you can’t go wrong with growing the biceps. Plus, there’s something to be said for looking good and feeling good.
Start out with a classic: DB Seated Bicep Curl.
Next up, tie in the forearms as well since they’re super important for keeping the biceps strong and healthy. A staple of mine is the DB Standing Zottman Curl.
TRAIN THE TRICEPS
Oftentimes, the triceps get no love since they’re anatomically located on the back of the arms. However, make no mistake that having horseshoe-like triceps is a game-changer for not only your looks, but also for any upper body pushing or pressing exercises as well.
When it comes to keeping your elbows healthy for the bigger pushing and pressing lifts, building strong and durable triceps can certainly help. I’m a big fan of keeping it simple since the classics always work well. They’ve stood the test of time for a reason!
Begin training the triceps with the classic Cable Standing Tricep Extension.
After that, start using the Cable Bent-Over Rope Tricep Kickback. The kickback is another one that has been around for quite a long time.
STRENGTHEN THE SHOULDERS
I’m definitely an advocate for overhead pressing, which helps to build out a robust pair of shoulder muscles. However, don’t skip out on the accessory exercises as well, which can make the difference between average shoulders to boulder-like shoulders.
I’d imagine you’re reading this article for the boulder-like variations 😉
Another added bonus is that using accessory-based shoulder exercises in training keeps them healthy, which is never a bad idea. Being strong is one thing. Being healthy AND strong is a completely different ball-game.
Kick things off with the class prone trap raise on an incline bench, otherwise known as the DB Incline Bench Y.
Another gnarly shoulder exercise is combining the resistance from the dumbbells and from the mini-bands. Fun? Not really. Effective? Highly. Here’s one of my favorites: DB Mini-Band Standing Front Raise.
USE TEMPO WORK TO YOUR ADVANTAGE
The best part about Arm Farm is the addition of specific tempo work.
Tempo refers to the pace in which you lift the weight. For example, you might be performing a dumbbell standing bicep curl where you lower the weight for 3 seconds (eccentric component), raise the weight for 3 seconds (concentric component), and then squeeze for a 3-second hold at the top (isometric contraction). This is one of many examples of using tempo work.
I’m a monster fan of using tempo work to really slow the movement down, dial in technique, and create a strong amount of tension on the muscles during training. An increased time spent under tension (aka King T.U.T.) is always key for filling the sleeves!
Here’s an example of using tempo work with the biceps:
Tempo Cable Standing Rope Bicep Curl (Tempo: 3-Sec Up, 3-Sec Hold, 3-Sec Down)
Use tempo work with the triceps in this example:
Tempo Weight Vest Dip (Tempo: 3-Sec Down & 3-Sec Up)
Lastly, let’s round out those arms literally with shoulder tempo work:
Tempo DB Tall Kneel Lateral Raise (Tempo: 3-Sec Up & 3-Sec Down)
CHANGE UP THE IMPLEMENT TO CHALLENGE GRIP STRENGTH
After using dumbbells and cable column resistance for years, you begin to get bored with the same stuff. Trust me, I get it.
However, I’d suggest switching up the implement you use from time to time to keep things fun and fresh. Plus, you can challenge grip strength this way through a variety of different implements. For example, you could use towels, resistance bands, Fat Gripz, ropes, and so much more!
Let’s start out with changing up the grip for training the biceps. Here’s are 2 examples:
KB Horns-Grip Standing Bicep Curl
TRX Tricep Extension
Finally, we’ll end it with using different implements for grip strength when training the shoulders:
Cord Standing 1-Arm Lateral Raise
Band Standing 3D Pull-Apart
Arm Farm is much simpler than people think. Focus on the 5 keys of biceps training, triceps training, shoulders training, tempo work, and changing up the implement for improved grip strength.
If you hit the targets in all of those 5 areas, I promise you’ll be ready to fill the sleeves come summer time!
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