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Sunday, December 16, 2007

To Get Big, Muscular Arms You Must Train Hard - But Not Too Much

One of the most common questions I receive outside the gym is "do you have to work out every day to have arms like that?" I always answer with an emphatic "no." Yet many people never even start an exercise program because they mistakenly believe that progress comes only if they work out every day. Even worse is the mistaken assumption that more is always better. Such logic suggests that the more you train the more you'll grow, and so on ad infinitum. In reality this approach ultimately leads to over training.

Over training occurs when you fail to give your body sufficient time to recuperate between workouts. When it comes to arm training, over training can occur quite easily because your arm muscles are relatively small as compared to large muscle groups such as your back, chest and legs. So you don't need to train your arms as frequently as you might work these other body parts. Additionally, your arms receive secondary or "compound" work in all back and chest exer! cises which also increases their susceptibility to over training. If you're a beginner, I recommend that you train your arms not more than twice per week, with a maximum of 12 sets per session for your biceps, 12 sets for your triceps, and 6 sets for your forearms.

Your arm training should be strict and intense, but not so frequent as to deprive your biceps, triceps and forearms of sufficient rest between workouts. While muscular overload is essential to stimulate hypertrophy or muscle growth, this change occurs when you are at rest - not during your workouts. Hypertrophy involves protein synthesis which is the biochemical process that actually builds muscle. If you train so frequently that your body cannot complete this process, you'll actually begin to lose muscle as a result of your training.

What causes over training? Usually it's a combination of too much enthusiasm for a particular workout and/or impatience to see results. But this enthusiasm quickly wanes! as the physical and psychological effects of over training ta! ke hold. The usual physical fallout includes chronic muscle soreness, lack of energy, and loss of muscle tissue. Other physical harm from over training may include muscle fiber damage and eventual injury. These injuries can cause muscle strains and tears, tendonitis, bursitis, stress fractures and joint degradation.

The mental or psychological effects of over training are as debilitating as the physical fallout. These over training symptoms include irritability, loss of training enthusiasm and frustration from lack of muscle growth. This dissatisfaction often creates a vicious cycle as most bodybuilders do not recognize over training as a causal factor when experiencing poor results. Consequently, this workout frustration usually leads to intensified training which only compounds the over-trained condition.

Yet another, but more subtle cause of over training is poor exercise technique. Training with improper technique expends a great deal of energy but produces meager re! sults. Since this approach requires so much extra effort, it is easy to over train in the quest for satisfactory muscle growth. Once again, the key to avoiding this pitfall is training efficiently with proper technique. If you ever suspect that you have over trained, take some time of. Depending on the severity of your condition, you may need to take anywhere from several weeks to several months off from your training program.

As you can see, over training is not something to regard casually. You must strive to get maximum results from each workout so that you don't overdo your training frequency. So train hard - but not too much, get plenty of rest and you'll never have this problem.

Mark G. Winston, "The Master Gunslinger," is author of the ground-breaking training manual, "GO For Your GUNS - 7 Simple Secrets to AWESOME ARMS." He has also created, a bodybuilding and fitness website dedicated entirely to helping you build big, muscular arms. M! ark's forthcoming book will be jammed with workouts and traini! ng techn iques to help you build the big, muscular arms that you deserve! To learn about the GO For Your GUNS bodybuilding system and get free arm training tips that really work, visit

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