We all know that America has a gun problem. No, not the Second Amendment one—that’s less a problem than an epidemic that’s threatening to drag us all screaming into the bowels of hell. But how are your biceps doing?
While a great pair of guns looks sexy, the way things are headed we might all soon have to bulk up our arms just to pull the country back on the right track. Yes, it’s time to Make America Flex Again!
Here, Chris Matsui, director of high-performance training at New York’s Fusion Performance Training, offers six ways to pump up your bis and tris.
1. Eat—and Eat Again
“If you want to grow, you need to fuel up,” Matsui says. “Eating more kcal (kilocalories, or 1,000 calories) will help you grow and recover, and potentially help your energy levels during training.”
2. Switch It Up
Be open to change. If you’re already training your arms pretty efficiently, try decreasing the number of sets you do but increasing the number of times you do them per week.
As an example, Matsui suggests increasing your training frequency from three or four times a week to five or six. Limit each training session to two to four sets each and change the exercise selection every other workout.
“Try a phase with the biceps, rest, then move to the triceps,” he says. “Keep in mind that this is only for a limited time (again, two to three weeks), then you’ll move into a different phase. If something feels off, it may be best to rest and focus on a different body part.”
λ Day 1: Preacher curls — 3 sets of 12 reps (3 x 12)
λ Day 2: Barbell curls — 2 x 15
λ Day 3: Preacher dumbbell curls (single arm) — 4 x 10
λ Day 4: Barbell curls — 2 x 8
λ Day 5: Dumbbell curls — 3 x 15
λ Day 6: Cable curls — 4 x 12
3. Don’t Forget Your Core
While direct arm work is great, you still need a strong foundation, so also do some core exercises. Says Matsui, “Make sure you’re getting in plenty of bench presses, overhead presses, pull-ups, lat pulldowns, and rows.”
4. Take Your Time, Do It Right
“Tempo can make a heck of a difference in your pump,” Matsui says. “Instead of repping it out as fast as you can, try slowing down the movement with a 3-to-5-second tempo.”
5. Slow Down
Be sure to get full range of motion. “This may mean you’ll have to lighten the weight, but it’ll be worth it for the extra range of motion [ROM] and the tension you’ll put on the muscle,” says Matsui. Shortening ROM may allow you to increase the weight, but if you want gains, you really want to focus on a full ROM to ensure the targeted muscles are getting a good workout.
6. Stay Safe Out There
While it’s easy to get impatient, you shouldn’t take on more than you can handle. Says Matsui, “Don’t push beyond your limits, and maintain good technique first.”
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