How to Get Bigger Arms: Muscle Building For Men

Written by: Holly Smith, M.D.,

B.S. - Dietetics, NASM-PES Certified Trainer

Writer, The Fit Father Project

Written by: Holly Smith, M.D.,

B.S. - Dietetics, NASM-PES Certified Trainer

Writer, The Fit Father Project

how to get bigger arms

Wondering how to get bigger arms? Are you sick of doing set after set of arm workouts without seeing any gains?

Then today is your lucky day.

With these essential tips and exercises, you can have the strong, ripped arms that you have always dreamed of.

The answer to how to get bigger arms is just ahead. Now let's sculpt those guns!

Why Build Strong Arms?

Being able to lift heavy objects with ease while boasting a ripped physique is a goal many men look to achieve when starting a workout program.

Strong, muscular arms can be attained at any age using a great fitness plan that includes dedicated arm workouts.

Having well-built arm muscles has a number of benefits. The obvious is that it is a sign of strength and power.

Muscular arms are necessary to round out any toned, fit physique and give you that boost of confidence about your body.

And increased muscle mass will increase your metabolic rate as well, making your body more efficient at burning calories and losing or maintaining a healthy weight.

In addition, having strong arms means that you can do everyday activities more easily.

Anything that requires lifting, pulling, and pushing is made infinitely easier when you have powerful biceps, triceps, and shoulders.

Old School Muscle

The Fit Father Project is a great place to start if you are looking to get bigger arms.

Old School Muscle is an excellent program that utilizes research-backed findings to provide you with a one of a kind, full-body muscle-building workout.

With Old School Muscle you get a comprehensive muscle building guide AND nutrition guidance and online support to keep you motivated throughout the program!

This will put you one step closer to those ripped arms.

Progressive Overload

In order to get bigger arms, you need to not only focus on the arm exercises themselves, but also on form, reps, and how much you are pushing your muscles to fatigue.

If you want to get bigger arms, you have to challenge yourself every workout.

This means trying to improve upon your performance as you gain more strength.

If you constantly lift the same weight for the same number of reps every workout session, you will never see gains in terms of actual muscle growth.

While doing this may burn calories and maintain lean body mass, you need to push yourself above the threshold your muscles have adapted to in order to achieve bigger muscles.

There are different strategies to do this, either through increasing reps or increasing weight.

How To Challenge The Muscles For Bigger Arms

For example, let’s say that you are doing standard dumbbell curls.

You want to complete 10 reps and be able to do so with 15-pound dumbbells. If you find this is easy to do for three sets, try the curls with 17.5- or 20-pound weights.

Maybe you’re only able to complete eight reps with this higher weight. That’s fine! Continue to work with this weight until you can complete 10 reps at the higher weight for three sets.

Once that becomes easier, you can try going up in weight again and starting this process once more.

Now, of course, you won’t be able to continue increasing weight indefinitely. Nobody expects you to one day be curling 100-pound dumbbells!

But the idea is to continually push your muscles to that next level.

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What Are The 5 Best Muscle Building Exercises For Men 40+?

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The secret to building age-defying muscle in your in 40s, 50s, & 60s is to modify the best muscle building exercises (bench, squats, rows) to make them safe on your joints…

Drop Sets

Drop sets are another great way to add muscle mass and increase size.

These can be added to the end of every workout to really stimulate muscle growth.

Basically, a drop set involves starting at a higher weight, and gradually moving down to lower weights without rest until your muscles can lift no more!

Fully fatiguing the muscles at lower weights is key for optimal muscle hypertrophy.

Although small in size, a recent study did find benefits of using drop sets for muscle growth as compared to standard sets.

Types of Drop Sets

There are different variations of drop sets.

With wide drop sets, you drop the weight by about 30% between sets, while with tight drop sets you only drop the weight about 15%.

If you are just starting out, a wide drop is probably the best way to begin. You can always progress to more challenging drop sets as you gain muscular strength.

By doing this you are not just fatiguing your muscles at a high weight, but progressively pushing them to the limit at a lower weight.

This will also increase the training volume and time under tension for the muscles.

Don’t Forget to Focus On The Eccentric Phase

There are three types of muscle contraction-concentric, eccentric, and isometric.

  • Concentric muscle contraction occurs when the muscle is being shortened, like when you curl a dumbbell up.
  • Isometric contraction is when the muscle is being held at a constant length, such as when you hold a plank.
  • Eccentric contraction occurs when the muscle is lengthening under a force, like the lowering phase of a push-up or bicep curl.

When working out, you will see a lot of men do the concentric phase of their exercise, but drop the weights too quickly back to the starting position.

This negates any eccentric activation.

Build Ripped Arms Through The Entire Exercise

Both concentric and eccentric contractions lead to muscle hypertrophy.

These muscle movements actually can induce muscle growth based on distinct pathways, which is why it is important to focus on each phase during a workout.

One study even showed that eccentric activation-induced greater size benefits, however not at a statistically significant level.

Since each of these phases of activation can induce muscle growth signals to build bigger arms, it is important to focus on both while performing all of your workouts.

This will ensure that you are getting the most out of each move.

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Here’s How Busy Guys 40+ Are Finally Losing Weight…

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How to Get Bigger Arms

The exercises below can be added to any workout.

If you are doing a full-body workout, choose one or two exercises from each of the biceps and triceps category to add to your routine.

If you are specifically focusing on arms for your workout session, you can choose three to four exercises from each area.

Aim for three sets of 8-10 reps for each movement.

Warm-Up and Stretch

To avoid injury and protect your joints, make sure you are doing a proper warm-up and cool down prior to every strength training workout.

This should include some light cardio to get your heart rate up and blood pumping, along with some dynamic stretching to loosen up your muscles.

For the upper body, try arm circles and front arm crossovers. This will prime your arms for the exercises to come and increase your range of motion.

To get the most out of each exercise, rest for 1-2 minutes between each set. This will allow the ATP within your muscles to regenerate so that your muscles can perform at an optimal level for the next set.


Standard Dumbbell Curls

  • Stand upright holding two dumbbells.
  • Curl the dumbbells up while keeping your elbows back and close to your body.
  • Slowly lower the weight, making sure you feel your biceps contract throughout the movement.

This is a great movement to really work the entire biceps muscle.

It is a simple move that can provide big benefits to build those ripped arms.

Zottman Curls

  • Stand upright with two dumbbells hanging by your side.
  • Turn your arms so your palms face forward.
  • Curl the dumbbells up.
  • Pause, then rotate the dumbbells so your palms face forward before slowly returning back to your starting position.

This is an awesome arm exercise that hits all three muscles that make up the biceps – the biceps brachii, brachialis, and brachioradialis.

The rotational movement allows you to target each of these muscles.

Dumbbell Hammer Curls

  • Stand with your elbows locked by your sides, while holding your dumbbells with your palms facing in towards your body.
  • Curl the weights up and slowly lower back down, making sure to focus on the eccentric lowering phase.

Hammer curls are good to include as it targets your biceps as well as your brachialis muscle.

By hitting the biceps muscles at different angles, you will be able to fill out the entire muscular appearance of your arms.

Decline Dumbbell Curls

  • Start by setting up a bench at a 45-degree angle.
  • Lay chest down on the bench while holding two dumbbells.
  • While in this position, curl the dumbbells up to your shoulders.
  • Pause, then lower back to the start positions.

Laying on the bench will really isolate your biceps.

You won’t be able to swing or use your body momentum to curl the weight up.

Preacher Curls

  • Adjust the height of a preacher bench so your armpits touch the top of the bench.
  • Grab a curl bar at shoulder width with your arms extended.
  • Curl the bar up while keeping the backs of your arms against the bench.
  • Slowly lower the bar back down.

You can also use dumbbells if you don’t have a curl bar available.

Since your arms are resting against a bench, this forces you to focus on only using the biceps instead of using your body’s momentum to curl the weights.

Palms Forward Curls/Reverse Curls

  • Grasp a curl bar overhand at about shoulder width.
  • Keeping your upper arms against your sides, curl the bar up until your palms face out and the barbell is in line with your shoulders.
  • Slowly lower back down.

This movement will hit the brachialis muscle.

This actually pushes the peak of your bicep muscle up higher, which makes for more sculpted arms.

Plus you will work your brachioradialis in your forearm, along with strengthening your wrists.

Drop Set Dumbbell Bicep Curls

  • For this exercise, you will be performing standard bicep curls.
  • However, start at the highest weight you can do and perform eight reps.
  • Then drop down five pounds and perform eight reps.
  • Then drop down five more pounds and perform eight reps.
  • Do not take any breaks in between.

You will really feel the burn at the end, even if you are only lifting 5-pound weights!

Here you will be working the biceps muscles to absolute fatigue.

This is a great arm exercise to add as a burn-out at the end of your workout.


Close Grip Bench Press

  • With any bench press moves, always make sure to have a spotter.
  • Lay on a flat bench and grasp a barbell with an overhand grip.
  • Your hands should be about shoulder-width apart.
  • Hold the bar above your sternum with arms completely straight.
  • Lower the bar down, pause, and then press the bar back up to the starting position.

By having a close grip you will have to rely on the strength of your triceps, rather than your chest muscles, to press the bar back up.

Start with low weight and work your way up as you gain strength.

Skull Crushers

  • Lie on a bench and hold a dumbbell in each hand with palms facing each other.
  • Press the weights over your chest, then bend your elbows to lower the weights toward your face until you feel a stretch in your triceps.
  • Extend your elbows to bring the weights back up.
  • Keep your elbows in the same position and facing the ceiling the entire set.
  • Try not to let your elbows flare out.

This movement hits all three heads of the triceps.

Since you are only bending at the elbow, you are solely working the triceps muscles, unlike other exercises where you get assistance from the shoulders or chest muscles.

Tricep Dips on Parallel Bars

  • Stand over the dip bars and grip them, then hold yourself over the bars with your arms fully extended.
  • Lower your body until your upper arms are parallel to the floor but no lower.
  • Extend your elbows to push back up.
  • If you cannot do a dip unassisted you can use a dip machine or a spotter to hold your feet until you gain enough strength.

By keeping your arms close to your body, you will be really working your triceps as you press yourself back up.

Try not to bend or angle your body forward as this will recruit your shoulders and chest muscles and will not allow you to isolate the triceps as much.

You will still get some assistance from the chest and shoulders, although this will help add overall shape to your upper body and arms.

Rope Tricep Push Downs

  • Attach a rope handle to a high pulley station.
  • Bend your torso forward at about a 30-degree angle.
  • Pull down until your upper arm forms a 90-degree angle with your sides.
  • This bent-over position will be where you start from.
  • From here, push your arms down until your entire arm is perpendicular to the floor.
  • Then slowly let the rope come back up.

It is important to start your body slightly angled instead of standing straight up.

This will force your triceps to work through their full range of motion and will hit all three heads of this muscle.

Diamond Push-Ups

  • Start in a push-up position.
  • Bring your hands close to each other at chest level, with your thumbs touching one another and your forefingers touching in the shape of a diamond.
  • Lower yourself down to the floor while keeping your hands in this position.
  • Pause, then push back up to the original position by straightening your arms.

By having the hands in close to your body, you are really isolating the triceps and taking out the assistance that the chest muscles typically have in a standard push up.

Try to complete the full number of reps, even if this means dropping to your knees.

Do not compromise form by dipping or arching your back.

Over time, you will able to complete the full set on your feet as you gain more arm strength.

Overhead Tricep Extensions-Drop Set

  • Start standing with your feet shoulder-width apart while holding a pair of dumbbells.
  • Raise the dumbbells above your head until your arms are stretched out straight.
  • Slowly lower the weights back behind your head.
  • Try not to flare your elbows out.
  • Once your forearms move beyond parallel to the floor bring the weight back up.

Start with a weight that is challenging to complete 10 reps with.

Then drop down by about 20% of that weight and perform another 10 reps.

Drop down to an even lighter weight and perform the final 10 reps to complete the drop set.

Get Bigger Arms Today!

By using techniques such as drop sets and progressive overload you will challenge your muscles to induce greater gains.

And by working the muscles from all angles you can really round out your arms.

These are important concepts to remember when training all areas of the body. Big arms will make you stand out, but having an all-inclusive muscle building program is critical.

That is where the Fit Father Project programs, like FF30X and Old School Muscle, can be a wonderful resource.

These programs can give you further insight on building overall body strength to have a complete muscular physique to go along with your ripped arms.

It is possible to gain arm strength and size no matter what your age. By incorporating the exercises above, you will be well on your way to bigger arms.

The key is to focus on form and to push yourself at each workout. So get started today!

Holly Smith, M.D. B.S. - Dietetics, NASM-PES Certified Trainer

Writer, The Fit Father Project

Holly is board-certified in nephrology and internal medicine, has a bachelor’s degree in dietetics, and is a certified personal trainer with NASM-PES certification.

Holly is a keen runner, triathlete, and fitness and nutrition enthusiast. She has completed four full ironmans, twelve marathons, countless half ironmans, Olympic distance triathlons, half marathons, and numerous other road races.

Holly joined the Fit Father Project in May 2019 as a regular writer, contributing articles on health, wellness, exercise, and nutrition.

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*Please know that weight loss results & health changes/improvements vary from individual to individual; you may not achieve similar results. Always consult with your doctor before making health decisions. This is not medical advice – simply very well-researched info on how to get bigger arms.

Written by: Holly Smith, M.D.,

B.S. - Dietetics, NASM-PES Certified Trainer

Writer, The Fit Father Project

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