Grow Gigantic Arms Using This Hybrid Training Plan

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Do you want badass arms?

Since you’re reading this, I’m going to guess that the answer is a resounding yes. There are multiple paths to strength and size, but I’ve developed methods over two decades of training and coaching experience that I believe will be able to give you the pump-up you’re hoping for and deliver both—if you’re willing to put in the work, that is.

I distilled my experience into a 12-week training guide called Badass Arms from Men’s Health. The program uses my proven techniques to get you the fastest, most noticeable gains. You can read even more about that here.

Badass Arms

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In the program, I combine techniques typically used to develop either strength or size by alternating a month of high-rep muscle-building work with a month of low-rep strength work. I also work in months of “hybrid training,” where I hit on both styles in the same workout.

What It Will Take to Make You a Badass

You’ll train three to four times per week. You can schedule your workouts in any way that works for you, but follow these general guidelines:

  • Try to avoid doing heavy workouts on consecutive days.
  • If you ever feel that you need an extra day of rest, you should take it. A little more recovery time can work in your favor, even if it takes 13 weeks to complete the 12-week program.
  • Just try to avoid larger breaks in your schedule—three or more days with no training at all. You won’t benefit without consistency.

      The workouts require basic equipment you’ll find in most commercial gyms. For this program to work, it has to be your major focus for all 12 weeks.

      Good form is critical to your success and your health. Don’t sacrifice technique.

      It’s absolutely crucial to be in a caloric surplus throughout this program.Your body needs fuel to perform these workouts. It needs nutrients to build muscle tissue while you recover. You may assume that means more protein, and while that’s true, for a lot of guys the biggest challenge is simply getting enough food, including carbohydrates and fat along with protein. That’s especially true for guys who’re younger and leaner.

      You may have to train on days when you’re still sore from a previous workout. That’s exactly the way it’s supposed to work when the goal is muscle growth. If you never feel as if you’re pushing yourself into uncharted territory, you probably aren’t training hard enough to maximize your potential. That said, you have to be smart about how hard you push yourself. If you feel pain in our shoulder or elbow joints, or in your lower back, back off a bit until you know for sure it isn’t an injury.

      One last thing: Good form is critical to your success and your health. Don’t sacrifice technique to add more plates to the bar. Your arms aren’t going to get any more diesel if you’re sitting on the couch nursing an injury.

      The Badass Arms Warmup

      Good stretch after training

      GeorgijevicGetty Images

      You can do this warmup, or anything else that works for you. If that’s a few minutes of cardio, or some calisthenics, or an elaborate routine with each movement owing gracefully into the next, have at it. The only rules:

      • Be ready to lift by the end of your warmup.
      • Don’t waste any of the energy you’ll need in your workout.

          Experienced lifters tailor their warmup to their own needs, and I encourage you to experiment. For example, if you work out early in the morning, or in a chilly basement or garage, you probably want to spend more time getting your body warm and your mind focused.

          Here are a few mobility exercises you may want to include in your warmups, along with whatever movements or drills you typically do before lifting.

          Kneeling Shoulder Rotation

          Do 1 set of 8 reps per side

          Start in the half-kneeling position, right knee down and left foot forward. Bend forward from the hips so your torso is parallel to the floor, and place your right hand on the floor directly beneath your right shoulder and in line with your left foot. Rotate your upper torso to the left as you reach up and back with your left hand. Follow your hand with your eyes.

          Both arms are now perpendicular to the floor. Reverse the movement, pulling your left arm down. Reach behind your right arm and past your torso. That’s 1 rep.

          Hip Flexor Mobilization

          Do 1 set of 6 reps per side

          Start again in the half-kneeling position—right knee down and left foot on the floor. This time, keep your torso upright, with your hands on your hips. Squeeze your right glute muscle, and shift your hips forward. Feel the stretch down the right side of your pelvis and the top of your right thigh. Relax and return to the starting position. That’s 1 rep.

          Glute Bridge

          Do 1 set of 10 to 15 reps

          Lie face-up on the floor, with your knees bent, feet on the floor, and arms out to your sides. Push down through your heels to lift your hips o the floor until your body forms a straight line from shoulders to knees. Hold for 2 seconds, feeling the contraction primarily in your glutes and secondarily in your hamstrings; you shouldn’t feel any discomfort in your lower back. Lower your hips toward the floor, stopping just before they touch. That’s 1 rep.

          Bodyweight Squat

          Do 1 set of 10 to 15 reps

          Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, toes pointed forward, and arms straight out in front of you. Push your hips straight back, as if you were aiming them toward a chair. Descend until your upper thighs are parallel to the floor. Return to the starting position, with your knees and hips following the exact same path they used on the way down. That’s 1 rep.

          The Badass Arms Phase 3 Hybrid Training Workout

          Muscular Fit Man Exercising in a Gym

          GCShutterGetty Images

          Each of your four workouts includes at least one special technique like drop sets, rest-pause, or partial reps. On some exercises you’ll change your hand position from set to set. On others you’ll run the rack, using lighter dumbbells until you can’t complete 8 reps with the weights in your hands. Or you’ll do 7-1 supersets, meaning you’ll alternate two exercises for descending reps, starting with 7 reps and finishing with 1. That’s the “special techniques” part of Phase 3.

          The “hybrid training” combines what you did in Phase 1 and Phase 2. You’ll start each workout with a compound lift—squat, bench press, deadlift, chinup—using heavy weights and relatively low reps. That’s followed with a pair of exercises performed in the muscle-building range, with moderate loads and reps (8 to 10, 10 to 12, 12 to 15). Miss out on the first phase? Check them out here and here.

          Day 1

          • 1. Barbell Back Squat
          • 4 sets of 6 to 8 reps; 2 to 3 minutes rest
          • 2A. Barbell Curl
          • 3 sets of 10 to 12 reps; 1 minute rest
          • 2B. Dip
          • 3 sets of 10 to 12 reps; 1 minute rest
          • 3. Hammer Curl
          • Special Technique: Run the Rack – Grab dumbbells that you can lift 12 to 13 times in a single set. Do 10 reps. Rest 10 seconds. Grab a pair that is 5 to 10 pounds lighter. Do 10 reps, then rest 10 seconds. Continue with progressively lighter dumbbells until you do 5 sets, or you can’t do at least 8 reps with the weights you selected. Rest 2 minutes.
          • 4. Triceps Pushdown
          • Special Technique: Dropsets – Do the same as run the rack, except you’ll be using a machine or cable apparatus and moving a pin instead of selecting dumbbells.

          Day 2

          • 1. Barbell Narrow-Grip Bench Press
          • 4 sets of 6 to 8 reps; 2 to 3 minutes rest
          • 2A. Close-Grip Lat Pulldown
          • 3 sets of 10 to 12 reps; 1 minute rest
          • 2B. Banded Pushup
          • 3 sets of 10 to 12 reps; 1 minute rest
          • 3. EZ-Bar Preacher Curl
          • Special Technique: Triple Rest-Pause – Start with a weight that you can lift 12 to 13 times in a single set. Do 10 reps. Rest 15 seconds. Do another set with the same weight, getting as many reps as possible. Rest 15 seconds. Do as many reps as possible. Rest 2 minutes.
          • 4. Dip
          • Special Technique: Triple Rest-Pause – Use a machine if possible. If not, you have three options: 1. Do traditional dips, if the most you can do in an all-out set is 12 to 13 reps. 2. Do weighted or band-resisted dips, again choosing a resistance that you could handle for 12 to 13 reps. 3. If traditional dips are too challenging, do bench dips.

          Day 3

          • 1. Barbell Romanian Deadlift
          • 4 sets of 6 to 8 reps; 2 to 3 minutes rest
          • 2A. Seated Cable Row
          • 3 sets of 10 to 12 reps; 1 minute rest
          • 2B. Dumbbell Floor Press
          • 3 sets of 10 to 12 reps; 1 minute rest
          • 3. Standing Cable Curl
          • Special Technique: 3 PositionsSet the cable pulley to the lowest slot and attach a straight bar. Grab the bar with a wide grip (wrists outside elbows). Do 10 to 12 curls. Rest 15 seconds. Narrow your grip so your wrists are inside your elbows. Do 10 to
            12 reps, then rest 15 seconds. For the final set, use an in-between grip with your wrists and elbows aligned, and do another 10 to 12 reps. Rest 2 minutes.
          • 4. Triceps Pushdown with Straight Bar
          • Special Technique: 3 PositionsRepeat the 3-position sequence for extensions, using an overhand grip.

          Day 4

          • 1. Chinup
          • 4 sets of 6 to 8 reps; 2 to 3 minutes rest
          • 2A. Leg Press
          • 3 sets of 10 to 12 reps; 1 minute rest
          • 2B. Dumbbell Incline Bench Press
          • 3 sets of 10 to 12 reps; 1 minute rest
          • 3. EZ-Bar Curl
          • Special Technique: 21sDo 7 partial reps in the top half of the range of motion, starting with your forearms parallel to the floor. Without pausing, do 7 more in the bottom half, stopping with your forearms parallel to the floor. Immediately do 7 through the full range of motion. Rest 2 minutes.
          • 4. EZ-Bar Skullcrusher
          • Special Technique: 21sRepeat the technique described above with skullcrushers: 7 top-half partials, 7 bottom-half partials, 7 full range.

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