As strength and conditioning coaches it is easy to neglect arm training. After all there are so many other important things that athletes need to work on in order to be successful. Just to name a few basic strength, power, and rate of force development. With this in mind the arms should never be a main focus in training. However with many athletes moving up in the ranks, it can be a bit of a meat market. That is to say, coaches are more likely to sign or recruit guys that LOOK like they train. This is where arm development can come into play.
As an athlete your training time is at a premium, there never seem to be enough hours for you to work on all of the things it takes to be successful. Also any extra training outside of the specified plan can have a cumulative effect on your fatigue and can hinder performance in some of the more important aspects of training. Thus any extra training that is performed will need to be done in the most efficient manner possible. As well adding a little extra muscle for contact sports can act as an armor of sorts that reduces injury likelihood.
A little extra arm mass can have many benefits including increased shoulder stability, decreased wear and tear on the elbow and shoulder, and enhancement of upper body strength. Also a little extra muscle mass can help you look good and as Deion Sanders chanted with the Under Armor All American football team before the game “we look good, we feel good, we play good.” Never under-estimate the power that having confidence can play on the athletic field.
An amazing way to achieve a pump for your arms is by utilizing a simple push/pull superset. This set should be relatively high reps, and low rest. The utilization of antagonist muscle actions allows one portion of your arms to rest whilst the other is working making this training style more efficient and effective than other superset options. An example of this type of work would be as follows:
- A1 Standing Barbell Curls 5x10reps 30 seconds rest
- A2 Flat DB Tri Extensions 5x10reps 30 seconds rest
This is just an example pairing, practically any 2 arm exercises can be utilized in this fashion to elicit a muscle building response. Using a superset like this for between 3 and 5 sets will increase local blood flow of your muscles and lead to a pump effect.
Utilize this type of training near the end of a training day, or training week so that it will not interfere with any of the other work that you are doing.