Don’t Do Another Curl Until You Can Do These 2 Things First

imagesMechanics and baseball players have jacked forearms. Skateboarders have a bigger calf on their push leg. Cyclists have giant quads.

Why? Because they’ve accumulated an insane amount of volume in those muscle groups by spending thousands of hours practicing their craft, and it’s led to those specific muscles getting bigger.

This is often why people do so much arm work in the gym-the quest for massive gunz. The thought process is, if they keep doing more and more and more, the arms will keep growing.

I get it, and I appreciate the hell out of the effort.

However, you shouldn’t be spending a single second of your training time on curls or pressdowns until you can do at least 10 perfect chin ups and can bench press your bodyweight. 

Before you write me a hate filled email, hear me out. Your biceps are going to get a lot more of a training stimulus doing chin ups and rows than they ever will doing another set of cable curls, by the sheer load being pulled. Similarly, your triceps are going to get a lot stronger from increasing how much weight you move on presses and advanced push up variations than they ever will from rope pressdowns, no matter how much the isolation moves make your arms burn.

And to get bigger, you absolutely need to get stronger. Show me a guy that squats 315 for 10 and I’ll show you an all around bigger human than one who squats 225 for 10.

So to circle back to the volume example above, those groups have spent thousands of hours accumulating the volume necessary to make those muscles bigger. Fact, not opinion. But there’s no way for you to get that much work in for those particular bodyparts just in the gym to catch up. You just can’t. Are you going to do 50 sets of curls every single day?

You’re more likely to end up with tendonitis than 20 inch arms. Be smart, and put the focus back on getting stronger until you can hit the strength benchmarks.

There’s nothing wrong with throwing in a few extra sets of curls or extensions to get the pipes swole for the beach. Part of the reason we all train is because we want to look a certain way. But realize that until you have a baseline level of strength, your efforts would be better spent elsewhere, not on curl variations.

After you build up enough strength for 10 chins and a bodyweight bench, then sure, you’re going to need a little extra volume in order to continue making your arms grow, so have at it.

But not until.

Otherwise, you spend an inordinate amount of time and energy on things that just aren’t going to pay big dividends. You work too hard and your time is too valuable to be spent on things that won’t elicit much progress.

Every bro loves training arms, I get it, but at the end of the day, keep your eye on the prize, and realize that getting stronger leads to getting bigger. After you build up an appreciable level of strength, throw in a few sets of curls and skullcrushers and chase a skin splitting pump, but until then, work to increase your weight on the bar, as well as how many times you can pull yourself up to one. You’ll see your arms grow more than they have, I assure you. My clients prove this true all the time. I routinely have guys who go from no direct arm work directly to curling 35’s for 10-15 after they get their chin up numbers up, when they had been stuck with 20’s for ages beforehand.

And by the time they get to this stage, they’ve built some impressive arms already.

Reprioritize your training efforts, and instead of thinking about going to “workout,” think about going to “get strong.” You’re gunz will grow, your v-necks will get tighter, and you’ll get to where you want to be a heck of a lot faster.

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