author in one of the more popular muscle mags recently said "There is a science to training the arms, a science that will help you achieve the gains you want and should expect from your training". Bull puke! I suppose the guy has to make a living by writing articles. He even copyrighted tables of exercises in the article! HAH! I think I am going to try and patent the air we breath! I am going to give it to you straight and I am going to start with the most important aspects of arm training first.
Let's start with genetics. You have to face facts, the size of your arms are going to be limited by the genes your ancestors blessed you with. You can't build peak if you don't have the genetics. Boyer Coe is an example. He has a split in his bicep. People actually ask him how he got it! The answer is that he got it from his dad who has the same split and doesn't even train! Look at Boyer's abs - he never had abs...and never will. Just like 7UP...Never Had It...Never Will!!
Next on the list is overall body size. You can't have 19 inch arms and have a bodyweight of 160 pounds. IF YOU WANT TO GET SIGNIFICANTLY BIGGER ARMS YOU MUST INCREASE YOUR OVERALL MUSCLE MASS. Notice I said muscle mass. Anyone could eat themselves into oblivion and get big arms - but they would be all fat! How do you gain more overall muscle mass? Squat, bench press, and deadlift are three good ways to more muscle mass. Do these exercises once a week and consistently hard, take in enough good food, and get at least 8 hours sleep a night, and I'll bet you that your arm size increases.
So what exercises should you do for biceps? Well there are tons of curl variations for biceps. Don't expect me to list them in a table and try and copyright it! One of the bicep favorites is barbell curls. I personally did these for years and I think....they basically suck. Why? One big reason is that it is too easy to use other muscle groups to cheat. Plus you don't need any extra low back strain and most people end up doing curls that look more like power cleans. It wasn't until I made the preacher bench my biceps friend that I really got full development. You can do them either with a dumbbell or barbell or even use a cable. Full range should be used and you need to concentrate on squeezing the muscle at the top - do your reps like you are pumping up a tire - your biceps tire. Also, concentrate on using the biceps only and not use your upper back to assist the rep. How many sets? I say 2 to 3 sets and vary the reps schemes. You need to carry each set to positive failure. I can hear some people all ready..."What, only 3 sets!!!, but Mr. Joe Universe does 15 sets!". Forget the "other training articles" to; the ones by champion bodybuilders. You should question whether they even do the routines in the mags and remember that 99% of these bodybuilders are chemically assisted. Work your biceps and your back on different days. The biceps should get HIT pretty well on back days as well. Most of the "gurus" of training articles fail to mention the importance of doing heavy back exercises in biceps development. But, I won't - doing heavy back exercises will contribute greatly to your biceps development. So in essence, you will be Hitting your biceps twice a week.
What about the triceps? If I read another training article that says - "The triceps are 2/3 of the muscle mass of the arm, don't neglect tricep training" I am going to puke! The fact is that the triceps get HIT in all your pressing movements. If you are working your chest hard with pressing movements, you can bet your weight belt that you don't need much direct triceps work. First off, stay away from elbow busters like lying triceps extensions a.k.a. skull crushers. Most people can't do these for years and not suffer some elbow pain. I like the close grip bench press for an overall tricep movement. How many sets? One or two is what I recommend. Vary your rep scheme. Concentrate on squeezing the triceps. The second exercise to finish with would be tricep pushdowns. Don't hump yourself over and turn it into a bench press! Stand erect and work the triceps! There is no need to let the weight come up to your forehead either!!!