Q: My arms are getting more and more behind the rest of my body and I’m getting increasingly frustrated. What I want to do is hit them twice a week. Bi’s will be hit on Sunday after chest and tri’s on Monday after shoulders. I’ll also give them a day together later in the week. My question is, would I be overtraining them? I read and talk to people who say this is way too much work, since the arms are involved in everything, but then I read it’s OK to prioritize a body part for a period of time. Since my arms haven’t grown in a few years, I don’t think I have anything to lose by trying it, really. What do you think?
A: I wish you’d included your age, because recovery ability is better in younger trainers as a general rule and overtraining usually becomes more of a risk the older one gets. That’s why a lot of teenagers are able to train chest and arms two or three times a week and still make progress. Chances are a 40-year-old man wouldn’t be so fortunate. That being said, I think just about anyone can get good results specializing on a body part and training it twice a week for limited periods, as long as they allow for recovery and cut back a bit on everything else they’re working, which in this case would be the torso and legs. However, two things I see in your proposal already have me concerned.
First, you’re planning on training triceps the day after chest. That’s a bad idea, because the triceps get a good amount of residual work when you do any type of press for the chest. The other thing I don’t think is ideal is working triceps after shoulders. You’re always better off training an arm muscle with an antagonistic body part, one it has very little to do with. So biceps and chest are fine to train together, but I would hit triceps with back. And, I would work the biceps and triceps first on those days. It will compromise what you do for the chest and back, but that’s fine – you’re supposed to be giving preferential treatment to your arms – they’re the muscle group that needs to grow for you. I would hit them with just a couple of exercises on those days, for three sets of eight to 10 reps. Then, on another day of the week, train just biceps and triceps, but do three exercises each for three sets of 10 to 15 reps. On that day, you can use supersets and drop sets to increase the intensity. I would only do this for about six to eight weeks before going back to training arms once a week, then I wouldn’t come back to specializing for at least another six to eight weeks. Here’s how I would structure your training split to hit arms twice a week:
Thursday: Biceps and chest
Saturday: Triceps and back
Good luck getting those guns up to par!
Charles Glass is the Godfather of Bodybuilding, with over 35 years of experience as a trainer of champions. Charles’ methods produce dramatic and significant gains to anyone that applies them. His clients cross the spectrum from celebrities, fitness athletes, and pro athletes to everyday people, and include some of the most successful people in the fitness industry and numerous Mr. Olympia and Bikini Olympia champions. For more information, visit godfatherofbodybuilding.com