Anyone training for size and strength is looking for bigger arms. From Arnold Schwarzenegger to the pumped-up cast of the Marvel movies, big arms are a mainstay of the modern idealised fitness look. There is no denying that results take time, but this bodybuilding Tiktoker might have a helpful hack to help you build those arms faster.
William Li is a Canadian fitness trainer with 1.8million followers on Tiktok (opens in new tab). In a recent video Li offers a ‘pro tip’ for anyone looking to grow muscle in their arms. He says in the video, “Stop focussing on bicep curls because your biceps only make up one third of your arm’s volume.”
While there are plenty of moves in our best bicep workouts list that can help tone your arms up, Li suggests if you want to grow your arms fast then you want to focus on the tricep, which makes up two thirds of your arm’s volume.
The best exercise he recommends for working the triceps are push ups (here, you can find additional help on how to do a push up properly).
Li says, “So make sure you do your daily push ups and also use a closer grip if you want to focus that tricep more.”
@wiilliamli (opens in new tab)
Pro tip to get BIGGER arms faster💪 #motivation#bigger#arms#hack#easy#pushups#gym#fit#abs#biceps#triceps#advice#lifting#shredded#health#tips#hacks#abg♬ Blade Runner 2049 - Synthwave Goose (opens in new tab)
The video attracted over 14 million views and Tiktok users shared a lot of admiration for Li in the comments. One user referred to him as “Beast!” and another commented, “Let’s goooo!! Big gains.”
The great thing about Li’s top tip for arm gains is that no equipment is necessary and you can do push ups anywhere. Push ups are classed as a callisthenic exercise which means you only use your body weight to work out, as opposed to free weights.
Calisthenic workouts can be just as effective as free weights, according to a 2018 study (opens in new tab) which found working your body with a variety of different progressive calisthenic exercises can improve upper-body muscle strength in the short term.
Personal trainer Christopher Barker (opens in new tab) is in agreement with Li, and says the importance of working the triceps for bigger arms is often underestimated by people. He says, “The triceps brachii has three heads—lateral, medial and long. You need to make sure you are hitting all three of these for maximum tricep improvement.”
However, that's not to say free weights don't have their advantages. With dumbbells and barbells, you can isolate areas of your body and perform exercises to stress them in ways you couldn't by using calisthenics alone. For example, a bench press isolates your upper body, loading more weight onto your pecs and tris than a push-up with just your body weight might really be capable of.
Barker also makes the point of when you exercise a specific area you should aim to make a mind and muscle connection as this can let you know if you are performing it right based on if you can feel it or not. You might be using a weight that is too heavy for you and using more muscles than you should be.
If you are using your own weights it is good to have access to a good range and a set of best adjustable dumbbells will offer more flexibility when working between weights.
If you're working out your triceps in the gym, Barker recommends doing variations of cable pushdowns - using the various different attachments to change the range and practicing single arm variations to target different areas of the tricep. He also recommends weighted dips, close grip bench presses and ez bar skull crushers.
Pairing workouts like this with one of the best protein powder blend will help you see results as well, as protein is vital in helping our muscles to grow
Jessica is an experienced fitness writer with a passion for running. Her career in journalism began in local news and she holds a Masters in journalism. Jessica has previously written for Runners World, penning news and features on fitness, sportswear and nutrition.
When she isn't writing up news and features for Fit&Well covering topics ranging from muscle building, to yoga, to female health and so on, she will be outdoors somewhere, testing out the latest fitness equipment and accessories to help others find top products for their own fitness journeys. Her testing pairs up nicely with her love for running. She recently branched out to running 10Ks and is trying to improve her time before moving on to larger races. Jessica also enjoys building on her strength in the gym and is a believer in health and wellness beginning in the kitchen. She shares all of this on her running Instagram account @jessrunshere which she uses for accountability and for connecting with like-minded fitness lovers.
Use these five-minute workouts to build full-body strength without weights
Workouts Pressed for time? These five-minute workouts will get your muscles working without any equipment
By Meg Walters • Published
You only need these two stretches to develop strength and boost your flexibility
Workout This yoga instructor's two lower body stretches are all you need to improve your mobility
By James Frew • Published