Next to having defined abs, having big arms is usually next on the list for guys working on creating the body of their dreams. While we believe that a solid arm routine is crucial, far too often do we see guys performing the same mistakes over and over again. Don't be like the guy staring at himself in the mirror endlessly doing bicep curls… Avoid these mistakes and maximize your time in the gym. Mistake #1: Training Too Heavy It is a common belief that a bigger muscle is a stronger muscle. This statement is correct to some extent, but not to the degree that most believe it to be. The common misconception that each time you can add 5 more pounds to your bicep curl will equate to bigger arms is simply not true. You can actually have bigger arms curling lighter weight than heavier weight. The reason why is because the biceps are a small muscle group and they respond much better to pump work than they do to overloading it with brute force and heavy weights. This is how you can preform a bicep curl with perfect form: Keep your back completely straight Start with your arms fully extended towards the floor Use no momentum Curl the weight up into a fully contracted position Flex your biceps at the top of the rep Slowly lower the weight until you are in a fully elongated position with your arms fully extended A lot of guys will curl massive amounts of weight with terrible form. They will jerk the weight into the air, bending their back in the process, as their momentum does all the work throwing the weight up into the air. When you curl like this there is no mind-muscle connection and there is hardly any contractions or stretching occurring in the bicep. So, despite using excessively heavy weight, your biceps will never respond well if you lift this way. It's all about leaving your ego at the door and dropping the weight until you can do reps with absolutely 100% proper form. Mistake #2: Not Going To Failure There are a lot of rep schemes thrown around on the Internet about what the “ideal number of reps” is for muscle growth, among other things. Typically, these numbers are just arbitrary numbers created with a very generalized premise behind them that lump all lifters into one category. These rep schemes rarely go into detail about how you would benefit far more from doing a few reps past the recommended amount if you needed those reps to reach muscle failure. Muscle failure is when you literally cannot complete one more rep because your muscle is too fatigued. It has a certain pain associated with it as well that many wimps simply can’t deal with… Ao they always quit once they’ve reached their “goal reps” and not when they actually fatigue their muscle so intensely that they cannot even hold onto the weight anymore. Much of the greatest amount of muscle growth occurs when you feel like you can't possibly do another rep. This is why we recommend having a training partner who can push you past failure with extra assisted reps and partial reps will greatly help you break bicep building plateaus. Mistake #3: Not Training The Brachialis The Brachialis is a very neglected part of your biceps that can be targeted via hammer curls and reverse barbell curls. Located underneath your bicep “peak”, the brachialis actually produces about 50% more power than the top of your bicep and is the primary force for all elbow movement. The Brachialis is actually the part of your biceps that makes it look bigger in a resting position, as your peak obviously is not flexed or doing much of anything while you’re walking around day to day. Many individuals will do bicep curls, concentration curls, barbell curls, cable curls, the works, and then not understand why their arms still look underdeveloped. Or are not as strong as they would like them to be. The reason may very well be that you are completely neglecting an entire portion of your biceps that you weren’t aware needed to be stimulated. Mistake #4: Not Getting A Pump Getting a pump is arguably the most important part of any bicep routine. Like we mentioned earlier, the biceps respond better to pump work than heavy weight. Because of this, it is imperative that you are getting a skin-tearing pump every single time you train your arms. The science behind it is that once you saturate the muscle with blood, that blood will stretch the fascia of the bicep muscle. By stretching the fascia, you make more room in the arm for permanent muscle growth, ultimately filling in that stretched out area with real lean tissue. Besides getting in a good stretch, blood rushing to the muscle is very important for nutrient partitioning and other important factors relevant to muscle recovery and growth as well. Mistake #5: Not Mixing Up Your Routine Too often individuals will have a set bicep/tricep routine, and then repeat that for weeks and months on end. While making progression in a particular exercise is great, it is very important to try out other exercises and experiment with other angles in order to find exercises that will give you a better pump, and better overall muscular stimulation than others. It's important to always be learning and always be trying out new exercises that can possible help take your muscle growth to another level. By switching things up, you will expedite your muscle growth by finding new exercises that your body responds well to which will go a long way towards preventing plateaus. For a breath of fresh air, checkout the Red ARM BLASTER workout next time you're in the gym.