Working your arms gets tedious after a while. I know I get bored of the same curls and pushdowns in my training program. There’s nothing with curls and pushdowns, but we need a new stimulus to get those muscles growing! The human body adapts and compensates during exercise. What was once difficult is now much easier, as your body has become more efficient.
This is where “muscle confusion” comes in. It’s not that we need to “confuse” our muscles and do random workouts each time to expect growth. What we want to do is increase the stimulus so that our body adapts and grows.
In comes the 7-3-7 method…..
Time under tension (TUT) is king for hypertrophy training. Mechanical tension in the muscle is the main driver of hypertrophy and therefore muscle growth. In order to get the most mechanical tension in your muscle, we have to overload it completely. This means increasing the volume and relative load. How do we do that? Introducing the 7-3-7 technique.
How to Use the 7-3-7 Method
- Pick a weight you can curl for 7 reps
- Short rest, pick a heavier weight and curl for 3 reps
- Short rest and curl the first weight for 7 reps
What we’re doing here is taxing our central nervous system (CNS) with the heavy weight and to potentiating our muscles. We want our bodies to adapt to a new stimulus and trigger muscle protein synthesis.
The first seven reps activate the muscle and pump blood into the muscle belly. This helps potentiate the muscle and prepare it for hard exercise. The heavy 3 reps stimulate the recruitment of motor units, which contributes to muscle growth. The last 7 reps are excruciating and the most difficult. This is how to grow big arms!
The Problem with Arm Training
Here’s the issue with arm training. Your triceps and biceps are often used for pushing and pulling movements. This is why triceps are paired with chest workouts and biceps with back workouts. Your arms can handle more volume than you think!
The major action of your triceps is to extend the elbow joint (think of skullcrushers). Your triceps have 3 heads: the lateral, medial and long head. Of all of them, the long head of your triceps is the largest. Pushdowns primarily work the medial and lateral head, while any tricep exercise overhead (like a cable overhead extension) will use the long head.
Your biceps in comparison have two heads, the short and long head.
Your biceps are responsible for flexing at the elbow joint and rotating the forearm. Any pulling movements (rows) you’ll nail your biceps just due to the nature of the program. Hammer curls will hit the long head (outer portion) while supinated curls will hit the short head.
Why do you care about all of this?
Chances are you don’t work out as hard as you think, especially your arms. With the 7-3-7 technique, we can guarantee you’re hitting your arms with enough volume and load. Volume is the total number of sets and reps you perform, and load is relative weight.
This isn’t strictly limited to biceps, hit your triceps too! For any tricep pushdown exercise, you can use the 7-3-7 technique.