Some men just seem to have it all: wide chest, perfectly ripped abs, a perfectly sculpted back, and big arms. And if you find yourself on the other side of the fence, you cannot help but envy the guys who seem to have it all.
But who can blame you? After all the hours spent at the gym and the efforts you put in to work out every day, it may seem like a far-off dream for you to have big arms as some other do.
And yet, that doesn’t have to be the case, because that could be you too, and whether you are getting ready for a modelling audition or you are one of the cool guys who’ve always had a liking for bigger arms, this article will give you all the answers you have been looking for.
But before we look at how long it will take for you to get big arms, you need to keep in mind that bulking up and growing those big, strong muscles will not happen overnight.
You have to put in weeks and months of work lifting weights. For that flex, you need to be patient with your body, to be accepting of the little changes and bumps that might not grow quite as fast as you’d hoped for, and you must also be ready to find your motivation when you feel like giving up.
Muscle Building – What causes the fluctuation in the size of the muscles?
As mentioned above, you will not grow big arms overnight or over a week. Bulking up and growing big and strong arms take a lot of effort and time, just like everything else in your body. And like everything else on God’s green earth, you have to be ready for fluctuations.
The ups and downs are normal and should be expected. So, if you notice that your arms look smaller today than they were last week, you shouldn’t give up, but try to understand that you are going through a natural process.
These fluctuations are brought about by a process referred to as the transient hypertrophy, also called a muscle pump – which is the psychological process in which there is a rush of blood to the muscles and a subsequent increase in the muscle fuel that allows you to work out efficiently.
The fuel would also jump start the muscle’s recovery process. Often, the muscle jump kicks off in the middle of the workout, but it will subside after some hours.
The deflation of the muscle pump results is the apparent loss of the little bulk you’d build, and this could do a number on your determination.
The good news is that transient hypertrophy is temporary. But that is not all; this process is also essential for muscle growth.
Duration of Muscle Growth and Bulking Up – Physiological and Neurological Systems Involvement
Building muscle is a process that starts the moment you challenge your muscles to do more than they are used to and when you challenge those muscles to do the unfamiliar. This does not, however, mean that you will start to notice changes immediately.
Essentially, muscle building starts when you for example, do a pushup, pick up a dumbbell, or when you carry a heavy bag of groceries.
These activities might appear too tiny by their effects are significant because that little action exerts stress on the muscles and create some microscopic damage to your muscle cells, also called the muscle fibers.
These fibers are, as expected, tiny (studies show that fiber is as thin as a strand of hair).
Wondering what the torn muscle fibers have to do with muscle growth?
Well, it turns out that this microscopic-level damage from workouts encourage growth in that as the body repairs these injured muscle fibers/ cells, it takes in and then lays down a new structure. It also introduces new contractile proteins, making each muscle fiber bigger than it was before the workout-initiated tear.
Now, depending on the damage to the muscle cells following a workout, the muscles would take anywhere from, say one day to several days for the injured fibers to heal and grow back, and be stronger than it was before.
This means that you need more workouts for the arms for you to grow big arms. However, it doesn’t mean that you should engage in intense back-to-back workouts on the same muscle groups. Doing this would only cause more damage.
Besides the workouts initiating muscle growth, the other factor that affects muscle growth and bulking is protein synthesis. The strength and muscle gains you are looking forward to will depend on your muscle’s hypertrophy; the same way they would depend on how fast protein is synthesized.
But that is not all: the neurological system also plays a big role in how fast you gain muscle mass. How? Your neurological system learns how and when to fire the muscles you need to see gains on.
The involvement of the neurological system is crucial, and it is also the reason why the first time you do a new exercise, for example, pushups or bench presses, your arms feel shaky.
However, repetitive action somehow strengthens your body, and the exercises feel smoother and easier as you perform the second and the third sets of the exercise.
For any average person interested in growing big arms, all the factors mentioned above are important, and they are the reason why you will start seeing some improvements after about 4-6 weeks, and for the muscles to be as big as you want them, you will have to put in months of work.
The reason for that is that there will be a lot going on in your body, including physiological and neurological changes and adaptations of your neuromuscular system.
You will notice actual muscle growth after about 2 months if you are a newbie and 3-4 weeks if you have experience lifting.
Bear in mind that the process and the gains ebb and flow, and it will take months and even years for you to achieve the desired results. And then when you do, you will have to work those muscles consistently.
Some of the things you should do to bulk up and meet your targets include:
- Finding the right trainer and engaging in the right exercises
- Finding a nutrition plan that works
- Be patient. In most cases, you can only gain 1 or 2 pounds of actual lean muscle each month; unless you are professional bodybuilder, in which case you will build as much as 2 or 3 pounds of lean muscle per month.