The struggle is real for us tall guys trying to get sleeve splitting arms! Its a lot harder for us to look like we have big arms compared to a smaller guy, as the origin and insertion of the bicep and triceps are further away. This means that the muscle has more surface area to cover, leaving our arms looking longer, not bigger.
I stand at 6’4”. In my journey to add some serious size to my arms I have come across a few truths specific to the taller, more long-armed lifter.
When it comes to triceps the key is to target the long head
A problem I see a lot is that most guys like sticking with what feels comfortable and easy for them. A lot of the time these exercises are the ones that hit the lateral head of the triceps through movements such as; close grip bench, cable push downs and push ups
With a developed lateral head of the triceps, you may find your arms look big when tensing from the side, but the problem with just doing these exercises and only hitting the lateral head is that from the front they’re still skinny with no thickness or width.
There are 2 other sections of the triceps. One of them is the long head, personally I think targeting this head out of the three will benefit your arm size the most. The origin (muscle attachment) of the long head of the triceps runs high on the humorous (upper arm) and connects to the scapula. Because the long head attaches to the scapula training it will not only improve your arm size and thickness, but also can help shoulder stability.
To really target the long head of the triceps you want to do triceps movement that involve the arm going over the head. Exercises such as skull crushers or the French press will hit the long head and add true upper arm size and girth.
Here’s a helpful video, with some of my favourite exercises when it comes to targeting the long head of the tricep:
Compound movements + high volume = big biceps
When it comes to adding size to the biceps, us tall guys need to take advantage of our long arms, as they increase the range of motion, meaning we accumulate more time under tension. We may not be able to curl as much as a shorter guy but who cares how much you curl?
Taking full advantage of your longer levers and utilize the increased range of motion you get from exercises like; chin ups and preacher curls. Be sure to use this extra range of motion when training back, doing exercises such as V bar pulldowns and pull ups, as the bicep assists the back in these movements, this will also contribute to bicep growth.
One surprising thing that helps the biceps grow is loaded carries, due to a combination of weighted stretch and increased time under tension, as it’s a isometric hold. Exercises like farmers walks, atlas carries, and rack pulls with an isometric hold, are all great exercises. I wouldn’t recommend them to be the bulk of your bicep work but they are excellent finishers on any given workout day for the kick in the pants you need for growth.
Military press great for tricep development
With military press, in the starting position the elbow is completely flexed (elbow and bicep touching), there isn’t many exercises where this is the case, and I think we can all agree that the hardest part of the lift is the first part. To add, the first part of the military press in practically all triceps.
Doing military press allows you to start the movement from zero momentum with the tightest elbow angle you can possibly create. This will work wonders for your triceps.
If you need anymore convincing that you should be doing them, they are also a compound movement, meaning normally you can lift heavier weights, which will overload the triceps. The exercise will also stimulate the central nervous system, enabling you to build muscle everywhere via hormonal release.
I 100% recommend that you do your military presses, as they are also great for building wide, big shoulders, and as tall guys we struggle to look wide, as our back can sometimes lag behind due to our long torso. So make sure your putting in the work with the military press.
With us tall guys we really have to put in the time and effort for are arms to blow up, follow these guidelines and I’m sure your have shirt splitting arms in no time!