Alpha Progression
10 reasons why your arms are not growing

10 reasons why your arms are not growing

Today's article is about the 10 reasons why your arms aren't growing. It's not just about training, but also about nutrition and recovery. To get the most out of your arms, you should ask yourself the following questions:

Do you train your arms in isolation?

Do you train your arms in isolation?

With multi-joint exercises, you also indirectly train your arms. Examples of this include the bench press, the shoulder press, and pull-ups.

This is how the ratio of target muscle and accessory muscles looks, for example, in the bench press:

  • Pectorals (target muscle)
  • Deltoids (accessory muscle)
  • Triceps (accessory muscle)

However, it is usually not enough to train your arms only during multi-joint exercises in order to make them grow. Therefore, you should also train your arms in isolation.

Isolation exercises are exercises that target specific muscles or muscle groups.

Examples of isolated arm exercises include:

  • Biceps curls
  • Triceps press
  • Hammer curls
  • Skullcrushers

Train your arms in isolation to get them to grow!

Are you training both your biceps and your triceps?

Many beginners believe that well-trained biceps are enough to maximize arm circumference - a serious mistake. Because the majority of your upper arm is not your biceps, but your triceps. Approximately ⅔ of your arm circumference is determined by your triceps.

So if you've been overtraining your biceps but neglecting your triceps, you should change this as soon as possible.

Your triceps make up a large portion of your arm circumference. So don't neglect triceps training.

For a maximum stimulus in your workout, you should train your arms from different angles. For example, this is how it might look during a tricep workout.

Are you performing the exercises correctly?

One of the main reasons why your arms don't grow is because you don't do the exercises correctly. It looks good when you can move a lot of weight, but this is not necessarily effective. This usually means that the target muscle is used less and other muscles are used more.

These are the things that you should look out for:

  • The correct grip position → Do not allow your wrists to bend.
  • Full Range of Motion → Maximum stretch and maximum contraction.
  • No use of momentum → Slow and controlled execution.

In the Alpha Progression App you can see the correct exercise execution. If you are still unsure, you can ask in the Alpha Progression Facebook Group for tips. They will be happy to help you there.

To maximize the use of your biceps, you should grab the dumbbells from the outside when doing biceps curls. Furthermore, your biceps will experience a strong contraction from so-called supination.

Supination is one of the most important functions of your biceps. With supination, you turn your forearm inward during the exercise. Thus, you provide a strong stimulus in your biceps.

Here's how you could incorporate these tips into your next workout.

Are you working out with a high enough intensity?

To get your muscles to grow, you need to keep adding new and stronger stimuli. However, if you don't train hard enough, you won't be able to provide these stimuli. Consequently, your muscles will not grow.

You need to have progression. This is the most important point if you want to make your muscles grow. So you need to constantly try to increase from workout to workout. You can achieve this increase through a higher number of repetitions, through adding more weight, or even through better execution.

So if you've been training for a while but your arms aren't growing, you may not be training hard enough. So it's best to try to get as close to muscular failure as possible. Overcome your inner naysayer and train as hard as you can. Most of the time you can do more reps than you think you can.

Motivational music can help you to train harder. You can also take some time before your workout to mentally prepare yourself to get the most out of your training session.

Do you train too little/rarely?

How hard you train is not the only thing that determines muscle growth, but also how often you train. Often the training frequency is simply too low.

To make any given muscle group grow, you should exercise it at least twice a week. This also applies to your arms. Just because your arms contain smaller muscle groups compared to your chest or legs doesn't mean they need to be trained less.

This is especially true if certain muscle groups tend to be a weak point for you. So if you have comparatively weak arms, you should train them more often to compensate for this weak point.

Do you work out too frequently?

Even though you should not train your muscles too infrequently, you should not overdo it with the training. More is not always better. If you overdo it with your training, this can lead to overtraining. This means that your muscles are overloaded.

If this is the case, you will often feel weak and fatigued and will not be able to make significant gains. Your muscles are overtired and have no strength. This is not the way to go. Your muscles need sufficient recovery so that you can go full throttle again in the next workout.

Do not overwork your muscles. This will lead to overtraining and prevent you from building muscle.

Are you doing a specific arm day?

In the gym, you can often see that some athletes do a specific arm day. If you are one of them, you should change this. An arms-only training day sounds promising, but it doesn't offer any additional benefits.

You don't have to set aside a specific arm day to focus on growing your arms. Rather, you should put your arm exercises at the end of your regular training days.

With a dedicated arm day, you're just letting the growth potential for other muscle groups fall by the wayside.

So you can train your arms at the end of your other training sessions and not worry about it. There won't be a big drop in performance. Furthermore, you should still keep the focus on multi-joint exercises, and you shouldn't have to warm up your arms again beforehand.

Don't do a dedicated arm day. Rather, add some arm exercises to your other workouts near the end.

Are you in a calorie surplus?

To build muscle, not only is training important, but so is nutrition. You need to feed your body more calories than it consumes. So if your arms are not growing, you may not be in a caloric surplus.

If you are in a calorie deficit, you will lose weight and if you are not a workout novice, you will not build muscle. With proper nutrition, you provide your body with the building blocks it needs to make your arms grow.

Use our calorie calculator to calculate your maintenance calories. Then add 100-200 calories from carbohydrates. Watch for a while to see if you gain weight.

If you do not gain weight after about 2 weeks, increase your calories by another 100-200 calories. Repeat this process until you begin to gain weight slowly and steadily.

Are you consuming enough protein?

The most important building block for your muscles is protein. You can train as hard as you want and eat as many calories as you want, but if you don't consume enough protein, you won't build muscle or it will be very difficult for you to do so. This is because muscles consist mainly of water and protein.

A rough guide to building muscle is 0.7-0.9g protein / lb of body weight.

For example, an athlete who weighs 175 lbs should consume about 120g - 160g of protein.

Great sources of protein to meet your protein needs are:

  • Meat (beef, chicken, etc.)
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Legumes (lentils, beans, etc.)
  • Dairy products (low-fat cottage cheese, cream cheese, whey protein, etc.)

Make sure you eat a diet rich in protein. This is a basic building block for your muscle growth.

Are you getting enough sleep?

In addition to hard training and the right diet, recovery is also very important. Through training, you have stimulated your muscles. With the diet, you have given your body important nutrients to grow. Now it's time for your recovery.

Your muscles only grow during the recovery phase. Therefore, it makes sense to give your muscles enough time to recover from a strenuous training session.

You should give large muscle groups about 48 hours to recover. For smaller muscle groups, in this case your arms, a little less time is enough.

How long the recovery phase should be is ultimately determined by your body. If you still feel weak and powerless, you have not recovered for long enough.

Therefore, make sure that you are getting enough sleep. This is important so that your muscles can recover and build up further muscle mass. If your arms do not grow, it may be that you simply sleep too little. Therefore, aim for about 7-9 hours of sleep per night.

During training, you give your muscles stimuli to grow. However, they do not grow during training, but during the rest phase.


The reasons why your arms do not grow can be very diverse. If you avoid the above mistakes, you can counteract this.

Train your arms in isolation and not just as accessory muscles in multi-joint exercises. Be sure to train both your biceps and triceps and perform the exercises in a clean and controlled manner.

Train hard and go to muscular failure. To make your arms grow, you should train them at least 2 times a week. If your arms are a weak point, you can train them more often.

However, don't overdo it with the training, so as to avoid overtraining. You don't need to do a dedicated arm day. Instead, add a few arm exercises to the end of your regular workouts.

Make sure you are in caloric surplus and get enough protein. Also, make sure you have sufficient recovery phases and get enough sleep. This way, nothing will stand in the way of maximum growth for your arms!