Most people new to bodybuilding pay a lot of attention to building big arms, sometimes to the point of overtraining. Don't forget, the arm muscles are brought into play during most exercises aimed at other body parts so care must be taken not to overdo things.
Having said that, the arms are complex body parts in their own right and deserve a properly focused exercise program. In basic terms the arm consists of three main muscle groups:
1. Biceps brachii – two muscles at the front upper arm that run from the elbow to the shoulders.
2. Triceps brachii – three muscles at the rear upper arm that run from the elbow to the shoulder.
3. Forearm – several smaller muscles that run from the elbow to the wrist.
There are seven classic exercises that will allow beginners to get off to a good muscle building start without overstraining their bodies. For all of the exercises that follow, use a weight that is light enough to allow between 10-15 reps.
Three biceps building exercises are recommended for beginners:
1. Standing barbell curl – 3 sets of 10-15 reps.
2. Alternative standing dumbbell curls – 3 sets of 10-15 reps.
3. Preacher bench curls – 3 sets of 10-15 reps.
Three triceps building exercises are recommended for beginners:
1. Dips – 3 sets of 10-15 reps.
2. Close grip bench press – 3 sets of 10-15 reps.
3. EZ bar lying extensions – 3 sets of 10-15 reps.
One forearm building exercise is recommended for beginners:
1. EZ bar reverse curls – 3 sets of 10-15 reps.
As with all exercises you need to take care in scheduling specific body parts. To begin with you should incorporate your arm exercises into a program similar to the one suggested below:
Day 1: Biceps, Back, Abs
Day 2: Hamstrings, Shoulders, Abs
Day 3: Quads, Forearms, Calves
Day 4: Triceps, Chest, Abs
For the first couple of weeks complete one set but then add one set each week to a maximum of three. At the end of three months you will be ready to move on to more intensive intermediate level exercises.