Oh, look. We’re back to talking about building big arms again. I won’t repent – building bigger arms is awesome. This time around though, the infamous Arm Blaster is added to the mix.
This post will outline several reasons as to why I find the Arm Blaster such a powerful tool for both Biceps and Triceps growth – as well as a recommendation and review of the current best value Arm Blaster on the market!
Now, if you’ve ever stared at rows of Arnold Schwarzenegger pictures on google, chances are you’ve come across this one;
Arnold growing monster biceps with the infamous Arm Blaster. Iconic 1970’s duo.
We know the man. Everybody does. But what about the weird piece of equipment strapped to the front of his torso? That’s the infamous Arm Blaster.
I say infamous because this tool of unholy biceps blasting is very, very rarely seen in today’s commercial gyms. If you wore that in the local Planet Fitness they’d probably kick you out for looming with dangerous meathead aura.
But even in hardcore gyms, such as dark, dusty and spiderweb filled bodybuilding cellars – the Arm Blaster is a very rare sight.
Why? Not sure – perhaps it’s deemed unpractical. But that doesn’t explain why gyms don’t have it in their inventory.
Anyways, back in the 1970’s when the Arm Blaster became a stable among the bodybuilders of the golden era of the “sport”, they had their reasons for using it!
Ergonomic and technical benefits of the Arm Blaster
Today, the Arm Blaster represents an almost lost art form. The art of clean, strict posture biceps movements.
By keeping your elbows and humerus (upper arm) fixed in space relative to your back, individual movement of your arms and your back isn’t possible – unless you insist on extending your arms forward and up.
By fixating these body parts, it’s also more or less impossible to employ any left or right leaning motions with your body.
Additionally, your arms are not able to flare out doing biceps movements such as dumbbell curls with heavy weights. An otherwise common issue that I often experience myself.
In practice, this means that most body movement patterns associated with “cheating” on repetitions are removed from the equation of different bicep curl variations.
This is a huge benefit of the Arm Blaster – it removes a lot of the movements that aren’t conducive to muscle growth, therefore also allowing you to stress less about keeping good form, and more about establishing the juicy mind-to-muscle connection that we now have hard science telling us improves muscle activation.
You only have to worry about your legs and hips – because as they are of course not fixated to anything, it’s still possible to use leg drive to cheat on form to lift more weight or take the set to complete failure.
Short head Biceps isolation benefits
Your biceps consist of two heads, the long head, and the short head. The short head is the “inner side” of your biceps, facing inwards towards your torso, while the long head is the “outer side” of your biceps, facing outwards.
Now, if you’re wondering why your biceps might look like a single muscle head, I’ll let you know that most people have to be very, very ripped for visible long and short head separation.
I even got caught by surprise at the sight of both heads, as I before my diet had never seen them as two individual entities. I have to note they only became distinctively visible at around 9-10 % body fat.
Anyways, the major difference between the two heads of the biceps is that the short head is heavily involved in the adduction of the humerus (upper arm). This is basically when you move your arm in front of yourself.
Because of this function, the short head is hit particularly hard when doing biceps movements with the Arm Blaster, as it forces your arms forward, slightly in front of your body.
This is for the same reason people suggest doing preacher curls for specific short head bicep isolation.
All in all, though, I think it’s safe to say that the main benefit you will derive from using the Arm Blaster is how much it can improve your form and mind-to-muscle connection, ultimately resulting in superior muscle growth.
How to use an Arm Blaster?
Using an Arm Blaster is luckily pretty simple. You wear the ‘strings’ on your shoulders while the board piece rests on your upper abdominal area, just below your chest.
The main thing you have to worry about is ergonomics. All of today’s Arm Blasters will fit people of very different sizes – so you’re only likely to encounter issues if you are quite overweight, and a protruding stomach might be an issue.
And I would seriously advise that you “leave your ego at the door”. The first time you use the Arm Blaster, you will rightfully feel that your joints and ligaments in the elbow area are at risk of strains.
Go light on the weights at first – really focusing on proper form, utilizing the amazing benefits of the Arm Blaster!
This will slowly but surely built your strength and your mind-to-muscle connection, allowing you too quickly up the volume and see new gains arrive at the train station.
Best Arm Blaster exercises
Good ol’ Arnold smashing out some supinated curls.
A common misconception is that the Arm Blaster truly shines when doing barbell curls. After all, most pictures of 1970’s bodybuilders hammering biceps with the Arm Blaster where doing just that; barbell curls.
However, if you ask me, I find the equipment even more effective for dumbbell curls, in particular, alternating dumbbell curls, as Arnold is doing them on the above image.
I believe there are more aspects involved with maintaining good form in this curl variation when compared to the barbell curl. In the barbell curl, you are already slightly fixated in your body, as you grab the barbell with both hands and move your arms in rhythmic cadence to perform the movement.
Yes, you can still cheat a lot as your arms and wrist can move independently from your back/spine – but in the dumbbell variation, further instability is added as its a unilateral movement.
When doing heavy alternating dumbbell curls, people (including myself!) are very susceptible to tilt the body from left to right to build momentum for each repetition.
This tilting is much more unlikely to occur when wearing the Arm Blaster, as the movement suddenly feels completely unnatural.
Arm Blaster for Triceps growth
People underestimate the potency of the Arm Blaster for all-around arm growth.
You have probably noticed I refer to it as an “Arm Blaster”, instead of the commonly used “Biceps Blaster”.
Well, a seemingly lesser known fact is that the Arm Blaster is also a very efficient piece of equipment for overall triceps mass building.
The obvious triceps exercise to perform is Triceps Pushdowns, with either a flat-handle, V-handle or a rope.
The same reason as to why it’s a great tool for biceps growth also applies to triceps: you are forced to adhere to good solid form, allowing you to really focus on the mind-to-muscle connection that will blast your triceps.
Arnold’s biceps always get all the spotlight – but as you can see, the governator certainly also knew how to utilize his toolbox for building massive triceps!
Arm Blaster vs Preacher Curls
Been asked this a few times, so I will cover it briefly.
There’s not a ton of difference, except your humerus is further angled forward in the preacher curl, theoretically stressing the short head of the biceps a bit more than Arm Blaster movements.
Like I stated earlier though, I don’t see short head biceps stimulation as a major benefit to the Arm Blaster anyway. It’s a tool for overall arm mass development.
We want to focus on exercises with movement patterns that apply the greatest stress on the most amount of muscle.
One benefit to the Arm Blaster versus the Preacher Curl is the ability to gradually work up to some serious weights. The Preacher Curl position will adduct your arms to such an extent that it is not advised to go heavy.
Additionally, cheating on the Preacher Curl bench is not only easy, it’s a very common sight in most gyms.
Where to find the best Arm Blaster for sale?
It seems like the Arm Blaster is having a bit of a resurgence in very recent years.
I can only applaud that trend, as it really is an awesome piece of equipment, both for bringing to the gym but even more so for the home gym or just keeping under the bed or in a closet.
Now, as with any item with rising popularity, the selection is pretty good. But how do you pick the right one?
Well, I have done all the research for you, investigating more than 20 of the most popular choices from established brands.
I want to note that I prioritize quality, durability, and comfort ABOVE design and aesthetics. Keep that in mind. There is far too much style-over-function in the world of fitness. But value for money is my number one criteria.
Here is my overall recommendation for the best choice (August 2018);
With stellar ratings based on more than 100 customer reviews, the RIMSports Biceps Arm Blaster really is the generalist choice for most people. I say this because of the sheer amount of reviews, having almost a perfect 5-star rating.
This Arm Blaster is made for durability, with several high-quality materials throughout the build. Heavy duty aluminum materials for the main construction assures long-time usability.
The padding for your elbows and triceps is double padded, securing comfort. This is not to be underestimated, as Arm Blasters do take a bit of time to get used to.
RIMSports have further enhanced the durability as well as comfort and adjust-ability by a heavy-duty hook, easily enabling you to adjust the length of the neck support.
This enables people of almost all body shapes and sizes to find a comfortable fit.
Considering the qualities of the product in conjunction with its price tag, I can see why this badge has been added. This “golden” combo is also why it’s my pick. To me, nothing beats value for money.
I guess if there’s one complaint some might have, it’s that the design prioritizes function and quality above aesthetics. It is not the most “fancy” looking Arm Blaster in the business.
Personally, I don’t really care about that. I like the more subtle look, and I am not much for paying for the design. But I suppose that is very subjective.