Building muscle in your chest and arms takes time and discipline, but you can put it on as quickly as possible by training appropriately. Your workouts must include enough sets and reps to completely overload your chest and arm muscles. Workout of sufficient volume stimulate the muscle-building process. Your muscles heal from the workouts while increasing in size. According to Dr. Lee E. Brown, while it partly depends on your genetics and body type, it can take up to eight weeks to see notable improvements in muscle size.
Lift weights three times per week and not on back-to-back days. Give your chest and arm muscles a day off in between each workout so that they can heal fully. If you still feel fatigued on the day you’re scheduled to work out, push your session back a day to give your muscles some more time. The breaks between workouts are when your chest and shoulders will get bigger.
Begin your workout with chest exercises. The pectoralis major -- in the chest -- is a larger muscle than the biceps and triceps of the arms, so it should be worked first. Select three to four chest exercises to include in your workout. Effective exercises include bench press, dumbbell chest press, incline chest press and push-ups.
Select three biceps exercises to complete during your workout. Exercises that target the biceps include barbell biceps curl, dumbbell biceps curls, isolation curls and hammer curls. During each of the curl exercises, keep your elbows in at the sides of your torso as you bend your arms. Avoid jerking the weight up in an attempt to lift a higher load.
Choose three triceps exercises, such as lying triceps extensions, overhead triceps extension, dips and close grip push-ups. Ensure you’re emphasizing the triceps during each exercise by not allowing your elbows to flare out to the sides.
Complete four to six sets of six to 12 repetitions of each exercise. This is the workout volume recommended by Georgia State University’s Department of Kinesiology and Health for putting on muscle mass. A rest of about one minute between sets helps promote muscle overloading.