Building muscle is no quick and easy thing -- if it was, a lot more people would be boasting a set of bulging biceps. If you're trying to build muscle in your arms and your deadline is only a week away, don't expect to make significant progress in that amount of time. While you can expect to make your muscles a little bigger, they're not going to resemble the arms of a bodybuilder in only a few days' time. Still, getting started and then sticking to the program means you'll start to make progress sooner rather than later.
Eat a small amount of protein about 30 minutes before your workout. Protein containing casein is a good choice pre-workout, suggests the American Council on Exercise, since it contains slow-release amino acids that will help in synthesizing muscle slowly. This might include a pre-workout protein shake, a bar, or even a glass of chocolate milk.
Warm up before your workout by walking or jogging lightly for five to 10 minutes, or until you break a light sweat. This helps deliver more oxygen to your muscles ahead of the bulk of your workout, which can help you make progress faster.
Choose several compound exercises that strengthen most of your upper body at once, which will help all of your muscles grow and prevent imbalance in one area. Good choices include pull ups, the bent-over barbell row and bench presses. On top of that, choose several exercises that focus more specifically on the biceps, such as the barbell curl, cable curls or incline curls with a set of dumbbells.
Select an amount of weight for each exercise that will work your muscles to fatigue, meaning that it will be almost difficult to complete a set of 10 to 15 repetitions. This is going to be different for every exercise you do. You may be able to lift 75 pounds during the bench press, for example, but may only be able to lift 15 pounds doing incline curls. As you might imagine, this is going to be a process of trial-and-error to find the right amount of weight.
Do two sets of each exercise, with 10 to 15 repetitions each, giving yourself just a short 30-second rest period in between sets.
Finish off your workout by doing cardiovascular exercise that also strengthens your muscles -- specifically, high-intensity cardio. Don't worry, you're not going to lose significant muscle mass. It's true that long-distance runners get really skinny and don't have a lot of muscle mass, but that's not the case for sprinters. Pick any type of cardio that focuses more on the arms, such as rowing, jumping rope or swimming, and then toggle between 30 seconds of sprinting and 30 seconds of recovery, cycling between the two for eight to ten rounds. It's also OK to do these workouts on opposite days from your weight lifting routine.
Consume another protein product containing whey right after your workout, which supplies quickly-digestible amino acids that can help you build muscle. This might include a protein shake or bar. Also check that you're getting adequate protein throughout the day. According to ACE, most people need between .4 and .5 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight per day; while athletes need .5 to .8 grams per pound of bodyweight per day. During this time, you may want to focus on the higher end of that spectrum. Overall, don't skimp on calories this week -- don't overeat, but don't starve yourself either -- cutting calories is going to result in fat loss that may result in a smaller body size overall.
Give your muscles at least one day of rest in between lifting sessions -- meaning you're only going to be able to lift weights a very maximum of four days during this week. You might be tempted to lift every day, thinking that's going to help your cause, but your muscles need time to rest in order to grow. If you want to do something every day, do a high-intensity cardio workout, as described above, on your off days.
Doing this routine for a week is going to be a good start -- but if you want to really make progress and build muscle, you need to continue doing it beyond that period of time. Strength training two or three days a week is ideal, but every three weeks, switch up your routine and do different muscle-strengthening exercises that will keep your muscles from becoming adapted. Adaptation results in plateaus that won't allow you to keep making gains.