T Nation

Advice for Building Bigger Arms?

Hey everyone, how are you all doing?
This is my first post, as I just registered at T-Nation today. I became aquainted with this site after reading an inspiring article by Chad Waterbury on this site that I was led to by Google.

Anyway, if I may pose a personal question, any advice you guys (or gals) could offer would be much appreciated.

I have been working out seriously for the past 2 1/2 months or so, and have been practicing a regular workout routine and what I believe to be rather good nutrition (at least as good as is possible on a college campus, perhaps…). I am pleased with the results I’ve been seeing, and my overall goal is to remain lean (I’m 6’ 1’’ and 155 lbs.) without adding fat, but to increase my muscle mass a bit. I’m rather satisfied with most of my body at this point, but my arms are quite lean, and while defined and quite veiny, my circumference is nothing impressive.

I’ve heard that arm circumference (and muscle build in general) has quite a bit to do with genetics, and while I have always seen quick results with my chest and shoulders in particular, my arms don’t follow suit it seems (my Dad, on the other hand, has always had large arms).

My current workout routine is a 3 day-a-week split that I’ve personally modified off a workout regimen a bunch of my friends do. It may sound a little unconventional, but I’ve been doing Back/Legs, Chest/Triceps, and Shoulders/Biceps in those groups, once a week.

My tricep routine consists skullcrushers with close grip bench mixed in, overhead dumbell extensions and tricep pulldowns. My bicep routine is barbell curls, seated incline DB curls and single arm DB preacher curls.

Sorry for being long-winded, but I guess to sum up, what are some advice/tips you all might have for a guy who wants to increase the size of his arms? I don’t want to go overboard, but I just feel they are visually the slimmest part of my body, and would like to obtain a bit more of a balanced look.

Thanks a lot!

do a search for Ian Kings “Great Guns” program… fuck here’s a link to phase 4. It has links to phases 1-3 on it.

It’s a 12 week GUNS specialization. Print them all out, follow it to a T.

don’t forget to train those toothpicks you call your legs either.

I do want to say that while one of your goals, obviously a major one since it is your question, is bigger arms, at this point in your training the way to go is not so necessarily the obvious one.

One of the major conundrums of deciding how to train is the “foo-foo” exercises versus the major compound lifts.

“Foo-foo” or isolation exercises being those that use lighter weights than the compound lifts and especially those where the movement is about a single joint.

While it’s not exactly so that programs to be fairly compared must have the same number of sets performed per week, as a first approximation that’s fairly fair to do.

So the inevitable consequence of this is for putting “foo-foo” sets into the program, that means major compound lifts coming out. Or doing more major compound lifts means doing less foo-foo.

The simple fact is that the major compound lifts: overhead pressing, benching (incline, flat, and decline), dips, chins (or pullups, or like movements), rows, squats, and deadlifts are more key to major results and even to the specific goal of larger arms.

Too many are in a given day doing 10 sets of barbell curls (most likely in the squat rack) maybe a couple sets of lat pulldowns that don’t get too much put in it, and maybe a couple sets of rear delt flys with the 10 lb dumbbells… instead of doing say 4 sets of chins, 4 sets of bent rowing, 2 sets of curls, and 2 sets of reverse curls, which for example would be far more productive.

It’s a fight that one constantly has to go through: sure, targeting individual muscles can be appropriate and is appealing. But as it takes up too much of the workout, overall results go down.

Especially for those in their first couple of years of lifting, the major compound lifts will do much more than spending a lot of time on foo-foo arm work. (Not that there’s no use to specific arm exercises at all, because there absolutely is.)

If you really want to be as intensive on the specific arm exercises as I think is possibly appropriate as the max at this point in time, try the method of putting one biceps set inbetween each major pressing set; and one triceps set inbetween each major pulling set. That’s still a lot of focus on specific arm work, but also motivates doing a lot of pressing and pulling exercises.

(The alternation between opposing muscle groups, set to set, also works very well for other reasons.)

Use the search button.

There are about 800+ different articles and posts on this.

For every inch you want to add to your arms - you will need to add about 10 pounds of LBM.

Color me skeptical about this thread…

[quote]rainjack wrote:
For every inch you want to add to your arms - you will need to add about 10 pounds of LBM.

[/quote]

Yup. If you want bigger arms, gain weight all over.

If you want to stay a 155 pound GQ heroin chic model, you will have to be content with your pipecleaners.

Squats and milk

Gain 50lbs and your arms will be bigger.

-MAtt

[quote]peachboymomotaro wrote:

I have been working out seriously for the past 2 1/2 months or so, and have been practicing a regular workout routine and what I believe to be rather good nutrition (at least as good as is possible on a college campus, perhaps…). I am pleased with the results I’ve been seeing, and my overall goal is to remain lean (I’m 6’ 1’’ and 155 lbs.) without adding fat, but to increase my muscle mass a bit. I’m rather satisfied with most of my body at this point, but my arms are quite lean, and while defined and quite veiny, my circumference is nothing impressive.
[/quote]

Between Bill’s response and others recommended doing a search, I think the question is answered.

That said, am I the only one that sees a problem with another annorexic post?

I mean; “[quote] (I’m 6’ 1’’ and 155 lbs.) without adding fat, but to increase my muscle mass a bit[/quote]” come on man, 155 LBS at 6’1" and wants to add a “bit” of muscle mass?

My 6 year son old weighs about 50 lbs, maybe he will let you use his incredible hulk inflatable biceps?

[quote]vroom wrote:
Color me skeptical about this thread…[/quote]

That apparently won’t stop many here from acting as if they don’t see it.

[quote]Matgic wrote:
Gain 50lbs and your arms will be bigger.

-MAtt[/quote]

Gain 50lbs and he won’t look like he just escaped out of a concentration camp.

Why don’t these skinny new people read the beginners forum? The mods should put Vroom’s beginner thread on Building a Bettter Body too.

4 exercises for triceps after already training chest seems like overkill to me. Im guessinf their pretty half arses sets.

Try 2 ticep exercises and go for heavy quality reps, not loads of light reps, as is probably the case given your high volume.

Same for bis…cut to two exercises and give 100% effort

You have to eat more and gain weight. Sorry.

[quote]elliotnewman1 wrote:
4 exercises for triceps after already training chest seems like overkill to me. Im guessinf their pretty half arses sets.

Try 2 ticep exercises and go for heavy quality reps, not loads of light reps, as is probably the case given your high volume.

Same for bis…cut to two exercises and give 100% effort[/quote]

I’ll echo this sentiment. keep it at two and strive to increase the reps and/or weight with good form.

If you stagnate on an exercise, switch it out for another one.

Look into Chad Waterbury threads. I think has whole-body approach is wel-suited to an ectomorph such as yourself.

Let me close with the obvious, which surprisingly has not been mentioned: SQUATS AND MILK!

even i’m 5’8", when i weight 155lbs, it shows nothing. you have to gain weight.

Build a bigger kitchen.


Bicep, Tricep, and Deltoid Implants.

Also some forearm implants would work too.

I am kind of in the same boat, but a little bigger. I am 6’ 2" and 215 pounds. I just finished my college career and am trying to get bigger (more cut). I have been blessed with great metabolism so it is tough for me to gain weight. Even in my playing days when I lifted four days a week (for power), i still couldnt gain weight. I eat like a horse and lift hard at least 4-5 days a week. What kind of diet would anyone recommend for a little more mas but mostly for definition.