T Nation

Anyone Here Get Bigger Arms by High Volume and Pumping?

I’m very torso dominant. My arms are lagging a bit and barbell rows, pendlay rows, chin ups, close grip work and extensions aren’t really building them up. I’m curious to see if anyone got bigger guns but higher rep and lighter weight sets. Many try and argue that that path mostly caters to people on gear but I digress. I’m sure we have some natty lifters that can beg to differ

Progressive overload (including upping the dose or changing compounds)

Yeah I follow progressive overload but when it comes to isolating the smaller muscle groups like bis and tris does alot of weight have to be applied alot of the time? Eventually the joints will be compromised. Doesn’t progressive overload also fall in the volume category by increasing reps and time under tension?

There are literally millions of ‘arm finishers’ articles on the internet. Just tack a decent looking one onto the end of a couple sessions each week. Hypertrophy is forced adaption, so fuckin force that adaption man!

Why does this have to be an either or situation?

Keep the heavy work but finish up with some higher rep isolation “pump work”


Yes. Progressive overload encompasses all forms of progression including more weight/mechanical tension, less rest time, more volume, higher frequency, faster bar speed etc.

If you are progressing with the right environment e.g. caloric surplus you’ll gain muscle. Simples

I’m curios whether people have treated there arms like a main muscle group and trained it as such. Still waiting for periodised curls.

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I do singles doubles and triples with curls a lot

For the quad gains amirite or amirite?

I’m far from sarcastic with that broooo

Real talk, ya need strong biceps

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My arms get bigger when I train them twice a week with 30-40 decent reps each day. Actually, they return to a previous, bigger size after being neglected when I do this.

I’ve had results with CT’s Best Damn approach for arms. 2 normal working sets of 6-10 reps followed by a finisher. I’ll do a double rest/pause set, 6-8-10 drop set, or a variation if the old 21’s.

I have experienced pain in my elbows if I spend too much time in the lower rep range (like 4 x 6) but the occasional workout doesn’t bother them.


From 5/3/1 Reloaded.

Read either what CT or John meadows has wrote regarding arms and follow its. Two different approaches but both work

you listed a bunch of non-arm specific lifts, said they aren’t working for you, and then you blamed the set/rep scheme. Why not try direct arm work? lol.

But to address the other facet of your question, I think that’s a bit of a strawman. I don’t think I’d ever heard anyone say high reps don’t work for natural lifters. Of course that strategy works. I would say 95% + natural bodybuilders work in the higher rep/lighter weight range. I know Stu has talked about this quite a bit. He saw his best development when he stopped trying to see big numbers on the bench press and changed his focus to higher rep schemes with less weight, more isolation work, etc. So yea. High reps for hypertrophy is an absolutely tried and true method.

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For arms, I typically work in the 20-40 rep range. Has been far superior for me versus a lower rep range.

Dr Mike Israetel:

"In reality, the biceps are so poorly leveraged to be exposed mechanical damage, produce so little force…

The forearm flexors of most individuals are a roughly even mix of fiber types, so on paper you should be aiming to train biceps with a wide mix of rep ranges.

However, your biceps get pretty much all the heavy work they need as contributors to your heavy back work, and the bicep isolation work you do for them should likely be biased towards higher reps.

Additionally, curling for super heavy (sets of 6 or less) sets can be unsafe, so it’s best to focus most of your bicep volume between 8 and 15 rep sets, with occasional uses of higher rep ranges for metabolite work."

in my experience, light to moderate weight for amrap is the way to go. I understand wanting to overload with intensity. Everyone would like to hammer curl 100lb dumbbells. However, I think once you get to the point where you’re trying to curl 100lbs, you are going to inadvertently (or maybe purposefully) use different muscles to compensate (such as anterior delts).

Hammer curls, midline curls, and normal curls are the way to go in my opinion. As many reps as you can get for 5-6 sets. My arms are about 17 inches. How much of that is genetics, I don’t know. There are a million different ways to isolate bis and tris. My advice is pick a couple exercises that get you a crazy pump and just hammer your arms with drop sets. Good luck

I grab 2 7-10kg DBs and crank out between 50 - 100 reps. The name of the game is not to leave those DBs go until you have completed all reps. Burns utter fuck out your arms.