T Nation

Arm Training For Size


Hi everyone

Was just thinking about my arm training.

When i train arms i usually just go 1 set rest 1 min do next set and so forth.
I have never done,drop sets,supersets,21's,run the rack etc etc.

Now at 249 pounds and arms 18.25 inch im thinking and looking at my arms thinking they should be a little bigger for my weight and height,im 6'4

Now i hit squats and deads heavy and my arms grew from them,overall weight increase gives me bigger arms.But i was wondering about doing things like supersets and all those i mentioned just to try something different.
How has the above worked for u guys for increasing arm size?




Well the stuff mentionc couldnt hurt to throw in everynow and again IMO.

Well actually it could hurt. I just wouldnt make one of them a daily routine. You will ned time to heal from the brutality you lay on your arms,

Just my 2cc for what Little thats worth on the HUGE arm or really any subject.



I think you need to accept that you will have to gain more weight. 250lbs at 6'4" isn't exactly all that filled out. I have noticed about 15-20lbs of total body weight gain needed for every inch on my arms. You can't sit at 250lbs and expect them to get much larger unless your body fat has somehow dropped substantially. I don't do 21's or drop sets for my arms. They grow fine doing 3 exercises, using about 3-4 sets each. Honestly, if you can't curl more than a 70lbs dumbbell in each hand, do you really expect them to grow much more? Where is your strength level at on that exercise?


you should just try to hit your chest and back hard....youll hit the tricep doing chest and the bicep doing back....most people dont have to worry about isolating the arms


Hi X

Yeah u pretty much guessed it,i use 75 pounders for dumbell curls.
I know that i have to gain more weight,that part i worked out,but the point of my thread really was asking if supersets ,21's and all those other methods have any advantage over say just stadard barell curls for growth.

Thanks for your tips anyway.



I have only used those exercises occasionally...and I haven't even done that in years. Your arms grow first because of genetics. If you can get your arms to measure over 17", chances are you have decent genetics for building overall body mass. Mine didn't hit 20" until I was over 265lbs, and I'm much shorter than you. Someone your size is going to have to gain ALL OVER to see much more size there.


Prof is it normal for my arms to be 17" at 187lbs? And is it normal for my weight to fluxuate? Answering the question about 21's...I have done them and I got the largest pump in my biceps that i ever had in my life. I remember reading something where arnold said 21's were the only thing that allowed his biceps to grow much more after he had already gotten them pretty large.


If you are 187 lbs 17 inch arms is pretty good, but how big are your legs. I have pretty large legs but my arms are about just under 18 inches at nearly 260lbs just shy of 6'2. Arms really should be bigger but they have long biceps that don't peak well.

I was not a fan of direct arm training, more out of laziness and by doing barbell curls, thick grips with foam cladding on the bar and doing reverse curls...that's it just two exercises, I've put about half an inch on the arms in the last 3 months. Its probably size come back from when I used to do lots of direct arm work, but for me it shows you do need some. Typically direct arm work (exclusing triceps) for me is 6-7 sets and that's it. But it works along with back work.


I would imagine that has much to do with HEIGHT. I have no doubt that Lee Priest has 20" arms or larger at only 200lbs in contest shape. That is because he is a bodybuilding midget.

As far as your weight going up and down, that happens to everyone. Your weight can change within 5lbs over the course of a day depending on multiple factors from hydration, carb intake, and the number of shits you decide to express.


Are EZ-bar curls any good for building overall mass? Is a straight bar better?

I just started a 10 week Russian Bear routine.....trying to gain 10-20 pounds, I was thinking of doing a few sets of heavy curls each workout.


Whether you use a straight bar or EZ curl bar and find one more effective than the other is completely individual. I have never liked the feeling in my forearms when doing straight bar curls. That is why, if I am doing curls using a bar, I will usually use the EZ curl bar or the HS machine that simulates using the EZ curl bar. By supinating your grip, it takes away some of the stress that is placed on your radius and ulna. The two bones cross each other which can sometimes mean less stress in that area. It has always worked that way for me.


Hopefully I don't sound to stupid...
but here is the question -

I am a fairly tall guy (196cm which is something around 6.4 - 6.5, it think) and I read in an article here from TC that cheat curls help taller guys to put more stress on the upper portion of the curl movement...question is, I do a lot of dead's and squats etc. and I wonder if these cheat curls put to much stress on the lower body and what is the "right" way of doing them...

sorry for the long question, thanks for any advice


Trying to explain to someone how to "cheat" correctly without being able to show them at all is almost useless. I am not sure my use of adjectives would ever paint the picture that you would see within 5 seconds of actually training with someone much more experienced than you.


There's a difference between cheat curls and power curls. Use the amount of momentum you need to curl the weight, don't turn the movement into a speed movement.


Good simple explanation, but I would imagine most beginners have no clue what the difference is between using just enough momentum to work a muscle well and cheating to the point of injury just to show off to your friends how much weight you can't curl.


Most people do 'cheat' curls anyway, they use what in the USA seems to be referred to as 'Body English' and it can end up looking like a typical movement of a penguin.

Leaning against a wall to curl and then towards the end of the movement as you bring the barbell up towards chest you can accelerate by slightly 'rippling' you body and moving the legs/waist, which adds momentum to the movement.


X, he also might like the efects & feel of a Trapeze Curl bar.


My favorite is to sit on an inclined bench, just slightly leaned back, and do alternate DB curls. It removes most of your ability to cheat and lets you really concentrate on the muscle. When doing preachers, I have to do at least one drop per set or it just doesn't feel right.


I used to have two of those tri-bars. I actually did like them for curls.

I would load up both of them for the farmers walk.....then I realized I didn't like the farmers walk.


The amount of pronation/supination of your hands affects which muscle groups will be affected the most. Most people look at the arm and see three muscle groups: triceps, biceps, and forearms, but there are actually more like 5 due to the brachialis and brachioradialus.

The brachialis is buried under your bicep, and when larger will help push it up. The brachioradialus is that baseball shaped muscle on top of your elbow joint. Put your hand on top of your bicep and make a curling motion with your hand at different angles and you'll feel what I'm talking about.

Depending on your routine in may be necessary to have one or more isolation exercises for the arm to promote maximum growth. For example, if you do supinated chinups you may not need standard curls, but reverse curls would probably be a good thing. Hitting your arms with different exercises and different angles is the best way to ensure maximum growth. Don't think just using regular dumbbell and barbell curls is enough variety.