T Nation

Arm Training

Is it ok or recommended to train arms twice a week or should you do it just one day a week? My current program is this.

Chest-12 sets
Shoulders-12 sets
Arms-12 sets
Legs-10 sets
Back-6 sets
Arms-12 sets ----This I have not done yet-it’s depending on what everyone says,I just don’t want to over-train but I have the time to do arms again on Friday if it will benefit me. Thanks.

Splkast, I’m not so sure what your’e getting at here. You specify sets, but not what your’e doing and what the intensity is to be.

12 sets smells a bit like Poliquin-style GVT to me, and it’s generally believed that for most athletest, one would only want to directly hit a given body part once a week to allow supercompensation to take place as it is a rather demanding regime for those who are not chemically enhanced.

Also, you intend to train “arms” directly after a chest and shoulder workout. Perhaps this is less than wise, since I assume that both chest and shoulders will involve quite a bit of pressing, and therefore strain to the triceps. Following this with a direct triceps workout may not be very productive.

If your’e doing a fairly high intensity programme, you might look at altering your split such that you train chest and biceps together, and back and triceps together. Thus, assumung you do some pulls in your back workout, you will be effectively hitting your arms twice a week.

As it stands you are hitting them four times a week. Unless you are juiced to the gills, this may not be too smart.

Need more of a breakdown on the specifics of what you are doing in order to make constructive comments. However, I did Ian King’s Great Guns in 12 Weeks (issues 107, 110, 113, 116) program this past spring. The program has the arms being trained twice per week and every other body part in “maintenance” mode for the duration.

This program was incredible for training the arms. It hits all the planes throughout the entire arm. If you’re looking to prioritize the training of the arms, I would definitely take a look at this program.

Good Luck


Just speaking froms experience, programs designed to hit the arms directly worked for me in putting on size. However, when I finished the programs and went back to a balanced training regimine, I lost that size. It’s hard for the body to accept putting size on just the arms. The body wants to remain balanced. To put size on the arms you gotta put size on everywhere else. I do a few sets for arms after upper body training days now (twice a week) and my arms are the biggest and strongest they’ve ever been. The best part is, because I’ve put decent size on my chest, shoulders and back as well, that arm size/strength is staying. The biggest my arms got doing program like “great guns” was 17.5 inches. Yesterday, they measured at 18.75. Anyways, sorry for the long post, that’s just my experience. People are different.

If you are training your chest, shoulders, and back hard then I think the 2 direct times a week for arms is definitely too much.

I agree with the idea of doing chest with bis and tris with back that way you do hit them 2 times a week (but one of the times is indirectly).

I don’t know where you are at in your training, but I would definitely reconsider a program where you only do 6 sets for your back while doing 12 for chest & shoulders and 24 sets for arms per week.


First of all I have a problem with you doing 12 sets of Chest and then 12 sets for the shoulders. If you are doing Barbell Bench Presses you are already working your front delts enough. With an additional 12 sets for the shoulders you are asking for shoulder trouble…and you don’t want shoulder trouble.

The best routine that I have ever used for my arms was to train with a few sets, perhaps six to seven at the most, three times per week. Only go to failure on one day per week!

The theory is that the arms get a a decent workout every other day or so. This is better than blasting them with 12 sets one time per week, (I have found).

A good routine:

Chin-ups (palms facing you) Two sets-do a negative on the way down and blast up as fast as possible. Rest :90 between sets.

Rest only :90 and do one set of Straight Barbell Curls with a weight that you can do 12 strict reps with. No cheating! Final reps should be hard but you might have one or two more in the tank.

Lying Tricep Extensions-three sets 8 to 12 reps. All strict. :90 rest between sets.

Standing Dumbbell extensions-12 reps or so…again make sure they are strict.

When I worried about arm size I would use the above routine for six weeks and it worked well. Usually I would not perform the Lying Barbell Extension as I don’t think it is great for the elbow joint. However, since you want to specialize, and it is no more than 6 weeks, I wouldn’t worry about it.

Good Luck,


The big issue here is the fact that you train arms and shoulders before you train back and legs. CHEST, BACK, and LEGS are big muscle groups and should be trained before arms and shoulders. I think you can hit bis twice a week then do them with your arm workout and a couple of sets after back. If you want extra tri work then hit a couple of sets after bench.

Hey splkast-
If you would like to try Charles Staley’s "The Ultimate Guide to Massive Arms-EDT " pm me and I will send you the download version for free-we know of thousands who have had great luck with it(lol)Julianne

Thanks, I got a lot of great info from you guys. I am going to change things up and hopefully get some good results. I have been serious about lifting for only about 8 or 9 months now and have received all sorts of information from all sorts of different places and this site seems to make the most sense and also be by far the most helpful. I really appreciate the help.Thanks.

It really depends on your goals, training age; recover capacity, nutrition, and sleep patterns, ext. In general if your goal is hypertrophy then training arms two times or one time a week may booth work depending on the factors above. You did not give enough info for me to give you a concrete answer. Remember there is no best routine only one that works for you.

What about something like this-
Chest & Bi’s
Shoulders & Legs
Tri’s & Back
My main goal right now is to lose some body fat, 10 pounds or so. I eat right around 2000 calories a day and consume around 190 grams or protein per day also. I weigh 178lbs, 6-1. I’m not all that muscular and never have been.
For example my 12 set chest routine is this;
Barbell bench press-3 sets of 8 -120lbs.
Incline BB bench-3 sets of 8 -100lbs.
Incline DB fly-3 sets of 12 -62lbs.
Flat bench DB fly-3 sets of 10 -62lbs.

Splkast, if your idea is to perform an arm specialization training then follow T-BONE2 advice. If you want a whole body program choose OVT or ABBH with the arms option.I think that follow a program written by an expert with indication of loads,sets,reps is definitively better. Why 24 sets of chest/shoulder and “only” 6 sets of back ?

splkast if your main goal is fat loss then add some energy system work (read CT’s Running man article for details) and switch your training to a Strength training routine CW’s ABBH or Charles Staley’s Lose The Fat, Keep The Strength program would fit the bill nicely. Hers the link for CS’s program:

By the way I utilized Charles Staley’s Lose The Fat, Keep The Strength program on a high school football linemen with great success. Don’t be afraid to experiment/ try new things! Hope that helps!

BOSS-Thanks, I am going to check this out.