T Nation

Arm Workout is Crap


Had a quick look on site but not much info to what i was looking for

I used to train arms every day when i first started 1.5yrs ago as i had no idea about routines/plans etc would just do arms ohp :smiley:

in the last 6 months or more however i rarely had an arm day at all, i would focus mainly on my squats deads bench all the main lifts rows etc and at the end of a workout would do some curls and tricep extensions/skull crushers/cable push downs

in the last 3-4 weeks i have noticed my bicep is not as pumped looking as it used to be id say ive lost size off my arms so have been trying to do a arm workout once a week, i still might do the odd curl at the end of a workout depending on energy levels....

anyways i just cant seem to get passed the initial set of curls...

i usually do something like >
D/b curls starting at a very low weight 20reps maybe 2 sets to get blood pumping
then 4 sets of wroking sets adding 2.5lbs-5lbs each set

then second i do cable push downs and then i go to do some ez curls and my arms are just bushed already even tho i have like 5 exercises left on the plan (i got from here)

all i can think is the issue is that maybe during the week with rows bench press etc i am using my arms too much? maybe using too much bi and tri strenght to do my bench press? meaning my form is probs messed up?

my stamina and energy levels for most other things are fine i mean it might get hard near th end of a workout but i push through

but with my arms they are literally dead


Just to clarify, you've got an arm day (where you only train biceps and triceps) and you do some extra biceps and/or triceps work at the end of other workouts during the week?

How is your week laid out? What days are you training which muscle groups, and when are your rest days?

I get that you're following a program, but 2 sets of 20 reps is a lot of warming up. You could simply be fatiguing your bis with stuff that just isn't needed. Unless you have something like an elbow injury where you need a super-thorough warm-up, try simply chopping those sets in half. 1-2x10 with a lightish weight to warm-up before jumping into the work sets should be plenty. Since you're increasing the weight on them, the first 3 of those 4 sets basically serve as "functional warm-up sets", so to speak.

Got a link to the program?

That might be part of it, but if it was, your arms would probably be more sore than the target muscles on those days and your chest/back wouldn't be progressing.

If it's been 6 months since you've trained them directly, it'll definitely take some time to recondition them to the added work. Keep pushing through, though.


when i say program it might have been just someone's post in a thread from here (was deff on here tho )
i have it on a piece of paper now in my garage ( ive cleared my cache and a search on activity is not showing anything)
d/b curls
skull crushers
hammer curls
forearm d/b curls flat on bench supporting forearm just bending the wrist(over and under - both sides if that makes sense )
e z curls
and cable push downs

(might be concentration curls and preachers in there too cant remember)

i got trhough the entirity of it once or twice and could straight away see the pump in my arms for a few days even....but since then i struggle to get 1/4 -1/2 way through it before my arms are bushed

i get a slight niggling pain in my left arm - top of forearm where it joins the elbow crease :smiley: sorry useless with body part names still.....(if palm facing towards u that side where arm bends) so i like to warm it up a good bit otherwise get sore
not terrible pain just a niggly kind of pain might even be a tendon?

my week is laid out like this : (im useless at sticking to a real power building routine ) i was doing a 5/3/1 i also got from here
again its on postcards on my garage wall....but was
squats 5/3/1 bench 12 reps then few days later bench 5/3/1 squats 12 reps not full weight
then wednesday deadlift 5/3/1
as i said in another thread i dont have max plates here at home so my squats and deads could never be done to 5/3/1 formula as i could do 12 with max weight i have

everything i do is basically 4 sets 8-15 reps i aim for that 12 tho min at about 8pm at night 1.5 - 2 hrs after my dinner
i run or walk in morning /daytime

i have tried lifting in day time i never feel i do well tho no energy like in evening

squats 1 warmup 120lb 12-15rep 4 working 180 upto 240lb 10-12reps

ham curls 12 reps with whatever weight i can do i do know my hams ar laacking or maybe just my crappy bench restricts movement as the gym one i find smoother and go a bit heavier

calf raises barbell behind neck and tip toe....

leg extensions

lunges with d/b i walk my driveway its like 20 up and 20 back i up the weight on the d/b each set and most time i drop weights on final set

dead lifts
pull ups - crap at these i can do like 5 some days and some days 3 but i take about 10mins and just do as many as i can
rows - single arm D/b and barbell
good morning
lat pull downs

bench press - most times just flat - sometimes incline sometimes decline (my bench does not decline so some i put a bit of wood under foot end)
D/b bench press flat and incline
d/b flyes flat and incline
note - i don't do all the flat/incline/decline in same day i might do decline one week and incline the following but always do flat) and my flat max bench is 180lb just about body weight and has been for a long time i can seem to make a solid gain in that at all.

torso - belly
ab wheel
swiss ball crunches - legs on ball in push up position puulling knees to chest (hard but loves these)
laying leg raises
hanging leg raises
also i do cable crunches where i hold the bar behind neck with a good bit of weight on the machine - on my knees and crunh the weight down not pulling with arms
and sometimes i do side bends d/b in each hand bedning at waist to left to right (but not often as i heard these can really thicken the waistline which i dont want )


day 6-or 7 i have off (sat or sun depending what i have going on)

day 6 or 7
ohp barbell
side and front d/b raises
arnold press
shrugs barbell

i know i should probably just do a routine off here that is fully proven but sometimes i feel like i didnt do enough esp on that 5/3/1 one
and my main goal is losing fat from gut and once i achieve that i would like then to go on to getting my powerful in my numbers.

thanks for any input i will listen and do whatever is told to me.

37yrs old
training 1.5yr 1 yr solid
home garage gym


some pics of my back




this is of my arms months ago i thought to me they were pretty decent but they have def lost that size now and actually i find it hard to get a good squeeze on my biceps at all....my triceps feel like they get a good burn tho.


when i look now at my back pics i posted up there i am sure i am tensing my biceps and it looks like nothing is even there


What weights are you using on all your biceps lifts?


not heavy at all i dont think well to me now they feel heavy

i start at about 15lb for my warm ups 2 sets curls then i go to like 20-25- the odd time i squeeze out 30lb and try for 12 reps always
i mean if i go to 30 and can only get 5-6reps i am not too unhappy

but i was doing 30lb 6months ago no problem 12 reps now its hard work


Buy more weight plates and do one of these...



amazing that is exactly the link i sent to my friend asking do i know of any good routines

i have plates on order :smiley: a guy who runs a store and an online store i messaged him on facebook and he is meant to get back to me yesterday (he def will he was recmended to me by fenelly the irish strong man which was nice of him) ....with prices he has found second hand plates (i asked for second to cut costs) for me i also asked for bumper plates but he said def get new bar not used

so hopefully withing week or 2 or 3 i will have my new stuff :smiley:


thanks guys for all input i do appreciate it.


I'm still a newb myself, so don't take my word for anything over any of the more experienced posters above, but a few things did jump out at me.

Doing back the day after squats? Lol I would die...

Also, the stalled bench is a big red flag to me. I would consider changing up the set/rep schemes and/or the assistance lifts. I have a hard time with bench too. Dips are great for benching for most people, but they don't work well for everybody (like me). You could try things like CGBP or the JM press. Experiment over time and see what works best for you.

I'm also wondering if you're back is making solid progress. If you aren't making much progress on you upper body compounds, that could explain why your arms are suffering. The way you wrote about how you do pull-ups makes me question your progression. It doesn't sound like a very scientific way to do it to me. I don't imagine that you are keeping a workout log? IME, keeping a workout log is one of the easiest, cheapest, and most underrated things you can do to see great progress. One thing it allows me to do really well is ensure progression in terms of total poundage moved. You can't really base your progression off that by memory.

Sometimes, I think, when it comes to arms, less is more. What are your upper body compounds like in terms of numbers? If you focus on building a strong base there, you won't have small arms. I've never seen anyone who does that who has small arms.


Yeah, I'd definitely get on a better laid out program. The limited equipment is definitely holding you back, so once you get those extra plates you'll be able to progress better overall.

It generally doesn't make sense to apply the same set/rep scheme to every single exercise. They don't all warrant it. Some exercises "do better" with more reps, less reps, less sets, etc. This could very well be why your arms are being "worn out" before arm day. Moderate to high rep deadlifts, rows, pulldowns, presses, dips, and flyes 2 or 3 days before the arm day might be too much for you right now.

That's not necessarily an issue of a certain program. If you're following a well-designed, time-tested program and you're going balls out on each set, then you're doing enough.


cheers for input guys

i think i will kind of continue what im doing (maybe slight rep adjustments)until my new plates and bar come then go on one of them routines in kingbeefs thread

then see how my numbers go up if at all? and give it say 6 weeks before changing anything asking for help?