T Nation

Arms Flexed vs. Un-flexed

[quote]keaster wrote:
Something is kinda stumping me. My arms are 14 inches flexed, unpumped (yeah they are small) and 12.5 unflexed. It’s kinda annoying because I put all this work in and only look like I have big arms (for me) when I flex. Any help would be great.[/quote]

Err, are you training to support you with martial arts? Do you need stronger arms? Or are you training for looks? What are your goals? Watch out for mission creep.

You said you got stronger when you started lifting weights. That’s good.

You can throw in a couple of sets of biceps curls [i]for good measure[/i], but don’t forget triceps extensions.

Or you can do pull-ups and dips, they’re both compound and tax the biceps and triceps.

[quote]Professor X wrote:
TKL.ca wrote:
Professor X wrote:
TKL.ca wrote:
keaster wrote:
Something is kinda stumping me. My arms are 14 inches flexed, unpumped (yeah they are small) and 12.5 unflexed. It’s kinda annoying because I put all this work in and only look like I have big arms (for me) when I flex. Any help would be great.

I don’t know who else can quote me on this, but ever since I started weighted pullups (palms facing me, shoulder width apart) my arms just started growing rapidly, along with a couple curl exercises thrown in for good measure.

I imagine that even though my back is doing most of the work, my arms are getting overloaded most of the time.

Why would someone throw a couple of curls in for good measure? What happened to just training your arms? Do you throw a couple of presses in for your chest…just for good measure? How about a couple of lateral raises for your delts…just for good measure?

Who made it unpopular to train arms and why does it make sense to give half ass attention to an entire muscle group?

Because my arms at the moment get enough work from pressing 3x a week and pulling about 3x a week with exercises like bench, rows, military press. I’m not part of the whole “don’t train arms directly crowd”, but at the moment my priority is on compound movements. Lateral raises? Not a good exercise for myself, that time/effort is better spent doing military presses. Nice assumptions about me (all made in one post of mine), but I work hard. I’m always growing, getting bigger and stronger, so think what you want to think.

Anyhow, I’m going to go eat.

I will think what I want…and what I think is that any newbie who thinks he can avoid working his ENTIRE SHOULDER COMPLEX as if it isn’t needed is in for some imbalances later.

Apparently some trainer or author made it seem like you should ONLY concentrate on compound movements and avoid isolation exercises. That doesn’t make sense unless you plan to have imbalances that you will have to make up for later on.

There is no way in hell I would ever recommend someone avoid lateral raises. That doesn’t even make sense unless someone is so ridiculously weak that they need to just get their overall strength to “average” before they ever go any further.

Only doing military presses is a great way to get front delts that are out of proportion to everything else. But of course, you know better from all of your experience and amazing progress.
[/quote]

How am I not working my shoulder complex? Barbell rows use the rear delts. The front/side delts are worked by standing overhead presses and bench press. Looks like the entire shoulder complex to me. But oh no, I better do lateral raises or else I’ll have horrible imbalances in the future!

Whatever though, I’ll stick with bigger gains in strength and size overall for now instead of worrying if my side delts are “imbalanced”.

[quote]Wreckless wrote:
keaster wrote:
Something is kinda stumping me. My arms are 14 inches flexed, unpumped (yeah they are small) and 12.5 unflexed. It’s kinda annoying because I put all this work in and only look like I have big arms (for me) when I flex. Any help would be great.

Err, are you training to support you with martial arts? Do you need stronger arms? Or are you training for looks? What are your goals? Watch out for mission creep.

You said you got stronger when you started lifting weights. That’s good.

You can throw in a couple of sets of biceps curls [i]for good measure[/i], but don’t forget triceps extensions.

Or you can do pull-ups and dips, they’re both compound and tax the biceps and triceps.[/quote]

I’m telling you, LISTEN TO HIM and do some goddamn lateral raises if you don’t want your delts imbalanced.

[quote]keaster wrote:
Something is kinda stumping me. My arms are 14 inches flexed, unpumped (yeah they are small) and 12.5 unflexed.[/quote]

http://www.T-Nation.com/readTopic.do?id=1356801

You’ve pretty much answered your own question don’t you think?

Thanks for all the great answers guys

I will try and clarify some stuff

-I do martial art and lift about 50/50. It may not be optimal but I like it that way.
-I plan to enter a powerlifting comp thats coming up.

  • For the pull up thing- I can pull up way more than I can bench.
    -I got a lot stronger when I started powerlifting. Before I was really weak- even after training for awhile. That may have been due to low test- who knows.

I would like to continue to powerlift so I think I will just add in more arms work. My recovery is now excellent (for me) from HRT.

Again, thanks for everyones responses.

If I did not do some direct work for bi’s, tri’s and lateral and rear delts they just would not grow… period. Especially the delts. I understand the reasoning behind building a routine on a foundation of the big compound movements. I still don’t get the propensity to intentionally avoid direct work for smaller muscle groups.

I just had my wife measure my arms for the first time since I started training again and they are 17 in. even, flexed cold. Not olympia material, but they have grown a lot. I should’ve taken measurements when I started, but I didn’t.

I don’t even do a ton of direct work, but what I do is hard and well thought out. It’s free and doesn’t even take long. The equipment is sitting there. Why not? It’s like a badge of coolness or something to not do ANY iso work these days.

My lateral delts barely grow when I do work them directly (very stubborn). I shudder to think what would happen if I didn’t. Professor X, your advice of a couple months ago is definitely helping BTW. The wierd thing is they have gotten harder and much stronger, but still are not prominent like I want them to be. It’s like they attach too far down my humerus and are too long or something.

When the Fuck did training bench make you a powerlifter? You want big arms? Deadlift and squat.

What is the world coming to. Seriously… Someone with small arms had to be TOLD that he needed to train his arms directly.

How could anyone have thought otherwise?

[quote]CaliforniaLaw wrote:
What is the world coming to. Seriously… Someone with small arms had to be TOLD that he needed to train his arms directly.

How could anyone have thought otherwise?[/quote]

Because “bodybuilding” is now a bad word. That is why some guy with arms that small calls himself a “powerlifter” even though he is trying to get bigger…as if bodybuilders wouldn’t dare be focused on strength as well.

[quote]Professor X wrote:

Apparently some trainer or author made it seem like you should ONLY concentrate on compound movements and avoid isolation exercises. That doesn’t make sense unless you plan to have imbalances that you will have to make up for later on.
[/quote]

Direct arm work is the best way to go for bigger arms. I’m not going to argue that point. But you CAN hit them with compound movements. (Chin ups for the biceps and close grip benches for the triceps.) They’re not going to grow the way they would with direct work but they shouldn’t lag TOO far behind the rest of the body.

And honestly, is there a sudden shortage of people hitting the dumb bells to curl? Those are usually the first thing the new years crowd go for when they enter the gym. And when coaches talk about compound over isolation work I think that’s the crowd they’re trying to reach.

[quote]Professor X wrote:
CaliforniaLaw wrote:
What is the world coming to. Seriously… Someone with small arms had to be TOLD that he needed to train his arms directly.

How could anyone have thought otherwise?

Because “bodybuilding” is now a bad word. That is why some guy with arms that small calls himself a “powerlifter” even though he is trying to get bigger…as if bodybuilders wouldn’t dare be focused on strength as well.[/quote]
What ever happened to growing and getting stronger by working all body parts.

Man when I was a kid all I wanted was to be big AND strong. Why can’t we all do BOTH.

[quote]Ron.Odinn wrote:
Professor X wrote:
CaliforniaLaw wrote:
What is the world coming to. Seriously… Someone with small arms had to be TOLD that he needed to train his arms directly.

How could anyone have thought otherwise?

Because “bodybuilding” is now a bad word. That is why some guy with arms that small calls himself a “powerlifter” even though he is trying to get bigger…as if bodybuilders wouldn’t dare be focused on strength as well.
What ever happened to growing and getting stronger by working all body parts.

Man when I was a kid all I wanted was to be big AND strong. Why can’t we all do BOTH.
[/quote]

That used to be what was meant by “bodybuilding”. Terms like “functional strength” and the attempt to make larger bodybuilders look “relatively weak” has made these once simple concepts hard to understand by beginners. It helps trainers sell books. It also fills the gyms with people as turned around as some guy who wants to get big but avoids training entire body parts directly.

[quote]Sliver wrote:
Professor X wrote:

Apparently some trainer or author made it seem like you should ONLY concentrate on compound movements and avoid isolation exercises. That doesn’t make sense unless you plan to have imbalances that you will have to make up for later on.

Direct arm work is the best way to go for bigger arms. I’m not going to argue that point. But you CAN hit them with compound movements. (Chin ups for the biceps and close grip benches for the triceps.) They’re not going to grow the way they would with direct work but they shouldn’t lag TOO far behind the rest of the body.

And honestly, is there a sudden shortage of people hitting the dumb bells to curl? Those are usually the first thing the new years crowd go for when they enter the gym. And when coaches talk about compound over isolation work I think that’s the crowd they’re trying to reach.[/quote]

That crowd won’t even stay in the gym past April so why are we worried about those types of people on this site?

Shouldn’t we be more concerned with the ones who actually take this seriously and plan to make significant progress short term as well as over the course of years?

Tribulus- I hardly ever train lateral delts but mine are overpowering. I thought my arms would come along for the ride like my shoulders did.

John S- I am not sure where I said I didn’t train squat and deadlift.

Calilaw- If you read up a little bit you would see that I got stuck in the no arm training craze. I thought I could hit them with compounds like Close grip, board presses, lockouts, Close grip chin ups etc. It worked for my shoulders but clearly not my arms. Was it wrong, yes. Was it a mistake, yes. Will it be corrected, yes.

Prof x- I understand what you are saying. However, my main goal for lifting is to increase my Bench, Squat, Deadlift poundages. Does every powerlifter that tries to get bigger automatically become a bodybuilder? There are divisions in types of lifters.
And yes, I would like bigger arms, but I wouldnt add a whole arm day when I could be working on upping my maxes or practicing martial arts.

Thanks for [almost] everyone posts.

Doesn’t matter how much time someone spends training. Just as long as they’re doing it right. And if you’re arms aren’t growing with the rest of your body you’re doing it wrong.

[quote]Sliver wrote:
Doesn’t matter how much time someone spends training. Just as long as they’re doing it right. And if you’re arms aren’t growing with the rest of your body you’re doing it wrong.[/quote]

It doesn’t matter how long someone spends training? If someone is the typical New Year’s Resolutioner, it matters a whole lot. I personally wouldn’t waste the time worrying about someone who isn’t serious and won’t even be lifting in 6 months.

I think the bottom line is that you are not stimulating your muscles to grow…are you the housefly who keeps flying into the window over and over and wonders why he cant escape??
CHANGE YOUR APPROACH

I think it was eistein who defined insanity as something like>> doing the same thing over and expecting a different result.

[quote]keaster wrote:
Does every powerlifter that tries to get bigger automatically become a bodybuilder? [/quote]

It makes them NOT just a “powerlifter”. It makes them someone who wants to gain muscle mass…which means you don’t avoid looking at what so many people before you did to accomplish that goal. It also means you can’t JUST focus on those three lifts and expect to make that goal a reality unless you want some parts to lag behind.

I want to know how the hell you think you’re a powerlifter with 14" arms and you say your arms get enough work from other exercises. How the hell do weak ass arms like that lift huge amounts of weight?

Do you even know what the hell powerlifiting is? We’re not talking 200 lbs here…

[quote]Professor X wrote:
Sliver wrote:
Doesn’t matter how much time someone spends training. Just as long as they’re doing it right. And if you’re arms aren’t growing with the rest of your body you’re doing it wrong.

It doesn’t matter how long someone spends training? If someone is the typical New Year’s Resolutioner, it matters a whole lot. I personally wouldn’t waste the time worrying about someone who isn’t serious and won’t even be lifting in 6 months.[/quote]

Let me elaborate on my comment. Bad training is bad training. And the less time someone spends doing it the better.