T Nation

Arms Only Routine

My arms are seriously lacking. My chest and back and legs have all grown to the point where I think I look unbalanced and akward with my skinny arms. I’m thinking of trying something new.

I’m in the logistics business and one thing I have become very familiar with is Theory of Constraints. It’s a business idea of:

First - identify your goal.

Second - identify your constraints, or bottlenecks in your processes.

Third - elevate your bottleneck’s importance and make it a priority to eliminate them.

Fourth - once the constraint has been eliminated, search for your next constraint and start over.

For me, my constraint is my skinny arms. I know a lot of folks here follow the “less is more” philosophy. But I know a lot of old timers used to work lagging bodyparts several time a week. So what I’m thinking of doing is arms and shoulders only (no bench, squats, rows, DL’s…) 2-3 times a week for a couple of months. Lots of weighted pull-ups, curls, dips, CG bench, military presses, forearm work and so on. Healthy mix of compound and single joint exercises. The goal is to put at least 1/2 inch on my arms.

I’ve done the weight gain program. Went from about 167lbs to 193lbs. Everything grew except my arms. Had to go buy new spandex-type boxer shorts because my old ones cotton ones got too tight in the thighs. I’m back at 180lbs and like this weight best. If I could get 1/2 on the guns that would be sweet.

Thoughts?

sounds good if thats what you want


n3wb

[quote]PGJ wrote:
My arms are seriously lacking. My chest and back and legs have all grown to the point where I think I look unbalanced and akward with my skinny arms. I’m thinking of trying something new.

I’m in the logistics business and one thing I have become very familiar with is Theory of Constraints. It’s a business idea of:

First - identify your goal.

Second - identify your constraints, or bottlenecks in your processes.

Third - elevate your bottleneck’s importance and make it a priority to eliminate them.

Fourth - once the constraint has been eliminated, search for your next constraint and start over.

For me, my constraint is my skinny arms. I know a lot of folks here follow the “less is more” philosophy. But I know a lot of old timers used to work lagging bodyparts several time a week. So what I’m thinking of doing is arms and shoulders only (no bench, squats, rows, DL’s…) 2-3 times a week for a couple of months. Lots of weighted pull-ups, curls, dips, CG bench, military presses, forearm work and so on. Healthy mix of compound and single joint exercises. The goal is to put at least 1/2 inch on my arms.

I’ve done the weight gain program. Went from about 167lbs to 193lbs. Everything grew except my arms. Had to go buy new spandex-type boxer shorts because my old ones cotton ones got too tight in the thighs. I’m back at 180lbs and like this weight best. If I could get 1/2 on the guns that would be sweet.

Thoughts? [/quote]

Well, the last time I responded to one of your posts, you accused me of being a troop-hating terrorist. Which is cool, because I fucking hate the troops. Every single one of them. And I feel sorry for those poor insurgents who are being killed every day. Oh, and I hate America too.

Now that that’s out of the way, I’d like to say: Yes, if you want to build up your arms, hit them frequently (e.g. CT’s HSS-100 Specialization routine). HOWEVER, you still need to maintain your other muscle groups. Just because you want to hit your arms hard doesn’t mean you have to suspend all other body parts. You should still throw in some squats and DLs so your CNS doesn’t take a two month long nap on you.

Unless you want the rest of your body to shrink so that your arms APPEAR to be bigger…

And what’s the deal with having a preferred weight (this isn’t a personal attack, its just something I’ve seen alot around here)? Do you honestly think you’d be worse off with 5 or 10 more pounds of muscle? I mean, at 5’11" 200, I still think I’m a skinny little shit. I won’t be happy until I’m at AT LEAST 215. And even then, I won’t by any stretch of the imagination be huge. Ok sorry, rant over.

Good luck with those arms. Hit them hard, but don’t forget you have legs and a back too!

Perfect 10 for bis/tris will give you the results you are looking for and you could still do a maintenence routine. I used it for my arms and got near an inch of growth in the first six weeks. Had to stop due to finals though. Others on this site have reported 2 inches of arm growth in 9 weeks. It works.

[quote]swordthrower wrote:
PGJ wrote:
My arms are seriously lacking. My chest and back and legs have all grown to the point where I think I look unbalanced and akward with my skinny arms. I’m thinking of trying something new.

I’m in the logistics business and one thing I have become very familiar with is Theory of Constraints. It’s a business idea of:

First - identify your goal.

Second - identify your constraints, or bottlenecks in your processes.

Third - elevate your bottleneck’s importance and make it a priority to eliminate them.

Fourth - once the constraint has been eliminated, search for your next constraint and start over.

For me, my constraint is my skinny arms. I know a lot of folks here follow the “less is more” philosophy. But I know a lot of old timers used to work lagging bodyparts several time a week. So what I’m thinking of doing is arms and shoulders only (no bench, squats, rows, DL’s…) 2-3 times a week for a couple of months. Lots of weighted pull-ups, curls, dips, CG bench, military presses, forearm work and so on. Healthy mix of compound and single joint exercises. The goal is to put at least 1/2 inch on my arms.

I’ve done the weight gain program. Went from about 167lbs to 193lbs. Everything grew except my arms. Had to go buy new spandex-type boxer shorts because my old ones cotton ones got too tight in the thighs. I’m back at 180lbs and like this weight best. If I could get 1/2 on the guns that would be sweet.

Thoughts?

Well, the last time I responded to one of your posts, you accused me of being a troop-hating terrorist. Which is cool, because I fucking hate the troops. Every single one of them. And I feel sorry for those poor insurgents who are being killed every day. Oh, and I hate America too.

Now that that’s out of the way, I’d like to say: Yes, if you want to build up your arms, hit them frequently (e.g. CT’s HSS-100 Specialization routine). HOWEVER, you still need to maintain your other muscle groups. Just because you want to hit your arms hard doesn’t mean you have to suspend all other body parts. You should still throw in some squats and DLs so your CNS doesn’t take a two month long nap on you.

Unless you want the rest of your body to shrink so that your arms APPEAR to be bigger…

And what’s the deal with having a preferred weight (this isn’t a personal attack, its just something I’ve seen alot around here)? Do you honestly think you’d be worse off with 5 or 10 more pounds of muscle? I mean, at 5’11" 200, I still think I’m a skinny little shit. I won’t be happy until I’m at AT LEAST 215. And even then, I won’t by any stretch of the imagination be huge. Ok sorry, rant over.

Good luck with those arms. Hit them hard, but don’t forget you have legs and a back too!

[/quote]

Thanks for the input. Don’t remember calling you any names, but if I did I’m sure it was for a good reason.

At 190lbs my VERY expensive military uniforms were very tight, plus I was 10lbs over my military max weight. At that weight, with a little extra bodyfat I add to get there put me dangerously close to being overweight and over bodyfat according to Marine Corps standards of measuring bodyfat. It’s a simple neck to waist ratio. I measured 13% with calipers, but 21% with the N/W ratio. 22%bf and you’re toast. And the N/W scale is all that matters.

[quote]PGJ wrote:

At 190lbs my VERY expensive military uniforms were very tight, plus I was 10lbs over my military max weight. At that weight, with a little extra bodyfat I add to get there put me dangerously close to being overweight and over bodyfat according to Marine Corps standards of measuring bodyfat. It’s a simple neck to waist ratio. I measured 13% with calipers, but 21% with the N/W ratio. 22%bf and you’re toast. And the N/W scale is all that matters.

[/quote]

How is this possible? Let me say this, I don’t know that much about the military, but they have rules about how big you can get? I always thought of Marines as being pretty rugged, but apparently they are trying to keep you guys skinny now?

Anyways, the way I see it you have a couple of problems. First, 1/2 inch isn’t a lot of size to gain. I’m not saying it is easy, but adding 1/2 inch won’t be as noticeable as you think. Second, on average, you will have to add about 10lbs over your whole body to put on 1/2 inch in the arms.

I wouldn’t dump all the rest of your exercises just to grow your arms. Have you looked at CT’s ‘Your Ticket to the Gun Show’? It has 3 direct arm days plus a leg day and a chest/back/shoulders day. I’ve done his programs in the past with very good results.

I stopped training everything else to focus on my arms, then all my other muscles shrunk and got weak.

You should just do simple things like increase the volume of arm training, maybe train arms first in your workouts, etc.

[quote]Modi wrote:
PGJ wrote:

At 190lbs my VERY expensive military uniforms were very tight, plus I was 10lbs over my military max weight. At that weight, with a little extra bodyfat I add to get there put me dangerously close to being overweight and over bodyfat according to Marine Corps standards of measuring bodyfat. It’s a simple neck to waist ratio. I measured 13% with calipers, but 21% with the N/W ratio. 22%bf and you’re toast. And the N/W scale is all that matters.

How is this possible? Let me say this, I don’t know that much about the military, but they have rules about how big you can get? I always thought of Marines as being pretty rugged, but apparently they are trying to keep you guys skinny now?

Anyways, the way I see it you have a couple of problems. First, 1/2 inch isn’t a lot of size to gain. I’m not saying it is easy, but adding 1/2 inch won’t be as noticeable as you think. Second, on average, you will have to add about 10lbs over your whole body to put on 1/2 inch in the arms.

I wouldn’t dump all the rest of your exercises just to grow your arms. Have you looked at CT’s ‘Your Ticket to the Gun Show’? It has 3 direct arm days plus a leg day and a chest/back/shoulders day. I’ve done his programs in the past with very good results.[/quote]

I know in the Army, we have Height/Weight standards, and if you exceed them, you get your bodyfat measured after each 6 month PT test. They don’t want a bunch of fat guys in uniform (although there are tons of fat women in the army, but they have their own standards). The system they use sucks, though, and is no where near precise.

If you carry allot of muscle, it isn’t an issue other than waiting in a long line of people who are overweight and sweaty from the 2 mile run.

Now, for the uniforms, when you start to gain weight (muscle or fat), you want your uniforms looser. Tight uniforms look stupid and feel even worse in the desert. Plus, since we don’t exactly make big cash, buying new uniforms can get pricey.

[quote]steadfastred wrote:
Modi wrote:
PGJ wrote:

At 190lbs my VERY expensive military uniforms were very tight, plus I was 10lbs over my military max weight. At that weight, with a little extra bodyfat I add to get there put me dangerously close to being overweight and over bodyfat according to Marine Corps standards of measuring bodyfat. It’s a simple neck to waist ratio. I measured 13% with calipers, but 21% with the N/W ratio. 22%bf and you’re toast. And the N/W scale is all that matters.

How is this possible? Let me say this, I don’t know that much about the military, but they have rules about how big you can get? I always thought of Marines as being pretty rugged, but apparently they are trying to keep you guys skinny now?

Anyways, the way I see it you have a couple of problems. First, 1/2 inch isn’t a lot of size to gain. I’m not saying it is easy, but adding 1/2 inch won’t be as noticeable as you think. Second, on average, you will have to add about 10lbs over your whole body to put on 1/2 inch in the arms.

I wouldn’t dump all the rest of your exercises just to grow your arms. Have you looked at CT’s ‘Your Ticket to the Gun Show’? It has 3 direct arm days plus a leg day and a chest/back/shoulders day. I’ve done his programs in the past with very good results.

I know in the Army, we have Height/Weight standards, and if you exceed them, you get your bodyfat measured after each 6 month PT test. They don’t want a bunch of fat guys in uniform (although there are tons of fat women in the army, but they have their own standards). The system they use sucks, though, and is no where near precise.

If you carry allot of muscle, it isn’t an issue other than waiting in a long line of people who are overweight and sweaty from the 2 mile run.

Now, for the uniforms, when you start to gain weight (muscle or fat), you want your uniforms looser. Tight uniforms look stupid and feel even worse in the desert. Plus, since we don’t exactly make big cash, buying new uniforms can get pricey.[/quote]

Cammies are easy. It’s the Dress Blues (about $400), Service Alphas (about $3-400), and the Mess Dress (about $1,000). My blues BARELY fit (very tight inthe shoulders), the Alphas are close, and the Mess Dress is fairly new and fit fine.

The main problem is that in the year 2006, the Marine Corps is still in the stone age in the way it measures body fat. Good guys are getting kicked out of the service simply because their neck to waist ratio is out of regs.

I was told as long as you can get through the OC and your PT then you could carry the extra weight,regardless of what branch you’re in.

Dumping all your other exercises is gonna bite you in the ass,I’d think twice about it.

Could you describe in some more detail the neck to waist ratio?

Is it possible to tweak your results a little bit… say by hypertrophying your neck muscles?

[quote]jmwintenn wrote:
I was told as long as you can get through the OC and your PT then you could carry the extra weight,regardless of what branch you’re in.

[/quote]

Nope.

[quote]Vyapada wrote:
Could you describe in some more detail the neck to waist ratio?

Is it possible to tweak your results a little bit… say by hypertrophying your neck muscles?[/quote]

It’s a simple waist measurement minus your neck measurement and that’s your bodyfat.

Example: My waist is about 36", my neck is about 16". According to highly scientific calculations, I’m at 20%bf. Check my pictures and tell me I’m at 20%.

I’ve known a WHOLE BUNCH of fat-ass Marines who were grossly overweight, but had gigantic necks and taped out just fine.

Yes, I could work my neck, but the problem is that I’d have to get several hundred dollars of new uniforms. The other problem is that say I add 1" to my neck it only reduces the bodyfat measurement of 1% (assuming my waist stays the same).

My question would be how were you training for this to have happened in the first place? That should be number on your constraints to conquer list. Also put my vote with everybody who’s telling you not to neglect the rest of your physique to concentrate on arms. Systemically it could hold your arm progress back anyway.

I rarely see anyone who focuses on arms really get results.

Let me ask you this.
how much do you deadlift?
can you do proper chins with added weight?
can you do deep dips with added weight?
do you ever do powercleans?

Until you have a strong base your arms will not be superb. even then I only train them sparingly.

if your still not convinced
poliquins
winning arms race is superb for arm specialization.

He always is quoted on saying many don’t grow arms cause they don’t train their legs. the body wants to stay in balance
so it would probably be better to continue to train legs and train arms on other days.

I also think it’s a big mistake to completely neglect the rest of your body. The two suggestions I’ve seen so far, Perfect 10 and CT’s arms program are good ones.

Charles Poliquin also has a twice a day arm workout article you could try… do it once every five days according to his prescription.

It’s a very common problem you have (i have it myself), and I can tell you from experience that you’ll be much happier going on a specialization program while maintaining the rest of your body.

Well,I’m sorry they haven’t changed the system.And I don’t know how they can look at you and say “yup,20%”

[quote]Kill’Em All wrote:
He always is quoted on saying many don’t grow arms cause they don’t train their legs. the body wants to stay in balance
so it would probably be better to continue to train legs and train arms on other days.[/quote]

That doesn’t really make any sense and I don’t care who said it. If you stress a body part and feed it, it will grow. Why would the body strive for balance when, due to stress, and imbalance is just what the doctor ordered? The body, and gains in general, are more about adaption than balance.

To the OP: Isolate your arms, a lot. Don’t forget your upper body compounds, but isolate those arms and you will see gains.

I get taped by the Army all the time. You have to train your neck if you want to pass the bf test. I have a neck harness I bring to the gym and just throw some plates on it.

There are so many benefits to a strong, massive neck. For one, you’ll look like a monster. Second, you’ll be far less likely to injure yourself on something like deadlifts or a hit in football. Third, you have to get larger shirts (This is a plus to me).

I think your priorities should be maxing the PT test and passing the tape test. When you can do those, you gradually add size to your body without sacrificing your score on the pt test. Arms shouldn’t even be on your radar right now. From your pics my opinion is that they aren’t that small in proportion to your body as you stated. You still need a lot of overall mass.

[quote]alownage wrote:
Kill’Em All wrote:
He always is quoted on saying many don’t grow arms cause they don’t train their legs. the body wants to stay in balance
so it would probably be better to continue to train legs and train arms on other days.

That doesn’t really make any sense and I don’t care who said it. If you stress a body part and feed it, it will grow. Why would the body strive for balance when, due to stress, and imbalance is just what the doctor ordered? The body, and gains in general, are more about adaption than balance.

To the OP: Isolate your arms, a lot. Don’t forget your upper body compounds, but isolate those arms and you will see gains. [/quote]

Have U ever seen anyone with 22 inch arms and chicken legs? Maybe a juice head but not a natural lifter.

their tends to be a corelation to arms size inch gains and body weight 15 lbs per inch.

Your body WIll strive to stay in balance.

The body will plateau quicker on its upper body development when your not training your legs.

Also VICE VERSA upper body and legs. CP once said he was working with speed skaters, and cyclists that couldn’t get their squat to grow anymore, when he began to have them focus on upper body then their squat shot up.

I suggest you send Poliquin and question for next month, to get his specific answer for the body striving in balance.