T Nation

Arms Will NOT Grow



This is a persistent problem I have.

My arms do not grow. At all.

I started a few years back at 135 pounds, with maybe 11 inch arms. Today I am around 175 and just shy of 6 foot, and my arms are at 12 inches flexed.

My diet is good. I have been gaining steadily since the summer around 2 pounds a month. Any faster and I fear its going to be fat gain.


Clean and Press (work up to heavy singles)
Strict Press 3 x8
Lateral raises 4 x 12
JM presses 4 x 5
Pushdowns 4 x 12

Deadlift (work up to singles or sets of 3)
T bar rows 4 x 8
Other row variation 3 x 10
Barbell curls 4 x 5
Hammer curls 4 x 12

Bench Press (work up to singles or 3RM)
Dumbbell Bench 4 x 8
Weighted dips 4 x 5-8
Pushdowns 5 x 12

Squat (work up to heavy singles, doubles or triples)
Leg Press 4 x 12
Leg curl 4 x 12
Barbell curls 4 x 5
Hammer curls/Preacher curls 4 x 12

As shown, I do direct arm work. I also do chinups as [art of my warmup.

My strength is constantly increasing, yet I seem to be making no gains arms-wise.



More arm work, but spread differently. 2x a week is going to better than how it's structured at 3. More exercises. I have no idea what your sets are like, either. Are those ramped or not?

And, most importantly, you need to get a shit load heavier for your arms to get big. 12" is undersized, but you are only 175 at 6'.

Focus on working the muscle, also, not the movement. It's isolation work for a reason.


What kind of weight are you curling?


I can dumbbell curl 22 kg (like 50 pounders?)
Hammer curls are 24kg


50lbs for more than 5 reps? If so, something doesn't add up here. I don't think I've seen a single person in the gym with 12" flexed arms curl that much.


You say that you started out "a few years ago". How many is a few?

I believe you need to eat more and gain more weight, and get a lot of stronger on a few, heavy basic exercises, such as barbell curls, hammercurls, dips, close grip bp and dips. Becoming a lot stronger on pull-ups/chin-ups also works great, although it's not direct arm work.

I find it weird though that your arms are only 12", because if you can hammercurl the 24 kg's for a decent amount of reps with good form you obviously have your strength in place. I say this because I am about 6 feet tall myself, I weigh just above 200 lbs relatively lean, and last time I hammercurled heavy I did 8 reps with 25 kg and my arms are pushing 16,5", despite being just a tad stronger on curls than you.

Again, gain more weight and get stronger on the basics.


I base my training around bench squat and deadlift and do a lot of compound movements.
I started at 135 after the summer of 2009.
But surely my arms would have grown from the 40 pounds of bw I added since then?
How much heavier do I need to be?


Yes, they should have grown.

Again, do you really hammercurl the 24 kg's with good form? How many reps?

How is you squat, bench, deadlift and pull-up?


I am pushing more weight on some exercises than most big guys in my gym. I can also do dips with a 26 kg dumbbell between my legs for 4 good reps.


I hammer curled 24s for 4 decent reps, albeit some swinging


I can do 10 decent pullups, to answer your question.
Bench: 80 kg
Squat: 120 kg
Deadlift: 130 kg


What are your other measurements and have they increased? (like legs, chest)

Do you feel your arm exercises in the correct muscles?

I can't say this with confidence since I'm not very familiar with taller people, but I don't think those lift numbers reflect "constant strength increases" for a few years. You may just have to increase your strength progress expectations and get after it... (with a bit of extra arm attention, that 12 inches does seem inappropriate still)


You need to eat more and get stronger on everything.

Once you can bench more, squat more, deadlift more, overhead press more, curl more (with better form), and weigh 50 lbs more your arms will be bigger than they are now, it is that simple.


No offense, but based on what you lift... I would say that your arms are right for what you are curling.

You should just lift more weight mate.

Using a barbell instead of a dumbbell when curling obviously allows you to handle much more weight... You doing 22kg with dumbbells would probably translate to around at least a 45-50kg barbell curl. And that's only to start off with.

Try more things. If your diet really is 'good' assess, is it good enough?

Or maybe your training is at fault.

Let me know how it goes.



Pictures please. Sounds like you need to hit arms more and with more focus, not as an afterthought.


Get your weight up on all lifts. The bigger you get all around the more your arms will grow directly and indirectly.

Maybe dedicate one day to just arms. Vary reps, and weight. Pick a couple exercises where you hit 6-8 reps with a heavy weight and form could be 'loose,' then pick a few exercises and pump the F out of those arms, 12-15 reps....Keep plugging away, they'll get there. Increase weight and reps as frequently as possible.


Thanks for the responses. Ill definitely try to put more focus into it.
As for my lifts, I only started pulling and squatting (and benching with good form) from october.

How will my arms get bigger if those lifts go up? Apart from bench I can't see a correlation.

Also how many inches could my arms grow if I took the above advice from now until the summer?

I don't know my other measurements but I used to be able to touch my elbows together in front of me and I can't do that now, obviously progress. Chest feels full and legs are bigger, just got new jeans a size up. But I don't want my lower body growing and hosepipe arms stuck up there




Dude my arms are much bigger and I can almost touch one elbow with the other. Get bigger all over, there's no reason for you to worry on arms when you have a lot of size still to gain. But follow austin's advice, and don't tangent his post. Your question of the lifts doesn't make any sense. You know what's progressive overload?

And how are you supposed to know how much you're gonna grow till the summer? how is HE supposed to know if you don't know? It depends on your genetics, and the effort and dedication you put on it training, in the kitchen and sleeping, BTW gotta do that. austin's advice attacks the arms from 2 mechanisms: 1) increasing the load each session if you can, trying to handle loads you originally can't, and 2) increasing the blood flow as much as possible with high reps and optimizing nutrient transport.

I'd add: do low reps with power on the concentric and try to emphasize mind muscle connection in lower and higher rep ranges to improve muscle recruitment patterns. This way you'll become more efficient are stimulating the muscle for growth.

Finally, don't come back 2 pounds heavier and complain again, if anything you should check if the problem persists say 10 pounds heavier .


Dude...I know that I'm new to these boards and all, but you're just under 6' and 175. Let me repeat: 6'. 175 pounds. You're gaining 2lbs a month and are worried about 'gaining fat.'

Doesn't take an expert to know why you're not seeing the gains you'd like.

Go eat. Go lift heavy.