T Nation

Avoiding Muscle Loss on the Arms


I recently completed a mass gain cycle and went from 172 to 202 pounds in around 5 months. The problem is I have to fight hard for every inch of muscle I get on my arms. The mass cycle helped me add just enough size to make my arms look respectable.

When ever I cut I lose size on my arms extremely fast , which really makes the bulk up a pointless and a waste of time.

My question is what would be the best approach to cutting while not losing muscle mass on my arms ( i understand that some loss will occur ). I hoping to get some insight with guys who have had this similar problem.


How much can you barbell curl and close grip bench?


Try a very modest cut and ensure that your lifts don't suffer, especially curls, dips, etc. If you are able to at least maintain the same lifts for a couple of weeks, cut a little deeper. What you don't want to do is immediately jump into a deep cut for months and watch your hard earned gains melt away.


No, he shouldn't be cutting this often at all. He is running in circles because as soon as he gains some size, he diets right back down and loses it. Most of these people need to just realize that it is going to take YEARS to build up some solid size on their bodies so dieting every few months makes no sense.

He needs to build size at a pace that allows him to not have to diet down like this as frequently. If he spent 2-3 years working on size, his arms wouldn't shrink and he would have some real size on him.


i would suggest maintaining your new weight for at least 3-4 months before you try to cut


Only 3 months? I would recommend that for someone who was already big before dieting down drastically but not someone at this stage who needs more quality size overall.

In fact, going from own experience, if someone really has some decent size on them, I think they should hold that weight or "gain slowly" for longer than 3 months before dropping weight to reduce potential muscle loss.


i would try to up my rowing and pressing movements ad those will be the exercises that put the most "pressure" on the bis and tris (and shoulders)


If people are still doing BACK MOVEMENTS for FUCKING BICEPS, then they need to back away from the computer and find a real gym. I trained back today....IN ORDER TO GET A BIGGER STRONGER BACK. When I get ready to get bigger and stronger biceps, I WILL TRAIN MY BICEPS directly.

I would really love to see pics of the arm development of those who recommend people avoid it.


okokok. fine.

OP, care to post a picture?


Wooo hooo... 2009 representing... there you go..


Sounds like you have pudgy arms.


sigh here we go again....


seeing as i'm new i'm a bit confused about the reactions/responses to my post. anyone care to explain?


Because for some unknown reason people advocate not doing direct arm work these days. They seem to think rows and presses are enough to make your arms big.

Silly newbs believe this and end up with arms behind the rest of their body.

I was a victim of this vicious crime.


Back exercises are called BACK exercises for a reason. They work your back. If they would work your biceps directly, they'd be called bicep exercises. Doing pulling and pushing exercises won't get your arms up to par, unless those pulling and pushing exercises are called curls, dips and close grip bench presses.


alright, i see your point. but why is it that the biggest people with the biggest biceps/triceps have some amazing pressing/rowing power? i mean, what will work your biceps, even if it is indirect more: rowing 315 for 10 or bb curling 115 for 10? obviously its the rowing, the bicep has to stay engaged, even if indirect, for 10 reps with heavier weight than with the 115 even though the 115 is a "direct" exercise.

its the same concept as why powerlifters have such big tris. they rarely do direct tri work, or at the very least, their direct tri work is significantly less than what a bb'er does, but they get big tri's by working them indirectly through board presses, benching, etc.


Point taken on when he should cut. I was just trying to keep him from cutting too drastically when he does choose to cut.


This is getting retarded. I'm a big guy. I can row much more than the 315lbs you just spoke of. I also train biceps directly. Why the hell do some of you think in such a limited fashion that you believe this is some type of "either or" situation where you either row OR curl but never both?

I used to train with powerlifters....who also fucking trained biceps and triceps directly. That may be why they were so fucking huge.

Again, please post pics of your own well developed arms that you do not train directly.


People like that ALWAYS choose to cut. These are the same types who think you get huge and ripped at the exact same time.


Nothing will develop your biceps/triceps better than direct biceps/triceps work. Heavy rowing is mostly driven by your back muscles, so you're not recruiting your arms to the same extent as when you are working them directly, without interference from other muscle groups.