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Bigger Arms Without Weight Gain

Is it possible to build bigger arms without gaining weight? I have read that in order to put 1" on your arms you will need to gain about 30lbs. I’m stuck at 16" (after years and years and years of training). I’ve tried a lot of different programs. I weigh 180lbs now, but my arms were the same when I weighted 166lbs. I tried direct (curls) and indirect (pullups) arm work, multi-sets, supersets, drop-sets, once-per-week, 3x’s per week, fascia stretching, high rep, low rep, blah, blah, blah. My arms never grow. They look great pumped! But then they deflate. Everything else is getting bigger, so big that I look goofy with my relatively skinny arms. Is there some program I’m missing that will grow some arms without gaining weight?

Your not alone. I recently dropped down to 150lbs (a little over 14 inches cold) because of lack of food (unemployed). Im stuck at dippin 50lb attached for singles and bench/ row at 210lb for 15x’s (bowflex). Really sucks, my arms are looking cut, but to small. I havent found one yet, except that eat more program. If you find one that doesnt involve eating more let me in on the secret, I could really use it. Good luck & stay strong.

You’re 180lbs at 5’7" and 12% BF, and your 16" arms look small on you.

Dude, this requires some photographic evidence!

On another note, have you read either of these?

http://www.T-Nation.com/readTopic.do?id=840637

http://www.T-Nation.com/readTopic.do?id=1107532

[quote]PGJ wrote:
Is it possible to build bigger arms without gaining weight? I have read that in order to put 1" on your arms you will need to gain about 30lbs. I’m stuck at 16" (after years and years and years of training). I’ve tried a lot of different programs. I weigh 180lbs now, but my arms were the same when I weighted 166lbs. I tried direct (curls) and indirect (pullups) arm work, multi-sets, supersets, drop-sets, once-per-week, 3x’s per week, fascia stretching, high rep, low rep, blah, blah, blah. My arms never grow. They look great pumped! But then they deflate. Everything else is getting bigger, so big that I look goofy with my relatively skinny arms. Is there some program I’m missing that will grow some arms without gaining weight? [/quote]

I would say that weight gain is closer to 15-20lbs of total body weight for every inch on your arms, not 30.

Beyond that, everyone isn’t going to be able to build arms over 17". Genetics play a part as well. Mine hit 18" within 3 years of lifting. There are some guys who have trained for 20+ years who won’t ever do that. I would like to believe most can at least hit 17" with a lot of hard work, but I sure wouldn’t expect to see much larger, especially UNDER 200lbs. You have to put the weight on.

[quote]Miserere wrote:
You’re 180lbs at 5’7" and 12% BF, and your 16" arms look small on you.

Dude, this requires some photographic evidence![/quote]

I agree. At his height, that isn’t that bad for 180lbs. He does need to understand that there aren’t many people walking around weighing 180lbs with arms much bigger than that. You have to gain all over.

[quote]Miserere wrote:
You’re 180lbs at 5’7" and 12% BF, and your 16" arms look small on you.

Dude, this requires some photographic evidence!

On another note, have you read either of these?

http://www.T-Nation.com/readTopic.do?id=840637

http://www.T-Nation.com/readTopic.do?id=1107532[/quote]

I’ll see what I can do about pictures.

I added a couple of pictures to my profile. These were a while ago when I was at my leanest. I’m almost 20lbs heavier now, but my arms are the same. I’ll try to add some current pics soon (with a tape measure).

[quote]PGJ wrote:
I added a couple of pictures to my profile. These were a while ago when I was at my leanest. I’m almost 20lbs heavier now, but my arms are the same. I’ll try to add some current pics soon (with a tape measure). [/quote]

No offense, but you aren’t exactly that big at all in those pics. I am surprised your arms were even 16" then. In fact, I would lay bets on you simply measuring them wrong before. Is this measurement done cold?

How much can you curl? I have spagetti arms, but I can’t curl shit.

Bigger curl = bigger arms. Problem solved.

[quote]PGJ wrote:
I added a couple of pictures to my profile. These were a while ago when I was at my leanest. I’m almost 20lbs heavier now, but my arms are the same. I’ll try to add some current pics soon (with a tape measure). [/quote]

Thanks for the pics. I was half-joking, but since you put them up, I’ll say that your arms don’t look small in comparison to the rest of you.

I have puny arms (smaller than yours), so I know what I’m talking about :slight_smile:

[quote]MODOK wrote:
PGJ wrote:
Is it possible to build bigger arms without gaining weight? I have read that in order to put 1" on your arms you will need to gain about 30lbs. I’m stuck at 16" (after years and years and years of training). I’ve tried a lot of different programs. I weigh 180lbs now, but my arms were the same when I weighted 166lbs. I tried direct (curls) and indirect (pullups) arm work, multi-sets, supersets, drop-sets, once-per-week, 3x’s per week, fascia stretching, high rep, low rep, blah, blah, blah. My arms never grow. They look great pumped! But then they deflate. Everything else is getting bigger, so big that I look goofy with my relatively skinny arms. Is there some program I’m missing that will grow some arms without gaining weight?

How old are you? 180 lbs with 16" is pretty proportional. What probably happened was you gained from 166 to 180 after you started training the posterior chain and core harder, so thats where the weight went, to catch up. You need more bodyweight though, pure and simple to see bigger arms. Bump up your cals by 250-500 every 2 weeks till you are gaining 2 lbs a month or so, and work on moving your weights up fractionally. You’ll get there, but it really is that simple.

[/quote]

I’m 36 and have been lifting for many, many years (cant’ tell from the pictures). The thing about gaining weight is that I can’t go over 21% bodyfat. According to Marine Corps standards I’m at 19% (simple neck to waist ratio). I’m already over my max weight (for 5’7" the max is 176), but because I score very highly on our physical fitness tests, I can be “overweight” as long as I don’t exceed 21%.

When I gain weight, it always goes to my ever-existant love handles. If I put another inch or two on my waist, I’ll be in trouble. My plan right now is to trim down to 175 and see where I’m at. Everything to me looks proportional except my arms. My long term goal is to get my waist down to 32 inches and my arms up to about 16 1/2 - 17".

[quote]conorh wrote:
How much can you curl? I have spagetti arms, but I can’t curl shit.

Bigger curl = bigger arms. Problem solved.[/quote]

I was barbell curling 115lbs when all of a sudden I got tendonitis in my elbow (freaking miserable). Now I do mostly weighted pullups and light cable curls. I was also doing 50lb db’s for seated curls. Like I said earlier, my arms look great when they’re pumped, but then quickly deflate. I think I need to work on my forearms as well (once the burning, stabbing pain in my forearms goes away). My dad is a doctor. He said if it doesn’t go away, he’ll give me a cortizone shot.

[quote]PGJ wrote:
I’m 36 and have been lifting for many, many years (cant’ tell from the pictures). The thing about gaining weight is that I can’t go over 21% bodyfat. According to Marine Corps standards I’m at 19% (simple neck to waist ratio). I’m already over my max weight (for 5’7" the max is 176), but because I score very highly on our physical fitness tests, I can be “overweight” as long as I don’t exceed 21%.

When I gain weight, it always goes to my ever-existant love handles. If I put another inch or two on my waist, I’ll be in trouble. My plan right now is to trim down to 175 and see where I’m at. Everything to me looks proportional except my arms. My long term goal is to get my waist down to 32 inches and my arms up to about 16 1/2 - 17".

[/quote]

The marine corps doesn’t measure you all year long. Therefore, it would make since to work on gaining when you won’t be measured. For the many years of training you have out in, I just don’t see it. I also don’t understand using those weight standards as if that is even an issue. I must be well over those weight standards. Perhaps it would be easier to get rid of those love handles if you actually gained a significant amount of muscle. I’ll also add that if you are hitting 19% by that neck waist ratio, you must have a very small neck. Why not work on that so this isn’t even an issue?

I am here in Iraq, and I find it hard to believe that there are any BF% standards. I hate to put it this way, but there is a serious lack of muscular size here in our forces and a LOT of fat asses. I am not talking a little soft, I am talking rolls pouring onto fatigues.

You have some wiggle room. I wouldn’t try to add too many calories…
What is your routine currently?

Two possible ways to get bigger arms without adding weight: (1) take up professional armwrestling (2) do a lot of forearm isolation work.

[quote]Professor X wrote:
I would say that weight gain is closer to 15-20lbs of total body weight for every inch on your arms, not 30.
[/quote]

Unless of course you are 6’2 like me, then I reckon it is closer to 30lbs

[quote]jp_dubya wrote:
I am here in Iraq, and I find it hard to believe that there are any BF% standards. I hate to put it this way, but there is a serious lack of muscular size here in our forces and a LOT of fat asses. I am not talking a little soft, I am talking rolls pouring onto fatigues.

You have some wiggle room. I wouldn’t try to add too many calories…
What is your routine currently? [/quote]

I agree completely. I generally don’t get hassled about my weight and I am FAR above my weight standard. I wouldn’t want to look like the guys who actually meet those statistic requirements. Either way, if they are still doing neck and waist measurements, this is easily beat by simply having a larger neck.

[quote]Professor X wrote:
PGJ wrote:
I’m 36 and have been lifting for many, many years (cant’ tell from the pictures). The thing about gaining weight is that I can’t go over 21% bodyfat. According to Marine Corps standards I’m at 19% (simple neck to waist ratio). I’m already over my max weight (for 5’7" the max is 176), but because I score very highly on our physical fitness tests, I can be “overweight” as long as I don’t exceed 21%.

When I gain weight, it always goes to my ever-existant love handles. If I put another inch or two on my waist, I’ll be in trouble. My plan right now is to trim down to 175 and see where I’m at. Everything to me looks proportional except my arms. My long term goal is to get my waist down to 32 inches and my arms up to about 16 1/2 - 17".

The marine corps doesn’t measure you all year long. Therefore, it would make since to work on gaining when you won’t be measured. For the many years of training you have out in, I just don’t see it. I also don’t understand using those weight standards as if that is even an issue. I must be well over those weight standards. Perhaps it would be easier to get rid of those love handles if you actually gained a significant amount of muscle. I’ll also add that if you are hitting 19% by that neck waist ratio, you must have a very small neck. Why not work on that so this isn’t even an issue? [/quote]

Prof,

I always appreciate your brutal honesty. My neck is 16". My problem is my thick waist. It’s 36" around the handles. You are correct that I only get measured every 6 months. I agree that I don’t look like a guy who has lifted for the majority of his life. Obviously, I’m doing something wrong. My chest, legs and back grow pretty easily, arms and shoulders won’t budge. I also agree that I need to gain a “significant” amount of muscle. That would help the metabolism burn more calories.

[quote]jp_dubya wrote:
I am here in Iraq, and I find it hard to believe that there are any BF% standards. I hate to put it this way, but there is a serious lack of muscular size here in our forces and a LOT of fat asses. I am not talking a little soft, I am talking rolls pouring onto fatigues.

You have some wiggle room. I wouldn’t try to add too many calories…
What is your routine currently? [/quote]

Those aren’t Marines you are talking about. Marines don’t care if you have two broken legs and can’t exercise. If you are out of standards, you will be in trouble. I’m currently on a 2X’s per week full body program with a couple of cardio days thrown in. July 1 I’m switching to the Body-for-Life program.

[quote]Professor X wrote:
jp_dubya wrote:
I am here in Iraq, and I find it hard to believe that there are any BF% standards. I hate to put it this way, but there is a serious lack of muscular size here in our forces and a LOT of fat asses. I am not talking a little soft, I am talking rolls pouring onto fatigues.

You have some wiggle room. I wouldn’t try to add too many calories…
What is your routine currently?

I agree completely. I generally don’t get hassled about my weight and I am FAR above my weight standard. I wouldn’t want to look like the guys who actually meet those statistic requirements. Either way, if they are still doing neck and waist measurements, this is easily beat by simply having a larger neck.[/quote]

Prof,

You are a gigantic dude. Tons of muscle, but if you tried to join the military you would have to slim down quite a bit. It’s just something that goes with the job.