T Nation

How Did You Get Your Arms Bigger?

The question is simple but I am sure the answers will be widely varied. Guys, how did you get your arms as big as they are now?

1 Like


I go through stages of doing lots of direct arm work, and stages of doing none. It doesn’t seem to matter. I can train arms directly for 6 months and gain x amount and then ignore them and they grow x amount.

I think a combination of heavy back work and pressing, and the odd bit of isolation working on mind muscle connection works well. You can do 10 different bicep exercises if you like but it won’t force them to grow at a faster rate and is wasting gym time and energy.

Oh and food, lots of food.

Squats + Food

1 Like

I see this often and don’t really understand it. If we are talking actual arm size then yeah maybe. But if it is tricep and bicep gain, then no. Heavy rows, deads, farmers walks, and pull ups will take care of any beginner bicep work. After, heavy reverse curls and hammer curls will build on it. Heavy close grip bench, dips, reverse grip bench, any bench variant really for higher reps will take care of triceps in general. I like to do overhead extensions on my off days with weighted stretches afterward, but they aren’t necessary.

@Love_The_Deadlift, stick to what your name is really

Make direct arm work first in the first work out of the week, and first in a second direct arm session later in the week.

Pull ups, chin ups, fat grip reverse curls, ring dips.

Pick a different grip and angle each week/workout/month. Regular grip, hammer grip, & neutral grip. Change the position of your upper arm–Incline curls, decline skull crushers, preacher curls, overhead extensions. Changing the angles hits the muscles through more complete ranges of motion.

Strict reps and not so strict reps. For example–cable press downs–I do strict reps til failure and then allow my upper arms to move and start initiating the movement from the shoulder. It hits the muscle at both the origin and insertion point.

And finally, I’ve recently become a fan of doing 2 moderate sets of 10 and then an all out set to failure. Double rest/pause or drop sets.

I just do curls and pushdowns with a normal, balanced bodypart split. That’s about it. For some insane reason, none of my bodyparts lag. Yeah, I know this sounds crazy. Maybe I’m just special.

1 Like

I find the effect of Squats will make my arms grow more than just arm work by itself. With a surplus I added a few inches on the size just through focusing on squats.

1 Like

Do you have big arms?

I’m sitting with 18" first thing in the morning. Take that as you want. For me Squats work.

Have your arms got bigger just because you’ve gained 6-7kg since December? Your arms don’t look very muscular and you’re carrying a fair bit of fat. I doubt your arms would be very big if you cut down to around 10% body fat.

I don’t think you’re qualified to give advice on this subject.


Probably is due to that fact as well, hence the food part. Since this thread is about you and your arms, not general advice. I’m not actually giving advice am I, just stating what has worked best for me.

Squats (may) help in eliciting hormonal responses and definitely increase appetite, which is necessary to put on size.

To actually put on arm muscle mass though, I always had the best results on my arms from going to failure/doing drop sets/a complex on tricep/bicep isolation movements ~twice a week for each just at the end of a workout. I was able to do this while doing push/pull programs or powerlifting style programs. If I was doing a program where I push and pull on the same day, I would superset bicep/tricep isolation at the end. Typically those programs would have me doing it 3x a week. I was never going to failure on the compound movements that comprised the rest of my workouts, so my body always felt fresh; the triceps/biceps might be sore the next day, but rarely ever two days after. This allowed me to hit them hard and often without comprising my main lifts, which also stimulate the arms at varying rep ranges/intensities to a certain degree.

Having a sole, dedicated arm day has also worked, but it never really fit in with my goals as I found it difficult to program around my strength goals.

Caveat: I have terribly unimpressive arms at the moment, just gonna have to take my word for it. Or I could show you a reverse before and after where you can see how much I lost by not doing what I outlined hah

1 Like

I disagree, for me focusing more on heavy compound movements, mainly squats, my arms got bigger. For me starting squatting and powerlifting training increased the size of my arms, muscle + fat size increase. My point is you aren’t going to have jacked muscular arms while weighing 60kg and doing curls everyday.

For me personally taking a step back and focusing on heavy squats and deads too added size to my arms. You can disagree, but the hormonal effects of squats as well as the weight increase made my arms larger. I agree with greggy here, more total mass = bigger everywhere.

If you want to know how you can get bigger arms while staying at the same weight I don’t have a clue and aren’t going to have insightful input on that regard. [quote=“Love_The_Deadlift, post:1, topic:229328”]
how did you get your arms as big as they are now?

Since the question was that. Not instruct me on getting big arms under specific conditions as you are implying. I can answer however I please.

Volume…my arms are actually pretty gash now (relative to their rest of me) but, back when I was a relative newb & I pumped my guns a lot they were pretty damn good. I’d say for people with very long limbs, this is especially true.

it’s not like arms need some magical technique. Get stronger on your compounds, and finish off on isolation moves to trash the bits the compounds don’t maximally stimulate.

Shit’s checkers, not chess.


please don’t take this as an insult, because I sincerely don’t mean to insult you, but c’mon dude; you’re hardly rocking a lean 18 incher.

Frank Zane had 18" arms.


Haha I wish.