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How to Build 'Full' Arms?


I've been working out for a wile (18 months) using compound movements, and full body work; however, my arms do not look 'full'. Is this due to a lack of movements for arms (3-6 sets for Bi's 'n Tris per week) or because i 'm not lean enough to get this look? Just watched Thor and the bloke has very "full" arms and apparently got it in 3 months? - apologies is this seems really trivial!

Thanks for suggestions.


Maybe it's not that you're too lean but maybe not big enough all over. What's your weight and height.

Also, pictures would help.


It may be a lack of size, or it could be that your BF levels are too high to see the shape/separation of the biceps/triceps. By "Full" I assume you are referring to shape.

Post a pic - it's pretty hard to tell you what you are lacking without actually seeing your arms...


5'9.5 - 195 lbs. I guess between 15-18% BF even though callipers measure 13. I tend to hold weight around glutes and limbs, so my mid section looks lean. Does this help? I 'll get some pictures later. Thanks for your time. :slightly_smiling:


Hope the link works!

Its not a perfect example because this dude is massive, i 'm talking about the "fullness" he has.

cant take a picture right now, but mine look basically like this, but slightly bigger.



I know the examples are not perfect, i'm just trying to illustrate what i mean as best as possible.


Well, you're comparing an average joe who looks like he barely lifts weights to Frank McGrath, a huge bodybuilder with tremendous size, and low bodyfat.

So, the answer is - Keep lifting heavy weights, eat enough to support your training, rinse and repeat for MANY YEARS - if you want to look anything like that. And you still won't unless you have his genetics, plus access to PEDs, and a whole truckload of other variables....

But the short answer is keep lifting heavy on the basics, eat and have patience - it will take a long time to achieve the kind of development you are talking about.


Was only using him to illustrate what i mean, i'm certainly not after his size and know its pretty un achievable for me.

Here is a much better example. Size and development wise. Thanks for your suggestions!



Here is a more accurate representation,


Pictures of other people are way less informative than an actual picture of YOUR arms.

But my advice still stands - I guarantee you need more size, then you need to reduce your bodyfat for more definition. These things will be fairly mutually exclusive. So, keep training and put on some more size, then when you feel ready you can reduce your bodyfat as necessary - the other guy you posted also has considerable LBM & low bodyfat. : )


Yeah i would upload but i 'm not in a position to do so at this moment dude. - Note, my arms aren't that small - 16.5 on 5.9 frame, they just don't look very 'full'. So i guess i need to reduce the body fat based on your advice?

Thanks for your suggestions btw :slightly_smiling:


Sure. : )

Thing is sheer numbers don't tell you the whole story - you may see a guy with 16 inch arms that looks MUCH bigger because of genetic factors - small joints, round, full muscle bellies - numerous factors. If you feel like your size is where you want it to be then yes - lean arms will look more impressive because you can see the muscle groups clearly defined. Everything pops off the bone and the separation gives the muscle the desired appearance - especially when fully loaded with glycogen...

Obviously the leaner you are, the more you can see the muscle you have. Just realize you may lose actual physical size as you drop fat, but you'll look bigger simply because of the increased definition. It's not unusual for the layman to think you gained a bunch of muscle when what you actually did was strip off a lot of fat. Leanness = muscularity. : )

Only way to know for sure is to do it - if you diet down and see that you want more size, you can always go back to gaining.....

One other thing to consider - your arms may have some peak, but lack thickness - developed triceps make up much of your arm mass, and as for biceps, hammer curls are a good exercise to develop the brachialis - which sits deeper than the biceps brachii and can "push" it to increase thickness.


Fantastic, thanks alot SkyNett :slight_smile: really appreciate your help :slight_smile:

I guess the answer is reducing fat! - I 'm fortunately blessed with really long tricep bellies so no probs there!

I think your right about bicep thickness though, i have peak but little thickness, and average belly length. I nearly always use preachers for biceps do you know of anything more than hammers that may help? - further note; I tend to find straight curls difficult to maintain stress on the bicep due to strong front delts, will cables be equally effective?


I'd just try working your way up the rack using hammers - just get stronger on that exercise. You could argue that cables keep a more continuous tension on the muscle, but I wouldn't say they are equally effective as regular freeweight barbell curls.

Best thing to do is just try it out and see. Best of luck. : )


Will do!
Thanks again! Really appreciate your help!


Try "drag curls". The barbell "drags" straight up the front of your body instead of keeping your elbows at your sides. Impossible to cheat with the front delts. At the top, squeeze your biceps hard and then push your elbows forward (I felt like my bi's were going to pop the first time I tried it)



I believe this is what Jay is referring to.


listen, thinking you can't gain size and lose bodyfat is old time ancient thinking. its been proven that you can do it. even articles on this site have gone and said that its extremely possible to do both.


I said they would be "fairly" mutually exclusive. Now, that said, you show me someone exchanging 60 pounds of bodyfat for 60 pounds of muscle without going into either a caloric surplus (to gain) or a caloric deficit (to lose) - because I've never seen that.

I'm not saying you can't gain some LBM while simultaneously losing bodyfat, but you won't be doing a LARGE amount of either one effectively....



No, no. Like dis.

Apparently, I'm doing them wrong by coming all the way up and pushing my elbows forward. I like them my way, though.