T Nation

Low Weight for Big Arms?

I’m trying to work around my crappy arm joints. I have essentially zero finger strength, and it cannot be increased - though I’m trying slowly just in case I’m wrong.

I’ve never been able to hold much weight without assistance - for example, I can’t barbell curl at all - my right wrist doesn’t turn outward enough.

However,I have been able to work up to some decent weight with ez-bar curls, pulleys, and such. But now that I’m doing more weight, my elbows are getting sorely overtaxed and I’ve had to back off the last couple weeks. I’m sort of afraid to go back to the heavy curls, though I was starting to see results.

How can I stress the biceps/triceps to grow without using the joint-busting weight? More variation, insanely high reps, 21s, 1 1/3 reps, what? Has anyone found particular success via this method?

I’m having so much success with my other body parts I’m starting to look kinda dumb. a 44" chest, 28" thighs, and 12.5" biceps is kinda ridiculous.

Just an idea…

You could try pre-fatiguing the biceps with some moderate weight curls and supersetting with underhand pulldowns/rows.

Try high-incline db curls and when done your reps, let your arms hang and stretch.

Can you do hammers or reverse curls? Sometimes working the brachialis will help pop out the bicep.

Try slower repetitions with lighter weights.

Hope those help… let us know your progress!


incline hammer curls are the staple of my biceps program, as well as neutral-grip chin-ups.

What I can’t do are heavy straight bar curls of any kind, or preacher curls, or anything that causes the wrists to rotate outwards too much. It causes too much pain.

I can do stupid-small reverse grip curls, but I am incorporating those. I also found a gulp machine curl that has handles that rotate, so I can twist them out as far as I can to come closer to a palms up curl. I guess we’ll just have to see over time.