T Nation

Maintain Body Mass Add Arms


I have really reached my body goals. My wife says I'm getting to large. But it seems my arms have barely grown. But my thighs got large. I was told that if you squat and deadlift your arms WOULD grow too.
So what happened and how can I maintain what I have and beef up my arms only now???



Why do people believe their arms will just get huge with no direct work at all? Who started this bullshit? What bodybuilder in the history of bodybuilders never trained biceps directly?


I'm sure Greg Valentino could give you a few good pointers.


That was wrong man. I don't wanna look like your brother,lol.


OK I bought the farm on that one. So what do you suggest???


Ding...ding...ding! Thank you, X, for again pointing this out to people. I don't know where this fallacy started, but it's absurd to think you'll develop a great set of arms with no direct arm work. Yes, you're arms will receive some stimulation from certain compound movements, but ultimately, they need to be trained directly like everything else to reach their full potential.


If you deadlift and squat and you put on size, then your arms will grow. They wont get huge, but they will grow. By deadlifting you forearms grow, and by squatting you increase overall size and ive read 10 pounds of muscle is an inch on your arms.

But, that is more or less the capacity to put an inch on your arms. YOu still have to work em.


Jump on "Perfect 10" for biceps and triceps!


i think this is a really simple question. if you do not want the rest of your body to grow but you want your arms to grow, then:

train your arms more often, train your arms at the beginning of your workout, do more arm exercises, become stronger in your arm exercises, etc.

if you dont mind your back growing as well then row more often, dont become satisfied with your back muscles!


By the way,here is my present routine...

My workout is:

Performed M-W-F

I rotated each workout for 4 weeks heavy and then 1-2 weeks light...


sounds like somebody needs to spend some time in the squat...i mean curl rack.


Three different exercises (at least two all out heavy ones and one last one with more of a focus on simple contraction). I generally start with either the EZ curl or the Hammer Strength curl. Then preacher curls with dumbbells. I used to do seated alternate curls as my second exercise (and I do consider them the best for overall size) but I injured my brachioradialis showing off one day proving I could curl a certain weight that I won't mention. Since then, I try to play it safe"er". My last exercise is whatever I think of...usually either a cable or machine.


I went through the same thing and my arms went from good to suck.

I disagree with Prof X only on the inital stages of training your arms. I found that since they were so detrained that 3-4 sets twice a week was enough. Looking at your routine I'd do them every other day at the end of the workout.

Then as your body adapts add exercises/sets.

DB curls, barbell curls normal and reverse, and cable curls are all good choices.

If you can handle 3 exercises right off the bat then definitely do that, but it's been better for me to build up the volume slowly.


Heres where we get the idea...

07:42 PM

Here is an article by Stuart McRobert.

To build muscle mass, you must increase strength. It?s that simple. You will never get huge arms, a monstrous back, a thick chest, or massive legs without lifting heavy weights. I know that probably doesn?t come as a revelation to anyone.

But despite how obvious it seems, far too many people (and not just beginners) neglect power training and rarely make increasing the weights lifted in each successive workout a priority. You must get strong in the basic mass building exercises to bring about a significant increase in muscle size.

One of the biggest mistakes typical bodybuilders make is when they implement specialization routines before they have the right to use them.

It constantly amazes me just how many neophytes (beginners), near neophytes, and other insufficiently developed bodybuilders plunge into single-body part specialization programs in the desperate attempt to build big arms. I don?t fault them for wanting big arms, but their approach to getting them is flawed.

For the typical bodybuilder who is miles away from squatting 1 ? times their bodyweight for 20 reps (if you weigh 180 lbs., that means 20 reps with 270 lbs.), an arm specialization program is utterly inappropriate and useless.

The strength and development needed to squat well over 1 ? times bodyweight for 20 reps will build bigger arms faster then focusing on biceps and triceps training with isolation exercises. Even though squats are primarily a leg exercise, they stress and stimulate the entire body.

But more importantly, if you are able to handle heavy weights in the squat, it logically follows that the rest of your body will undoubtedly be proportionally developed. It is a rare case that you would be able to squat 1 x times your bodyweight and not have a substantial amount of upper body muscle mass.


So you're saying then that deadlifts and squats don't make your arms grow. Because developing the capacity to develop your arms and actually working your arms are two different things.

There should just be advocation of having a well-rounded routine, compound and isolation. No need to put an exercise like squats on a pedestal if you still need to do everything else.


i agree, although a big part of great biceps comes from heavy pulls, DIRECT ARM WORK IS NECESSARY FOR 99% OF PEOPLE OUT THERE!

way too many nerds out there with 15-16 inch arms thinking chin ups will do the trick. great biceps need direct work, no ifs ands or buts.

triceps, on the other hand, i'd say don't necessarily need the same kinda isolation. i know plenty of people with good - great tris built almost exclusively from various presses.


But more importantly, if you are able to handle heavy weights in the squat, it logically follows that the rest of your body will undoubtedly be proportionally developed. It is a rare case that you would be able to squat 1 x times your bodyweight and not have a substantial amount of upper body muscle mass.

this is pretty dumb. to think that squatting a lot somehow translates to a proportioned body/physique is dumb dumb dumb. just because someone might be pound-for-pound strong on squat does not mean they will be good at deadlifts, snatches, chins, military, lunges, barbell curls, bench, hanging leg raises, etc...

and i love squats, i do them as often as i can, but they are far from the be-all and end-all of training as tons of nerds online would suggest.


exactly, as essential as squats are, they do not build the enitre body .

do i see tons of noobs in the gym who weigh 150 pounds dedicating all their time to arm curls and exercise ball crunches and never getting under the bar? yes. does that mean smart people who acutally DO pay their dues in the squat rack shouldn't do barbell curls and exercise ball crunches? no.


I partially feel like a of the reason the "no arm training" thing has gotten so big is because it's a bandwagon to jump on that will make people feel superior. Since a lot (or maybe even most) guys in commercial gyms are doing nothing but chest and biceps, it makes people feel superior when they aren't doing something cool and different. The body works by adapting to stimulus, so if you stimulate the arms, the arms will grow and if you stimulate the legs, the legs will grow.

I'm a poster child for this. As a college athlete in a sport in which the biceps don't really contribute anything (volleyball), I don't do any direct arm training in-season. My quads and hamstrings have exploded and my shoulders and lats have definitly developed, but my arms haven't gotten any bigger at all. Now that the season is drawing to a close and I'll be able to add some more volume back into my weight training, I'll be able to add some direct arm work- even athletes want to look good at the beach!

Also, look at olympic lifters. They squat and pull in EVERY single session and while they have incredibly developed hamstrings, glutes, quads and traps, their arms are nothing to write home about.

I think a logical approach will tell you that you need compound lifts to build your overall strength, but if you want a muscle to really grow, you're gonna have to isolate it in some fashion.


My arms are growing like weeds right now and I attribute it to two things:

1) Variety - I try to hit each of the different portions of the arm, not just the biceps.
2) Frequency - My arm training is spread throughout my routine so at least some part of my arm is getting hit on a regular basis.

Here's my current routine in case that helps: (it's loosely based on a push/pull antagonist split)

(4x8 Cycle)
Day 1 Vertical Push/Pull/Accessory
Rear Delt Row
Band Chinups
Barbell Decline Situps
Farmer's Walk

Day 2 Horizontal Push/Pull/Accessory
Close Grip Bench Press
(Drop Set) Seated Cable Rows w/stirrup handle
Barbell Good Mornings
(5x5) Crush Grip Plate Loaded

Day 3 Legs Push/Pull/Accessory
Trap Bar Deadlifts
Barbell Calf Raises
Sled Drag

Day 4 off

(5x5 Cycle)
Day 5 Vertical Push/Pull/Accessory
Standing Barbell Military Press
Trap Bar Shrugs
Barbell Reverse Curl
(Drop Set) Rotator Work

Day 6 Horizontal Push/Pull/Accessory
Thick Bar Bench Press
T-Bar Rows
Wrist Roller Strap (2 Sets of 5 each way)
(Drop Set) Weeblewobbles

Day 7 Legs Push/Pull/Accessory
Barbell Full Squats
Barbell Stiff Legged Deadlifts
Barbell Curls

Day 8 off
Day 9 off