T Nation

No Direct Arm Work


After reading a lot of threads I've seen a lot of people disagree with not doing direct arm work. Is this because they have made more progress from doing the direct work, or because they didn't get any gains from not doing any?

I've not been doing any for the last month, and I definately haven't lost any - I permanently have a full feeling to my arms, like I normally get a couple of days after a training session.


Have a read:


I think that might be the thread they're talking about. I noted a number of people who said that was their mistake, but is it one?


Yeah it was one of the threads. But is it one of those things where some people get a response without doing it - or is it that you can make faster gains doing it?


Depends on your goals I would guess. I think I've made much better progress on the rest of my body not having to take volume out of my weekly load for biceps work or "arm day". But I'm not a BBer per se. My tri's get hit from benching and overhead work, with a bit of assistance work thrown in.

I would say that it probably depends on the individual. That's probably one of the reasons people have such a disagreement about it.


If you want big arms then you should train your arms directly.


Agree. I jumped on the "don't train your arms" bandwagon about a year ago, and my arms shrunk. I started training them again a few months ago, and they grew almost an inch in 6 weeks. I need an assload of volume to make my arms grow.


I haven't directly trained arms in over a year and they've grown an inch ... with that being said there are other variables you have to consider when you want to grow ... ie caloric intake, diet composition, and type of routine you're doing.

With that inch I gained in my arms I also grew everywhere else and did a lot of compound movements, but that was the plan. It wasn't like I just said fuck my arms and blindly went about doing other things ... I did the research and through trial and error figured out what worked best for me to attain the goals I had set up for myself.

Could direct arm work have increased the gain I made in my arms ... maybe, maybe not. I'll tell you in a year.


also, when you ask a question like that you're have to keep in mind that there are other variables to consider ... you're not going to get bigger anywhere unless you manipulate your diet to meet your goals on top of all other variables you have to consider ... but I'm sure you already knew that =)


The proponents of no direct arm training tend to be confused by oversimplifying the statement.

If you don't train your arms, it's a good chance they will be smaller proportianately then your body. But if your body grows 50 lbs all over it's a good chance your arms are going to grow signaficantly too. If I tell someone not to focus on arms at the moment it's because they are probably 6 months away from even looking like they lift weights. Once they get that far there arms WILL be bigger. Will the be as big if they did the same amount of volume + curls, probably no. But they would be smaller if they took a day away from back, chest just to do arms but that would be because their body as a whole is smaller. Relative to body size there seems to be a point of diminishing returns for bicep curls. This is all for long term planning of bodybuilding.

If your planning on hitting the beach and flashing the guns in 2 months curl away. Impressive arms and abs ALWAYS pulls chics.


Yeah, my experience has been that triceps do fine with benches overhead presses, dips, etc. But your biceps will not be growing. Maybe if you do lots of chins, but you should probably do lots of curls for the guns.


Regular chins only get you so far, considering your bodyweight won't be changing weight too much. Always need to keep upping the weights.

I got decent arms just by doing chins, but upards of 15 chins I had to start curling because nothing else would stress the bicep enough. Rows are insufficient for arm work, I use my back almost entirely for the movement.


weighted chins?


yea ... like with a dip belt or weighted vest ... I personally like the vests better but slappin some weight on a dip belt and doin chins looks more bad ass ...