T Nation

Poor Arms

Wondering if anyone with poor upper arm genetics, especially high insertions, has found an approach that allowed them to make any significant gains in size?

I have had good results with a variety of the T-Nation programs, especially Chad Waterbury’s, but upper arm gains have been disappointing. I’m currently doing a routine inspired by the Waterbury Method and Chris Shugart’s Velocity Diet routine that I adapted to emphasise arms and legs:

Day 1: Squat 2x20, Dips 10x3, DB Press 3x6, Chins 10x3, Leg Curl 6x3, Machine Row 6x3

Day 3: Deadlift 10x3, B/Neck Press 10x3, Triceps Rack Lockouts 3x6, Preacher Curl 3x6, Leg Press 3x6, Parallel Grip Chin

Day 5: Bench Press 10x3, BB Row 3x6, SL Deadlift 3x6, Incline Hammer Curl 3x6, Dip 3x6, Leg Press 10x3

I can’t squat too heavy due a back injury, hence the high rep squats and use of the leg press. I do incline walking and some abs and calf raises on 2 of the other days of the week.

Was thinking about trying EDT. Any advice would be much appreciated.

I’m actually starting CT’s arm specialization program that he posted in the Think Tank.

Here’s the program, but it fits better into a split like this.

Day 1: Shoulders
Day 2: Off
Day 3: Arms
Day 4: Off
Day 5: Chest/Back
Day 6: Legs
Day 7: Off

You could finish out what you’re doing now, then switch to something like this set up (with higher calories than the Velocity Diet).

TC 6-WEEKS ARM PROGRAM

WEEKS 1-3 (neural reprogramming)

NOTE: take a double (or even triple) serving of Power Drive + 400mg of caffeine 30 minutes before that workout to maximize motor unit recruitment.

A1. Standing barbell curl
5 reps cluster (cluster of 5 reps with 10 seconds of rest between each rep)
401 tempo
90-92% of 1RM
120 seconds of rest before A2.

Week 1: 5 sets
Week 2: 5 sets
Week 3: 3 sets

A2. Close-grip bench press
5 reps cluster (cluster of 5 reps with 10 seconds of rest between each rep)
40

1 tempo
90-92% of 1RM
120 seconds of rest before A1.

Week 1: 5 sets
Week 2: 5 sets
Week 3: 3 sets

B1. Scott curl
Extended 5s (perform a 5RM, rest 10 seconds, try to get 2-3 more reps, rest 10 seconds, try to get 2-3 more reps)
401 tempo
120 seconds of rest before B2.

Week 1: 5 sets
Week 2: 5 sets
Week 3: 3 sets

B2. Cable triceps extension
Extended 5s (perform a 5RM, rest 10 seconds, try to get 2-3 more reps, rest 10 seconds, try to get 2-3 more reps)
401 tempo
120 seconds of rest before B1.

Week 1: 5 sets
Week 2: 5 sets
Week 3: 3 sets

C1. Wrist curl
6-8 reps
231 tempo
60 seconds of rest before C2.

Week 1: 3 sets
Week 2: 3 sets
Week 3: 1 set

C2. Reverse wrist curl
6-8 reps
231 tempo
60 seconds of rest before C2.

Week 1: 3 sets
Week 2: 3 sets
Week 3: 1 set

WEEKS 4-6 (Maximum hypertrophy)

A1. Scott curl
8-10 reps
501 tempo
90 seconds of rest before A2.

Week 1: 4 sets
Week 2: 4 sets
Week 3: 2 sets

A2. JM press
8-10 reps
501 tempo
90 seconds of rest before A1.

Week 1: 5 sets
Week 2: 5 sets
Week 3: 3 sets

B1. Reverse grip scott curl
10-12 reps
301 tempo
90 seconds of rest before B2.

Week 1: 4 sets
Week 2: 4 sets
Week 3: 2 sets

B2. Decline dumbbell triceps extension
10-12 reps
301 tempo
90 seconds of rest before B1.

Week 1: 4 sets
Week 2: 4 sets
Week 3: 2 sets

C1. Dumbbell hammer curl
12-15 reps
201 tempo
60 seconds of rest before C2.

Week 1: 3 sets
Week 2: 3 sets
Week 3: 1 set

C2. Cable triceps extension
12-15 reps
201 tempo
60 seconds of rest before C2.

Week 1: 3 sets
Week 2: 3 sets
Week 3: 1 set

Hope this can help ya!

How is your forearm strength? Most guys I meet with poor upper arms also have poor lower arms and cannot physically hold onto the weight necessary to build large arms.

The same rules apply to arm training that apply to leg training. Don’t make the mistake of doing too many wrist curls/tricep kickbacks. Do heavy barbell curls, and just like you would in your squat, try to increase the weight every couple weeks.

I overcame poor arms with long tendon attachements in the biceps and Tri’s by using a HIT type approach. My arms are the best body part to respond to this type of training. In the past i always added more sets, changed the weights, intervals but the results were lack luster.

When i started a modified HIT program for bi’s, i did 2 sets of 20 reps to complete failure with rest pause methods to get 110% fatigue. My arms. Suprisingly responded with 1.2 inches in 6 weeks.

I used to try arm specialization routines to increase my upper arm size. I found that while on the program I would get great increases, as soon as I returned to a balanced program, the body would balance itself out and I would loose most of my newfound size. The best long-term approach I’ve found is to use heavy rows, chins, presses, and supplement with one or two higher rep arm movements at the end of the workout. Using this technique I’ve been able to finally get over 18 inches and continue to make gains in size and strength. Arm specialization might be a good way to kick start some size gains, just keep in mind how you’re going to maintain those gains afterwards.