Tiny pipe

Have been lifting now for a few years. Started seriously about a year ago meaning good diet and good work out routines. I am on my second bulking cycle so far I am 188 and 5’6". Last time I was lean I was at 153. Anyway my question is this. My arms are weak. Tris and Bis both. I have trained them every way I can imagine and I cant seem to get any stronger. I hate to use the excuse of bad genes so I am posting to ask if any one else has similar problems. Just so you have some reference most of my work outs will use reps of 4-6 or 8-10 depending on what kins of stuff I am doing at the time.

Today I did arms and did bar bell curls and curled 80… 2 sets of 5. Failed on 5 both times. I looked back to the records I kept on my last bulking cycle doing the same rep scheme I was doing 85… It brings a tear to my eye =-)

Any comments?

Rope pulls.

Yeah, stop curling. Do heavy rows and weighted chins. I did this as well as heavy pressing and weighted dips and my bi/tri strength went way up. Get those arms used to barbell rowing 200 for example and a 100 lbs. curl will feel light. It did for me anyway.

Do you squat, deadlift and row? Just curious. I find that many people with bad arms dont do the power building movements. The thing is as your whole body grows the arms just seem to follow. Make sure you are making gains in these areas first, then lets discuss direct arm work.

Im your height and have a 17" arm (flexed, dont know unflexed) at about 165lbs. Most of my friends just say they are sick. And Im not fat, probably about 10.5% right now. I think I had decent genes for arms, but nothing special. Heres the routine where I saw an inch growth over a 2 mos period. Is that incredible, not really, probably average, but this is what I did.

First, I hit triceps first as they make up a really big arm. You can have great peaking biceps and if your tris suck your arm will not look big in any shirt. Remember this. Okay, begin with a power movement for tris. So flat close grip bench presses. These should be done heavy in a range of about 6-8, you can use a smith if you like. Just make sure the stress is on the tricep. Next I would use some sort of french press. Most of the time this was seated dumbell french press. (both hands on one dubbell and elbows straigh up at the ceiling and at your ears, and lower the db to your neck, get a good stretch). On these work in the 10-12 range. Finally finish off with some sort of pulley work or dips for high reps in the 20 range.

As for biceps I always began with a power movement as much as possible. So for me this was straight barbell curls in a rack. Here Id go for 6-8 and do a bit of cheating, not much, but just little beneficial cheating. In between each set stretch. Grab something with thumb down, arm straight, and try to turn the inside of the elbow up to the sky. This should really facially stretch the bicep. Next exercise are seated preacher curls for 21s. Make sure these are slow and deliberate. Finally finish off with 50 reps of narrow grip chinups with palms facing you. Make sure to stretch all the way down and deliberately pull yourself up slow. It doesnt matter how many sets it takes, just get 50.

Id use this program for a month and see where you are, take a measurement. Make sure cals are high and the protein ample. I would only do this once in the week, as its pretty intense, and other things will indirectly work the tricep and bicep. Good luck,


dude if your “pipe” is tiny you are pretty much fucked. that is totally genetic. i havent personally tried any of these but there a few otc products you can try. one is called “exten-dor,” that is an otc tablet that you can find in the back of certain magazines. there are also “pumps” available that you might want to try.

keep us posted on the results. hope this helps.

try dropping direct arm work, and hitting the basics heavy and hard. i’m by no means a beast, but by dropping the direct arm work, i’ve put on a bit of muscle, quite a bit of strength, dropped bodyfat and gotten noticabley more vascular [especially in my arms and shoulders], not to mention more explosive on the court. i lift on an every other day upper/lower split never going above 6reps in the weightroom, and doing high rep calisthenics like pushups and bodyweight rows to help bloodflow and recovery on the opposite days.staples of my routine are powercleans, below parrallel squats, bench, weighted chins, and push presses. its really worked for me, so maybe its worth a try.
i’d say good luck, but you don’t need it. peace, flash

As soon as I started focusing on deadlifts and going heavy, my overall strength increased. All my lifts are up right now.

Try dropping the direct arm work and doing deadlifts, rows, pullups, chins, and other “bigger lifts”. It might be psychologically difficult to quit curling, but you will most likely be surprised at what it does for your bicep strength. After dropping direct arm work and focusing on bigger lifts, I didn’t notice much change in the size of my arms. However, when I got talked in to doing some curls, I was really surprised at how much more I could curl compared to when I used to curl twice a week. Give it a shot and tell us what happens.


I have the same problem plus I have very hard time to get any shoulder development too. So all the “show muscles” are lacking way behind. I have tried the method that I only do compound movements and no isolation movements (like Waterbury’s anti-bodybuilding program). The result is that everything else grows well, but arms and shoulders stay the same, so now they are relative even smaller than before.

So that method doeasn’t always work. But I sure don’t know what would…

Try training arms on their own day. You may be running out of gas before you get there.

Do all your exercises super strict, no cheating.

Cycle your rep schemes and sets, and change exercises or order of exercises every 4-6 weeks (just about the time you’re fimnally feeling really in the groove on a routine, it’s about time to switch. My opinion).

Make sure you aren’t overtraining in general.

Give this a read – I tried it for my tris and was pleased with the results: Strength Training, Bodybuilding & Online Supplement Store - T NATION


I feel for you, man. I’m 5’3" and now 148lbs…I’ve been on Massive Eating for about 2 1/2 weeks. My arms were 12.5-13" when I started. They’ve grown almost an inch since. No MAG-10 yet, either. Probably half of it is water bloat, but I’ll take it!

In my past experience, I made leaps in my progress seemingly for no logical reason. Sometimes, you just get a breakthrough. I did notice that taking a good week off when I hit a sticking point worked a bit strength-wise. Nothing works better then eating big, though.

I also noticed that hitting the biceps or triceps LAST on each respective day works to really avoid the whole “I can only curl xx pounds” psycho-babble that we poison ourselves with. This way, you can always tell yourself that you’re arms are spent from the other lifts.

I don’t know how much I can curl when I’m fresh…and I don’t care. I now curl 85-95lb barbells after doing about 50 chinups and some lat pulls/rows. I use 30 pound dumbells for concentration curls to finish, or swap that with alternates and hammers for 35-40 pounds. Not big weight, but plenty for my weight/goals right now.

Progress just happens, but eating massive helps BIG-time.

If you’re really fed-up with the poundage issue, then totally switch gears and hit the arms on their own day…but then you better make progress 'cause there will be no more excuses. Chances are, it’s all in the head (CNS response) if your diet is all good. Try some Ripped Fuel or some other stimulants for a boost if you need it, too!