T Nation

Torso Dominant Lifters: Are Isolation Movements Key to Making Arms Grow?


#1

Feels great having a big back and decent chest and mid section but my arms are lagging like crazy and stuff like chin ups, rows and close grip bench aren’t cutting it. Has anyone build good arms by doing ye ol’ curls and tricep isolation exercises?


#2

Jealous of your torso dominance

Got Progressive overload?

Whether Curls or Weighted Chins or Jerking off with Blood Flow Restriction… well maybe not the last one. Even a conbination of compound and isolation movement…

Anyways the point is if you progressively overload you’ve got the stimulus for growth. With the right diet you’ve got gains.


#3

I got a short-ish stocky torso and long ass arms so I can relate.
From what I can tell, I’m triceps dominant, with triceps taking up about 2/3 of my arm and biceps about 1/3.
For forearms (they’re fairly important for the arms look imho), heavy grip work has done the job - deads, rows, chins, anything hanging from a bar. They grow.
For triceps, they do respond well to pressing movements - pressing stuff overhead, close grip bench, dips, pushdowns.
I didn’t really need to do anything specific for forearms and triceps since all this stuff is in my main routines already.

Now biceps, they’re small little assholes. Chins and rows did help to establish a base, but for them to grow I had to target them in isolation.
What I do is doing mostly neutral grip or supinated grip in chins, and alternating weighted and bodyweight - weighted for lower reps, bodyweight for higher reps.
Then, twice a week, at the end of the workout I slap in some bicep work (usually on lower body days), about 50 reps per time.
One day I’d go with barbell curls, either a single set of 50 reps with empty bar, or about 5x10 with a very moderate load - wrap the pussy pad on the bar to turn it into a fat bar for added awesomeness.
The other day I’d do EZ-bar curls with moderate load and sets of 10, or rope cable hammer curls in sets of 15-20.
Basically, being a noob, I try to hammer them with different load ranges and rep ranges to make sure I get some results.
And yes, I’ve added about 50 curls to my current program twice a week for a couple weeks and I’ve survived.

BTW what I found important is not to cheat, keep your body rigid and make sure your arms are doing the work, controlling the eccentric, don’t swing your body to throw the weight up and don’t make your shoulders do the job in place of the arms.
There’s a time for cheating, but it’s usually for people who already have a solid base and more experience.
I don’t use much progressive overload either on curls, for now I noticed that as long as my main work progresses and I handle heavier loads, I can use pretty much always the same weights for smaller isolation stuff and they still give improvements.


#4

Dudes with short limbs can sometimes build big looking guns with mostly just compound work…many people cannot. I know if wanted properly big looking arms I’d have to do a lot more isolation work.


#5

If you bought the “no isolations for beginners” nonsense from the start, you may not even be torso dominant. Think about it.


#6

I am very torso-dominant. Something that I’ve surmised about myself after years of looking in the mirror is this:
I have good arms. Hell, I have really good arms – definition, muscle separation, etc.

However, they’re just not proportionate to my torso, which makes them look small. I have a feeling that this concept is true to many people who have been lifting consistently for many years but feel their arms are lagging.

My belief is that hitting chest and back less (less frequently, less volume…whatever the case may be) and focusing on hitting legs and arms more (more frequently, more volume…whatever the case may be) will allow the body to recover those muscles without worrying about rebuilding the larger areas too.

Maybe do try this concept out for 3-4 weeks and see what happens and how you respond.


#7

This is how arms are actually built


#8

That’s what I knew too, but there’s always those people in real life who swear that their brother/cousin/mother is bicep dominant with biceps much bigger than triceps because genetics or whatever - who am I to contradict them


#9

I find my arms grow much faster when I superset triceps and biceps together. I think it has to do with getting blood flow through the whole arm but I’m really not sure why it works better than anything else I’ve tried.