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  1. #1
    Registered User zanegger's Avatar
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    From 17 to 18 inch arms... how did you do it?

    Hi everyone,

    I'm new to the forum and here's some background: I've been a recreational amateur bodybuilder over the last 15 years (turn 30 soon) with poor genetics and not a lot of consistency in training until the last year or so. When I hit my late twenties my metabolism started to slow down dramatically and I was finally able to weigh a little more than 165lbs soaking wet. Today I weigh 195lbs at 6 feet. I've been able to push my arm size up to 17 inches pumped from 13 inches when I started out as a teenager but now I really want to set some goals and hit them in the next 3 years. I want to bring up my skinny legs and calves (15 inches). I've been working on my shoulders but they are really slow to respond.

    I've never really worked out in a gym, except on and off in college to no big effect. These days I only work out once a week but heavy intensity in my garage with very limited equipment (4 dumbells, a bar/bench and a wrist roller)

    Is there anyone out there with a similar background who's been able to go from 17 inch arms to 18 inches and build up their shoulders/calves in the process by an inch or two? The reason why I focus on shoulders, arms and calves is because I believe Steve Reeves when he said that they can create the illusion of a great physique. Since I will never be involved enough to be a pro or even compete in an amateur competition, that's the goal I have, to build that silhouette.

    What's worked for you? Supersets, HIT, Light/Heavy, muscle confusion?
    The top 3 guys I admire are Frank Zane, Arnold and Larry Scott.

    Thanks for your thoughts/stories,
    Regards
    Zanegger
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  2. #2
    Registered User zanegger's Avatar
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  3. #3
    Not now chief... TonySturch's Avatar
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    First off, 17's are quite an accomplishment considering how compromising your training routine is.

    First off, I would change your stance on concentrating on shoulders arms and calves immediately. You need more than that. You need to have a well rounded and balanced routine otherwise you will surely run into problems plateauing. You will likely never break past 17" arms until you have a large enough back and chest to support the added arm musculature.

    I could not disagree more with your current training method. I can almost guarantee that switching to any of the popular routines on this site will do you a world of good.
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  4. #4
    Registered User ThiZzNation925's Avatar
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    The most effective way for you to add more inches to your arms would be, well of course, an arms day.

    So a split maybe like these would possibly suit you:

    D1 Chest
    D2 Back
    D3 Shoulders (or legs)
    D4 Legs (or shoulders)
    D5 Arms
    D6 Rest
    D7 Rest

    Or

    D1 Chest
    D2 Back
    D3 Rest
    D4 Shoulders
    D5 Legs (or arms)
    D6 Arms (or legs)
    D7 Rest

    Bulk it up, 3000-4000 calories a day, rep range would be 8-12.

    http://www.freedomfly.net/Articles/T...training29.htm
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  5. #5
    Registered User akbuilder's Avatar
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    i did it by being 6'5" tall and 300 lbs
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    Registered User zanegger's Avatar
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    anyone out there who is currently at 17 inch arms and trying to push harder for an extra inch? If so, what's your workout plan, whether it's whole body or arm specialization?
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    Johnny Rotten ThickAsABrick's Avatar
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    I got to 18 by incorporating more volume, hitting arms first in the week when fresh, and experimenting with exercise selection, rep ranges, form, etc.

    + time and consistent hard work
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    Dysfunctional Strength Entkommen115's Avatar
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    Best thing that helped me was Poliquin's arm training rules:

    1. Give your arms their own day
    2. Train them about every 5 days
    3. Hit em hard and heavy

    These rules work well with an upper/lower split

    Day 1: Upper
    Day 2: Lower
    Day 3: Rest
    Day 4: Arms
    Day 5: Rest
    Repeat
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  9. #9
    Registered User zanegger's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Entkommen115 View Post
    Best thing that helped me was Poliquin's arm training rules:

    1. Give your arms their own day
    2. Train them about every 5 days
    3. Hit em hard and heavy

    These rules work well with an upper/lower split

    Day 1: Upper
    Day 2: Lower
    Day 3: Rest
    Day 4: Arms
    Day 5: Rest
    Repeat
    Yeah you know what's kinda funny is that I got up to 17 inches (1.5 inch over one year) by working my biceps/triceps out once a week but super heavy/intensity. I've never benched.... only done pushups and occasional dumbell presses. Also, I've never really squatted either until recently where I've started to do dumbell squats which are kind of like sissy squats (the kind Vince Gironda used to do)
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  10. #10
    Registered User zanegger's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by ThickAsABrick View Post
    I got to 18 by incorporating more volume, hitting arms first in the week when fresh, and experimenting with exercise selection, rep ranges, form, etc.

    + time and consistent hard work
    Thanks for the input TAB,

    What set of exercises did you switch from and to? Did you go from barbell curls to dumbells? Or from dumbell extensions to close grip benches?
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  11. #11
    Registered User zanegger's Avatar
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  12. #12
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    Originally Posted by zanegger View Post
    Thanks for the input TAB,

    What set of exercises did you switch from and to? Did you go from barbell curls to dumbells? Or from dumbell extensions to close grip benches?
    I like to start with either BB or DB curls (I usually alternate exercises every 6 weeks or so on avg). I was using the EZ bar a lot and it didn't do as much for me (preacher curls didn't do much either), but I'm primarily talking about (shaping) exercises done towards the end of my workouts. Arnold style concentration curls, prone incline curls, etc all helped me with my peaks. The basic massbuilders for arms don't change too much (dips, cgbp, db and bb curls, skulls, overhead db extensions, etc) and are what a good arm session should be built around.

    Overall though, upping the volume and really focusing on pushing myself to the limit on arms every workout was probably the biggest key for me.

    Here's an example of what I do:

    BB curl
    warm ups
    45x10
    95x5
    ------
    125x4
    105x10
    95x10
    75x15 (fast)

    HS seated Dip
    180x10
    270x20
    270x20
    270x20

    Hammer Curl
    70x8
    60x10
    50x12

    EZ Skulls
    75x12
    115x8
    115x8
    115x8
    115x8

    Standing Conc. Curl
    40x10
    35x9

    Rope Pushdown
    2x10

    Prone Incline Curl
    35x10
    35x8

    One Arm Pushdown
    2x12


    Might be too much volume for some here, but this is what it took me to continue growing. I change rep ranges every week and like to hit low, medium and high.

    Play around with some of the variables and see what works for you. It's not the same for everyone.
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    Originally Posted by zanegger View Post

    What's worked for you? Supersets, HIT, Light/Heavy, muscle confusion?
    The top 3 guys I admire are Frank Zane, Arnold and Larry Scott.
    for big arms, for me its lots of food, and lots of weight. Big arm workouts twice a week.
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  14. #14
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    i was 19 1/4, but i weighed about 285lbs, ... i'm just a bit under 18 now around 215 or so.. Much better IMO. being that heavy takes a toll on your body.
    I hate steroids and most supplemets..stick to the basics and train hard.

    Adapt and Overcome

    ?Greatness lies not in being strong but in the right using of strength, and strength is not used rightly when it only serves to carry a man above his fellows for his own solitary glory. He is greatest whose strength carries up the most hearts by the attraction of his own."

    Strength does not come through winning. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.
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    Registered User zanegger's Avatar
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    TAB and others,

    Thanks for sharing the details of your current routine.

    Growth correlates primarily with increasing intensity, yeah? So how do we increase intensity? We can lift heavier, that's option #1. I can use the same exercises but progressively add weight to stress the muscle further.

    A second option is handle the same weights (over a given period of time) but gradually increase the volume of work done. So instead of doing 8 sets for triceps, for example, I'd push for 12 sets. TAB, it sounds like that's the option that's worked for you.

    A third option would be to combine both #1 and #2... that's brutal on the muscle and there's risk of serious overtraining unless it's done in very small increments.

    A fourth option would be to confuse the muscle by alternating #1 and #2.

    So, what I'm really interested in is what's the CHANGE in your workout that led to you gaining an inch or more on your guns? Was it a volume increase or a pure weight increase etc
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    Registered User zanegger's Avatar
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    Registered User zanegger's Avatar
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    I put another 1/4 inch on in 1 month after following option #2 described above: In addition to my usual standing dumbell curls (I use 45lbs in each), I've been supersetting concentration curls with a much lighter weight of 20lbs but really going for a burn on the last 2 reps.

    For triceps, I've used option #1: increased the poundage on the close grip bench press by 10lbs and will keep going until I hit 200lbs or so. Right now not using very heavy weight at all.

    Training arms only once a week and stretching for 30 seconds in between sets. I'll try and take a pic next time and post.

    If I could get to 18 inches I'd be pretty psyched, that would be much closer to my favorites like Zane and Reeves...
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  18. #18
    Johnny Rotten ThickAsABrick's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by zanegger View Post
    So, what I'm really interested in is what's the CHANGE in your workout that led to you gaining an inch or more on your guns? Was it a volume increase or a pure weight increase etc
    It's not one or the other man...it's both. It can skew more towards one than another at various points in your training, and you may find one to be slightly more beneficial to you as an individual (because of your bodytype) overall, but you'd never want to limit yourself.

    It's hard to add weight consistently to exercises like curls, so increasing volume provided me with more exercises to have a chance to progress on, as well as providing some shaping moves. I never stopped trying to progress on what I refer to as the "primary exercise" which for me is always either BB or DB curls. Some people think you have to have low volume to optimize progression, but for me that sure hasn't been the case (ex. I've added about 15 lbs per DB to my 8RM on hammer curls over the last 18 months or so, while I may have only added about 5-10 total lbs to BB curls. If I ONLY did one exercise, I'd be missing out on all that progression on hammer curls. Not to mention the importance of different movements.)

    + yeah, you probably need to bump the weight on CGBP.
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  19. #19
    italian engineering rocco421's Avatar
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    im on my way to 19" and here is the workout ive devised to get close. its geared towards arms and legs because theyre both areas i want to bring up. i hit them each once every 4 days (chest/sh/back every 8 days) one time with lighter high intensity supersets, drop sets, giant sets, etc and the next time with heavy straight sets. the split goes as follows.

    chest/sh
    legs (heavy straight sets)
    arms (heavy strait sets)
    off
    back
    legs (light, supersets)
    arms (light supersets.
    off
    repeat

    even if this doesnt work (i hope it will) i still get to hit arms and legs frequently (my favorite workouts) while maintaining sufficient recovery time for them so regardless it wont be a detriment to growth.

    i use all types of exercises but the ones that i ALWAYS do for arms are dips, i fukin love dips. and i hate cgbp so those of u who think its necessary for arm development...its not. but it works for many so if u can feel it in your triceps def do it
    Last edited by rocco421; 11-21-2008 at 07:22 AM.
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    Some good ideas here from many people. But please keep this in mind:

    Big Arms, Big Physique, by Charles Poliquin

    Q: Is it true you have to gain a bunch of muscular body weight overall in order to get big arms?

    A: Typically, you have to gain 15 pounds of overall body weight to add an inch to your upper arm measurements. Now, if you want to go from 21 to 22-inch arms, which is enormous, it'll be more like a 25 pound gain.

    Weider writers claimed that Arnold used to have a 22 inch arm COLD. Arthur Jones said they were full of ****. Arthur Jones was right: The Weider camp was full of ****. For Arnold to have a legitimate 22 inch arm, he would've had to weigh 308.

    If you're going from a 14 inch arm to 16, then 30 pounds will do it. But going from 18 to 20 inches will require more like a 50 pound gain.

    Editor's Note: For more on this topic, see Charles's article, The Truth About Bodybuilding Arm Measurements.

    Now, let's say that starting tomorrow all you did was arms. There's something ? and I think it has to do with acupuncture meridians ? that would cause your arms to stop growing until you restore balance. So in other words, if you don't put four to five inches on your thighs, then your arms will stop growing.

    Bodybuilder Troy Alves has huge arms. We were talking about this one day and he said he couldn't get his arms to grow anymore until he started training his legs.

    And remember, you have far more anabolic output from training legs than training arms. So, all these people who don't like split routines are retarded. If I train arms on Monday then Tuesday I train legs, my leg workout will actually make my arms grow. The next session I do my chest and back, which will help my legs and my arms grow. The point is that the anabolic response you get is systemic.

    If your arms haven't grown since Hilary Clinton smiled, then don't train them for four months. Concentrate instead on chest and back work. You may lose half an inch on your arms, but once you go back to arm training your arms will grow right away and surpassyour previous arm size.

    In my years of putting size on, I found that the best way to grow arms was to NOT train arms directly for four months out of the year. I still did chins and dips of course, but no direct arm exercises.

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    I'm on a boat with the same paint job as you. It was Steeve Reeves who said that calves, arms and neck of all the same size create a great symmetrical body. Go look at his stats, those three body parts are all the same, and if I'm not mistaken both his legs are the size of his chest.

    As for my trainig, while it's been less than a year so far, I plan on getting my calves equal to my arms and neck before I go for mass. The reason? Well, to be wonderfully symmetrical all the way through my training career.

    Originally Posted by zanegger View Post
    Hi everyone,

    I'm new to the forum and here's some background: I've been a recreational amateur bodybuilder over the last 15 years (turn 30 soon) with poor genetics and not a lot of consistency in training until the last year or so. When I hit my late twenties my metabolism started to slow down dramatically and I was finally able to weigh a little more than 165lbs soaking wet. Today I weigh 195lbs at 6 feet. I've been able to push my arm size up to 17 inches pumped from 13 inches when I started out as a teenager but now I really want to set some goals and hit them in the next 3 years. I want to bring up my skinny legs and calves (15 inches). I've been working on my shoulders but they are really slow to respond.

    I've never really worked out in a gym, except on and off in college to no big effect. These days I only work out once a week but heavy intensity in my garage with very limited equipment (4 dumbells, a bar/bench and a wrist roller)

    Is there anyone out there with a similar background who's been able to go from 17 inch arms to 18 inches and build up their shoulders/calves in the process by an inch or two? The reason why I focus on shoulders, arms and calves is because I believe Steve Reeves when he said that they can create the illusion of a great physique. Since I will never be involved enough to be a pro or even compete in an amateur competition, that's the goal I have, to build that silhouette.

    What's worked for you? Supersets, HIT, Light/Heavy, muscle confusion?
    The top 3 guys I admire are Frank Zane, Arnold and Larry Scott.

    Thanks for your thoughts/stories,
    Regards
    Zanegger
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  22. #22
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    Arm specialization routines seemed to do the trick for me. But increasing overall size, in every muscle department should help with adding another inch to those arms.

    When it comes to your next bulk, bump up the calories by another 500-1000 compared with your usual intake during bulking. Train harder that you have before. And don't forget to get plenty of sleep.
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    Registered User zanegger's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by thekrown View Post
    I'm on a boat with the same paint job as you. It was Steeve Reeves who said that calves, arms and neck of all the same size create a great symmetrical body. Go look at his stats, those three body parts are all the same, and if I'm not mistaken both his legs are the size of his chest.

    As for my trainig, while it's been less than a year so far, I plan on getting my calves equal to my arms and neck before I go for mass. The reason? Well, to be wonderfully symmetrical all the way through my training career.
    That's a great goal, you will look very unique if you can match calve size to arm size. I've started doing donkeys with the wife on my back. I like the pump and feel I get in the calves that way, much better than with a machine.
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    Originally Posted by the iron addict View Post
    Some good ideas here from many people. But please keep this in mind:

    Big Arms, Big Physique, by Charles Poliquin

    Q: Is it true you have to gain a bunch of muscular body weight overall in order to get big arms?

    A: Typically, you have to gain 15 pounds of overall body weight to add an inch to your upper arm measurements. Now, if you want to go from 21 to 22-inch arms, which is enormous, it'll be more like a 25 pound gain.

    Weider writers claimed that Arnold used to have a 22 inch arm COLD. Arthur Jones said they were full of ****. Arthur Jones was right: The Weider camp was full of ****. For Arnold to have a legitimate 22 inch arm, he would've had to weigh 308.


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    I read somewhere that in 1970, Arthur Jones measured Arnold's arm at around 19 and 3/4 inches... not sure if that was cold or pumped, but it was probably pumped. Granted he wasn't as big then as he was at his peak in 1975, but that's still plenty big.

    http://images.google.com/imgres?imgu...3Doff%26sa%3DN

    Look at how thick that arm looks here in 1970... he's put a hurtin on most of us pikers don't he? LOL
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    Originally Posted by rocco421 View Post
    im on my way to 19" and here is the workout ive devised to get close. its geared towards arms and legs because theyre both areas i want to bring up. i hit them each once every 4 days (chest/sh/back every 8 days) one time with lighter high intensity supersets, drop sets, giant sets, etc and the next time with heavy straight sets. the split goes as follows.

    chest/sh
    legs (heavy straight sets)
    arms (heavy strait sets)
    off
    back
    legs (light, supersets)
    arms (light supersets.
    off
    repeat

    even if this doesnt work (i hope it will) i still get to hit arms and legs frequently (my favorite workouts) while maintaining sufficient recovery time for them so regardless it wont be a detriment to growth.

    i use all types of exercises but the ones that i ALWAYS do for arms are dips, i fukin love dips. and i hate cgbp so those of u who think its necessary for arm development...its not. but it works for many so if u can feel it in your triceps def do it

    Rocco,

    You is pretty huge man, lol. You're not far from Hercules in New York (1970) Arnold style biceps (see post above). Not sure how long it's been since you hit that double biceps pose, but you're closing in on the prize. Congrats.

    Just curious, what kind of poundages do you handle for 6-8 reps on exercises like bench press, dumbell curl, barbell curl, dumbell shoulder press? Just trying to get a sense of how strong one needs to be to approach that 19 inch zone.
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    Originally Posted by the iron addict View Post
    For Arnold to have a legitimate 22 inch arm, he would've had to weigh 308.
    lol @ people creating formulas like that.

    What a joke.
    The king is gone; He's not forgotten.
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    Originally Posted by the iron addict View Post
    Some good ideas here from many people. But please keep this in mind:

    Big Arms, Big Physique, by Charles Poliquin

    Q: Is it true you have to gain a bunch of muscular body weight overall in order to get big arms?

    A: Typically, you have to gain 15 pounds of overall body weight to add an inch to your upper arm measurements. Now, if you want to go from 21 to 22-inch arms, which is enormous, it'll be more like a 25 pound gain.

    Weider writers claimed that Arnold used to have a 22 inch arm COLD. Arthur Jones said they were full of ****. Arthur Jones was right: The Weider camp was full of ****. For Arnold to have a legitimate 22 inch arm, he would've had to weigh 308.

    If you're going from a 14 inch arm to 16, then 30 pounds will do it. But going from 18 to 20 inches will require more like a 50 pound gain.

    Editor's Note: For more on this topic, see Charles's article, The Truth About Bodybuilding Arm Measurements.

    Now, let's say that starting tomorrow all you did was arms. There's something ? and I think it has to do with acupuncture meridians ? that would cause your arms to stop growing until you restore balance. So in other words, if you don't put four to five inches on your thighs, then your arms will stop growing.

    Bodybuilder Troy Alves has huge arms. We were talking about this one day and he said he couldn't get his arms to grow anymore until he started training his legs.

    And remember, you have far more anabolic output from training legs than training arms. So, all these people who don't like split routines are retarded. If I train arms on Monday then Tuesday I train legs, my leg workout will actually make my arms grow. The next session I do my chest and back, which will help my legs and my arms grow. The point is that the anabolic response you get is systemic.

    If your arms haven't grown since Hilary Clinton smiled, then don't train them for four months. Concentrate instead on chest and back work. You may lose half an inch on your arms, but once you go back to arm training your arms will grow right away and surpassyour previous arm size.

    In my years of putting size on, I found that the best way to grow arms was to NOT train arms directly for four months out of the year. I still did chins and dips of course, but no direct arm exercises.

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    Thinking about this some more, I think that this definitely should not be taken as science, unless one is assuming that the bodybuilder is starting from a very young age. Past a certain point of development however, I don't think that it is absolutely necessary to put on that much weight for a 1 inch increase in arms. The heuristic breaks down at some point I'm afraid.

    Look at Arnold when he won his first competitions in 68,69, 70. He was a mass monster, weighed 240-250lbs. His arms measured close to 19.5 inches then. But what happened over the next 5 years? He dropped/cut weight to increase his definition and I'm sure he pushed his arm size up while doing that. Look at the peak on his 1975 shots vs the peak on his 1969/1970 shots, a world of difference...

    Again, the heuristic makes sense for beginners, but I question it's use for bodybuilders who have made a lot of progress but not quite reached their full potential yet.
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    Originally Posted by ThickAsABrick View Post
    It's not one or the other man...it's both. It can skew more towards one than another at various points in your training, and you may find one to be slightly more beneficial to you as an individual (because of your bodytype) overall, but you'd never want to limit yourself.

    It's hard to add weight consistently to exercises like curls, so increasing volume provided me with more exercises to have a chance to progress on, as well as providing some shaping moves. I never stopped trying to progress on what I refer to as the "primary exercise" which for me is always either BB or DB curls. Some people think you have to have low volume to optimize progression, but for me that sure hasn't been the case (ex. I've added about 15 lbs per DB to my 8RM on hammer curls over the last 18 months or so, while I may have only added about 5-10 total lbs to BB curls. If I ONLY did one exercise, I'd be missing out on all that progression on hammer curls. Not to mention the importance of different movements.)

    + yeah, you probably need to bump the weight on CGBP.
    What do you handle for 6-8 reps on the CGBP, dumbell curls and barbell curls?
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    Originally Posted by ThickAsABrick View Post
    lol @ people creating formulas like that.

    What a joke.
    Yes but remember Arnold was Weider's poster boy, they have to make him look/sound better than anyone else. So I could see his measurements being inflate.
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    Originally Posted by Hartley110 View Post
    Yes but remember Arnold was Weider's poster boy, they have to make him look/sound better than anyone else. So I could see his measurements being inflate.
    I agree, his measurements were most probably inflated. But let's not kid ourselves, a 20 inch arm is just as impressive as a 22 inch arm... the picture I posted above of Arnold in Hercules in New York is him with what was probably close to a 20 inch arm and he looks amazing still.

    Another one of my favorites, Frank Zane probably never had a bigger than 18.5 inch arm, but they still looked massive on him because he had a tiny waist and a great silhouette at around 185lbs. Having said that, I prefer early Frank to his later incarnations because when he was younger his triceps were a lot fuller/thicker, which gave the arm that rounded sweep.

    I just saw a video of Serge Nubret at 70 years of age in the gym pumping some massive 19 inch arms... incredible. He had the last laugh over Arnold, that's for sure. Arnold is unrecognizable if he takes his t shirt off today...
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