Have you ever tried the professional bodybuilder one-day arm blasting programs? I hope maybe some of you have heard of these and tried them. Primarily because I’d hate to think that I am the only goof who can spend an entire day training my arms!
Now, some of these are downright nutty programs. Most of the methods were “developed” and occasionally promoted in some of the muscle magazines back in the 50’s and 60’s, and some trainers such as Charles Poliquin have refined them a bit today.
At any rate, in most of them, you actually perform arm exercises every half-hour and every few hours you eat proteins. I tried one program and I mean I went from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. doing arm exercises. Don’t ask me what I was thinking! (Or not thinking as the case may be.)
Did I gain the 1/2″ on my arms, five days after completing this particular program, as the varied and sundry past articles claimed I would? Unfortunately, no. Did my arms shrink for the first 24 hours after this workout as most of the article also claimed they would? Unfortunately, yes!
Nonetheless, I believe this kind of experimentation has made me a better trainer more able to relate to unusual requests and needs from some clients. I certainly have applied many of Charles’ suggestions on bodybuilding training, specifically when I did the 12-week exercise and nutrition program outlined in my book “The Turning Point” which won me the affirmation of MET-Rx World’s Best Trainer Contest 2 years ago. (www.worldsbesttrainer.com)
Furthermore, having done that kind of arm program now makes me feel qualified to give everyone else a chance to call my own training methods nuts! (Ahem). I have developed my own workout called the one-arm-per-day arm cure for those with lagging biceps and triceps and unlike the over-training mess I alluded to earlier, I believe that my arm masterpiece really works!
Guts Behind Giant Arms
The guts of my unique program is to work one arm (both triceps and biceps) — 8 sets of 8 reps total and do this daily, alternating arms, six days a week for six weeks.
Say what? That’s right — for six weeks, one day you work your right arm and the next day your left. You should not do any other weight-training exercises except alternating one of the “big 3” with this arm training.
The “Big 3”:
1) Squats (4 sets x 10 reps)
2) Bench Press (4 sets x 10 reps)
3) Bent-Over Barbell Rowing (4 sets x 10 reps)
You should do one of these since you will fail to get big arms by working only your arms. Your whole body must be trained, but not over-trained. By utilizing only the squat, bench and row, you give the body what I call a “ripple effect.” No other exercises (with the possible exceptions of the deadlift and clean and jerk) give you as much total muscle stimulation. These “Big 3” exercises are also powerful hormone stimulators and, literally, can work your cardiovascular system as well as any aerobic workout. They’re simply outstanding. Sure, they’re tough, but the indirect high-growth potential for your arms far outweighs the effort required.
This is an advanced routine, one that would be far too difficult for a beginner (1-2 years of core, fundamental resistance training). It is a course of action whereby the advanced bodybuilder can improve the size and shape of his or her arms significantly. At the same time, the actual duration of your workouts will decrease. Less time-more effort. You’ll have to focus and concentrate like never before.
Just make sure you follow the usual guidelines that are designed for you to get the most out of any such workout program; warm-up sufficiently, end a set before your form breaks down completely and pay attention to proper nutrition, supplements, and sleep.
Guidelines To Giant Arms
Concentrate on two basic arm exercises only (one for biceps and one for triceps) per workout. The search for some kind of magic exercise or program to suddenly create twenty-one inch monsters out of matchsticks is useless. Forget that, you want to work harder, not longer. I don’t try to make weight training more complicated than it needs to be. Forget all the “advanced mad Russian programs” or the “muscle building secrets of the Bulgarians.”
1) Work as hard and heavy as possible. I know you’ve heard this one before, but this time you’re not only going to do it, you’re going to do it right. Use maximum weights as much as possible in this program. The last rep should leave you breathless and too cramped to support the weight any longer. Remember to constantly keep upgrading your weights. Weight that has been a gut-busting struggle to lift 4 – 8 weeks ago should not be today, and weight has to be steadily and constantly added to your routine to ensure your muscles are always worked to their maximum.
2) Longer isn’t better (at least that’s what I tell my wife Carmela!). This is the answer for all those of you who have just been thinking that they can maintain such intensity for their usual fifteen or twenty sets each of bicep and triceps work, you can’t. But what you want to achieve is as thorough a working of the muscle as possible in as little time as possible. Consider your workout time as an uninterrupted battle between the weight and yourself. This rules out conversation between sets, striking and holding a spectacular front double bicep pose and gazing too long and intently at the babes in spandex! Work at a steady, efficient pace at all times and limit your rest between sets and exercises to bare minimum, 30-75 seconds.
3) Keep your movements slow and strict. Don’t become the world’s fastest curler. Momentum should not be your training partner. Exercise should be slow, smooth and controlled.
4) Visualize your goals and concentrate. Remember, it was Arnold who started imagining his biceps filling his whole room. Frank Zane will give you the same pitch for utilizing your mind properly to shape/build your body. Watch the action of your biceps and triceps as you train. This is why one limb training is effective. All your effort, concentration and force is on that one major muscle to achieve that one goal – size. Keep that image of your muscle swelling before your eyes for as long as you can after exercising. Even imagine / believe that the protein you’ve eaten is going straight to your engorged, pumped arm. Think size and it will follow.
• Squat (4 sets x 10 reps)
• Arm Workout – right arm only
Note: some size imbalances from left to right are common. If you have an imbalance, you can benefit from starting your workout with your smaller arm. If you find a small, perceived imbalance, do an extra set for your smaller side. If the imbalance appears large, use 6 reps with your strong arm and to 8 reps with your weaker arm (both as heavy as she goes). The theory here is that eight reps might be slightly better for size than six reps.
• Seated Offset-Grip Dumbbell Curl (4 sets x 8 reps)
Sit upright on a regular bench holding a dumbbell in your right hand with the thumb side of your hand resting against the inside surface of the dumbbell plate. Start the exercise with a normal grip and curl the weight simultaneously supinating your wrist (turn your palms up) as you complete the curling movement. The purpose of the offset-grip is to attempt to provide resistance upon supination. This may place extra emphasis on the supinator muscle of the forearm along with the biceps brachii. The brachioradialis also assists with supination. For added resistance upon supination, I stick a magnetic 1-1/4 lb platemate on the heavier end of the dumbbell.
• Decline Dumbbell Triceps Extension (4 sets x 8 reps)
I believe this exercise is effective for recruiting all three heads of the triceps. You’ll find it also allows for a greater stretch than most triceps exercises and the extended range of motion against gravity will help your muscles into new growth. Start by positioning yourself on your back on a decline bench with a dumbbell in your right hand. Make sure to hook your feet under the padded rollers or you’ll slide off like a sack of potatoes. Once you get in position, lift the dumbbell overhead in a bench press position. Your grip should be neutral. Keeping your elbow pointed directly upward (and don’t let it flare out), lower the dumbbell until the plate makes contact with your right shoulder. Lift it back up to the starting position with extension at your elbow. Your elbow should be the only moving joint during the exercise.
• Barbell Bench Press (4 sets x 10 reps)
• Arm Workout (left arm only)
• Seated Offset-Grip Dumbbell Curl (4 sets x 8 reps)
• Bent-Over Barbell Row (4 sets x 10 reps)
• Arm Workout (right arm only)
• Seated, Offset-Grip Dumbbell Curl (4 sets x 8 reps)
• Decline Dumbbell Triceps Extension (4 sets x 8 reps)
• THURSDAY, FRIDAY AND SATURDAY Begin entire cycle over as follows:
• Thursday: Squat/left arm
• Friday: Barbell Bench Press/right arm
• Saturday: Bent-Over Barbell Row/left arm
Rest and recover!
Follow this program exactly as given for six full weeks. Rest a week, and then evaluate it. If you liked the results repeat it for another month. But I would not try this again for about 3-6 months. Rather, go back to your regular workout routine. If you occasionally need to bring your arms up fast, try it again.
If you do so, you may switch arm exercises a bit after following the outlined schedule twice.
• Biceps: One-Arm Seated Incline Dumbbell Curl or Unsupported One Arm Bent-Over Dumbbell Concentration Curl.
• Triceps: One-Arm Reverse Grip Cable Pushdown or One-Arm Cable Kickback.
Always keep the seated offset-grip dumbbell curl and the decline dumbbell triceps extension as staples of your program. And, of course, you could do the deadlift in place of the squat or bent-over barbell row once in a while. While the name may imply it’s dead, the dreaded deadlift should be alive and well in every bodybuilding, powerlifting, beginning or advanced athlete’s program. Doing the “big 3” (or 4) that I have listed plus this unique arm program will pack massive muscle on your legs, back and ARMS.
Besides owning and operating his own personal training studio; World’s Best Trainer, Inc. in Levittown, NY (www.worldsbesttrainer.com), George is certified and an instructor for The Academy of Applied Personal Training Education (A.A.P.T.E.). George’s other certifications include: I.S.S.A., A.C.E., A.F.P.A. (nutrition consultant), Post-Rehabilitative Exercise Programming, and Strength Coaching Theory by Charles Poliquin. George is also the author of two books, “The Turning Point”, his award winning 12-week exercise and nutrition process that transformed his wife Carmela into a fitness model at the age of 46 and won George the Grand Championship of the Met-Rx World’s Best Personal Trainer Contest. His other book is “Bowflexercise. The Future in Fitness”. To contact George, e-mail him at: firstname.lastname@example.org