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Thread: How to get big arms, heavy weight low reps or light weight high reps??

  1. #1
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    How to get big arms, heavy weight low reps or light weight high reps??

    What is the best way to put size on your upper arms, i'm talking biceps and triceps. Is it best to do heavy and low reps or light weight and high reps.

    For example my biceps i train on the EZ curls bar 4 sets 50kg 15 reps one week and the following week i start on 50kg 12 reps then 55kg 10 reps, 60 kg 8 reps, 65 kg 6 reps and 70 kg max. So i'm doing both really.

    Triceps i do the same day as chest, usually 4 sets of 12 dips ( not weighted, i do weigh 113kg) followed by 4 sets cable push downs starting from light to max.

    Like most people i feel my arms look pretty small in comparison to my chest/ shoulders. They measure 19 inches round but would like to see them at 20+
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    Always heavy weights, higher reps is better for hypertrophy

    I would shoot for 6-8 for size and strength

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    SchModerator ZenMonkey's Avatar
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    Size is a function of diet
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  4. #4
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    8 to 12 reps at your max builds muscle mass. Anything lower is for strength and anything higher is for endurance.

  5. #5
    SchModerator ZenMonkey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ColdBlue View Post
    8 to 12 reps at your max builds muscle mass. Anything lower is for strength and anything higher is for endurance.
    That is insane. Go do a set of breathing squats and tell me that doesnt make you stronger.

    It is simple folks, if you want to get bigger then you have to eat more. No matter of any set/rep manifesto is going to get you there, sorry. The reality is there are few of us who can really and truly see a difference in size gains with 3 vs 5 vs 8 vs 12 reps cp.
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    Senior Member deeder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZenMonkey View Post
    That is insane. Go do a set of breathing squats and tell me that doesnt make you stronger.

    It is simple folks, if you want to get bigger then you have to eat more. No matter of any set/rep manifesto is going to get you there, sorry. The reality is there are few of us who can really and truly see a difference in size gains with 3 vs 5 vs 8 vs 12 reps cp.
    Ok... If you say so.

    Tell that to my legs after 4 weeks of 10's for squats. Then tell my legs that they aren't shrinking when my suit is getting loose after 4 weeks of 5's.

    This is like the opposite of bro-tology. Its ******ation by over-thinking and under-doing.
    Last edited by deeder; 11-04-2008 at 05:59 PM.
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    SchModerator ZenMonkey's Avatar
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    All I was saying is that there is wayyy too much emphasis on sets/reps when the problem lies in caloric intake. Thats all.


    If calories remain static do you really think someone will get bigger by changing their set/reps to one like 4x8? No, its going to take eating more to really make a difference, at least for the greater number of people.

    Also, I dont think 4 weeks is enough for that kind of difference, could it have been risidual muscle pump from the higher reps?
    Last edited by ZenMonkey; 11-04-2008 at 06:12 PM.
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    Senior Member deeder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZenMonkey View Post
    All I was saying is that there is wayyy too much emphasis on sets/reps when the problem lies in caloric intake. Thats all.


    If calories remain static do you really think someone will get bigger by changing their set/reps to one like 4x8? No, its going to take eating more to really make a difference, at least for the greater number of people.

    Also, I dont think 4 weeks is enough for that kind of difference, could it have been risidual muscle pump from the higher reps?
    Yes I do believe someone will get bigger from going from low reps to high reps. I've seen it happen in myself and others. Residual pump? You've got to be kidding me. You know calories aren't a problem because this dude weights 113kg = 248lbs.

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with training towards your goal. Want hypertrophy? Do high reps. Why do you think all the bodybuilders train high reps? Maybe they are all secretly doing 5x5 when they aren't filming training vids.

    I guess I should be thankful that no one told this guy to do pullups and rows to build up his 19" arms.
    Full Powerlifting
    Squat - 595lbs -- 270kg -- Dec. 31, '09 (Provincial Record @100kg class)
    Bench - 374lbs -- 170kg -- Dec 20, '08 (@100kg class)
    Dead - 589lbs -- 267.5kg -- Dec 20, '08 (Provincial Record @100kg class)
    Total: 1537lbs -- 697.5kg -- Dec 20, '08 (Provincial Record @ 100kg class)
    Bench Only -- 358lbs -- 162.5kg -- Nov. 25, '07 (Provincial Record @ 90kg class)
    Bench Only -- 376lbs -- 171kg -- Jan. 26, '08 (Provincial Record @ 100kg class)

  9. #9
    SchModerator ZenMonkey's Avatar
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    Look man, Im not looking to argue with you. I dont need you sarcasm, Im not an idiot. I grant that you might have a point with the size of the OP, but for most people it is too trivial to worry about.
    Last edited by ZenMonkey; 11-04-2008 at 06:39 PM.
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  10. #10
    Senior Member Daone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by paul0101 View Post
    What is the best way to put size on your upper arms, i'm talking biceps and triceps. Is it best to do heavy and low reps or light weight and high reps.

    For example my biceps i train on the EZ curls bar 4 sets 50kg 15 reps one week and the following week i start on 50kg 12 reps then 55kg 10 reps, 60 kg 8 reps, 65 kg 6 reps and 70 kg max. So i'm doing both really.

    Triceps i do the same day as chest, usually 4 sets of 12 dips ( not weighted, i do weigh 113kg) followed by 4 sets cable push downs starting from light to max.

    Like most people i feel my arms look pretty small in comparison to my chest/ shoulders. They measure 19 inches round but would like to see them at 20+
    To gain size on your arms you need to gain size overall. So doing compound movements and working your diet (eating more but clean) will increase the size of your frame and your arms as well.

    With that said, and you are looking to do direct arm workouts I would say do both.

    Example:

    BB curls heavy weight low to medium reps 6-10
    Incline DB curls Medium weight medium to high reps 10-12.


    Here is a picture of my biceps
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daone View Post
    To gain size on your arms you need to gain size overall. So doing compound movements and working your diet (eating more but clean) will increase the size of your frame and your arms as well.

    With that said, and you are looking to do direct arm workouts I would say do both.

    Example:

    BB curls heavy weight low to medium reps 6-10
    Incline DB curls Medium weight medium to high reps 10-12.


    Here is a picture of my biceps

    Mom I wanna get those. They're from target.


    Omg your arms are huge. I want them.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Daone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Motor ftw View Post
    Mom I wanna get those. They're from target.


    Omg your arms are huge. I want them.
    LOL thanks man!
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  13. #13
    All Natural Power Lunar Effect's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by deeder View Post
    Ok... If you say so.

    Tell that to my legs after 4 weeks of 10's for squats. Then tell my legs that they aren't shrinking when my suit is getting loose after 4 weeks of 5's.
    You can see changes that obvious within 4 weeks? I could stop lifting altogether for 4 weeks and I don't think I'd notice a change that huge.

  14. #14
    IRL my name is Trent Hazerboy's Avatar
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    I'm a firm believer that rep ranges are something you're going to have to figure out yourself. Don't ever listen to someone's anecdotes like "I did this rep and set range with this exercise and added this many inches to this body part blah blah." That sort of stuff is too person specific unless its something extreme (singles or 20 rep squats, for instance), and there are too many variables at play (calories, other exercises, sleep, etc.) for anyone to attribute any gains to a certain rep or set range. The best anyone can (or should) say is "I tried this, and it worked for me. Maybe it will work for you too. Here is some research/other people's experience that supports what I did."

    Listen to Daone, he has the right advice here. Make sure you stick with whatever you do for at least 6 weeks so you know its working, but over the course of your training (several months) try out both. For instance, just for some comparison, in Brooks D. Kubick's Dinosaur Training he mentions doing heavy, thickbar curls for singles and building 21 inch arms or something like that on around 5 singles a week. Is this the only way to build big arms? There's more than one way to skin a cat, try 'em all out.

    Lastly I'd ask you how is the rest of your routine going? You may think that you're arms are lagging behind, but until you're putting up good bench, squat, deadlift and rowing/chinning numbers, I wouldn't worry about it.
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  15. #15
    IRL my name is Trent Hazerboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Motor ftw View Post
    Mom I wanna get those. They're from target.


    Omg your arms are huge. I want them.
    Dude, creepy.
    Stats: 11/15/07-First-meet--2nd Meet----3rd meet
    Weight: 185-----187---------198---------198
    Max Bench: 255---220-----------280------300
    Max Squat: 405----395----------440------460
    Max Dead:475-----485----------551------570
    CHINUPS - Bodyweight + 135, x1, dead hang. Still working on the one arm chinup.

  16. #16
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    To the OP, what's your body fat like? You're asking a rather vague question. You just want your bi's/tri's to look big? Well, that's relative to the size of the rest of you. At 248 with 19" arms you're hardly small, but I'm wondering if you could stand to lose some bodyfat in order to make your arms appear larger, or more definied/exposed relative to the rest of you. Maybe a bit of a cut is in order?

  17. #17
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    just combine what everyone has said and do heavy weights for high reps
    Bear in mind that the arms comprise fast twitch muscle fibers, so ideally you just want to blast them with a few INTENSE sets.
    I would compliment the size of your arms but I don't believe in compliments when it comes to weightlifting.

  18. #18
    small flabby and hairy joelhall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by king olof View Post
    Bear in mind that the arms comprise fast twitch muscle fibers, so ideally you just want to blast them with a few INTENSE sets.
    er.... all skeletal muscles contain fast twitch and slow-twitch fibres. intensity change is key to any fitness facet whether it be powerlifting, kayaking or marathons.

    to be honest it doesnt matter what change you make when you plateau as long as you remember:

    everything will work.
    nothing works forever.

    there has been quite a lot of research into adaption to exercise and small changes every now & then can do wonders.

  19. #19
    Go Bears Pete22's Avatar
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    You have 19" arms, obviously whatever you've been doing is working. Keep doing it.
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by deeder View Post
    Yes I do believe someone will get bigger from going from low reps to high reps. I've seen it happen in myself and others. Residual pump? You've got to be kidding me. You know calories aren't a problem because this dude weights 113kg = 248lbs.

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with training towards your goal. Want hypertrophy? Do high reps. Why do you think all the bodybuilders train high reps? Maybe they are all secretly doing 5x5 when they aren't filming training vids.

    I guess I should be thankful that no one told this guy to do pullups and rows to build up his 19" arms.

    If caloric intake is sufficient, then one can grow off any set/rep scheme. You say that you noticed a size increase from going to high reps, for me it's been the other way around. Different people respond to different things. Saying "Want hypertrophy? Do high reps." is so oversimplified that it is incorrect or at least only partially correct for some lifters.

    As for why all the bodybuilders do high reps? First of all it's my understanding that the previous two Mr. Olympias Yates and (Ronnie to a lesser extent) used mostly "low" reps when compared to their weightlifting brethen ( usually 6-10 for Yates and 10-12 for Ronnie) in their training. And these were the biggest Mr. Olympias ever. Even Haney couldn't match their size.

    Secondly pro bodybuilders have fantastic one in a million genetics and are on a boatload of drugs. They would grow off any training protocol. The reason they don't try anything else is simple. Most professionals, (heck, most people) are creatures of habit. When they started lifting they grew off high reps because that's what most lifters did. For years it's been drilled into them to do lots of sets and reps.
    Few (Yates and Ronnie were exceptions) are willing to try something different for fear it might not yield the same results. So it's a perpetuating cycle.


    As for the OP. It seems that you already have good size on the arms. So why not try both? At your bodyweight caloric intake doesn't seem to be the problem. I'd alternate workouts one high rep the next low rep and see what gives you size.


    EDITed to be clearer.
    Last edited by Songsangnim; 11-05-2008 at 08:02 PM.

  21. #21
    SchModerator ZenMonkey's Avatar
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    Well articulated, Song
    Last edited by ZenMonkey; 11-05-2008 at 07:10 PM.
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  22. #22
    Ich bin Legende. Torrok's Avatar
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    Big Arms= HEAVY rowing and HEAVY pressing + EATING(alot)
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    low weight high reps... coz after some weight can be increased

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    Senior Member Daone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Songsangnim View Post
    If caloric intake is sufficient, then one can grow off any set/rep scheme. You say that you noticed a size increase from going to high reps, for me it's been the other way around. Different people respond to different things. Saying "Want hypertrophy? Do high reps." is so oversimplified that it is incorrect or at least only partially correct for some lifters.

    As for why all the bodybuilders do high reps? First of all it's my understanding that the previous two Mr. Olympias (Yates and Ronnie) used mainly low reps in their training. And these were the biggest Mr. Olympias ever. Even Haney couldn't match their size.

    Secondly pro bodybuilders have fantastic one in a million genetics and are on a boatload of drugs. They would grow off any training protocol. The reason they don't try anything else is simple. Most professionals, (heck, most people) are creatures of habit. When they started lifting they grew off high reps because that's what most lifters did. For years it's been drilled into them to do lots of sets and reps.
    Few (Yates and Ronnie were exceptions) are willing to try something different for fear it might not yield the same results. So it's a perpetuating cycle.


    As for the OP. It seems that you already have good size on the arms. So why not try both? At your bodyweight caloric intake doesn't seem to be the problem. I'd alternate workouts one high rep the next low rep and see what gives you size.
    LMFAO at the statement in bold! How naive can some people be? Yates and Ronnie got to their size with much much more than just heavy weights low reps.

    Also Ronnie is notorious for doing high reps, yates on the other hand worked exclusively with lower reps.

    Another misconception I have notice alot on this site is that some believe that going with higher reps automatically means very light weight. Light weights/high reps build endurance and stamina, it does nothing for hypertrophy. Heavy weights with high reps, 8-12 builds size. Is not that freaking difficult people.

    Extremely heavy weights with low reps build overall mass, that is a fact, but unless you diet down correctly and work each muscle group independently you will NEVER achieve a build with balance and symmetry.
    Last edited by Daone; 11-05-2008 at 07:29 PM.
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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daone View Post
    LMFAO at the statement in bold! How naive can some people be? Yates and Ronnie got to their size with much much more than just heavy weights low reps.

    You need to read more clearly. I was only pointing out that not ALL bodybuilders do high reps and that the biggest don't do reps that high. I never said that's how they got there.
    I also pointed out later that anything would work for the pros as they have super genetics and access to plenty of steroids


    Also Ronnie is notorious for doing high reps, yates on the other hand worked exclusively with lower reps.

    I guess we read different sites when it comes to Coleman. Granted Ronnie does do a lot of higher reps (particularly for smaller bodyparts, but a lot of his training for the big lifts is done with low reps when training heavy. (I edited my above statement to reflect that.) According to his DVD review he goes all the way down to 2 reps when training the deadlift and as low as 4 with the squat.


    Another misconception I have notice alot on this site is that some believe that going with higher reps automatically means very light weight. Light weights/high reps build endurance and stamina, it does nothing for hypertrophy. Heavy weights with high reps, 8-12 builds size. Is not that freaking difficult people.

    Excess calories build size along with weight. Cut your calories in half and do heavy weights with high reps 8-12. You will not grow. Once and for all it is not JUST about training. Eating and rest are just as important. Come on, you know this.

    Extremely heavy weights with low reps build overall mass, that is a fact, but unless you diet down correctly and work each muscle group independently you will NEVER achieve a build with balance and symmetry.
    True up to a point.
    Last edited by Songsangnim; 11-05-2008 at 08:01 PM.

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