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Thread: Stubborn Arms

  1. #1
    Loves gravy mattburns's Avatar
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    Stubborn Arms

    Having real trouble putting mass on my arms, and have done ever since I started lifting weights 4 years ago. Despite being 224lbs at present (Although I am 6ft 3") I only have 15 1/2" arms. The biggest they've been was 16" when I was 235lbs.

    Because I'm so tall they still look gangly despite the fact I'm fairly well built now so it looks out of proportion. Especially considering my forearms are 13 1/2".

    I've tried training Bi's and Tri's twice a week, varying reps, heavier weights etc. but still progress is very slow. I know a lot of it is down to genes and I have very good shoulder genes but lack a lot in the arms. Here's what I do at present for my arms-

    Bi's
    Preacher BB Curl
    21's (7 half way up, 7 from half way up, 7 full)
    I've recently substituted the 21's for concentration curls but to no avail.

    Tri's
    Close Grip Bench Press (Chest?/Tri's)
    Tricep Pulldown's with ropes
    Single arm Tri Pulls

    Anyone have any tips? Looking at the above sets make me think adding another set to each but I've always read that with Bi's and Tri's being such small muscles it's best not to overdo it as I only generally do 3 sets for Back, Chest, Shoulders etc..

    For pictures of my pathetic stubborn arms please see this thread-
    http://www.wannabebigforums.com/show...39#post2060939

    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v7...oto-0087-1.jpg
    I think this pic best shows my crappy arms, although it's still a bit flattering IMO, I catch myself in the mirror that they look the smallest, rather than posing like a tart .

  2. #2
    Senior Member Klotz's Avatar
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    More compound movements, less isolation. Also, squat and deadlift or overall size.

  3. #3
    Must...work...out... nockits's Avatar
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    compound movements, for just targeting arms? really? i would have thought the opposite, since he wants his arms bigger he should be doing more isolation movements.

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    Senior Member berfles's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nockits View Post
    compound movements, for just targeting arms? really? i would have thought the opposite, since he wants his arms bigger he should be doing more isolation movements.
    Isolation doesn't hurt if it's in conjunction with primarily compounds, but compounds are still better. I do no isolation lifts for my arms and they're almost 16.5" cold which I don't think is bad for 195lbs.
    Last edited by berfles; 12-24-2008 at 10:02 AM.
    22 - 5'10@236lbs!
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  5. #5
    Senior Member Klotz's Avatar
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    Yeah isolation is fine if you're already doing compound exercises.

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    Trust me, I understand about long arms, I have a 6'11" wingspan. But, I've put on about 2" on my arms ( they're just under 21" now ) since last summer when I stopped doing all isolation bicep exercises. Instead, I do deadlifts, heavy rack pulls, heavy rows,... I still do a very limited amount of tricep isolation work.

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    Loves gravy mattburns's Avatar
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    Ok, I only do Bench Press in terms of compounds so I will endeavour to change my routine to fit them in.

    So for Back/Bi's should I keep a couple of my isolations e.g. rows and substitute the others for Deadlifts and pull ups, and then do the same for bi's replacing concentration curls with chin-ups but still keep the preacher curls?

    As for Tri's I will stick with the bench press and incorporate dips into my routine.

  8. #8
    Loves gravy mattburns's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigTallOx View Post
    Trust me, I understand about long arms, I have a 6'11" wingspan. But, I've put on about 2" on my arms ( they're just under 21" now ) since last summer when I stopped doing all isolation bicep exercises. Instead, I do deadlifts, heavy rack pulls, heavy rows,... I still do a very limited amount of tricep isolation work.
    Crikey and I thought my wingspan was long at 6' 4"!

    I can see where I've been going wrong, adding more and more to isolation. I'm in the process of knocking up a new split now to start in the new year I'll post it up when I'm done to see if it's better.

  9. #9
    Loves gravy mattburns's Avatar
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    Ok here is my new routine, anything else I should change or does it look better?
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Quote Originally Posted by BigTallOx View Post
    Trust me, I understand about long arms, I have a 6'11" wingspan. But, I've put on about 2" on my arms ( they're just under 21" now ) since last summer when I stopped doing all isolation bicep exercises. Instead, I do deadlifts, heavy rack pulls, heavy rows,... I still do a very limited amount of tricep isolation work.
    OT but last time I checked your sig you were 280lbs.

    6'8, 310lbs, 21" arms, 6'11 wingspan. You must be a terrifying human being!

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    Quote Originally Posted by drummer View Post
    OT but last time I checked your sig you were 280lbs.
    Yup, I've been bulking, and loving it, LOL.
    Last edited by BigTallOx; 12-24-2008 at 11:14 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mattburns View Post
    Ok here is my new routine, anything else I should change or does it look better?
    IMHO, it's a step in the right direction. Personally, I'd drop the fly's, Preacher curls, calf raises to save energy to go all out on things like deads, squats, bench. But that's just me, if you get something out of doing them, keep doing them.

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    SchModerator ZenMonkey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigTallOx View Post
    IMHO, it's a step in the right direction. Personally, I'd drop the fly's, Preacher curls, calf raises to save energy to go all out on things like deads, squats, bench. But that's just me, if you get something out of doing them, keep doing them.

    I agree. Some direct ham work is good too. GM, SLDL etc...
    Last edited by ZenMonkey; 12-24-2008 at 11:58 AM.
    Sarvamangalam!

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    Must...work...out... nockits's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigTallOx View Post
    IMHO, it's a step in the right direction. Personally, I'd drop the fly's, Preacher curls, calf raises to save energy to go all out on things like deads, squats, bench. But that's just me, if you get something out of doing them, keep doing them.
    ditto.
    IMO you have one or two too many exercises per day that you could knock off.

  15. #15
    Senior Member BFGUITAR's Avatar
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    If you are already squatting and deadlifting, I would recommend high reps for arms(upwards of 15). Personally I needed the extra reps to see results.

  16. #16
    Loves gravy mattburns's Avatar
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    Ok thanks all for the excellent advice, here's a revised split-

    Back/Biís
    Deadlifts
    Pull-ups
    Bent over rows
    /Chin ups
    Preacher Curls

    Chest/Triís
    Bench Press
    Incline DB Bench
    Close Grip Bench
    /Dips

    Shoulder/Legs
    DB Shoulder Press
    Lateral Raise
    Shrugs
    /Squats
    Leg Press
    Hamstring Curls

    I've dropped the fly's and tri pulls in favour of 1 set of close grip bench and dips. Lost the calf raises but feel i still have to keep the preacher curl as my bi's rarely feel worked after back sessions, if they feel worked after chin ups and deads then fair do's i'll drop them.

    For Dead's, Bench and squats should I stick to my usual 3x8 or go with maybe 5 sets composing of 8 reps, 8 reps, 6 reps, 4 reps, 2 reps etc. with incrementally increasing weights?

  17. #17
    Senior Member youngguns's Avatar
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    honestly, i would stop doing so much isolation, my arms got bigger when i stopped worrying about them and started worrying about my whole body.
    I BEAT CURL JOCKEY
    BP - 280 pause bench
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  18. #18
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    Instead of the shoulder shrugs, do power cleans (sp?) or hang cleans. Trust me, do these once and you'll be shreaded worse than any hard shrug workout in your life.
    |A:26 | H:6'5'' | W:198| GW: 215|
    Stats: Start | Current | Goal
    Bench: 135lb |170lb| 225lb
    Squat: 135lb |185lb| 225lb
    Dead: 180 |185lb| 315lb
    OH Press: 85lb |100lb| 150lb
    (all 3 x 5 reps)


  19. #19
    Read the Stickies! whiteman90909's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Twirl View Post
    Instead of the shoulder shrugs, do power cleans (sp?) or hang cleans. Trust me, do these once and you'll be shreaded worse than any hard shrug workout in your life.
    Yeah, heavy cleans work my traps, but hang cleans absolutely obliterate them.

  20. #20
    Loves gravy mattburns's Avatar
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    Cheers for the advice lads, i'll give the hang cleans a bash I think as although I have good traps they rarely feel worked from shrugs.

    Can't be arsed waiting til new year to start this split so I'll be beginning it tomorrow, as well as adding approx 500cals to my daily intake as although I eat 3.5-4k cals a day it's not enough to bulk on.

    Merry Christmas too!

  21. #21
    TJW jed's Avatar
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    yeah bro just dont worry much about arms. i went a full year without doing 1 bicep isolation exercise and my arms grew. just worry mainly about heavy compounds like everyone has said, and youll be fine over time.
    22 - 5'11'' - 190 lb
    PR's - Squat 350 | Bench 290 | Deadlift 400.4 | BW 203
    P Clean 98 KG | Jerk 106 | Full Clean 106 |
    Philippians 4:13 - "I can do anything through Christ who strengthens me."
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  22. #22
    Senior Member Jorge Sanchez's Avatar
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    I feel your pain, Matt. I'm 6'1'' 220 and my arms are probably about the same size. On the bright side, my legs are pretty damn big.

  23. #23
    TJW jed's Avatar
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    god i wish i was like you guys. all i got is arms.
    22 - 5'11'' - 190 lb
    PR's - Squat 350 | Bench 290 | Deadlift 400.4 | BW 203
    P Clean 98 KG | Jerk 106 | Full Clean 106 |
    Philippians 4:13 - "I can do anything through Christ who strengthens me."
    "I'm really impressed with your dedication. I will call it your jedication." - killxswitch
    J O U R N A L !
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  24. #24
    Loves gravy mattburns's Avatar
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    I'll swap you some of my shoulders for arms if you want haha. I suffer from being really skinny back in the day and my wrists/ankles are tiny too which just adds to the elongation.

    Does anyone have any input as to the composition of the compound sets, deads for example 8 x 200, 6 x 220, 4 x 230, 2 x 240 2 x 250 etc. rather than 3 sets of 8? I'm guessing this is better due to the max load on the muscles involved.

  25. #25
    TJW jed's Avatar
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    fine with me, my shoulders are small too. if only...

    i started at 130, so i was small too! bugger. personally, i think a solid 5x5 for bench and deads is good, increasing weight as you go. also i think its fine with squats. that is, for gaining mass opposed to max. strength.
    22 - 5'11'' - 190 lb
    PR's - Squat 350 | Bench 290 | Deadlift 400.4 | BW 203
    P Clean 98 KG | Jerk 106 | Full Clean 106 |
    Philippians 4:13 - "I can do anything through Christ who strengthens me."
    "I'm really impressed with your dedication. I will call it your jedication." - killxswitch
    J O U R N A L !
    TJW

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