A Month To Big Arms - AnabolicMinds.com
    • A Month To Big Arms


      by Dan Trink T-Nation

      Let's drop the, "I just want to be strong and functional" bull****, shall we?

      You want big arms. A pair of huge, veiny, triumphant mo-fos hanging from your shoulder sockets like thick slabs of well-aged beef. You want arms so big that when you go into a tattoo parlor they charge you for extra ink. Arms so impressive that you'll wear a tank top to your sister's wedding.

      But you also want to avoid being a douche bag. You don't want to be that guy who starts every workout with concentration curls. You understand that squats and deadlifts are the foundation of a good program. You appreciate being able to military press your body weight for reps.

      Yet, still, you want big arms.

      Fortunately, you're in luck, my soon-to-be sleeve-stretching friend. What follows is a specialization program that will give you what you want (in case you forgot, that's big arms) while still using the big lifts you know you need.

      And if that weren't enough to get your arm-hairs standing on end in excitement (provided you haven't already shaved off all your arm hair to make your forearms look bigger), the compound movements we're going to use will enhance your goal of building bigger, stronger arms.

      In other words, we're not doing big lifts just because we know they're awesome and important – we're doing the one's that are going to help us reach our goal.


      Don't Allow A Small Brain To Keep You From Getting Big Arms



      Here's where most people fail miserably when it comes to 'specialty' training: If you want big arms (or a 500-pound deadlift or a 38-inch vertical jump), the optimal method is to focus on just that one goal for a certain period of time (or at all times, depending on the goal/situation).

      Therefore, in this program we're going to focus all our efforts for the next 4 weeks on arm hypertrophy. Don't make the classic mistake of trying to maintain volume on your other lifts at the same time. You want all your resources (training, nutrition, recovery) to go towards the endgame of gaining arm size.

      Look at it this way, if you wanted to be a professional football player, you wouldn't spend half your time shooting free throws. Remember, "Plan B" is for those people who don't have faith in "Plan A."

      That said, we're still going to spend one of our 4 training days maintaining strength and movement qualities in other key lifts. This is wise because:

      It will give your arms extra time for recovery while still providing an anabolic stimulus.
      You'll need to return to a more generalized training program after this phase is complete, and you don't want to lose your ability to perform key major lifts.
      I said so, and my arms are bigger than yours.
      However, if you're a newbie – less than a year of solid training under your belt – you're probably not ready for a specialized program of any sort, let alone one geared towards the arms. Stick with gaining strength and technique in the big lifts. You can always bookmark this article and come back to it.


      Someone Call a Vet, 'Cause These Pythons Are Sick

      Enough with the lectures, let's get to the good stuff.

      You'll train four days per week. Three of those will be your "arm workout" days with the fourth being a maintenance day.

      Ideally your week will be set up with Monday, Thursday, and Saturday being the arm days, Tuesday as your maintenance day, and Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday as off days. Of course, you can always move things around to suit your needs but try not to schedule arm workouts on back-to-back days.

      Each arm workout starts with a big lift. This will make you feel (and look) less douchey and sets the stage for a significant anabolic hormonal response, something you wouldn't get from isolation work alone.

      For workout A, that's a deadlift. Heavy deads contribute to great forearm development as well as, if not better than, any other lift you can perform in the gym.

      Workout B starts with a narrow grip bench press – a great developer of the triceps. Notice I said "narrow grip" not "close grip." I define narrow grip as "hands directly above the shoulders," as this allows you to focus on the triceps without developing the wrist pain often associated with close-grip benching.

      Also, be sure to keep your elbows tucked close to your ribcage as you lower the bar. This ensures that you get more triceps recruitment and keeps your shoulder in a safer position.

      Finally, workout C starts with chin-ups (that means a supinated grip, or palms facing you), as they're also a great forearm and biceps developer. If you can't complete the number of reps prescribed for the chin-ups, take a long, hard look at yourself in the mirror and question your manhood, and then walk over to the lat pulldown machine and get your reps in there.

      The periodization scheme is undulating, meaning we're going to be manipulating the sets and reps from week to week. Shoot to complete all reps in every set, and choose loads that allow you to have one or two more reps left in the tank at the end of the set. Maxing out is great for strength training, but when building mass I find it's better to hold a little bit in reserve.

      Finally, we're going to use a few specialized techniques that work really well in hypertrophy phases such as drop sets, slow negatives, and rest-pauses. These will be used on the last set of the "A," "B1," and "B2" exercises when prescribed.


      Week 1


      Workout A

      Exercise Sets Reps
      A Deadlift* 4 8-10
      B1 Dips (weighted if needed)* 3 8-10
      B2 EZ-Bar Preacher Curl* 3 8-10
      C1 Decline DB Triceps Extension 3 8-10
      C2 Incline DB Curl 3 8-10
      Sit on an incline bench with the back of the bench raised between 60 and 75 degrees. Grab a pair of dumbbells and let your arms hang straight down. Curl up the weight as high as you can without letting your elbows come forward.
      D Cable Rope Pressdown 1 25
      * Drop Set. After you complete the last rep of the last set, rest for 15 seconds, reduce the load by 30-50%, and try to match the amount of reps with the new weight. So if you performed 10 reps with 185 pounds on the last set of narrow-grip bench presses, drop the weight to 125 pounds and try to get 10 reps.

      Workout B

      Exercise Sets Reps
      A Narrow-Grip Flat Barbell Bench Press* 4 8-10
      B1 Bent-Over Barbell Row* 3 8-10
      B2 Band-Resisted Push Up* 3 8-10
      Wrap a resistance band around your back and hold one end in each hand. Lie on the ground and perform a set of push-ups. You should feel an overload in your triceps at the top of the movement.
      C1 Barbell Perfect Curl 3 8-10
      This is stolen directly from the late Vince Gironda. Think of this as the opposite of a cheat curl – instead of rocking back, you rock forward.

      Stand with a barbell as if you were about to curl it. Now before you curl, lean your upper body back 5 to 10 degrees (a slight lean back). As you curl the weight up, lean your body into the bar (so you have a 5 to 10 degree lean forward at the end). Leave your ego at the front desk on this one as you'll have to reduce the weight you'd normally use.
      C2 Kneeling Cable Overhead Triceps Extension 3 8-10
      D Standing DB Hammer Curl 1 25
      * Drop Set. After you complete the last rep of the last set, rest for 15 seconds, reduce the load by 30-50%, and try to match the amount of reps with the new weight. So if you performed 10 reps with 185 pounds on the last set of narrow-grip bench presses, drop the weight to 125 pounds and try to get 10 reps.

      Workout C

      Exercise Sets Reps
      A Chin Up (weighted if needed)* 4 8-10
      B1 Barbell Floor Press* 3 8-10
      B2 Seated D-Handle Cable Curl* 3 8-10
      Drag a flat bench over to a double cable station. Sit on the edge of the bench with the cable stacks directly behind you. Grab a D-handle in each hand, stay tall in the saddle, and curl.
      C1 Standing Zottman Curl 3 8-10
      Grab a set of dumbbells, stand tall, and perform a curl with the palms facing up. Once the dumbbell reaches your shoulder turn your hands over (palms facing the floor) and lower. Once you get to the bottom, turn your hands back over (palms up) and repeat for reps.
      C2 EZ-Bar French Press 3 8-10
      D Cable Straight Bar Reverse Curl 1 25
      * Drop Set. After you complete the last rep of the last set, rest for 15 seconds, reduce the load by 30-50%, and try to match the amount of reps with the new weight. So if you performed 10 reps with 185 pounds on the last set of narrow-grip bench presses, drop the weight to 125 pounds and try to get 10 reps.

      Workout D

      Exercise Sets Reps
      A Barbell Back Squat* 4 8-10
      B1 Seated Overhead Press* 3 8-10
      B2 DB Romanian Deadlift* 3 8-10
      C1 Walking Lunge 3 8-10
      C2 Single-Arm DB Row 3 8-10
      D Reverse Crunch/Hanging Leg Raise 1 25
      * Drop Set. After you complete the last rep of the last set, rest for 15 seconds, reduce the load by 30-50%, and try to match the amount of reps with the new weight. So if you performed 10 reps with 185 pounds on the last set of narrow-grip bench presses, drop the weight to 125 pounds and try to get 10 reps.


      Week 2


      Workout A

      Exercise Sets Reps
      A Deadlift* 5 6-8
      B1 Dips (weighted if needed)* 4 6-8
      B2 EZ-Bar Preacher Curl* 4 6-8
      C1 Decline DB Triceps Extension 4 6-8
      C2 Incline DB Curl 4 6-8
      D Cable Rope Pressdown 1 20
      * Slow Negative. On the last rep of the last set, perform the eccentric (negative) phase of the lift as slowly as possible. Fifteen seconds is a good time to shoot for. On some of the lifts (such as the Narrow-Grip Bench Press) you'll need a spotter. A word of caution on the deadlift: slow negatives can be risky here if your form breaks down. Proceed with caution.

      Workout B

      Exercise Sets Reps
      A Narrow-Grip Flat Barbell Bench Press* 5 6-8
      B1 Bent-Over Barbell Row* 4 6-8
      B2 Band-Resisted Push Up* 4 6-8
      C1 Barbell Perfect Curl 4 6-8
      C2 Kneeling Cable Overhead Triceps Extension 4 6-8
      D Standing DB Hammer Curl 1 20
      * Slow Negative. On the last rep of the last set, perform the eccentric (negative) phase of the lift as slowly as possible. Fifteen seconds is a good time to shoot for. On some of the lifts (such as the Narrow-Grip Bench Press) you'll need a spotter. A word of caution on the deadlift: slow negatives can be risky here if your form breaks down. Proceed with caution.

      Workout C

      Exercise Sets Reps
      A Chin Up (weighted if needed)* 5 6-8
      B1 Barbell Floor Press* 4 6-8
      B2 Seated D-Handle Cable Curl* 4 6-8
      C1 Standing Zottman Curl 4 6-8
      C2 EZ-Bar French Press 4 6-8
      D Cable Straight Bar Reverse Curl 1 20
      * Slow Negative. On the last rep of the last set, perform the eccentric (negative) phase of the lift as slowly as possible. Fifteen seconds is a good time to shoot for. On some of the lifts (such as the Narrow-Grip Bench Press) you'll need a spotter. A word of caution on the deadlift: slow negatives can be risky here if your form breaks down. Proceed with caution.

      Workout D

      Exercise Sets Reps
      A Barbell Back Squat* 5 6-8
      B1 Seated Overhead Press* 4 6-8
      B2 DB Romanian Deadlift* 4 6-8
      C1 Walking Lunge 4 6-8
      C2 Single-Arm DB Row 4 6-8
      D Reverse Crunch/Hanging Leg Raise 1 20
      * Slow Negative. On the last rep of the last set, perform the eccentric (negative) phase of the lift as slowly as possible. Fifteen seconds is a good time to shoot for. On some of the lifts (such as the Narrow-Grip Bench Press) you'll need a spotter. A word of caution on the deadlift: slow negatives can be risky here if your form breaks down. Proceed with caution.


      Week 3


      Workout A

      Exercise Sets Reps
      A Deadlift* 4 10-12
      B1 Dips (weighted if needed)* 4 10-12
      B2 EZ-Bar Preacher Curl* 4 10-12
      C1 Decline DB Triceps Extension 3 10-12
      C2 Incline DB Curl 3 10-12
      D Cable Rope Pressdown 1 30
      * Rest-Pause. After the last rep of your last set, rest for 10-15 seconds and then attempt 2-3 more reps. Rest another 10-15 seconds and try to bang out another 1-2 reps.

      Workout B

      Exercise Sets Reps
      A Narrow-Grip Flat Barbell Bench Press* 4 10-12
      B1 Bent-Over Barbell Row* 4 10-12
      B2 Band-Resisted Push Up* 4 10-12
      C1 Barbell Perfect Curl 3 10-12
      C2 Kneeling Cable Overhead Triceps Extension 3 10-12
      D Standing DB Hammer Curl 1 30
      * Rest-Pause. After the last rep of your last set, rest for 10-15 seconds and then attempt 2-3 more reps. Rest another 10-15 seconds and try to bang out another 1-2 reps.

      Workout C

      Exercise Sets Reps
      A Chin Up (weighted if needed)* 4 10-12
      B1 Barbell Floor Press* 4 10-12
      B2 Seated D-Handle Cable Curl* 4 10-12
      C1 Standing Zottman Curl 3 10-12
      C2 EZ-Bar French Press 3 10-12
      D Cable Straight Bar Reverse Curl 1 30
      * Rest-Pause. After the last rep of your last set, rest for 10-15 seconds and then attempt 2-3 more reps. Rest another 10-15 seconds and try to bang out another 1-2 reps.

      Workout D

      Exercise Sets Reps
      A Barbell Back Squat* 4 10-12
      B1 Seated Overhead Press* 4 10-12
      B2 DB Romanian Deadlift* 4 10-12
      C1 Walking Lunge 3 10-12
      C2 Single-Arm DB Row 3 10-12
      D Reverse Crunch/Hanging Leg Raise 1 30
      * Rest-Pause. After the last rep of your last set, rest for 10-15 seconds and then attempt 2-3 more reps. Rest another 10-15 seconds and try to bang out another 1-2 reps.


      Week 4


      Workout A

      Exercise Sets Reps
      A Deadlift 2 15
      B1 Dips (weighted if needed) 2 15
      B2 EZ-Bar Preacher Curl 2 15
      C1 Decline DB Triceps Extension 2 15
      C2 Incline DB Curl 2 15
      D Cable Rope Pressdown 1 50
      Workout B

      Exercise Sets Reps
      A Narrow-Grip Flat Barbell Bench Press 2 15
      B1 Bent-Over Barbell Row 2 15
      B2 Band-Resisted Push Up 2 15
      C1 Barbell Perfect Curl 2 15
      C2 Kneeling Cable Overhead Triceps Extension 2 15
      D Standing DB Hammer Curl 1 50
      Workout C

      Exercise Sets Reps
      A Chin Up (weighted if needed) 2 15
      B1 Barbell Floor Press 2 15
      B2 Seated D-Handle Cable Curl 2 15
      C1 Standing Zottman Curl 2 15
      C2 EZ-Bar French Press 2 15
      D Cable Straight Bar Reverse Curl 1 50
      Workout D

      Exercise Sets Reps
      A Barbell Back Squat 2 15
      B1 Seated Overhead Press 2 15
      B2 DB Romanian Deadlift 2 15
      C1 Walking Lunge 2 15
      C2 Single-Arm DB Row 2 15
      D Reverse Crunch/Hanging Leg Raise 1 50
      A Note On Rest and Tempo

      While I'm not prescribing specific rest or tempo on this program, you'd be well advised to perform each lift as quickly as possible while absolutely controlling the negative/lowering phase of each lift.

      Time under tension is a critical factor in any hypertrophy phase, and ideally you want sets lasting between 40 and 60 seconds.

      Rest periods should be between 75 and 90 seconds for your "A" exercises and between 45 and 75 seconds for the remainder of the program. Once you feel like you're ready to go, get rolling with the next set.

      On the high rep "D" exercises, use intra-set rest as much as necessary. Your goal is to, somehow, someway, get all the reps in.


      Get After It

      All right, noodle arms, it's time to get to work. Remember, the goal for the next 4 weeks is to get your pipes as massive as possible while incorporating some big lifts to keep your man-status in check.

      As for your legs, don't worry; you're doing just enough work to keep them from going anywhere. And after the gun show's finished its 4-week run, I may just have a specialization program for you to add some prime real estate to your lower body.

      Now get after it!

      Source: http://www.t-nation.com/readArticle.do?id=5410009
      Comments 7 Comments
      1. Blue Reflex's Avatar
        Blue Reflex -
        Awesome post! Nice routine. Could def use this during my bulk phase.
      1. MANdrew's Avatar
        MANdrew -
        I love it!
      1. smithouse's Avatar
        smithouse -
        Saved
      1. HardCore1's Avatar
        HardCore1 -
        Saved
      1. SixandaHalf's Avatar
        SixandaHalf -
        Answered my own ques... start this today
      1. chedapalooza's Avatar
        chedapalooza -
        I saved as well.. Anyone used tbis yet? Results??
      1. Fernandez0331's Avatar
        Fernandez0331 -
        Sick thank you