The Big Arm Routine

Shock your arms with this routine! Work this routine into your workout for 10 weeks. Once per week for the first 8 weeks, then twice per week for last 2 weeks.

Workout Summary

Build Muscle
Single Muscle Group
Intermediate
1
Barbell, Cables, Dumbbells, EZ Bar
Male & Female

Workout Description

Want bigger arms? Arms stuck in a plateau? Shock your arms with this routine! Work this routine into your workout for 10 weeks. Once per week for the first 8 weeks, then twice per week for last 2 weeks.

Workout Notes:

Thoroughly warm up and stretch both biceps and triceps before the workout. Stretch both muscles at the end of the routine.

  • Rest between sets: 90 seconds.
  • Rep timing: slow and precise.
  • Frequency: once per week for weeks 1-8, weeks 8-10 twice per week.

Workout Schedule:

Big Arm Routine
Biceps
Exercise Sets Reps
Barbell Curl 5 8
Barbell Curl 1 20
Incline Dumbbell Curl (bench 30-40 degrees) 5 8
Incline Dumbbell Curl (bench 30-40 degrees) 1 20
Triceps
Exercise Sets Reps
Close Grip Bench Press 5 8
Close Grip Bench Press 1 20
EZ Bar, Lying Tricep Extension 5 8
EZ Bar, Lying Tricep Extension 1 20
Tricep Pushdown, (hands 8-10" apart) 5 8
Tricep Pushdown, (hands 8-10" apart) 1 20

 

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About The Author
Doug is an ex-competitive bodybuilder with over 20 years fitness experience, specifically diet & nutrition, weight management and training techniques.

475 Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Tue, 09/21/2010 - 15:38
Jerard

Hiya Steve,

Due to the number of hours I work, do you think there would be any reduction of effectiveness if the workout was split up into 3 days? Thanks

For example:

Tue:
Biceps

Thurs:
Close Grip Bench Press
EZ Bar, Lying Tricep Extension

Sat:
Tricep Pushdown
plus some chest, back or forearm routines (limited amount)

Steven's picture
Posted Wed, 09/22/2010 - 11:08
Steven

Hi Jerard,

That should work well.

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Posted Sat, 09/18/2010 - 08:00
Thomas

I run three miles a day, will this decrease my ability to gain muscle mass?

Steven's picture
Posted Mon, 09/20/2010 - 13:01
Steven

Hi Thomas,

In general, no. Not as long as you are eating enough to gain muscle. If the scale isn't moving month to month, make sure to increase your daily calories.

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Posted Fri, 09/17/2010 - 03:22
Juan

Hi, Steve.

I was wondering I know you need low body fat % to get a nice tone to your muscles. I think I might have a low body fat % coz I can see a nice tone in my chest, abs and shoulders. My arms I don't know what's happening there. Uhm...can say it's more bulk than toned. I just can't seem to get my bicep to have that nice round shape. It looks too simple when I just look at it. The only time it looks good is when I make it hard otherwise it looks simple. Any suggestions to what to do ?

Steven's picture
Posted Sat, 09/18/2010 - 07:59
Steven

Hi Juan,

Shape can only be improved with muscle building. Your only other option is to do a bodybuilding style cutting diet to lose more fat and improve definition, and hope that this reveals more of the biceps.

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Posted Thu, 09/16/2010 - 14:10
Vishal

Hi Steve,

I am following this plan. Is it ok? I have earlier worked with this plan but dont see much effect on my arms especially as compared to the weights I lift.

Monday - Chest ( 3 exercises(ex) - 3x8 )
Tues - Back (1 ex 2x10, 3 (ex) 3x8)
Wed - Biceps ( 3 ex. each 3 x 10)
Thurs - Triceps ( 3 ex. each 3 x 10)
Fri - Shoulders and legs ( 3 ex. each 3 x 10)

Please rectify it as I dont see much improvements even after 4 months of strenuous training.

Thanks

Steven's picture
Posted Thu, 09/16/2010 - 14:37
Steven

Hi Vishal,

I would like to see you switch around Thursday and Friday workouts. Shoulder workouts involve some pressing lifts, and you want your triceps to be strong.

Also, keep pushing yourself. Using good form, always push yourself on every set. When you can perform the recommended number of reps for a set, add weight.

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Posted Thu, 09/16/2010 - 10:58
jayme

do you use the same weights thro out all sets or go up on each set?

Steven's picture
Posted Thu, 09/16/2010 - 18:35
Steven

Hi Jayme,

As a muscle grows fatigue, it will be harder to use the same weight for future sets. You will probably have to decrease the weight slightly with each set.

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Posted Sat, 09/11/2010 - 15:18
aamil

for each set do i increase weight or stick to same weight for all 5 sets

Steven's picture
Posted Mon, 09/13/2010 - 10:58
Steven

Hi Aamil,

As a muscle group fatigues, you will generally have to use a lighter weight to hit the same amount of reps. With that said, you could stick to the same weight for all sets, and increase the weight when you can perform all the reps for each set.

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Posted Fri, 09/10/2010 - 00:50
Mark

Hi Steve,

I have trouble judging whether or not I am overtraining.
All my life I've had incredible recovery (judging by soreness of muscles), and have felt able to do my chest/bicep routine each consecutive day (and yes, by full routine I mean straining to finish my last reps as should be). I quickly realized I was plateauing, so I changed it to 5-6 times a week, and changed it again to once every other day.
The relevance to this article is that I would love to follow this exercise guide, but as soon as I glanced upon the "once a week" part, I was flabbergasted!
I know I WAS training too much, but this opened up my eyes enough to ask, am I still overdoing it? If so, regardless of if or not I follow this guide, how frequent should each muscle region exercise be?
I know it's more of a general question, and not directly aimed at the article. For that I apologize, but I just had to ask.

Thank you for your reply!

Steven's picture
Posted Fri, 09/10/2010 - 11:44
Steven

Hi Mark,

There are many factors involved with training. The more intense the effort and weight, the less you can train. I want to first ask if you push for more reps and weight on every set? And what does your muscle building diet look like?

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Posted Fri, 09/10/2010 - 12:08
Mark

Firstly let me ask, when you say, "the less you can train", do you mean that I shouldn't physically be able to do my routine again? Or the less I SHOULD train? I just want to make sure I'm getting the intended message.

To answer your first question, yes and no. I use a routine that my dad had taught me when I was young, which involves starting at a set weight, and say, 15 reps for that set. Then the next set to do 12 reps of a heavier weight. So as I keep increasing the weight, I do less and less reps (~15, 12, 10, 8, 6). Obviously the numbers change here and there depending, but that's the general idea.
Usually when I get to the last set, I am only barely able to finish the last few, which I assume is natural

As for my diet, I don't use any supplements or anything. Please excuse the novice explanation, but I keep a generally balanced diet with a heavier helping of proteins when possible. I also make sure to increase my caloric mean for days that I do exercise.
More than that I can't really delve into, since I don't know much more myself. Hope it answered your question.

Steven's picture
Posted Mon, 09/13/2010 - 11:03
Steven

Hi Mark,

I will give you an example...At the age of 20 I was squatting with 225 to 275 pounds per set. This didn't tax my CNS and joints much, and I could easily squat twice a week. Now my squat workouts are with 400+ for reps. This weight is very hard on my central nervous system, and the eccentric aspect of the lift makes it difficult - if not foolish - for me to squat heavily twice a week.

There are many factors involved with training frequency...genetics, age, central nervous system, connective tissue strength, etc. In addition, overtraining - or even working out too frequently - stresses the body and can play with cortisol levels, actually resulting in the body "recoiling" slightly, and wanting to store fat instead of build muscle.

When lifting, I always recommend pushing yourself for more reps on every set, and when you can perform the recommended number of reps per set, add weight. Your diet sounds good. Here are a couple of articles I recommend:

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/your-go-to-guide-for-cutting-...

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/how-to-create-a-bodybuilding-...

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Posted Tue, 09/07/2010 - 21:04
kristofer

hey steve

i need an advice on how to lose body fat and is it possible to lose fat while body building?

Steven's picture
Posted Wed, 09/08/2010 - 08:20
Steven

Hi Kristofer,

Some beginning lifters can gain a bit of muscle while losing fat. Here is an article that can get you pointed in the right direction. Let me know if you have any questions.

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/your-go-to-guide-for-cutting-...

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Posted Sun, 09/05/2010 - 21:56
jesse othee

Is it okay to keep using this workout after 10 weeks?

Steven's picture
Posted Wed, 09/08/2010 - 08:18
Steven

Hi Jesse,

Sure, you can run it as long as you feel you are making good progress.

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Posted Thu, 09/02/2010 - 23:13
Dan

say your current workout has a day off can you do this routine on that day or just do it on the days you do that muscle?

Steven's picture
Posted Sat, 09/04/2010 - 07:05
Steven

Hi Dan,

I wouldn't add in any additional full arm day to any existing workout. That can often be counterproductive.

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Posted Tue, 09/07/2010 - 16:51
Dan

but can you put this routine in with the day you are doing biceps and triceps already?

Steven's picture
Posted Wed, 09/08/2010 - 08:17
Steven

Hi Dan,

You definitely can use it as a replacement.

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Posted Thu, 09/02/2010 - 07:27
Arvind

hello sir... in general not abt this routine .. can v put biceps twice a week... if so... after whhich workout...?

Steven's picture
Posted Thu, 09/02/2010 - 13:38
Steven

Hi Arvind,

I wouldn't recommend adding in any extra work until you have a couple months under your belt where you have added some muscle and strength.

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Posted Sat, 09/04/2010 - 04:50
Arvind

thank u steve... can u suggest me a workout routine(split)... not combined wit any other parts... thanks

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Posted Tue, 08/31/2010 - 16:11
Lee

Hey Steve,

Srry, I forgot to mention this but, how many inches would my arm grow after the 10 weeks.

Steven's picture
Posted Thu, 09/02/2010 - 13:37
Steven

Hi Lee,

Muscle growth is dependent on how how you train and how good you eat. A beginner that is training hard and eating properly can can around 15 pounds of muscle during his first year of training, which equates to about 3 pounds for every 10 weeks. How much of this goes to your arms, it will be hard to say.

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Posted Mon, 08/30/2010 - 17:58
Lee

Hey Steve, I have a question, since the workout is once a week for 8 weeks, then twice a week for 2 weeks...

1) Can I continue this program longer or will I have the "Plateau Effect"
and

2) Since it is once a week for the most part, when do I increase the weight, because I am starting off with 20 lbs dumbbells? Like which weeks?

Steven's picture
Posted Tue, 08/31/2010 - 12:24
Steven

Hi Lee,

I wouldn't run it twice a week after the 8 weeks, but you could start the program over. As long as you are pushing yourself, you shouldn't see an extended plateau.

As far as weight goes - using good form, always push yourself on every set. When you can perform the recommended number of reps for a set, add weight.

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Posted Sun, 08/29/2010 - 20:20
kristofer

hey steve just wanna ask you if u took the can fit pro PTS course and if u did can u tell me if the theory exam was easy and if it was based on the study guide they give u? thanks

Steven's picture
Posted Tue, 08/31/2010 - 12:23
Steven

Hi Kristofer,

Never heard of it. Sorry. Try the forum. I'm sure more than a few guys have taken it.

http://www.muscleandstrength.com/forum/

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Posted Sun, 08/29/2010 - 11:34
mit

is it true tht when u working out for biceps thn u cannot working out for triceps at the same day? im getting confused sometimes tht which combination should i do?

Steven's picture
Posted Tue, 08/31/2010 - 12:52
Steven

Hi MIT,

You can work both biceps and triceps on the same day.

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Posted Thu, 08/26/2010 - 12:22
carson

can i throw a couple sets of chinups into the bi workout?

Steven's picture
Posted Fri, 08/27/2010 - 09:27
Steven

Absolutely!

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Posted Thu, 08/26/2010 - 04:45
NATE

Hi Steve. Can I sub an EZ Bar for the Dumbbell curl?

Steven's picture
Posted Fri, 08/27/2010 - 09:27
Steven

Hi Nate,

You could, but it's best if you perform both a dumbbell and barbell movement.

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Posted Tue, 08/24/2010 - 17:37
Rich

I don't have a bench press at my gym or bar. What I can do to substitute close grip bench press and skullcrusher?

Steven's picture
Posted Wed, 08/25/2010 - 13:55
Steven

Hi Rich,

Try close grip dumbbell bench press and dumbbell skullcrushers.

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Posted Sun, 08/22/2010 - 21:41
Kristofer

hi i just want to ask if my routine is good

Day 1: The Big Arm Routine of yours
Day 2: Cardio

Stationary Bike- 30 min
Jump Rope- 5 sets of 100 reps
Jumping jacks- reps of 70,60,60,50
Boxing(punching bag)- 4 sets of 5 min each

Day 3: Chest and shoulders
Bench press- 5 sets of 14,10,8,7,6 reps
Dumbell flys-5 sets of 12,10,9,9,9 reps
dumbbell press- 3 sets of 11, 7, 6
shoulder press- 3 sets of 15,11,8
arnold press- 3 sets of 8,7,6
Reverse dumbbell flys- 3 sets of 16,14 and 12
upright rows- 3 sets of 15,13,12

Day 4- Legs
Jump Squats- 3 sets of max reps
Deadlifts- 3 sets of 9 reps
squats- 3 sets of max reps
Machine lying leg curl- 3 sets of 15,9,6
Machine Leg Raises- 30,27,25
Dumbbell lunges- 3 sets of 22,18,14

Day 5 abs
day 6 rest day
Day 7 cardio

pls comment on my routine and feel free to make any changes cuz i really want to increase my muscle mass thnx

Steven's picture
Posted Mon, 08/23/2010 - 12:36
Steven

Hi Kristofer,

This would be a better setup:

Day 1: Chest and shoulders
Day 2: Cardio
Day 3: Legs
Day 4: The Big Arm Routine of yours
Day 5: abs
day 6: rest day
Day 7: cardio

...this would allow for more tricep rest in between pushing days...chest/shoulders and triceps.

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Posted Fri, 08/20/2010 - 21:33
jbuzzin

hi steve would it be ineffective if i did bicep and tricep separately on different days? as i do tricep with chest and bicep with shoulders

thanks

Steven's picture
Posted Mon, 08/23/2010 - 12:34
Steven

You can perform biceps and triceps on different days.

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Posted Fri, 08/20/2010 - 02:19
jiakai

im currently doing the 2 year body building plan
https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/get-huge-fast-the-2-year-plan...
is there a way to fit this into the routine ?
without over train the arms?

Steven's picture
Posted Fri, 08/20/2010 - 11:57
Steven

Hi Jiakai,

You won't need to add in any work to the 2 year plan.

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Posted Wed, 08/18/2010 - 13:11
Kristofer

hey its me again just want to let u noe that my biceps are a little soft after 3-4 days of rest even when its flexed... just want to noe if this is normal and i also want to noe how hard biceps should be when they are flexed, u can compare the hardness to any objects or things so i can get an idea of it thnx