Sometimes people have it all wrong when it comes to arm growth. All of the so called “experts” will lead you to believe that you're just somehow not doing the right workouts or that you're not training often enough to build massive arms.
But where most people go wrong with arm growth is failing to realize that the arms fall secondary to the larger muscle groups of the body, such as back, chest, and legs. Also, there comes a point when heavier doesn't always equate to larger and more developed. This podcast explains the way to REAL ARM GROWTH RESULTS!
Click the play button below to listen to The #1 Way to Arm Growth!
Prefer to read? You'll find a transcript of the podcast below!
What's up, everybody? I hope you have all been well. Thanks for joining me for another JDB podcast.
What a good day it is when you can wake up, get a piece of ass, eat your breakfast and go to the gym. That's a great life, you know? I don't really have that bad of a life. If I can get that accomplished, then I'm like, “alright, it's going to be a good day.” No bullshit. Just wake up, get what you want, eat, and leave the fucking house to go work out, right?
So far there's some good results going on today and I figured well, while they're at the store getting boots for my son's Halloween outfit I might as well just bust one off, a podcast that is, before I go in there and eat.
I'm getting sick of chicken again but I have a freezer bag full of chicken. They're precooked and I have to finish it. So we rotate through the condiments to try to make the chicken taste different, but somehow it always just tastes kind of the same.
So, yeah, that's just a great way to start the day. I'm so glad that I'm not one of these guys that has to earn my way to a piece of ass. Right? It's just never enough. You can never do enough. You get the little honey do list. I have a honey do list. Well, here's my fucking honey do list. Suck my dick. Let me blow it in your face. I'm going to the gym and then I'll paint the fucking living room. Whatever.
How about we reverse the order here once in a while, all right? You earn your right to have the fucking living room repainted. Why does it always have to be the other way around? As men, we just have to strive for a reward in the form of a piece of ass, right? And this starts from the time you start dating throughout marriage with most men, unfortunately.
God, I'm glad that I don't have that dynamic in my marriage. I don't know how dudes can be with any kind of woman that weaponizes pussy. That's what they do. They weaponize pussy. And a lot of them, it's all they have to offer. There's nothing else, right?
Then you're put into this position where it's like, work more, work harder, make more, do this, do that, to maybe get a piece of ass. And guess what? The more you do and the more you put up with that shit, the worse it's going to get.
It's like you're a tracking dog. When they train tracking dogs, they give the tracking dog a little treat, a reward every so many feet. Then the better that dog gets, the further apart those rewards are until he's running his ass off looking for some fucking criminal 10 miles away and then he finally gets his treat. That's what you are, if that's how you are. You're a tracking dog that's running your ass off blindly through the fucking woods looking for your next treat.
There's an old saying, and I'm not telling you to live by this saying if you're committed, but a rabbit that only has one hole to hide in in the woods is a sad rabbit. I don't know. As far as I'm concerned, if you're not married, you're single, so you got to have different holes in the woods. Maybe you got a hole in the east side of town, the west side. Haha. When one hole is bleeding, you go to another. Haha… Oh, shit. Sorry about that guys. I’m getting a little carried away here.
All right, let's talk about arm growth and what you might possibly be doing wrong when it comes to arm training. The thing is this. You have to gain size everywhere to put size in your arms. Obviously the bigger lifts are more important or the bigger muscle groups, however you get those to grow. I say big lifts. Yeah, the big compound lifts are important, but I don't like to only focus on the bench, the squat and the deadlift, because this is not really a power lifting blog. I respect power lifting and can see the appeal in it, but it's just not my cup of tea. There are other ways to develop these muscles without having to do just those three exercises.
I realize nowadays, if there is a plus to modern day powerlifting, it's that there's so many more elements involved with each one of those lifts. You have swings to help get your deadlift up. You have chains. You have resistance bands. You have a lot of different ways to keep the training interesting despite that the training revolves around most of those three lifts and I think that's cool, but like I said, it's just not my thing.
When you're first trying to develop your body, you're going to have to do bigger movements. I believe that is the quickest way because it creates something called the shatter effect, where if you throw a rock through a window pane, it makes the hole where the rock hits, but it cracks the entire window. That's what your muscles do when you're working those big movements. It’s like it'll crack the entire window, hence work the entire system but directly hits the area.
Obviously the bench press works a lot. It works the shoulders, it works the lats, it works the triceps, and then the heavier you go, the more of a signal there is sent out to your body to grow. So I always felt like the arms always followed suit to that signal. It's not the other way around. I think a lot of guys have it confused where they want to work on, beach muscles or whatever you call it, but they don't do the bread and butter for overall growth.
Once you get to a certain point you're maxed out genetically or even beyond genetically unless you take some extreme measures or maybe you already are taking extreme measures. This is as far as you're going to go without this really messing with your life to the point where a lot of people can't get anything else done. They're too tired or they sleep all day. Work becomes very hard sometimes to either manage employees or take work orders or just think. God forbid you have a job where you have to think. It's hard when you're just so worn down.
So yeah, if you're pretty much past the point where it's not realistic to get any bigger despite your best efforts and it's not a win-win anymore, then okay. Obviously now is the point where it's probably more beneficial to work on maybe refining the arms or if you're getting leaner… A lot of people wonder, “why is this guy always talking about getting leaner?” And again, a lot of times I talk about where I'm at in real time and that's just the point that I'm at where I don't have to focus on the size game anymore. I'm happy with my size.
So I can focus on the arms in kind of a different way. I'm not really the kind of guy that is still taking a tape measure to my arms. But with that being said, here's the thing about arm training. When I was about 18 or 19 years old, my arms were damn near the size they are now, and I'm 42. I didn't have the quality in the way my arm looked back then, but as far as just raw size, it was pretty much the same. What that tells me is body mass kind of is 90% of the size of your arms. Whether your arm is good or bad or soft or hard or whatever. Just as far as development, overall body mass is number one.
So if you're just slaving away at arm training, but you're not putting pounds on the scale, you're kind of wasting your time if you think that your arms are going to grow. They might look a little different, but truth be told, my arms look bigger when I'm cutting because it looks like there's more of a peak. You can see the muscles easier.
But here's the thing about arm training. This is where a lot of guys go wrong. They train their arms too damn heavy. Especially when it comes to protecting your tendons and staying in this for the long haul; I think when you're very, very new and you're young, it's okay to do cheat curls, but I would never do a cheat curl now.
If I'm doing barbell curls, a single 25 pound plate on each side of a barbell… that might be quitting time. That might be as heavy as I get that day and I used to do more. I've been up to a 45 on each side and some change, but I just got nothing out of it, right?
I had to torque my back to kind of swing the weight a little bit. It put crazy pressure on my bicep tendons and the scariest part of a lift is when that tendon gets outstretched more on the negative. If it's going to snap, nine times out of ten, it's going to come apart like that. I just don't find it beneficial to train like that anymore.
I can use heavy dumbbells for curls. If I was doing a set of standing alternating dumbbell curls, I can go 70 plus pound dumbbells. But why? Because my form gets looser, and I'm kind of swinging it now. With good solid form and a good slow rep count, I bet I could get up to 50 something pound dumbbells, maybe 60 pound dumbbells with good form for eight to twelve reps without having to swing really at all. But that's kind of the point where it does start to put stress on the tendon And I'm like, “okay, am I really getting that much more out of this kind of weight than I would be getting going like 15 or 20 pounds lighter?”
The bicep is not a big muscle. So you have to remember that when there's smaller muscle groups that you're training, those little jumps in weight don't make that big of a difference. A lot of people don't really know this, but Arnold Schwarzenegger rarely went over 40 pound dumbbells for any of his work. I'm sure when he was on camera or had photos done, he could go heavier. But again, just because you have the exotic sports car, does it mean you go 200 miles an hour every time you drive it? No. The answer is no. The behind the scenes stuff that you don't see a lot of these guys do is that lighter weight. It is that time under tension and squeeze.
You can't really look at someone lift something and tell the difference in how they're squeezing their arm compared to somebody else. So it's hard for a new person to really understand that because it's something that it's not there. They can't see inside their arm, they can't see the muscle fibers contracting, but they can see the rep speed. A lot of times you'll see a faster rep speed with people that aren't quite as strong. They don't have the mind muscle control or the connection.
So, this is the most common thing that I see people do wrong is they're just training their arms too damn heavy. I see more guys with a 15 inch arm training with enormous weights than guys with big arms using light weights. Sometimes for me, that light weight feels really good.
I could start my dumbbell curls with literally ten pound dumbbells. 10 pounds, and just start pumping and just don't even worry about rep count. Just go and let the pump tell me when the set's done, and then maybe I go to 15’s, then maybe I go to 20’s or 25’s, and then maybe I'll end up at 40 or 45, but I rarely go over that.
I just do more reps, I squeeze harder, I maybe pause longer during certain parts of the reps, but I've got some pretty good arm development from that and I don't see the point in really going much heavier.
With a barbell, I believe that that is even more dangerous at times. I'm not saying it's not beneficial; it’s super beneficial. I did them today. I just trained arms today. It's probably why I’m making a podcast on arm training. It's fresh in my mind, dog!
I like to take my arms and grab them semi wide. I put my index finger near the rings on a 45 pound bar so my arms kind of form a V and my elbows are near my ribs, and I'll do sets of 12 to 15 reps like that and it feels really good. It kind of hits that outer head of the bicep.
But with that being said, if something's going to go wrong, it's easier to go wrong there. I think it is, because your arms are fixed, you're committed. You're not moving the arms the way you can tweak a dumbbell.
Once I've got that V. I don't always make the V, but today I did; your hands are in place, they're not moving or sliding back down on the barbell, right? So I just think that you're a lot more committed and if something's going to tear, it could tear there, possibly going heavier than you should.
So today's arm workout was pretty good. I wanted to make it more intense because I'm that guy that tends to spend too much time in the weight room and not enough time doing the cardio although I normally do cardio on a regular basis, but I don't need to be in the gym as long as I am.
I switched gyms and I went to this other gym, and I think I'm going to stay away from that other gym. It's just very distracting. I just start off light and I listen to my music and it was like, biceps, triceps. Biceps, triceps. One exercise or one muscle group, then to the other muscle group, because I like to kind of pump both muscles up at the same time.
I don't always just have a dedicated arm day. Some days I'll throw biceps in with my chest or triceps in with my shoulders or whatever. But lately it is a dedicated arm day and I feel like it helps balance things out. While I'm trying to get my tricep tendon back and recovered, I like to train the biceps and the triceps at the same time.
So I start off super light, listen to music. I call it the “one song set”. I don't know if anyone else really has done this before. I'm sure it's out there somewhere and people have talked about it, but as far as I know, I'm the one that kind of came up with it. You do a set for the duration of a song and you don't stop working that muscle until the song is over, right? Rest assured, if you pick something like “November Rain” by Guns N’ Roses, you're going to be at it for quite a while and you're going to be in a lot of fucking pain.
I like training like that though. I didn't use Guns N’ Roses today, but the song starts playing and you just kind of lose yourself and I might go from, let's say 10 pound dumbbells to 15 pound dumbbells to 25. That might be all throughout the duration of the song. I just lose myself in it. Then before you know it you’ve got this killer arm pump going on. Your arms are fucking huge, and all you've done is light weights.
Now when you do go to heavier weights, or in my case, I would consider them moderate weights… 40 pound dumbbells, to me, that's a moderate, effective weight. Anything over that I consider heavy just for my point in development where I'm at. But now when I do go to those heavier weights, I'm actually more engaged. I'm more prepared to take on those heavier weights because my system has warmed up. Not just my arms, but as a whole, my entire system is warmed up.
Maybe my breathing was a little more labored or intense and maybe my heart rate is a little bit higher, but a lot of people don't train like that. It's just like, “oh, I'll do a set of 10, and then a set of 8, then a set of 6”.
It's just such a boring fucking way to train sometimes and for advanced people, I feel like they need to be doing a lot more. I don't think you can always train that way and progress. I think that sometimes being all over the map is better than being stuck in the same shit all the time. So you might call it being all over the map, letting the song play and just doing whatever.
Do the first thing that comes to mind. Today I started with standing dumbbell curls with both arms at the same time because I didn't want to deal with the time it would take to switch from one to the other. I just wanted to kind of get the set done. My goal was to make the most out of 40 minutes of weight training and then go hit cardio for 40 minutes.
So I would do that, go to a set of tricep press downs, and then I went back and forth like that for a while, and then I did some rope press downs, the first time I even used a rope in a couple of years. Super lightweight. Super lightweight. Then I did a dip machine with a few sets of the dumbbell curls but then instead of going to tricep press downs for another 3 sets, I did the dip machine and I just focused on how my arms felt all around and how big my arms felt between the tricep pump and bicep pump. I didn't just focus on how do the biceps feel. It was kind of like visualizing the whole arm taking form and getting bigger.
There was really just honestly no rhyme or reason to the workout. It was just having fun. It is a Sunday today. You guys aren’t going to listen to this on a Sunday, but it's a Sunday and I just kind of wanted to let it rip and have a good time. So that's what I did.
But the point is, I did not have the same mentality that a lot of people have, where it's like, save yourself for the heavy set. Save yourself for the heavy set. Don't burn yourself out too early.
I don't give a fuck about that kind of shit anymore. My goal was to get everything I could out of the light weights before I moved to the heavy stuff. I wanted to feel like if I had to cut the workout after the light weights were done and not even get into the heavy stuff, it would have been a sufficient enough workout to call it a really great workout.
I think if you could train like that and then throw the heavy stuff in there.. It's beneficial to me anyway. I could see where a new person might think it's just overwhelming and far too demanding, and that could be true. But training like this could be the one thing that propels you forward. It could be the one thing that does make your arms take off.
I know that my arms have always kind of had the size. They had the size a long time ago as I was a late teenager, but the development wasn't as good. When I say development, I mean the quality. Look at that size. That was the biggest difference in the span of just over 20 years was now the arm looks way better because it does have more muscle maturity and development at the same size.
We're not just talking about taking a tape measure to your arm to see it's X amount of inches or centimeters bigger. It's the illusion that it's bigger, right? So eventually that's what you work on is the illusion.
It doesn't always take super heavy weights, but I just think the one thing people do wrong is they just get stuck in that mentality of heavier, heavier, heavier, and they pyramid down. I pyramid up sometimes. I pyramid up in reps and in weight. Most people never do that. I can do the set of tricep press downs. I start with 40 pounds. Not a heavy weight. Not a heavy weight at all and I'll do 30 reps. Then I'll go to 60 pounds and do 30 reps. Then I might go to 80 pounds and do 30 reps. That's not something a lot of people are used to.
In their mind. There's a right way to do things in the wrong way and to them, the right way to do it is every time they progress in sets, they might go heavier and lower the rep count, but they're not telling their body, “no, you're going to do the same damn thing, and you're going to work a little harder, and you're going to dig a little deeper, and you're using 20 pounds more this time.”
There's not training that way. When you do train that way and in a higher rep count. That's something else I haven't talked about yet. The arms benefit from reps. They really do. My arms really started to take off when I started kicking the reps up 15 to 30 reps a set, as opposed to the 5 to 8 reps.
I remember going through this shit early on in my lifting journey where I guess it was just stress on my forearms. Whenever I would do these curls, I felt like my forearms were going to snap. I felt like the bones hurt. I felt like somebody was sticking my, what do you call it, your radius and your ulna. I felt like somebody was sticking it in a vice and cranking down, about to snap it in half. And this went on for a few months, and I didn't know what the hell it was. I was just like, “what is going on here? Are my bones growing?”
So I was training heavy, though. I mean, then I was training in spans of five to eight reps, and I was still in that mentality where like, okay, you have to go heavier, heavier, heavier. Well, the truth of the matter is, I was already going pretty heavy, and I could have just taken a break and gone lighter, changed the rep count up and waited until that pain subsided.
Fortunately, I think I had youth on my side and I adapted to it and eventually it went away. I don't know, maybe I had a few weeks there where I didn't train biceps as hard or as often, but I can remember going through that and that shit. It fucking hurt.
You have to understand that if you're not gaining weight on that scale, the arm training does not make that big of a difference as far as really one way to another. It really doesn't.
Let me say that again, reps is not going to take anything away beyond what heavier weight and a low rep count would when you have a certain amount of overall mass, if that makes any sense. If you gain 10 pounds on the scale from eating more and maybe getting some of your other lifts up, I don't really give a fuck whether you're doing five reps a set on curls or 25 reps a set on curls. It doesn't make that big of a difference with arms. It just doesn't. It's a smaller muscle group.
So I would say if you've never gone to a higher rep count, experiment with it. Maybe you could train like I'm talking about, just train for pump. Try to get a sufficient arm workout with the light weights before the heavy weights, right? Sometimes I like to do a time thing because I feel like when my back is against the wall, I perform better. So say, “hey, start the clock in 30 minutes. I'm going to get everything I need to get out of light dumbbell work for triceps, biceps.” Or body weight. I might do body weight dips, bench dips, whatever. Get everything you can get with super lightweight and just movement and pump.
And then say, “all right, after that 30 minutes, the next 15, I'm going to challenge myself a little bit and I'm going to try to keep the same squeeze with the heavier weight.” right?
I'm posing with weights in my hands. That's what focuses on development. That's what yields development not moving the weight from point A to point B. Moving the weight from point A to point B, as a new person maybe in your first year in the gym, okay, you're going to get some results because your body responds to anything at that point. Everything is new.
But eventually that doesn't work so well and the closer you get to your overall development, whatever that predetermined number or size is, and it's different for a lot of people, depending on genetics and what they're willing to go through. Some people are willing to eat till they fucking puke because they want to get big so bad. Other people, as soon as someone gets a little bit uncomfortable, they quit. But depending on what you're willing to go through, yeah, that's the determining factor.
So the closer you get to that, to your dead end in the size gains department, the more important it is to benefit from working with light weights, to be open minded enough to use light weight, to lose the ego at the gym door.
Sometimes. I like training with light weight because I do get a better feel with light weights, and I'm now addicted to the pump and the way I feel in the gym. Fuck how it looks. I could give a rat's ass how it looks to anybody else.
So if you're not used to doing this, then maybe put like a timer to it. Maybe say, “hey, the first 30 minutes of this workout, I'm going to use some lightweights and then once my systems warmed up, I'm going to push the pedal to the metal and increase in weights.”
I do this with almost all my muscle groups, all right? More often than not, I do it with my leg workout. I don't even really start training heavy with legs till the fifth set of my leg presses. I might do 100 reps for the first set, 50 reps for the second set, 25 reps for the third set, 12 reps for the fourth set, and the warm up is done.
It's only benefited me, and I will say that I do believe that that type of training, if you're enhanced, is even more beneficial. I’m not saying you can't benefit from it if you're not taking performance enhancement, but if you take a performance enhancement, you have to remember that it can be more risky as time goes on, because the muscles, they get stronger, but the joints don't, the tendons and ligaments don't.
It's weird. It's like this double edged sword where you could be more vulnerable to injury the longer you're taking gear, but then off gear, you're still vulnerable to injury, if that makes any sense. Because you might be trying to push some of the stuff that you were pushing before when you were enhanced, and now you're not. In your mind, though, you still have this weight is the benchmark, right? Like, “I need to use this weight. I need to be as close to what I was when I was gassing.” It's a dangerous way to train.
So I will say, it's injury prone in either way, but if you can learn to create a new challenge, then do it. You know, click that time, or get it started and say, hey for 30 minutes with his chest, legs, arms, lightweight. Kick my reps up. Maybe do what I did today, man, play your music and get lost in it. And maybe you lose rep count, who gives you a shit?
But if you want to get big arms, it's especially important to train like that when you train in arms. Most guys that have trained for any amount of time, most seasoned guys, they'll tell you the same thing. They really will. It's about pump, it's about squeeze, it's about reps and contraction.
If you're new in the first year or two, yes, you need to get stronger. Just recognize that you can do all the weight in the world when you do curls or press downs or skull crushers, but until that overall body mass gets bigger, until that scale starts moving, none of that shit means dick.
So don't reverse the order, thinking that the harder you train your arms, or the heavier you train your arms, the bigger they're going to look in a shirt or a tank top. Because the chances are it won't make that much of a difference if you don't get the other muscles to respond first. Then the arms will follow suit.
Anyway. That's all I got, guys. Have a good one. Train hard. This JD. I'm out.