How much are you willing to cough up for the "secret" information, which is only available in a downloadable e-book? Before you spend a dime on something that promises you Arnold-sized arms, please read this article.
As a teenager I wanted to put on muscle as fast as possible. (Well, actually, I still do.) There wasn't an Internet filled with unlimited information back then, so I had to gain the knowledge to put on size through old muscle mags and books.
I thought if I read enough articles, I could surely find a dynamic routine that would put almost limitless muscle onto my thin frame. That routine had to exist. It just HAD to. If I searched hard enough, I'd find it.
Researching Different Routines
Mike Mentzer's Heavy Duty courses were taking everyone by storm and I had a strong feeling that this guy was onto something. It was new and it was different. High intensity training with plenty of forced reps, negatives, and rest pauses would make me blow up in size to stellar proportions at warp speed. Or so I thought.
I found some place that sold really old muscle mags for next to nothing. I ordered them. I read through several dozen magazines and stayed up late at night soaking up all the info. I was eating it all up and taking it all in. I was also getting quite an education on bodybuilding history.
The articles on Casey Viator winning the Mr. America at age 19 fascinated me. Dan Lurie's Muscle Training Illustrated had tons of articles on bulking up and featured stories on Bill Pearl, Sergio Oliva and many other legends.
I remember reading an article on supersets for the arms. The concept was brand new to me and from the way the article was written, it had me believing my arms would grow nonstop forever. I had to give it a try.
The routine itself was made up of four bicep and four tricep exercises. Two bicep exercises were performed immediately after the other.
Two more exercises were performed for the biceps and then four supersetted exercises were done for the triceps as well. It was a total of eight sets for biceps and eight for triceps.
I got a great pump and expected my arms to burst out of my sleeves very soon. But my arms didn't grow as fast as I thought they would. I guess I needed to try another routine.
Another article claimed that I could gain one-half inch on my arms in only one week. It was very intense and stemmed from the nautilus-type workouts of
Arthur Jones. It only took about 15 minutes to complete. A whole half-inch! Oh, I had to try that. It'd work for sure.
Arthur Jones. [ Learn More ]
My brother decided to try it with me. We measured our arms before the first workout so we could be very pleasantly surprised when we would stretch that tape one-half inch further by the next week.
It was a very brutal, but short routine. On Monday, Wednesday and Friday, one 90-second curl was performed. Yes, that would be 45 seconds up and 45 seconds down.
Following that torturous movement was eight positive reps with an EZ curl bar and then eight negative-only reps. For triceps it was a 90-second dip followed by eight positive reps and then eight negative-only reps of tricep extensions. Sounds easy, huh? Try it - it's a killer.
We waited for the weekend to be over so we were completely recovered. Measuring time arrived. Drum roll, please... same size. I felt cheated... betrayed! But that article promised one-half inch.
We've all been there. Many promising routines have left us disappointed with their lack of results. We can blame it on poor genetics, right? "I must be a hardgainer," you've thought on many occasions.
The guys in the magazines all have arms that measure more than 20 inches. They're growing on these get-big-quick routines, aren't they? Isn't that how they acquired their 20-inch guns and became gunslingers? Probably not.
Although many articles claim fantastic results, most of them aren't true. You see, muscles just don't want to grow that fast. If muscles did grow that easily - and at rates of two inches in six weeks - pros would be walking around sporting 30-inch arms, perhaps even larger.
Granted, some guys do grow quickly (compared to me anyway). They are indeed genetically gifted when it comes to putting on muscle. Most of those guys, however, looked pretty good before they started lifting weights. Their structure was good and their bodies seem to respond very well to the stimulus of weight training.
Other guys (the rest of us) have to fight tooth and nail to put on an ounce of muscle. It's hard and takes a tremendous amount of tenacity and large amounts of food to pack on just a little bit of meat to our frames.
So what can someone expect to gain when it comes to adding muscle? The amount varies with everyone. Different body types respond at different rates of growth. Genetics do play a huge role in growth rates, but so do training consistency, proper nutrition, supplementation and the amount of rest a person gets. Attitude and motivation are very strong components in the equation also.
Growth rates also vary according to how long you've been training. Beginners can gain at faster rates than someone who has been in the iron game for five years. If you haven't lifted weights before, the body responds to the new stimulus quickly. It's not uncommon to pack an inch on your arms in less than a month when you first start out. (I did it myself years and years ago so I know it's possible).
If your arms currently measure 12 inches, however, bringing them up to 13 or 13 and one-half inches might not seem like much. But, trust me, it is! That's tremendous growth!
Let's say you've been training consistently for six months and you've managed to pack one and a half inches on your arms. The first inch came in the first month and the rest came more gradually during the course of the next five months. What can you expect now?
Shooting for an inch per year for the next couple years is a realistic goal. After you've been training for five years, you might be able to acquire an additional one-half inch per year. A good rule of thumb is about 10 pounds of muscle gained will equal an inch to your arms. If you want your arms three inches bigger, expect to be about 30 pounds heavier when you hit that goal.
Gaining muscle size tends to come at a slower rate the longer you are at it. Strength gains and adding body weight come at about the same rate. You might add 100 pounds to your bench press in your first year of training and add 20 pounds of body weight, but you won't be able to do this every year.
A Word About Performance-Enhancing Agents
It's no secret that anabolic steroids will make all the above information null and void. It's not uncommon for someone to gain 25 pounds of muscle in less than six weeks when using steroids. I've seen guys do it. They seem to expand before your eyes.
They grow very quickly. It's taken me many years to get where I'm at today and it's frustrating to see some kid who's been lifting less than six months go on a cycle and match my size in less than a year.
The chances are, however, that very same kid will become so dependent on the juice that when he does go off for a while, he'll be smaller than me again just as quickly.
I, on the other hand, could lay off for a while and still retain much of my size and shape from eating well because my body was created naturally over a longer period of time and not synthetically over a short amount of time.
The Bottom Line
Muscle growth without performance-enhancing drugs comes at a slow pace, but with proper diet, consistency and rest, it can be a steady rate.
For the first couple of years you can realistically expect to put on maybe 20 to 25 pounds. After that, a seven- to eight-pound is good progress for another couple years.
When you've been training for five years or more, a gain of two to three pounds per year is a good goal to shoot for. Five pounds is still possible, but two to three is more reasonable.
These numbers might not seem nearly as enticing as you'll read in some other articles, but they are attainable and won't leave you frustrated with your progress.
Train hard, eat well and most importantly, stick with it. Bodybuilding isn't an easy sport. It takes a lot of dedication over a long period of time. Don't give up.
Be realistic with your progress and have patience. Enjoy the ride. There will ups and downs, but believe when you stretch that tape around your arms for the thousandth time and it finally reads "18," you can't beat that feeling of accomplishment. Go for it and train hard!