A lot of dudes want big arms. As an NPC bodybuilding competitor shooting for a spot in the IFBB, I don't really have a choice—massive arms are a must to place well and earn my pro card. To build the right amount of size and shape, I train my arms a little differently than I train the rest of my body.

For other body parts, I cycle heavy weeks with high-rep weeks. For my arms, however, I train almost exclusively with high reps, forced reps, supersets, and volume.

I feel like the extra blood pushed into my arms through this kind of training has really helped them grow—more so than if I were to focus on low-rep, high-weight workouts.

Here's what one of my arms workouts looks like in action:

Old School Arms Workout

This is a typical off-season workout for me. I don't pay a massive amount of attention to the number of reps I'm doing. I'm more worried about doing good reps and doing them to failure. Each week, I rotate which muscle group I hit first. This workout, I hit biceps first.

Old School Workout
Machine Preacher Curls
4 sets, 10-12 reps (partial reps to failure)
+ 7 more exercises


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"The Beast" Training Tips

You will see throughout the video that I concentrate much more on the movements and rep ranges than I do on the actual weight. You'll also notice that I use partial reps when I hit failure. In my mind, lifting to failure is one of the biggest triggers of muscle growth. Many people don't understand the purpose of half reps and call them "fake reps."

Call it what you want, but if I am physically unable to lift with a full range of motion, it's because I have completely exhausted the muscle that I am working on, not because I'm slacking. In fact, I'm trying to push beyond failure and elicit maximum growth.

On your next arm day, I challenge you to finish every set with a dropset to complete and utter failure—until you physically cannot complete even an eighth of the motion. I promise you won't regret it.

People tend to do repetitive arm workouts, so I make a point of constantly changing exercises, sets, and reps to continually push my body to its maximum potential. That being said, there are some basic exercises that you'll always see in my arms workouts. I think barbell or dumbbell curls should always be done for biceps and some type of close-grip bench or a skull-crusher movement should always be performed for triceps. There's just no getting around the fact that these are some of the best, old-school arm movements for pure size and thickness.

Another thing you'll notice about my training is that it is relatively fast-paced. Over the last year, I've shortened the rest time I take between sets. The warmer I keep my muscles, and the more I keep moving, the better I perform during my workouts. Although the shorter rest periods mean I can't go quite as heavy, the upside is that I can completely exhaust the muscles. I'm a bodybuilder, not a powerlifter.

Taking less time between sets also seems to help my joints. I played football for 14 years, so I have to deal with my fair share of joint problems. Keeping up a fast pace helps those joints move more fluidly.

I hope that some of these tips and pointers can help you in your quest for big pipes. Go get 'em and let me know after you try the workout!

About the Author

Contributing Writer

Josh Halladay

Bodybuilding.com’s authors consist of accredited coaches, doctors, dietitians and athletes across the world.

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