Imagine yourself on a sandy beach in Santa Monica, California, in 1965. Arnold is still a teenager in Austria, and most people haven't heard of bodybuilding or ever seen what we would call a bodybuilder. Weightlifting is a cultish activity covered in only a few select publications.
Muscular men walk past you, but it's a stretch to call them "big." The tallest of them barely crack 200 pounds, and some of that is pomade weight. There you stand, feeling the wind on your sunburned face, enjoying your bottle of Coke, when Larry Scott ambles by.
"Superman's pants," you think, "did this guy get stung by a bee?" He looks like he walked straight off the pages of a comic book, but to be honest, he's even bigger and more imposing than the huge heroes gracing the covers.
His friendly grin and open demeanor catch you totally by surprise, but your eyes keep returning to his arms. You may have seen arms vaguely like that on an Olympic male gymnast, but that big? With shoulders and a chest to match? Not a chance. This is a whole new species.
At 5-foot-9 and 205 pounds, Larry "The Legend" Scott helped define the ideals of bodybuilding at the precise moment when it blossomed into a world-class competition. He won the first two Mr. Olympia championships, and because he retired in 1965, he remains the only Mr. Olympia who is unbeaten in that show.
Scott was a sensation during the sixties, when his wholesome character and 20-inch guns brought countless new fans to the bourgeoning sport. After he retired, he continued being one of bodybuilding's greatest ambassadors, creating a small library's worth of bodybuilding books and videos and working as a coach and trainer into his 70s.
Larry's freakish arm development separated him from his competition, but he didn't come by it by accident. He spent so much time at the preacher bench that preacher curls became known as "Scott curls," a term still widely in use. He even concocted his own version of the bench, of course known as the Scott bench.
Below, we provide one of his custom workouts dating back to the early 1960s. He had just moved from Idaho, where he had won Mr. Idaho in 1959, to Hollywood.
He began training at intensely at Vince's Gym in Studio City and saw his arms explode from 15 to 21 inches in just a few short months. He won Mr. America in 1962, and by 1965, was so impressive that the crowd at the first Olympia chanted his name as he took the stage.
If you're looking for arms worthy of a fan base, this is a fantastic routine for building thickness and emphasizing the bicep's long head. But be warned, it's advanced, and it is going to hurt.
Make sure your arms are warmed up, and alert your children or pets that you might not be able to pick them up for a few days.
- 3 sets of 6-10 reps
- 3 sets of 6-10 reps
Reverse Barbell Curl (EZ-bar)3 sets of 6-10 reps
All three movements will be performed on the preacher bench. After performing six strict repetitions, follow with four partial repetitions at the top end of the movement. Make sure the weight that you use is a struggle. After resting, repeat the sequence for a total of three sets for each exercise. In the early '60s, Larry was known to do five sets of this series consecutively, resting only long enough for his training partner to do his sets, and then call it a day.
- 3 sets of 6-10 reps
At this point your biceps should be cooking! For this movement, face the other way on the preacher bench. Scott loved spider curls for developing the peak of his biceps. Perform sets of six repetitions slowly, with strict technique. Then, perform four partial reps at the bottom of the exercise.
- 6 sets of 8-12 reps
Overhead Triceps Extensions with V-Bar (Performed kneeling)6 sets of 8-12 reps
Larry loved this combo for developing big, thick horseshoes on the back of the arm.
The first movement is a cross between a skullcrusher and a close-grip bench press, called a JM Press. The key to this movement is to make sure that the bar comes down toward your chin and that you allow your elbows to travel forward. Do not allow the bar to touch your chin. Perform eight reps with strict technique and four partial reps.
After you complete the JM Press move immediately to the overhead or "long pull" triceps extension. Most of us have probably done a similar movement with a rope and high cable, performing an overhead extension. However, Scott preferred to kneel with his head and elbows on a bench for stability and used a V-bar.