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4 Weeks to Big Arms (/workouts/4-weeks-to-bigarms)


byDanTrink(/allarticles/authors/dantrink)|10/19/12

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Tags: Arms (/all-articles/tags/arm-training), Bodybuilding (/allarticles/tags/bodybuilding)

Let's drop the, "I just want to be strong and functional" bullshit, shall we?
You want big arms. A pair of huge, veiny, triumphant mo-fos hanging from
your shoulder sockets like thick slabs of well-aged beef. You want arms so big
that when you go into a tattoo parlor they charge you for extra ink. Arms so
impressive that you'll wear a tank top to your sister's wedding.
But you also want to avoid being a douche bag. You don't want to be that guy
who starts every workout with concentration curls. You understand that
squats and deadlifts are the foundation of a good program. You appreciate
being able to military press your body weight for reps.
Yet, still, you want big arms.
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Fortunately, you're in luck, my soon-to-be sleeve-stretching friend. What


follows is a specialization program that will give you what you want (in case
you forgot, that's big arms) while still using the big lifts you know you need.
And if that weren't enough to get your arm-hairs standing on end in
excitement (provided you haven't already shaved off all your arm hair to make
your forearms look bigger), the compound movements we're going to use will

enhance your goal of building bigger, stronger arms.


In other words, we're not doing big lifts just because we know they're
awesome and important we're doing the one's that are going to help us
reach our goal.

Don't Allow A Small Brain To Keep You From Getting Big Arms

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Here's where most people fail miserably when it comes to 'specialty' training:
If you want big arms (or a 500-pound deadlift or a 38-inch vertical jump), the
optimal method is to focus on just that one goal for a certain period of time (or
at all times, depending on the goal/situation).
Therefore, in this program we're going to focus all our efforts for the next 4
weeks on arm hypertrophy. Don't make the classic mistake of trying to
maintain volume on your other lifts at the same time. You want all your
resources (training, nutrition, recovery) to go towards the endgame of gaining
arm size.
Look at it this way, if you wanted to be a professional football player, you
wouldn't spend half your time shooting free throws. Remember, "Plan B" is for
those people who don't have faith in "Plan A."
That said, we're still going to spend one of our 4 training days maintaining
strength and movement qualities in other key lifts. This is wise because:
Itwillgiveyourarmsextratimeforrecoverywhilestillprovidingananabolicstimulus.
You'llneedtoreturntoamoregeneralizedtrainingprogramafterthisphaseiscomplete,and
youdon'twanttoloseyourabilitytoperformkeymajorlifts.
Isaidso,andmyarmsarebiggerthanyours.
However, if you're a newbie less than a year of solid training under your belt
you're probably not ready for a specialized program of any sort, let alone one
geared towards the arms. Stick with gaining strength and technique in the big
lifts. You can always bookmark this article and come back to it.

Someone Call a Vet, 'Cause These Pythons Are Sick


Enough with the lectures, let's get to the good stuff.
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You'll train four days per week. Three of those will be your "arm workout" days
with the fourth being a maintenance day.
Ideally your week will be set up with Monday, Thursday, and Saturday being
the arm days, Tuesday as your maintenance day, and Wednesday, Friday, and
Sunday as off days. Of course, you can always move things around to suit your
needs but try not to schedule arm workouts on back-to-back days.
Each arm workout starts with a big lift. This will make you feel (and look) less
douchey and sets the stage for a significant anabolic hormonal response,
something you wouldn't get from isolation work alone.
For workout A, that's a deadlift. Heavy deads contribute to great forearm
development as well as, if not better than, any other lift you can perform in the
gym.
Workout B starts with a narrow grip bench press a great developer of the
triceps. Notice I said "narrow grip" not "close grip." I define narrow grip as
"hands directly above the shoulders," as this allows you to focus on the
triceps without developing the wrist pain often associated with close-grip
benching.
Also, be sure to keep your elbows tucked close to your ribcage as you lower
the bar. This ensures that you get more triceps recruitment and keeps your
shoulder in a safer position.
Finally, workout C starts with chin-ups (that means a supinated grip, or palms
facing you), as they're also a great forearm and biceps developer. If you can't
complete the number of reps prescribed for the chin-ups, take a long, hard
look at yourself in the mirror and question your manhood, and then walk over
to the lat pulldown machine and get your reps in there.

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The periodization scheme is undulating, meaning we're going to be


manipulating the sets and reps from week to week. Shoot to complete all reps
in every set, and choose loads that allow you to have one or two more reps left
in the tank at the end of the set. Maxing out is great for strength training, but
when building mass I find it's better to hold a little bit in reserve.
Finally, we're going to use a few specialized techniques that work really well in
hypertrophy phases such as drop sets, slow negatives, and rest-pauses.
These will be used on the last set of the "A," "B1," and "B2" exercises when
prescribed.

Week 1
Workout A

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Deadlift*

810

B1 Dips(weightedifneeded)*

810

B2 EZBarPreacherCurl*

810

C1 DeclineDBTricepsExtension

810

C2 InclineDBCurl

810

Sitonaninclinebenchwiththebackofthebenchraisedbetween60and75degrees.Graba
pairofdumbbellsandletyourarmshangstraightdown.Curluptheweightashighasyou
canwithoutlettingyourelbowscomeforward.
D

CableRopePressdown

25

* Drop Set After you complete the last rep of the last set, rest for 15
seconds, reduce the load by 30-50%, and try to match the amount of reps
with the new weight. So if you performed 10 reps with 185 pounds on the
last set of narrow-grip bench presses, drop the weight to 125 pounds and
try to get 10 reps.
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Workout B

Exercise

Sets

Reps

NarrowGripFlatBarbellBenchPress*

810

B1 BentOverBarbellRow*

810

B2 BandResistedPushUp*

810

Wraparesistancebandaroundyourbackandholdoneendineachhand.Lieontheground
andperformasetofpushups.Youshouldfeelanoverloadinyourtricepsatthetopofthe
movement.
C1 BarbellPerfectCurl

810

ThisisstolendirectlyfromthelateVinceGironda.Thinkofthisastheoppositeofacheat
curlinsteadofrockingback,yourockforward.Standwithabarbellasifyouwereaboutto
curlit.Nowbeforeyoucurl,leanyourupperbodyback5to10degrees(aslightleanback).
Asyoucurltheweightup,leanyourbodyintothebar(soyouhavea5to10degreelean
forwardattheend).Leaveyouregoatthefrontdeskonthisoneasyou'llhavetoreducethe
weightyou'dnormallyuse.
C2 KneelingCableOverheadTricepsExtension

810

25

StandingDBHammerCurl

* Drop Set After you complete the last rep of the last set, rest for 15
seconds, reduce the load by 30-50%, and try to match the amount of reps
with the new weight. So if you performed 10 reps with 185 pounds on the
last set of narrow-grip bench presses, drop the weight to 125 pounds and
try to get 10 reps.

Workout C

Exercise

Sets

Reps

ChinUp(weightedifneeded)*

810

B1 BarbellFloorPress*

810

B2 SeatedDHandleCableCurl*

810

Dragaflatbenchovertoadoublecablestation.Sitontheedgeofthebenchwiththecable
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stacksdirectlybehindyou.GrabaDhandleineachhand,staytallinthesaddle,andcurl.
C1 StandingZottmanCurl

810

Grabasetofdumbbells,standtall,andperformacurlwiththepalmsfacingup.Oncethe
dumbbellreachesyourshoulderturnyourhandsover(palmsfacingthefloor)andlower.
Onceyougettothebottom,turnyourhandsbackover(palmsup)andrepeatforreps.
C2 EZBarFrenchPress

810

25

CableStraightBarReverseCurl

* Drop Set After you complete the last rep of the last set, rest for 15
seconds, reduce the load by 30-50%, and try to match the amount of reps
with the new weight. So if you performed 10 reps with 185 pounds on the
last set of narrow-grip bench presses, drop the weight to 125 pounds and
try to get 10 reps.

Workout D

Exercise

Sets

Reps

BarbellBackSquat*

810

B1 SeatedOverheadPress*

810

B2 DBRomanianDeadlift*

810

C1 WalkingLunge

810

C2 SingleArmDBRow

810

25

ReverseCrunch/HangingLegRaise

* Drop Set After you complete the last rep of the last set, rest for 15
seconds, reduce the load by 30-50%, and try to match the amount of reps
with the new weight. So if you performed 10 reps with 185 pounds on the
last set of narrow-grip bench presses, drop the weight to 125 pounds and
try to get 10 reps.

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Week 2
Workout A

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Deadlift*

68

B1 Dips(weightedifneeded)*

68

B2 EZBarPreacherCurl*

68

C1 DeclineDBTricepsExtension

68

C2 InclineDBCurl

68

20

CableRopePressdown

* Slow Negative On the last rep of the last set, perform the eccentric
(negative) phase of the lift as slowly as possible. Fifteen seconds is a good
time to shoot for. On some of the lifts (such as the Narrow-Grip Bench
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Press) you'll need a spotter. A word of caution on the deadlift: slow


negatives can be risky here if your form breaks down. Proceed with
caution.

Workout B

Exercise

Sets

Reps

NarrowGripFlatBarbellBenchPress*

68

B1 BentOverBarbellRow*

68

B2 BandResistedPushUp*

68

C1 BarbellPerfectCurl

68

C2 KneelingCableOverheadTricepsExtension

68

20

StandingDBHammerCurl

* Slow Negative On the last rep of the last set, perform the eccentric
(negative) phase of the lift as slowly as possible. Fifteen seconds is a good
time to shoot for. On some of the lifts (such as the Narrow-Grip Bench
Press) you'll need a spotter. A word of caution on the deadlift: slow
negatives can be risky here if your form breaks down. Proceed with
caution.

Workout C

Exercise

Sets

Reps

ChinUp(weightedifneeded)*

68

B1 BarbellFloorPress*

68

B2 SeatedDHandleCableCurl*

68

C1 StandingZottmanCurl

68

C2 EZBarFrenchPress

68

20

CableStraightBarReverseCurl

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* Slow Negative On the last rep of the last set, perform the eccentric
(negative) phase of the lift as slowly as possible. Fifteen seconds is a good
time to shoot for. On some of the lifts (such as the Narrow-Grip Bench
Press) you'll need a spotter. A word of caution on the deadlift: slow
negatives can be risky here if your form breaks down. Proceed with
caution.

Workout D

Exercise

Sets

Reps

BarbellBackSquat*

68

B1 SeatedOverheadPress*

68

B2 DBRomanianDeadlift*

68

C1 WalkingLunge

68

C2 SingleArmDBRow

68

20

ReverseCrunch/HangingLegRaise

* Slow Negative On the last rep of the last set, perform the eccentric
(negative) phase of the lift as slowly as possible. Fifteen seconds is a good
time to shoot for. On some of the lifts (such as the Narrow-Grip Bench
Press) you'll need a spotter. A word of caution on the deadlift: slow
negatives can be risky here if your form breaks down. Proceed with
caution.

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Week 3
Workout A

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Deadlift*

1012

B1 Dips(weightedifneeded)*

1012

B2 EZBarPreacherCurl*

1012

C1 DeclineDBTricepsExtension

1012

C2 InclineDBCurl

1012

30

CableRopePressdown

* Rest-Pause After the last rep of your last set, rest for 10-15 seconds
and then attempt 2-3 more reps. Rest another 10-15 seconds and try to
bang out another 1-2 reps.

Workout B
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Exercise

Sets

Reps

NarrowGripFlatBarbellBenchPress*

1012

B1 BentOverBarbellRow*

1012

B2 BandResistedPushUp*

1012

C1 BarbellPerfectCurl

1012

C2 KneelingCableOverheadTricepsExtension

1012

30

StandingDBHammerCurl

* Rest-Pause After the last rep of your last set, rest for 10-15 seconds
and then attempt 2-3 more reps. Rest another 10-15 seconds and try to
bang out another 1-2 reps.

Workout C

Exercise

Sets

Reps

ChinUp(weightedifneeded)*

1012

B1 BarbellFloorPress*

1012

B2 SeatedDHandleCableCurl*

1012

C1 StandingZottmanCurl

1012

C2 EZBarFrenchPress

1012

30

CableStraightBarReverseCurl

* Rest-Pause After the last rep of your last set, rest for 10-15 seconds
and then attempt 2-3 more reps. Rest another 10-15 seconds and try to
bang out another 1-2 reps.

Workout D

Exercise

Sets

Reps

BarbellBackSquat*

1012

B1 SeatedOverheadPress*

1012

B2 DBRomanianDeadlift*

1012

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C1 WalkingLunge

1012

C2 SingleArmDBRow

1012

30

ReverseCrunch/HangingLegRaise

* Rest-Pause After the last rep of your last set, rest for 10-15 seconds
and then attempt 2-3 more reps. Rest another 10-15 seconds and try to
bang out another 1-2 reps.

Week 4
Workout A

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Deadlift

15

B1 Dips(weightedifneeded)

15

B2 EZBarPreacherCurl

15

C1 DeclineDBTricepsExtension

15

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C2 InclineDBCurl

15

50

CableRopePressdown

Workout B

Exercise

Sets

Reps

NarrowGripFlatBarbellBenchPress

15

B1 BentOverBarbellRow

15

B2 BandResistedPushUp

15

C1 BarbellPerfectCurl

15

C2 KneelingCableOverheadTricepsExtension

15

50

StandingDBHammerCurl

Workout C

Exercise

Sets

Reps

ChinUp(weightedifneeded)

15

B1 BarbellFloorPress

15

B2 SeatedDHandleCableCurl

15

C1 StandingZottmanCurl

15

C2 EZBarFrenchPress

15

50

CableStraightBarReverseCurl

Workout D

Exercise

Sets

Reps

BarbellBackSquat

15

B1 SeatedOverheadPress

15

B2 DBRomanianDeadlift

15

C1 WalkingLunge

15

C2 SingleArmDBRow

15

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ReverseCrunch/HangingLegRaise

50

A Note On Rest and Tempo


While I'm not prescribing specific rest or tempo on this program, you'd be well
advised to perform each lift as quickly as possible while absolutely controlling
the negative/lowering phase of each lift.
Time under tension is a critical factor in any hypertrophy phase, and ideally
you want sets lasting between 40 and 60 seconds.
Rest periods should be between 75 and 90 seconds for your "A" exercises and
between 45 and 75 seconds for the remainder of the program. Once you feel
like you're ready to go, get rolling with the next set.
On the high rep "D" exercises, use intra-set rest as much as necessary. Your
goal is to, somehow, someway, get all the reps in.

Get After It
All right, noodle arms, it's time to get to work. Remember, the goal for the next
4 weeks is to get your pipes as massive as possible while incorporating some
big lifts to keep your man-status in check.
As for your legs, don't worry; you're doing just enough work to keep them from
going anywhere. And after the gun show's finished its 4-week run, I may just
have a specialization program for you to add some prime real estate to your
lower body.
Now get after it!

10/19/12
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