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Add an Inch to Your Arms Fast With These 3 Training Tips

Make major gains in just eight weeks with these next-level moves.
Add an Inch to Your Arms Fast With These 3 Training Tips
James Michelfelder

If you’ve been after muscle gains for a while, it may strike you as funny that guys who lift weights get called “meatheads.” You have to be pretty smart—even cunning—about how you approach training.

We looked at the latest research and got two of our favorite experts to surrender their savviest arm-training methods. Incorporate them into your workouts and in less than two months you’ll add an inch to your pipes. Let’s see them call you a “meathead” after that.

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There’s a long-held belief that doing lots of sets with moderate weights and short rest periods does the most to spur muscle gains, and while it’s an approach that can work, research favors doing the opposite. A study last year in the journal Physiological Reports compared the effect of fast-paced, high-volume workouts with longer, heavier sessions (four sets of 3–5 reps with 90% of your max and three-minute rests). The subjects trained using exercises like the bench press and row (not just direct arm exercises). After eight weeks, the latter group gained more arm mass.

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Most guys pump out reps of curls without any thought to how the biceps are contracting, but it’s important to recognize that just holding a point in the range of motion statically can create a training effect, too. Jim Smith, C.P.P.S., a strength coach in Wyalusing, PA (, recommends performing a set of preacher curls with an EZ-bar to prefatigue the biceps, then immediately grasping a heavy dumbbell with both hands (staying on the preacher bench) and holding it with elbows bent 90 degrees for as long as you can. “The isometric hold facilitates max muscle fiber recruitment,” he says, as your biceps will be working extra hard—in their already fatigued state—to keep your elbows from straightening. Try three to four sets of 15–20 reps on the curl. Warning: It hurts, and it may make you queasy.

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“Finish your triceps workout with a stretching movement,” says Ryan Munsey, a strength coach and fitness model in Roanoke, VA ( This could be a cable overhead triceps extension or a lying triceps extension, in which you feel a strong pull on the triceps in the bottom position. This stretching action facilitates blood flow and recruits muscle fibers. “Do these after your elbows are warmed up and you have some blood in your triceps,” Munsey says. “Really reach behind your head. You’ll get the best pump.” And pumps promote growth. 

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