My Quest For Bigger Arms

Equipment was home-made

Six-week arm routine is in my top five result producers of all time I gained over a half-inch to my arms in six weeks on this advanced specialization routine

By: Roger Riedinger
Magazine 13 #4

This is an article I’ve wanted to include in the No Nonsense Magazine since the first issue nearly fifteen years ago. I was hesitant to publish it because it goes against the trend of what is generally accepted today. However, I’ve been lifting regularly for closing in on fifty years and this six-week routine is still in my top five result producers of all time. It will work for anyone, but it will work especially well for anyone whose arms measure in the 15-17″ range.

I performed this workout faithfully in my mom’s basement in November-December of 1971. Some of the equipment was home-made. I had a lat machine that I had rigged up and attached to the ceiling joists for pulldowns and pulley extensions. My dip bars were made from steel plumbing pipes that I bought especially so that I could perform this routine. I had an adjustable incline bench by that time, but earlier I had used an 8x12 board propped up against the wall. For dumbbells I had those adjustable ones that you had to use a wrench to tighten the collars. (Needless to say, I used constant poundage for all sets on dumbbell exercises.) As soon as I could get all sets for the recommended reps, then I’d add to the dumbbells for the next workout.

My Mom’s Basement, Date: 11/15/71

Back then a lot of training programs suggested that you work out six weeks, then take a week off or change your routine. That worked perfect for this routine. I knew I could do anything that I wanted badly enough for six weeks, so even though this workout took about an hour and a half (or sometimes longer) to perform, I only had to do it for six weeks to get maximum benefit. That’s what I want you to do – devote six weeks. I’m sure you’ll be rewarded as I was. I gained over a half-inch to my arms in six weeks on this advanced arm specialization routine, and it’s lasted for the next 36 years. I think it was worth it!

Workout (as I performed it then)

Friday, Sunday, and Tuesday
Bench Press 46
Squat 46
Bent-arm Pullover412
Barbell Row 45
Press Behind Neck46
Tricep Pushdown 58
Pulley Extension 58
Dips (for pump) 3max
EZ Curl 58
Incline DB Curl 58
Concentration Curl 38

If I were doing it today, I’d do the last six exercises (arms) on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and the first five exercises (rest of the body) just two days a week on Tuesday and Saturday (or Thursday if you want your weekends free.)

Here are some tips as to how I performed each of the arm exercises:


Keep elbows in throughout the exercise. Nowadays, it seems everyone puts their weight over the bar and presses the weight down with elbows out. The idea is to isolate your triceps. To do that you should stand fairly erect, arms held vertically to your sides with elbows in. Start at the top of your pec line and move the bar in a gentle arc to lock out. Hold the lock out position for a second, then bring the bar up in the same gently arc. Only your forearms move, your upper arms stay locked against your sides. Exhale down and Inhale up.


If training at the gym use one side of the cable crossover machine or an adjustable pulley machine. You may have to improvise if you are training at home or substitute the lying triceps extension (take the bar back over your head, instead of bringing it to your forehead) keeping your elbows as stationary as possible. For the pulley extension use a rope handle and bend over or kneel, resting your elbows on a low bench. Let the rope go behind your head, then fully extend your arms to lockout and hold for a pause before repeating.



I put dips at the end of the triceps routine as a pumping exercise. Do not add weight, use your bodyweight only, but go through a full range of motion and contract the triceps forcefully at the top of each rep. Rest only a minute between each set of dips and just do as many as you can in perfect form. If you find it difficult to perform regular dips you can substitute close-grip push-ups or bench dips for this exercise.


Hands should be shoulder width or slightly narrower. Keep this exercise strict. Curl the bar up to just under the chin, pause and tense the biceps in this position, then slowly lower back to full extension.


How many of you today remember Steve Reeves? Well, he was my bodybuilding idol and he built his 18″ arms (drug-free) primarily with this exercise. Did he have a multi-angle adjustable bench back in the 40’s – no, he leaned a board against the wall, or propped up the back of a flat bench with some cement blocks. For best results, do the exercise like Reeves did it: Lie back on an incline bench with your head resting on the back. Allow your arms to hang straight down with your elbows pointing down from start to finish. Curl both dumbbells together all the way up until they almost reach your delts, tense at the top position, then lower all the way to full extension.


Concentration Curl

You can perform this exercise either seated or standing. Grasp a dumbbell in one hand and lean forward while bracing your free arm against a bench or rack for support. Start with your working arm hanging straight down, thumb facing forward, curl toward your deltoid while rotating your palm upwards until the biceps are fully contracted at the top. Keep your elbow pointing straight down throughout. Don’t sacrifice form for weight on this exercise. Many top bodybuilders used just 25 or 30-lb dumbbells on this exercise but they squeezed the heck out of their biceps and barely rested between sets. You should do the same. As soon as you finish one arm go to the next until all three sets are completed.


Despite everything that is written on the importance of diet, the vast majority of bodybuilders still don’t realize that at the very least nutrition is 50% of your success. One thing I found early on is that I had to gain some weight to increase my arm measurement. On this program I gained about five pounds and added 5/8 inch to my arm measurement. Here’s how I dieted then.


Three eggs, one-half pound of meat, one glass of milk, two pieces of rye toast with peanut butter; Supplements: 15 desiccated liver tablets, 1 vitamin C, 1 vitamin E, and 1 B-Complex.

Mid morning work break:

Protein drink consisting of two cups of milk and one-half cup milk and egg protein powder.


One serving meat, one serving cottage cheese (with pineapple), one salad, one glass of milk; Supplements: 15 desiccated liver tablets, 1 vitamin C.

Afternoon break:

Protein drink (same as mid morning)


A large serving of meat, fish, or poultry, a serving of cottage cheese or yogurt, and a salad. (In all honesty, I probably had a dessert every day or two as well – usually ice cream.)


Another protein drink (2 cups milk and one-half cup protein powder), along with 15 desiccated liver tablets and 15 brewers yeast tablets, 1 vitamin C and 1 B-Complex.

This nutritional program supplied me with approximately three hundred grams of high quality protein, plus more than enough of the micronutrients necessary for muscular growth.

Adjustments I’d Make Today:

Today, I would cut down on the amount of milk unless weight gain was my primary objective. In the program above I was getting about eighty grams of carbohydrates from milk sugar. I’d substitute some good complex carb sources like oatmeal or sweet potatoes at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Rather than mix my protein shake in milk, I’d use 4 tbsp of heavy cream, 14 oz of water and 2 scoops (or ½ cup if you want to do it old school style) UMP (much improved versions but still milk and egg proteins) mid morning, afternoon, and before bed. The reason I suggest adding cream is that it allows you to digest and assimilate your protein drink similar to whole milk minus the milk sugar.

Supplements: instead of the individual vitamin tablets, today I’d take a Super Pak. In 1971 I was taking less potent desiccated liver tablets, but Ultra 40 would definitely fill the bill today. You could get by easily with ten per meal instead of the 15 that I took then. Brewer’s yeast was included in the original formula for it’s amino acids and additional B vitamins, a better choice today would be Mass or Density – 10 Mass or 5 Density with your before bed protein shake.

Current Supplementation Recommendations

  • Mid morning – mid afternoon – before bed
  • Ultimate Muscle Protein mix 2 scoops (or ½ cup) with 4 tbsp heavy cream and 14 oz water
  • Super Pak at breakfast
  • Ultra 40 – 10 with breakfast, lunch, and dinner
  • Density – 5 with before bed shake

Don’t be afraid to give this routine a try just because it’s different from what others in the gym are doing or what you read about in the magazines. Take it from me, follow this routine for six weeks, no more, no less and you will get results that will surprise you.

In closing I’d like to thank George Coates as the originator of this routine that had a profound effect on my bodybuilding career and subsequently upon my life as owner of Beverly International and publisher of the No Nonsense Magazines.

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