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
Workout (as I performed it then)
Friday, Sunday, and Tuesday
Press Behind Neck
Dips (for pump)
Incline DB Curl
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
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
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
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.
INCLINE DUMBBELL CURL:
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.
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
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.
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.