Q: I’ve been training for strength and bulk for about 2 years now, with results that I am happy with. You’ve kindly answered my questions a long time ago, and now I need your help (again!)…
Today my work mates and I have embarked on a silly competition. We measured biceps today and in 3 months we will award “the winner” – the person who makes the biggest percentage gain. My colleagues are 10 people and are all starting from somewhere in the range 12-13.5 inches. I am starting at 15 inches and weigh 100kg (220 in your language?).
I know that doing this is silly… however for a while now I have felt (strangely enough) that my biceps are my weakest point, and I so wouldn’t mind giving them a good blast over the next 12 weeks.
I tend to do short trainings (40 minutes) in my lunch hour Monday to Friday. I figure to hit the biceps heavy and hard, twice a week, in between training other body parts. I wonder if this is a good approach, and if I could try any particular strategies from your books?
PS. I’m 35 and live in Australia.
PPS. I have your first 2 books.
My Answer: Ah, nothing like friendly competition. Well there’s one thing you should keep in mind about arm measurements: the tape measure will measure the size of your upper arm, both biceps and triceps. There are 2 pivot points that you can develop to increase the size of your arms: the brachialis and the triceps long head. I go over how to target those pivot points in Strength and Physique, Volume One. You can follow either the Direct Assault program or the arms specialization program outlined in Neo-Classical Bodybuilding.
You should also include some kettlebell work (such as one arm kettlebell swings and kettlebell clean and presses), pull-ups and chin-ups, heavy seated cable rows with a V-bar handle and deadlifts. All of these exercises will stress the biceps and brachialis muscles with poundages far more than simple biceps exercises.
One last trick is to do the one-day arm specialization the day before the measurement. This arm specialization program was first introduced by Peary Rader, the same guy who popularized 20 rep breathing squats.
What you do is take a pair of dumbbells with you to work (I’m assuming you have an office) and do 2 sets of a biceps and/or brachialis exercise EVERY HOUR ON THE HOUR for 8-12 hours. Do not go to failure, just do 8-10 reps each time. Load up on creatine, carbs and water during the day. Your arm girth should increase the very next day. Good luck!