While most cyclists and runners aren’t concerned with having big arms, arm strength comes in handy for XC skiing, swimming, kayaking, BMX, mountain biking, and even bike repair! So let’s look at building big arms…

A Question On Bicep Curls!?
Right. Im 14 and am naturally quite skinny in the arms. I have started doing bicep curls with a 3kg weight. Any ideas until i notice a difference and what can i do to make the process happen quicker. E.g. Should i eat more fatty foods etc. I want to stay complelty away from steroids.

-Skinny Steven

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but doing bicep curls with a 3kg (~6lb) dumbbell isn’t going to get you anywhere. You could curl all day but your arms will stay just as skinny as they are now.

So the first thing I would do is just forget the curls altogether. You could work your way up to heavier weights, but even then, you can lift more weight with other exercises. I’m not saying you can’t do curls later, but if you want to pack on some real size in a relatively short amount of time, look elsewhere!

There are four main exercises I suggest: pull ups, chin ups, dips, and shoulder presses. These exercises involve compound movements that work your entire arm, which allows you to move heavier weights, which leads to greater gains in size and strength.

Pull ups, chin ups, and dips can all be started with just your body weight. That will be a little safer than jumping into a big weight lifting program.

Shoulder presses will require a barbell and/or dumbbells, but you could start out with pike push ups (or handstand push ups) to work your shoulders before hitting the big weights.

How many sets and reps should you do for these bodyweight exercises? Read this: Determining Sets and Reps for Bodyweight Exercises.

More weight lifting and lots of eating wouldn’t hurt, either.

For example, you could add in a lift like the deadlift (maybe some squats too.) By working big muscles in your legs and back, your body will produce more of a testosterone response from your workouts. This could lead to better growth in your arm muscles for the same workout (studies are conflicting.) Regardless, it wouldn’t hurt to work out your entire body and not just your arms!

Being a beginner, I’d suggest following a pre-made plan from an expert. A book that would probably work for you (that you might enjoy reading as well) is Nate Green’s Built For Show.

And you need to eat extra calories if you want to build muscle. As in, LOTS of food!

As for your diet, stay away from junk food. Make sure you eat healthy foods like lean meats, whole grains, and lots of fruits and vegetables. You can eat fatty foods to get more calories, but stick with fatty foods like almonds, avocados, and olive oil. No junk food!!

Basically, if you do a good amount of weight lifting and eat lots of natural, unprocessed foods, you should see some results! It won’t happen overnight, but stick with it for a couple months, and I think you’ll be pleased.

1 Comment
  1. Look into negative-sets when it comes to pull-ups.

    try the old “1-minute-pull-up” and “1-minute-dip”

    use a dip belt to hang weights between your legs and spend 25 seconds getting to the top of your pull up/dip, contract hard for 10 seconds, and spend 25 seconds coming down.

    your arms will burn and shake and hurt for a couple days, but they will blow up!

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