How I Built My 20-Inch Arms
by Larry Scott
Larry Scott Arm Workout
When asked to “make a muscle” the average person invariably flexes his biceps. Bodybuilders are no different . . . big arms fascinate them more than any other bodypart.
I’m no different myself . . . I’ve admired big arms as long as I can remember, and have worked long and hard to get a pair. I’ve been amply rewarded for my labors in this direction, but not until I had spent many, many years experimenting with the various exercises and training principles covered in the course booklet.
Furthermore, the time I spent working for big arms was much longer than it need be for you. How often during my earlier training years I had wished for a book such as this, describing exactly the exercises and training methods! But I had to learn a lot of what I now know by trial and error, by luck, hope, and mistakes.
So, the purpose of this book is to spare you some false turns and blind alleys on the road to magnificent arms. With my own errors in mind, this booklet is written for you, so you can avoid them. Follow the course as laid out . . . the prescribed exercises, sets, repetitions, exercise style. Put real determination in your workouts, make this a turning point in your big arm training . . . you won’t regret it!
Best of luck.
Advice to the Beginner
Those of you who are total beginners should realize that there are certain fundamental terms that you will have to be familiar with in order to get along in the muscle world. After all, bodybuilding is a technical world of its own, and has its own shop talk just as other specialized activities do. Many of these words will sound strange to you, but in time you will see the reasons behind their use:
Sets and Repetitions – definitions readily available elsewhere.
Concentration – Everyone knows what this word means – applying your mind exclusively to what you are doing, a particular task. In bodybuilding, the task at hand is the exercise you are performing. To get the very best results you must devote the utmost of mental concentration to performing correctly the exercise you are doing, concentrate solely on the muscle being worked and the exercise motion. You must work as hard as possible and shut all interfering thoughts out of your mind . . . think only of that arm growing bigger and bigger with every workout!
To the novice this may sound like a lot of nonsense, but this is the proven way to build muscle, proven by me and a lot of good bodybuilders of the past. Follow the exercise advice strictly as prescribed and save your skepticism for other things.
Strict Exercise Motion – This simply means that you must adhere to correct exercise motion and form when training. Do the movement strictly as you are supposed to do it, no short cuts or easy methods. This means no body swing, no bending the legs, shortened exercise movements or allowing other muscles to help the one being exercises.
Cheating Exercise Motion – Many times a slightly higher weight can be used in certain exercises provided a slight “cheat” is used. Generally not much advice needs to be given on this subject, as most everyone on the own seems to know how to cheat! But use caution, as the cheating style can be used to advantage only on certain exercises strictly labeled as cheat movements.
Flushing – This means to work the muscle so that it is pumped full of blood, flushed and gorged with this vital fluid almost so it seems you cannot do another set without your arms bursting! Once you start working a muscle, you should stay with it until it is completely flushed. Don’t skip around from bodypart to bodypart. If your exercises don’t give you flushing as described here, then they are no good for you.
Flushing is accepted as one of the most important principles in bodybuilding. To ask about it would be the same thing as asking if food is necessary to gain weight!
Burns – This is a relatively new bodybuilding method that has been coming into vogue recently. It can be used on most exercises, especially arms, and is simply partial movements at the end of a set. At that time your muscle is too tired to do another complete rep, so you substitute burns until your muscles begin to ache from lack of oxygen. This aching, burning sensation is responsible for the name of the principle, and will give you added desirable muscle qualities when applied properly.
Advice to the Intermediate
To me, an intermediate bodybuilder is one who has been training for a year of so consistently, is familiar with the vernacular and general training routine of bodybuilding, but is still hitting those awful sticking points that discourage every trainee.
Actually, if having sticking points puts you in the intermediate class, then all of us bodybuilders belong there. Everyone has them, regardless of their degree of training knowledge, and in a way it’s a good thing for it relieves the monotony of constant pace.
On the whole, though, sticking points and slow gains are very frustrating, and are the main reason why many trainees give up bodybuilding after training a while and not getting too far. For this reason the biggest problem for the intermediate bodybuilder is to find that magic combination of exercises, sets, and reps that suit him best, help him to gain the most muscle in the fastest time. But just how to do this is another question . . . you must do it on your own, find out for yourself and no one else. Too many young trainees try to copy another bodybuilder’s routine in the hope that their development will be a carbon copy of that bodybuilder also.
And this is where they make their mistake, for each and every one of us is a bit different from his fellow, and each and every one of us bodybuilders must train a bit different from his fellow trainee, if we are to reach our own, individual potential.
Still, many inexperienced bodybuilders make this mistake, and I’ve been asked the question, “What did you do to get your build?” more than anything else. I’m usually amused and tolerant when I hear that oft-repeated phrase, for I remember at the start of my bodybuilding life doing the same thing to the great Steve Reeves!
I had been training for only about two years, and was naturally filled with all the questions young bodybuilders are at this early stage of development. Steve and George Eiferman were putting on an exhibition at Salt Lake City, and I and several bodybuilding friends had traveled down from Idaho to see it. They were staying at a motel close to the gym where we stopped in to train, and Bob Delmontique, the gym owner, invited us over to meet Steve and George.
We walked into the room and there they stood! They had just come in from the sun deck, and both had their shirts off, looking magnificent. The introductions were done, and I as so many bodybuilders have done blurted out, “What did you do to get so great?” Steve looked at George and both smiled, and looking back now I can well imagine how many thousands of times they had been asked that question!
But what about an answer? How can you as an individual bodybuilder develop yourself to the maximum? After pooling my views with as many of the other good bodybuilders I know, here is the consensus answer:
Find that combination of sets and reps that is best for you alone. Find that blend of exercises that gives you the fastest and most enduring burn with the least amount of sets and reps.
So, that is the magic formula that each individual bodybuilder should follow to reach success. Each fellow must be his own trainer, follow his instincts towards that which is best for him alone . . . if you follow Bill Pearl’s or Steve Reeves’ routines in the hopes of looking like Pearl or Reeves you’ll never make it, for you are not Pearl, not Reeves but YOU . . . a unique bodybuilding individual.
But at the same time you need advice, a pooling of ideas so that you can find good exercises, productive combinations of sets and reps. That’s part of the reason for this course. All the exercises I’ve listed in this course have been a great help to me at various sticking points, times when my lagging development really threatened to get me down. All these exercises are ones that I’ve found to be really helpful over the years, ones that have stood the test of time and development. Perhaps they won’t all help you, but I’m sure many of them will give your arm training a real boost.
Finding the correct training methods by instinct may be desirable, but in many ways it’s like groping in the dark. If someone can turn on a bit of light for you, it’ll certainly help you find your way a lot easier. That’s what I hope this course does for you, gives you the right tools to get more development faster. Try the routines, then adapt them to your own training. I’m sure they will really help you in your battle to get big arms!
Exercise Routine #1
Size and strength . . . two of the prime requisites of a top physique. This exercise routine is designed to give you precisely those qualities, while my second routine, to follow, deals more with shape and definition.
But, if you want some massive arms this routine will give them to you. Keep in mind that just doing the exercises haphazardly will not do. You must perform them correctly. By that I mean several things. First of all, make each and every exercise motion a full extension and a full contraction. Don’t cheat yourself of a proper results by sloppy training. Remember that the hard way is the right way of doing it, not the easy way.
Secondly, follow the sets and reps as I have outlined them. After you have been training on this routine for a week or two and are getting used to the exercises, getting a better feel for them, add burns at the end of each set. As your reps for an average set will run 8 to 10, add about half this number, 4 or 5, burns at the end of each set. Thirdly, remember that once you get going you must handle as much weight as possible, but always in good form. Add to your exercise weights whenever you can, but never at the expense of your exercise form.
Now, tell yourself that you are determined to build big arms and this course will do it.
Go to it!
Two Arm Barbell Curl: this is a standard exercise that is unfortunately neglected by many bodybuilders. It is an exercise that works the heavy belly of the biceps muscle, the part that contains the real girth . . . so don’t let it stay out of your routine if you want big arms.
In your training you should handle all the weight you can while still maintaining good form. Hold the bar with the knuckle side of the hands just outside the thighs, and curl the weight up until the bar reaches your chin. Then lower the bar with the same deliberation that you raised it with, completely extending the arms.
Sets and Reps: Begin with 3 sets of 8 to 10 reps, with a moderate weight. Continue on like this for a week or two, then raise the weight to maximum in good form, and keep raising it thereafter as often as you can, while still keeping at all time a strict exercising form. Do not allow more than three inches of swing in your shoulders while curling the weight up or lowering it down.
Keep the sets at 3 for the first month, then increase to 4. Maintain the same number of reps, and as mentioned apply burns and keep pushing that exercise weight up.
Incline Dumbbell Curl: the dumbbells are to be raised only up to the point where gravity takes the strain off the biceps and the dumbbells want to fall back to the shoulders. Slowly lower the weights until the arms are fully extended again, and be extra sure to keep the palms up all the time and keep the wrist so the inside of the palm is level with the outside. Don’t let the dumbbell pressure turn the wrists in.
This tip will enable you to keep the strain on the belly of the muscle, and will make the difference between good gains and none at all. There is generally one key point in any exercise that will make the difference between it being a good one and a bad one. In this case it is the palm position, so keep this in mind every time you do your curls.
Sets and Reps: Begin with 4 sets of 8 reps, again with all the weight you can handle in proper form. Keep pushing the weight up as much as you can, and up your sets to 5 at the end of a month. Reps remain the same, and remember the burns.
Reverse Barbell Curl: This exercise looks much the same as #1, however, you will note that the palms are reversed, being down instead of up. Hence, the name of Reverse Curl. The bar is again grasped so that the hands are just outside the thighs, and this time the bar should be raised upward with no shoulder movement at all, as strictly as possible. Keep the elbows close to the body and stationary, and remember to lower the bar with the same amount of effort and concentration as you used in getting it up.
Sets and Reps: Start with 3 sets of 10 reps, and use a moderate weight. Make sure your form is very, very good or nothing will come of this movement except burning a little energy. Continue the sets and reps and go easy on adding weight also, unless this movement feels particularly effective for you.
Standing Triceps (French) Press: This is an excellent movement for bulking up the long head, or underbelly of the triceps. The hands should be about six inches apart and the elbows held as high as possible. And, keep them in this position throughout the movement while also keeping your body perfectly straight. To use sloppy form and move around will only be cheating yourself of gains in the end.
Sets and Reps: Do about 4 sets of 10 reps and increase the weight used as often as possible, remembering proper form at all times. Increase the sets to 5 after a month, and experiment with the reps a little . . . try 8 as well as 10 and use the one that gives you the best pump. Remember the burns before ending each set.
Incline Barbell Triceps Press: Hold the bar so that only an inch of so is between the hands, and again keep your elbows absolutely still. As in most triceps movements aimed at body building, if you move the elbows the stress of the movement is transferred from the triceps to the deltoids. Press the bar directly overhead, keeping it on a plane right above the eyes throughout the movement. Make sure to lock out completely, and lower the bar slowly, again keeping equal stress on the downward trip as well as the upward one.
Sets and Reps: For a good beginning, try 3 to 4 sets of 8 reps. The increase in strength is usually rapid in this movement, so keep pushing the weight up as much as possible, but keep a close watch on any potential elbow pain developing. Go to 5 sets at the end of a month.
Exercise # 6
Lying Dumbbell Press: By now your triceps are getting pretty tired, so a little cheat will be allowed in this movement. JUST A LITTLE! Keep the elbows almost straight up and the dumbbells in a parallel position, and extend the arms until they are fully locked out. Lower the dumbbells slowly to as low a position as possible while keeping strain on the triceps.
Sets and Reps: Use all the weight that will allow you to do at least 4 sets of 10 to 12 reps, and at the end of a month add another set. If you wish, lower the reps to 8 to 10 at that time.
Some Final Tips
Follow this routine of 6 exercises, three days a week for two months at least. Then, if the course is beginning to grow a bit stale, go to EXERCISE ROUTINE #2. However, if you are still making good gains, stick on this first exercise routine and try the other later on.
Stay with the system of sets, reps, and burns that I prescribed. I’ve also found that the best place in the routine for your arms is last, just before you leave the gym. Further, since this is an extra heavy routine, I suggest you follow the split routine method of training, doing upper body and arms one day and lower body the next. Now to Exercise Routine #2.
Exercise Routine #2
Obviously, there is more to having good arms than just having the biggest ones around. Much has been said about big arms, and they are admired by all. But never have I seen a fellow win a Best Arms award on size alone, especially when there was another bodybuilder there with smaller, but much better shaped arms.
So, shape and definition along with size are the essentials for an impressive arm. This routine was designed to give you precisely these qualities. You need something to work with, some beef, before you do anything, so that is why my Routine #1 concentrated on arm size. After you have built up some size you should go on to this routine, which will bring out the utmost in shape and hard cuts.
Keep your general training regimen . . . workout days, training style, use of flushing and burns, etc . . . the same as in Routine #1, and follow these exercises exactly as I give them to you. After all, they are stolen from some of the best training routines in the country!
Flat Bench Dumbbell Curl: Even though this is one of the very best exercises for the lower biceps that exists, I think I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of fellows I have seen do it. I picked it up from Lou Degni, and have used it ever since.
The bench must be high enough so the dumbbells will not touch the floor when the arms are lowered. With the arms in this lowered position, slowly curl the weights up together, keeping the elbows pointed in towards the hips as much as possible. Come up until the biceps start to lose their tension, then lower again, all the time keeping the elbows pointed in . . . this is the key point of the exercise, so don’t ever forget those elbows. Also, be sure to keep your palms flat at all times, don’t let them rotate inward.
Sets and Reps: Do about 5 sets of t least 10 reps when starting. After one month, increase the sets to 6 and keep the reps at 10. Remember, the weight should always be increased whenever possible.
Bentover Barbell Concentration Curl: This is one of those exercises where the word “concentration” really means the difference between success and failure. Stare at the biceps as it contracts and imagine how much good the exercise is doing you. Think of that blood surging into into the muscle fibers and making the arm grow.
Sound absurd? Not at all. You actually should do this with every movement in your exercise routine, but this type of extreme concentration is hard to maintain, so you should reserve it for exercises that are especially important, such as this one.
Hold the bar with your hands about six inches to a foot apart and curl it up to your nose, while maintaining the bentover position. You don’t have to extend your arms all the way while lowering the bar, just go to the point where the biceps begin to relax.
Sets and Reps: Do at least 3 sets of 10 to 12 reps in this exercise. Continue with the 3 sets for a month, then up it to 4 or 5 sets.
Dumbbell Kickbacks: This movement will not produce great size in the triceps, but will help to carve out an impressive hardened look in the horseshoe part of the muscle. This has long been my favorite exercise, for the triceps can be developed with it so it can be seen to full advantage while just hanging at the side. In other words, there’s no need to go around flexed, the triceps when developed properly can look breathtaking just hanging relaxed!
I suggest that you use a low bench when in the bentover position to rest your nonworking hand on, for better form and stability. Start with your upper body approximately parallel to the floor and your upper arm pressed tightly against it. Bring your forearm from a hanging position up until the triceps cramps in the back and you cannot extend your arm any farther. Bring the weight up with a little push, but no swing at all, and make double sure your arm is fully extended. This is the key point of the movement on which all your gains hinge.
Sets and Reps: A minimum of 4 sets of 10 to 12 reps should be done for a beginning, and after 3 weeks to a month increase the sets. Keep your reps stable and remember to really concentrate while doing the movement.
Barbell Kickbacks: This is a finishing off movement, purely for development at the juncture of the triceps heads, the horseshoe area. Is range is very limited and the exercise is almost all cramp.
I stole this movement from George Payne’s routine, and if you can show me anyone with better definition in this area I’ll give you an inch off my arm! Hold the bar with the side of the hands just touching the thighs, your palms facing away from the body. Throw the bar away from you, hold it there for a count of 5, then let it slowly return to the body.
Sets and Reps: Repeat this movement for 4 sets of 6 reps, and keep this system up whenever you use this exercise.
I’ve given you here the very best intermediate arm routines I know. The rest is up to you. You must attack your workouts with vigor and enthusiasm. Remember, the biggest obstacle in the path of every bodybuilder is indifference.
You must motivate yourself every workout, think of the exercises you are doing and how you are going to do them better than last time. You must push ahead, keep on the path to progress and avoid those old demon stale periods.
If you approach your training with these thoughts in mind, nothing can keep you from obtaining results. Most of all, don’t listen to discouraging of disparaging remarks . . . I got them by the bucketfull, but I said the heck with them. I made up my mind that I could do it, and I did. So can you. You can and will improve. But no one can do it for you, you must hit those weights yourself . .
Incline Barbell Triceps Press
Lying Dumbbell Press
Flat Bench Dumbbell Curl
Bentover Barbell Concentration Curl