Four weeks is all you need to build bigger, stronger armsStrongerarms

The secret to lifting heavy weights is strong forearms

The definitive workout for adding size to your arm's superstar muscle

Maximise your down time with these exercise cheats

This tricep routine is the key to filling your T-shirt

Big arms require big eatin', so get stuck in

Pumped up bis and tris are nothing without a strong base

You've done the work, now test your new found strength

Three instant moves to get your arms looking like Arnie's

The expertise

AlexAlex Harris is MH's fitness editor. He's assembled this plan for maximum results with minimal effort.  JamieJamie Sawyer, one of the UK's leading strength and conditioning coaches, has created the workouts.  MattMatt Lovell is a leading sports nutritionist. He has devised the eating plan to fuel your guns. 

Superior strength
Comprising 20 different muscles, your forearm is involved in almost every arm movement. Strength here pays dividends everywhere

T-shirt filler
Responsible for the arm's curling motion, they thrive on static holds and fatigued states. These are the ones we all want to build

Athletic power
Making up two thirds of the upper arm, working this muscle group is essential if you want to gain those extra inches

V-shaped torso
Spilt into three main sections: posterior (rear), anterior (front) and lateral. The laterals tend to get most focus because they give width

Grab yourself a strength upgrade by working your way to a vice-like grip

Hold Tight

The squeeze test

How to monitor your progress

At the end of each week, grab a bathroom scales as hard as you can. Take your reading and try to add 2kg a week. Over 60kg is good.

Week1       Week2       Week3       Week4     
           kg             kg             kg             kg 

A helping hand

from fitness coach Ben Banks

For the best grip, don't wear gloves. By adding this extra layer during your regular workout you'll have less contact with the weights, and therefore less control. Try using chalk instead.

Get a grip

Each technique targets a different muscle group. Match your grip to your goal and reap the rewards

The 'standard' grip, This involves your palms facing toward you, which focuses on the biceps brachii, hitting more muscle.
Use for Barbell curls
The 'reverse' grip: palms facing out. Yur forearms have to work harder, taking pressure off of your biceps.
Use for Barbell rows
Palms face each other. Hammer curls work the point where your bicep widens, so this technique will help to build size.
Use for Dumbbell curls

Build a stronghold

Use towels and weights to work your grip harder. Include these moves at least once a week

Wrap a towel around the chin-up bar, which stresses your wrists and forearms. Slowly raise and lower yourself.

Walk around squeezing two heavy dumbbells for 30sec, gripping them as hard as possible. 
Place a small towel over each dumbbell handle. Squeeze as hard as you can. Do 6-8 reps. 

Strong arm tactics


Strong arm tactics

This intense workout will tear muscle fibres and boost 'pulling' strength to add mass to your arms in just four weeks

Perpetual curls will get you nowhere if bigger biceps and forearms are your goal. For true strength and size you need to work the surrounding muscles. "This routine uses the pulling and holding abilities of your whole body," says PT Jamie Sawyer. "The lats, forearms, biceps and brachialis are designed to work under fatigue for long periods-as they would if you were hanging from a tree branch. The following workout will emulate that effect."

The bicep programme

Deadlift  3 x 10. Rest 60-90sec between sets and reps


B1  Isometric chin-up hold  10sec squeeze at top position, mid position and lower 3rd position equals 1 rep. Perform 3. Rest for 10sec between reps, then move onto B2
B2 Weighted chin-up  3 x 8-10. Rest 10sec then move to the next  exercise
B3  Squeeze curl 3 x 10-12. Rest 90sec then repeat B1, B2 and B3






Deadlift 3-point isometric chin-up hold Weighted chin-up Squeeze curl
4 x 6-8 4 x 1:hold for 12sec 4 x 6-8 4 x 8-10
Deadlift 3-point isometric chin-up hold Weighted chin-up Squeeze curl
5 x 4-6 5 x 1:hold for 12sec 5 x 4-6 5 x 6-8



The deadlift is a huge pulling exercise which, when performed correctly, will create heavy tension in the lats and arms. By squeezing your lats
and gripping the bar as tightly as possible, you can stimulate your forearm muscles, shoulders, biceps. triceps and lats, which will encourage much better technique. This improvement in form will lead to greater loads lifted: start with 70% of your 1RM. Using the standard deadlift grip, aim to lower the weight with a controlled movement for 3sec,touch the floor (A) and explode back up (B).

Jump to the top portion of the chin-up and squeeze the grip as hard as possible(A). This will allow the forearm muscles and biceps to contract, creating a huge surge of nerve impulses and engaging more of the surrounding muscles to prepare them for the next exercise. Repeat this squeeze at the midpoint and at the lower third point of the movement (B) to ensure as much fibre recruitment as possible. The resulting increase in nervous activity means that not only will the chin-ups that follow seem easier but also they will have a greater muscle-building effect on your arms Win-win.


For bigger muscle gains, heighten the difficulty of your chin-ups by hanging weight plates from a lifting belt. Again, focus on creating a vice-like grip on the bar for as much isometric tension as possible. This will help your lats and biceps perform the chin-up, resulting in more effective movement throughout.
Explode upwards to the top of the movement (A), squeeze your biceps for a second, and then lower yourself fully in 2-3sec (B). As soon as you hit the lowest position, instantly explode back up again.


This exercise calls on the isometric strength of your forearms and biceps, while adding extra resistance movement. Grip the handle of a ketllebell, squeeze and try to push both hands together-it should feel like you're
attempting to crush it (A). Still squeezing, curl the keltlebell up to your chest (B). Because of the position of the handles, the grip formed will be similar to a hammer grip, which will place more emphasis on your brachialis muscle beneath the biceps, building a more complete shape. After this session. you may need a lie down.


Secret armoury

SecretarmouryWork these stealth exercises into your downtime to build big arms faster and easier, says PT Joe Lightfoot

1 Knight in arms

Even if you're not the altruistic type, you should feign chivalry to boost your muscles. Offer to carry bags whenever the opportunity arises, keeping
your arms bent as you walk. For the biggest burn, hold them tight and resist their natural swing. Just be sure to hand them back.

Muscles unlocked
Biceps, deltoids, forearms

2 Big squeeze

When that irritating bloke on the desk opposite is sharing his opinions with the whole workforce again, put your pent-up frustration to good use.
Three sets of squeezing your desk as hard as possible for 5sec will improve your grip by the weekend - which will make for better workout form and arm size. We'll take no responsibility for broken desks.

Muscles unlocked

3 Plate accompli

It doesn't always take reps to work your muscles. Leave two moderately heavy weight plates at the bottom of your stairs and hold them against your
chest every time you walk up or down, gripping hard. This delivers a burst of arm flexion, with constant tension for more growth.

Muscles unlocked
Biceps, forearms

4 Present tense

Showing off is actually a faster way to bigger arms: flexing your muscles improves the control you have over them (which will definitely come in handy when lifting heavy at the gym). Simply make a tight fist and tense your biceps. This exercise doubles up as Monday-morning stress therapy after a dressing down from the boss.

Muscles unlocked
Triceps, biceps

5 TV winner

Turn lazy evenings into the ultimate arm-sculpters. When you're plonked in front of season two of Game of Thrones this month, hold a kettlebell
upside down with your elbow tucked in. Tense, and grip the handle as hard as possible, to create biceps strong enough to wield Need Stark's sword.

Muscles unlocked
Deltoids, biceps, forearms

6 Monkey around

For the dads in the room: get your kids to the nearest park with monkey bars and take turns using them. Yes, it's endless fun for your child, but for you it's forcing your grip, biceps and shoulders to work against your weight and gravity. This is especially effective if you make it
across keeping your arms bent. Note, it's unwise to hang around in parks if you don't have a child.

Muscles unlocked
Deltoids, biceps, forearms

Total Athleticism


Total athleticism

Your triceps are your arms' powerhouse. Here's how to press, throw and push your way to maximum strength and size

More than just the T-shirt filler-this muscle group is the heavy artillery of your armoury. "Throwing or pushing objects in an explosive manner is both the result and requirement of strong triceps, which work with your chest and shoulders to produce these movements," says PT Jamie Sawyer. But heavy output requires heavy input from you. These muscles bulk up when you exert explosive force, stimulating growth. Big effort leads to big results.

The tricep workout

A1  Bench press lock out  3 sets of 3 reps (3 x 3), rest 30sec, move onto A2  Superset 
A2 Med ball chest pass 3 x 6-8, rest 30sec then move back to A1 
B1 Drop catch press-up 3 x 3, rest 30sec then move onto B2   Superset
B2 Skull crusher 3 x 6-8, rest 30sec then move back to B1
C1 Seated French press 3 x 6-8, rest 30sec then move to C2   Superset
C2 Overhead med ball throw
3 x 6-8, rest 30 sec then move back to C1


Bench Press
Med ball Drop catch
Skull crusher
French press
Med ball throw
4x6-8 4x1:hold for 12sec 4x6-8 4x8-10 4x8-10 4x8-10
Bench Press
Med ball Drop catch
Skull crusher
French press
Med ball throw
5x6-8 5x1:hold for 12sec 5x6-8 5x8-10 5x8-10 5x8-10



Set up the bench in a squat rack (A). Set the bar in a high notch-hold to allow only the last 1Ocm of the bench-pressing movement (B). The weight should be 20-30% more than your regular 1RM bench press. Overloading the weight will cause huge activation of the muscle fibres in the chest and triceps, priming them for the following exercise and leading to greater growth. Tempo is not important here.

Hold the ball at your chest (A), then explosively throw it as far and hard as possible into a wall (B). This speed strength movement should be performed as powerfully as possible to tap into the fast-twitch muscle fibres, which have the greatest potential to grow, so feel free to take time between reps. Use a weight which offers resistance, but isn't so heavy that you can't produce any speed: 5-1Okg should suffice. Try to avoid any windows.

Set up a stack of weight plates, just wider than shoulder-width, 30-40cm tall. Assume a press-up position (A), then lower your body slightly(B). Now jump your hands off,landing on the floor and catching the press-up rigidly at halfway point (C). You'll be ramping up the nervous signals to the muscles. promoting growth. Return to the starting position-and don't try to jump back onto the stacks.


Use a weight that you can comfortably lift in a close-grip bench press. Lower the weight slowly to your forehead (A) then shift the bar to your chest and press it up(B). This exercise not only creates a big-weight stimulus, but also combines an isolation and compound movement, with the result that no muscle fibres are missed out. Be careful during the lowering phase - you don't want the move to live up to its name.


Load an EZ bar with a moderate weight. Sit on an upright bench holding the bar overhead. Slowly lower the bar behind your head until it reaches the bottom of your neck (A). Then powerfully extend your arms to the start position (B). Squeeze the bar and the elbows for a second before repeating the exercise. This move will sculpt impressive triceps and Rory Delap-ise your throw-ins, too.


Stand with yourfeet shoulder-width apart (A). Hold the med ball with your palms facing each other, and bring it up to your chest so your elbows are bent (B). From here, bring it behind your head. Now throw it overhead in front of you (C), but be careful not to allow your arms to swing down past your sides. The ball should be light, 3-6kg, because the emphasis is on speed and power for maximum strength and size.

Big arms diet

Support your training with high-quality nutrition to achieve maximum gains. This arm-specific eating plan is designed by sports nutritionist Matt Lovell

Here are the leading muscle-building superfoods to consume as part of a balanced diet. In addition to this prescribed intake, you'll need to eat sensibly and eat often. Switch all your carbs to brown versions, and
consume larger portions on training days. For optimum growth, aim to consume atleast 3,000 calories a day.

1 SPINACHBigarmsdiet1
Popeye was truly on to something with his snack of choice: spinach increases the rate at which your arms will grow. The leafy green is high in nitrates, which improve oxygen usage in muscle cells. You'll also get a bonus dose of essential vitamins, minerals and fibre.
£1.50 for 260g,

Eggs are full of amino acids, which help maintain glutathione, a molecule that improves muscular power. The white has a high "biological value", which means most of the protein is assimilated into the body, as opposed to being excreted.
£1.25 for six,

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for muscle growth. The anti-inflammatories counteract catabolism (the breakdown of molecules), and enhance anabolism (the body's processing of protein), so your gym session will yield bigger rewards.
£lO for 100,


Whey's fast release of branched chain aminos, particularly leucine, makes it one of the most effective proteins for arm hypertrophy (size) and strength. Mixed in a shake with water or low-fat milk, it is very easily absorbed by your body.
£33 for a 5lb tub,

So lean that up to 95% of its calories come from protein, Turkey is also abundant in leucine: the most insulin-stimulating amino acid. This makes it highly anabolic, increasing the rate of muscle growth in response to hard training.
£3 for 367g,

Carbohydrates are essential for maintaining glycogen(the muscle's energy store)-important if you want any chance of growth. Vitargo, or barley
starch, has been found to restore glycogen in your arms more rapidly than any other carb.
£15 for 1kg,

High in glutamine, which is the primary fuel forthe immune system's cells, beef also contains anti-catabolic and anti-inflammatory properties needed for muscle repair. It's naturally high in creatine too, essential for building strength and power.
£4 for 440g,

Supports the muscle system responsible for explosive, high-energy  movements. Canadian scientists found that taking O.34g of creatine per pound of weight before and after workouts speeds up overall muscle growth.
£2O for 5OOg,

This scourge of tablecloths has been found to prolong endurance during exercise by upto 16%. The research in the Journal of Applied Physiology showed that beetroot can reduce your body's oxygen uptake, so you'll be able to work your arms harder for longer.
£l.80 for three,

10 BCAAsBigarmsdiet
Ingesting branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) in their pure form is the fastest acting and most effective form of protein supplementation for increasing anabolism. Take these throughout the day, though they're most effective 1hr after training.
£45 for 60 capsules,

Because it's free-range, venison has some of the highest concentrations of creatine and arginine, an amino acid which stimulates growth hormone and good circulation. It's also naturally one of the leanest meat around. Game on.
£4 for 25Og,

Shoulder the load


Shoulder the load

Broad deltoids are key to that covted V-shape, while solid shoulders will be an asset to your performance in any sport

This unsung hero of your arm's composition is almost always underworked. "Not only do deltoids produce high levels of force, but they also provide stability. Often, if someone can't bench press enough weight its because they have weak shoulders," says Jamie Sawyer. "This gateway from the torso to the arms is the most mobile joint in the body; it's also the most prone to injury, so this workout combines muscle building and injury prevention for your whole arm."

The deltoid regime

A Overhead squat 3 sets of 6 reps (3 x 6), rest 90sec, then move to B1  
B1 Push Press 3 x 3, rest 10sec then move to B2  Superset 
B2 Iron cross 3 x 15sec, rest 90sec then go back to B1
C1 Kettlebell snatch 3 x 3 on each arm, rest 10sec then move to C2    Superset
C2 Ahrens press 3 x 8-10, reat 15sec then move to C3
C3 One-arm cable lateral raise 3 x 12-15, rest 90sec then move back to C1







Overhead squat Push press Iron cross K-bell snatch Ahrens press Cable raise
4 x 6-8 4 x1:hold for 12sec 4 x 6-8 4 x 8-10 4 x 8-10 4 x 8-10
Overhead squat Push press Iron cross K-bell snatch Ahrens press Cable raise
5 x 6-8 5 x1:hold for 12sec 5 x 6-8 5 x 8-10 5 x 8-10 5 x 8-10



Pick up the bar and raise it until your arms are at right angles to your shoulders, then slide your hands out until your elbows are also at right angles (A). From here push it overtlead,directly above the back of your neck (B). Stand with your legs slightly wider than shoulder-width, with feet pointing out slightly; push your hips back and knees out until you are performing a squat (C). Imagine you are trying to pull the bar apart, which will lock the shoulder joint, creating a strong isometric contraction within the deltoids and stabilising muscles. (If you actually pull the bar apart, let us know.) Drive through your heels to rise back up to the start.



This is basically a cheat's military press, which allows you to lift an extra 1Okg. Hold a barbell across your chest (A), drive up with your legs and explode it ovehead (B). By using the legs at the start of the movement, you create momentum. As momentum diminishes, the shoulders finish off the move, locking out the arms. Aim to drive the bar up, hold for 1 sec then lower for 2-3sec. You're earning those rations Private.

We've all seen this during The World's Strongest Man on Boxing Day. A huge eastern European holds up two small cars at arm's length for the longest time possible. It's as simple as that. Although may be start with dumbbells forthe first few weeks. The weight should be statically held at shoulder height for the allotted amount of time; your thumbs should be pointing up. This pure isometric exercise activates almost all oHhe deltoid muscles.



Use a weight that allows a fast, quality movement. With the kettlebell on the floor, bend your legs and grip the handle (A) before explosively swinging it up and forward to shoulder height, and then pressing it overhead (B). There is no race to finish these reps, but move that weight as fast as possible to tap into those fast-twitch fibres.


Named after legendary strongman Chuck Ahrens, this is like a dumbbell overhead press, but with the weights rising in a V-shape. This places more tension on the deltoids to create shoulder width. From the start position (A) aim to lift the weight for 3sec and lower for 3sec (B). The weight should be heavy enough to be taxing but still allow you to achieve the V-shape.



To further increase the development of the medial fibres you hit with the Ahrens press, you need to isolate them. This move causes an incease in amino acid uptake for greater repair and stronger muscles. The tempo should be steady and constant: 2sec up (A), 1sec hold and 3sec down (B) will soon get a fiery response from 15 reps per arm.

Guns at the ready

Unleash your newly stocked arsenal by getting to grips with these essential arm skillsGuns

After four weeks, your arms should have the strength to lift with impunity, the swing flexibility for the most dexterous of motions and superior push power for total athleticism. In short: you've got the ammo. But why keep those gains to yourself? Now's the time to introduce the technique, with help from a few well-armed experts.

Tear a Yellow Pages

Jedd Johnson, world champion page-tearer

1 Grip the phone book on the top edge with your hands 3-4in apart.
2 Push the centre of the book down with one thumb to create a V-shape in the pages.
3 Pull the top pages and cover tight.
4 Start tearing the book apart by folding the sides down. Once the tear begins, you need to keep the angle on the spine side consistent while pulling hard on the open end of the phonebook.
5 The pages should start to snap in succession, lending this technique the name 'phonebook popping'.

Chop wood like it's butter

Ben McNutt, bushcraft and survival expert

Grip the end of the axe handle with your dominant hand and position the other hand closer to the head.
As you swing the axe, allow the hand nearest the head to slide down the shaft towards the end of the axe. "This builds centrifugal power and will really let your shoulders come into play," says McNutt.
When the axe head is parallel to the ground, drop into a squat. "Throw your full weight into the stroke. The axe should fall straight down, like a guillotine," says McNutt. Now, about that fire...


Throw the perfect punch

Jamie Toff, PT and boxing instructor at Gymbox
1 To develop optimum power, start by standing in the classic boxing stance with your left foot forward.
2 Hold your right hand roughly 4in away from your body and keep your thumb facing upward. Now begin transfening your weight onto the left foot.
3 Launch the right arm while rotating your hips to develop the kinetic chain of this knock-out blow.
4 Extend the arm and aim at your opponent's chin; your thumb should be the highest point of your hand. Visualise your fist exploding straight through the target.

Perfect your swing

Mitchell Spearman, PGA Tour golf instructor

1 Arm control is k.ey here. On the backswing, push your left arm across your body, so it feels as if it's attached to the top of your chest. This will help you turn and it allows the club to swing from the inside.
2 On the downswing, try to get your right arm extending as you hit through the ball. This enables you to hit squarely and powerfully.
3 A strong core is integral to your swing (and the body-sculpting moves in this guide will deliver that as an added extra). Stay balanced, minimise knee movement and make sure your navel is pointing down to Secure contact with the ball.
4 If you've set your sights on the champion's cheque then this acronym will help you CASH it in: club, arms, shoulders and hips - the order of movement in a successful backswing. Reverse this on the downswing and let your hips lead.

Strengthen your wrists

Akis Kritsinelis,
Powerball champion

Become immortalised on Youtube with the fitness craze, Powerball. "The noise is integral," says Akis. "When you hear the scream, you're on the right track." If the rotor starts knocking or is failing to sync, this means your wrist speed is off. (If you've never tried Powerball, see

Throw in and Win

Rory Delap, Stoke City's secret weapon

Biomedical engineer Dr Cynthia Bir analysed Delap to come up with these technique boosting tips.
1 Human anatomy is built to apply force at lower angles, so throw the ball at 20 degrees above horizontal.
2 Keep your left leg steady to transfer your torso momentum into throwing power.
3 Flick your wrists as you release to add backspin and prolong the ball's flight.

Speed up your serve

Peter Coniglio, tennis conditioning coach

Perform three or four serves with the cover on your racket. Then remove the cover and perform another three or four serves. You should instantly find that your default speed is much faster. This is because practising with added resistance helps you find a more powerful form. When that force is removed, you retain the added power even when your mind adjusts to the change. Strong stuff.

Never lose an arm wrestle

Stephen Kirlew, world arm-wrestling champion

to access more muscle strength. This also reduces the power in your opponent's arm by opening it out.

knuckles upward and position your hand high on your opponent's to give you some extra leverage.

opponent's wrist back if you can, then lean in as you begin to take advantage...Now, finish him.

Be stacked

And finally, some training secrets from the man with the most famous arms in the worldStacked

Arnie fans rejoice, for here lies the key to his edge in Mr Olympia. For the unacquainted, it's called 'the pump'. "The idea is to force as much blood as possible into your arms," says Nick Mitchell, bodybuilder
and director of Ultimate Performance Fitness.
"Working a muscle to failure increases the flow of oxygenated blood to that area. Your veins swell to accommodate this extra blood which increases the size of the muscle."

Of course, Schwarzenegger had a pretty intense training regime to build those action-hero biceps, but the last-minute boost brought on by the pump is nothing to be sniffed at. You can impressive bulk in under an
hour-ideal before a big night out. Perform 3 x supersets of 15 reps per exercise before moving on to the next pair. D0 6 sets, keeping rest to a minimum and performing the exercises to failure on the final set. You'll fill your T-shirt in time for the first round.

Set1SET 1
A1 Towel Curls
BICEPS Grab a towel at each end and loop it under your foot. Push down with your foot while curling your arms up to your shoulders.
A2 Diamond Press-ups
TRICEPS Do a press-up with your hands under your chest, forefingers and thumbs touching. Keep movements rapid.


Set2SET 2
B1 Chair Dips
TRICEPS Sit on a chair with your legs straight in front of you. Lift yourself off the seat, lower yourself down then push back up.
B2 Towel Pull-ups
BICEPS Hook a towel over the top of a door. Grab the towel on either side of the frame and, with knees bent, pull yourself up.

Set3SET 3

C1 Table Tricep Extensions
TRICEPS Hold a table edge with your body at 45 degrees. Dip your elbows until your head is lower than the table. Push back up.
C2 Tricep Bag Extensions
TRICEPS Lift a heavy bag over your head. Keep upper arms still, bend your elbows to lower the bag then push back up.