Phase Three: Arm Mastery

Duration: eight weeks

Monday: Upperbody (chest focus) 

  • Weighted Dips (or close grip bench): 3 sets - 6, 8, 10 (reverse pyramid training) 
  • Incline DB Press: 3 sets - 4-6, 6-8, 8-10 reps (reverse pyramid training)
  • DB Hammer Curls: 3 sets - 4-6, 6-8, 8-10 reps (reverse pyramid training)
  • Cable Rope Pushdowns: 12, 10, 8, 6 (pyramid training)
  • Machine Rows: 12-15 + 4 sets of 4-6 reps (rest pause)
  • Bent-Over Flyes: 12-15 + 4 sets of 4-6 reps (rest pause)

Wednesday: Lower Body

  • Trap Bar Deadlifts (or Sumo): 5 sets of 6 reps (build up to max) 
  • Reverse lunges: 4 sets x 6-8 (build up to max) 
  • Leg Extensions: 12, 10, 8, 6 (standard pyramid)
  • Leg Curls: 12, 10, 8, 6 (standard pyramid) 
  • Leaning One Arm Shrugs: 12, 10, 8, 6 (pyramid training) 

Friday: Upper Body (Shoulder Focus)

  • Standing Barbell Press: 3 sets - 4-6, 6-8, 8-10 reps (reverse pyramid training)
  • Weighted Close Grip Chin ups: 3 sets - 4-6, 6-8, 8-10
  • Skull Crushers: 3 sets - 6-8, 8-10, 10-12 reps (reverse pyramid training)
  • Concentration Curls: 12-15 reps + 4-6, 4-6, 4-6, 4-6 (rest pause) 
  • Lateral Raises: 12-15 reps + 4-6, 4-6, 4-6, 4-6 (rest pause) 

Notes:

Perform 2-3 warmup sets for the first two exercises of each workout. (With the exception of Monday’s workout; just perform warm up sets for the incline bench, nothing else.)

For reverse pyramid training, rest 2-3 minutes between sets. Drop the weight 10% each set. For pyramid training rest just 40 seconds between sets. Finally, for kino rep training rest 2 minutes between sets and take full rest (3 minutes) before going into your heavy set. For rest pause training rest just 15 seconds between sets. 

For weighted chin-ups aim to add 2.5 lbs to each set, each week. For weighted dips, aim to add 2.5-5 lbs each week. For sumo/trap bar deadlifts, aim to add 5 lbs per week. For other movements, build up to the top end of the rep range on all sets, before increasing the weight the next week. 

For pyramid training, only increase the weight when you can perform 12, 10, 8, 6 reps with just 30-40 seconds rest between sets. For rest pause training rest 15 seconds between sets. When it becomes easy, increase the weight. 

** If you plateau on an exercise two weeks in a row. I recommend rotating exercises and performing a different variation. Ex: stall on incline db bench press then switch to barbell. Pull-ups switch to biceps curls. Flat barbell bench, switch to dumbbell bench. Overhead press, switch to dumbbell shoulder press seated. 

The Philosophy Behind the Workouts

Building a great set of arms is a long, slow road. This is generally why it’s more common to see big arms on veteran lifters that have been training for many years. There are some young guys that are super fast responders to arm training, but this isn’t very common. Moreover, achieving thick arms can be difficult when you maintain a very lean physique. This is because a higher body fat percentage lends itself to bigger arms. Being super cut with crazy arm development is extremely difficult to achieve.

This routine works gangbusters though, and has allowed me to pack high-quality size onto my arms with great consistency. For arm training, heavy, hard, frequent training works best. This is why I love hammering arms two days per week: Once with heavy reverse pyramid training and once again with some rest-pause work or pyramid training. The heavy reverse pyramid training work will build the dense muscle size and will promote most of the muscle you'll carry. The rest-pause / pyramid work will add that extra bit of fluid and glycogen to make your arms really pop.

On this routine you’re going to be getting very strong on close grip chin ups, heavy dips (or close grip bench). These heavy compound movements work wonders to add serious size to your guns.