Adding quality muscle to your arms can be a frustrating process. Even if you're hitting the weights consistently, ensuring your nutrition is on point, and taking the right supplements, chances are you're still going to look in the mirror and think the guy staring back at you could use a little more help.
That's where I come in. If your biceps lack a bulge and your triceps look tired, check out this four-week, plateau-busting blueprint designed to add up to an inch of new muscle on your arms.
The arm program here is one I've used with a number of physique competitors and bodybuilders, including IFBB men's physique champion Jeremy Buendia. Jeremy was able to stack some serious mass on his arms in time for competition season.
But be warned: This program isn't for the faint of heart. This is an all-out arm assault, designed to annihilate your biceps and triceps over the next 30 days and help you reach previously unattainable levels of growth.
This program is centered around a system I developed many years ago called "Fascia Stretch Training," more commonly known as FST-7. The primary focus of FST-7 is to maximize your muscle pump with high-volume, high-intensity training—7 sets of 10-12 reps with just 30-45 second rests between sets—and stretch the fascia (the sheath that covers skeletal muscle) on each and every rep.
FST-7 works via a signaling process that maximizes localized growth factors like IGF-1 and testosterone, promoting optimal muscle gain.
Sets of FST-7 can be performed on either the first or last exercise for a specific body part. In this advanced program, you'll be doing both. The seven sets maximize blood flow to the muscle and enhance the pump for fuller, rounder, and more detailed muscles.
When you pre-exhaust with FST-7, you focus on isolating the muscle you're prioritizing first. That way, when you move on to compound movements, you've already tapped those fibers and you end up with a much better mind-muscle connection on the target muscle group throughout the workout.
Finishing with a second round of 7s will ensure you've pumped the maximum amount of blood into the muscle. You should leave the gym with nothing left in the tank.
Sandwiching two sets of compound exercises—performed with heavier weight for lower reps—between your two FST-7 segments will give you the best of both strength and hypertrophy training. On your compound sets, you'll increase your rest periods from 30-45 seconds to 90-120 seconds.
Sample Weekly Training Split
- Monday: Biceps/Shoulders
- Tuesday: Triceps/Back
- Wednesday: Legs/Abs
- Thursday: Chest/Calves
- Friday: Biceps/Triceps
- Saturday: Off
- Sunday: Off
You'll prioritize biceps and triceps by hitting arms twice a week, split up into three workouts: biceps and shoulders on Monday, triceps and back on Tuesday, and a dedicated arm day on Friday. This training split may seem unconventional, but there's a good reason for it.
Back and biceps are pull muscle groups, while shoulders and triceps are predominantly push muscle groups. By the time you get to the biceps after working your back, or your triceps after the shoulders, you're pretty wiped out.
Conversely, if you train your back after your biceps, your back is going to lag because your arm flexors are a secondary muscle group during lat training.
Since arms are the focus, you'll cut back on the workout intensity for the other body parts you're training on those days. Keep your total number of working sets to about 12 for shoulders and 16 for back.
That's enough to maintain the amount of muscle you have in those areas, and decreasing the volume of those other body parts will allow you to focus your energy on the goal at hand.
At the top end, this is a four-week program—it's going to be too hard on recovery if you go any longer. On arm day, you'll hit 40 sets total. That may seem like overkill, but we want your arms to really feel it, and this is the way to stimulate new size. You essentially punish your arms into growth.
I probably don't need to remind you, but I'll say it anyway: If you don't eat enough of the right foods, there is no program in the world that will help you gain quality muscle. But if you are, there are a few simple tricks that can help kick your gains into high gear.
First of all, make sure you're consuming more carbs around your arm days. You should be eating starchier, heavier carbs to fuel your arm training, such as potatoes or pasta. The arm days should most definitely not be one of your low-carb days.
Eat red meat in at least one of your meals on your arm days. The higher fats and natural creatine found in red meat will help build your strength.
Finally, if you're going to have a cheat meal, choose it wisely. Eat it the day before your dedicated arm day so you can carb-load to get ready for that workout. Go with something like sushi with angel food cake and fruit for dessert. You want to have plenty of muscle glycogen for the high-volume arm workout!
- FST-7—or any type of training system—can only be maximally effective if you're able to fully recuperate from your workouts. Make sure your recovery is always on point.
- Both the base sets and your sets of 7s should be taken to failure to stimulate as many muscle fibers as possible.
- Just because you're doing a set of 7s doesn't mean you should use a light weight. Go as heavy as possible to reach failure without breaking the proper form. This will stimulate as many muscle fibers as possible.
- You don't have to do 7s on machines or cables; free weights can be used just as effectively. If you're a beginner, though, stick to a machine for safety.
FST-7 Arm Workout Program
- Rest for 30-45 seconds between spider curl and hammer curl sets, and 90-120 seconds between EZ-bar curl and dumbbell curl sets.
- Rest for 30-45 seconds between rope push-down and overhead dumbbell sets, and 90-120 seconds between close-grip bench press and weighted dip sets.
- Rest for 30-45 seconds between high cable curl and machine preacher curl sets, and 90-120 seconds between standing dumbbell curl and hammer curl sets.
- Rest for 30-45 seconds between straight-bar push-down and EZ-bar skullcrusher sets, and 90-120 seconds between close-grip push-up and bench dip sets.