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Arm Development

Articles by Vince Gironda

There's a trend towards building big arms today. This is fine as long as two provisios are followed. First, an arms should have a balanced development between the biceps and triceps.

Second, a grossly overdeveloped arm matched with a pair of puny legs or underdeveloped shoulders looks ghastly.

Get big by all means, but keeo the pyhsique balanced.

Bicep Peaks
(Musclemag Magazine March 1982)

I am 14 years old and have been lifting weights for about a year and a half. I have a training problem with my bleep peaks.

Arnold Schwarzenegger said in a recent issue of Muscle Builder, "If you have a lack for bicep peak you should do concentration curls and dumbbell curls with a twist of your wrist at the top of each curl." But every time I try curls of this kind it hurts my wrist so much that I can only do 3 or 4 reps. Even my calves are bigger than my biceps

Do you think the advice is good or bad?

Any training tips you can give me will be deeply appreciated.

Specialization on biceps should include 4 different exercise's (each for a different aspect of the bicep); 3 sets of 8 reps, followed by forearm work. Also, this routine should be at the end of your workout.

E.Z. or Not?
(Musclemag Magazine February 1985)

Should I use an EZ curl bar or a straight bar when doing my curls. Which is best for the biceps?

Each of us, is individual. Tendons, ligaments and bone leverage vary from one person to another. Obviously if the use of a straight bar brings discomfort in the wrist or elbow then a more comfortable EZ curl bar is superior. My own opinion is that all other things being equal the straight bar is superior for standing barbell curl than an EZ curl bar.

(Musclemag Oct'84)

I want more biceps height! My arms are pretty big right now, 17.112" at 5'7" height, but when I pose them the biceps region appears flat. Please tell me the truth. Can I improve the height of my biceps and if so what exercise will best do the job?

You can belly-out any muscle with short range movements that work the center (belly) of the muscle in question. For the biceps I suggest you perform the seated cable short range curl (using a low pulley). Curl the arms only over a 6 inch range. Five sets of ten reps.

Triceps Shock
(Musclemag Vol 2 issue 1)

This compound exercise is best performed with the Dymetric Bar. Compound movements differ from supersets, in that super-sets work two opposing muscles (biceps and triceps for example). Compounding is 2 or 3 exercises on the same muscle and enables the bodybuilder to build three different aspects of the muscle: low, middle and high heads. The one I will describe is a supine curl from the neck with the elbows up toward the ceiling, with an 8" wide over hand grip on the bar. From this position, curl-press the weight up over the neck and lock out arms at the extended position.

The second movement immediately following with no break is the triceps pull-over extension, with the bar at arms' length over chest - neck; lower the bar slowly down and over the head to a close-to-head position with the bar just below the head. (The head should extend beyond the end of bench to about the ears). Next, curl the bar up and forward so bar does not change from the first hand position of 8".

The third movement without changing hand width is arms extended over chest. Start lowering the bar and bend elbows to the sides and continue lowering the bar until it touches the neck and then up again.

This exercise should be performed 6 reps for each movement with a total of 18 reps to the total set. Three total sets of the compound is enough work for the triceps, because the combination produces far more work done than 9 sets done in series!

By the way, the best shock workout I know for biceps is to stand in front of the dumbell rack and alternate curl 4 reps every dumbell it the rack, starting at 23-25 pounds and working up to the biggest dumbell you can use. Then work back down again to the lightest weight you can use and still feel the pump. This routine will pull your arm out of a slump in a week or two at the most!

Arm Wrestling
(Musclemag Vol 2 issue 1)

I would like to get into arm wrestling (Petaluma style). Are there any exercises I could do to prepare for this? I am 5'5", 145 lbs. My right arm measured relaxed is as follows: 7" wrist, 12" forearm, 12" biceps. One of the instructors where I train is Tommy Kono. He tells me there is little I can do, except to keep wrist wrestling as much as possible. He said its all bicep and deltoid power. I thought it was all forearm and wrist. What is your opinion?

I noticed that most of the winners are masons, carpenters, truck drivers, machine operators, etc., so should I do high sets and reps or something like three sets of three reps with heavy weights?

What about tearing newspapers, squeezing rubber balls, hand grips, pinch grip plates, etc.?

I am starting to get a sore elbow from arm wrestling. How can I get rid of this pain? I have seen a nutritionist and she gave me a bottle of Sonne's No.2 Calphonite liquid which contains (each tablespoon) Calcium - 160 mgs. Phosphorus - 124 mgs. Manganese Gluconate - 100 mgs. Magnesium Gluconate - 35 mg.

It seems to help a little, but not much. I talked to Mitsuo Kawashima, owner of MITS' Health Studio. He told me to military press with palms facing me (like at the end of a two-arm barbell curl). MITS and Jack Dillinger were the best of friends long ago. He told me some of the "old timers" would press, even bench press like this. This is supposed to strengthen the area around the elbow and triceps.

So, there you have it. I consulted the best weightlifting instructor in Hawaii, the best bodybuilding it or in Hawaii, and a very rimed nutritionist in Hawaii. Since you are the best there is in California, please give me your thoughts. If it is all right with you, I will discuss your advice with the people that I have talked to.

Thank you for your time and trouble.

P.S. Are there any places in California where people arm wrestle on a regular basis? I hope to be in California soon, maybe in October.

Take 200 mg. Manganese every three hours for three days (72 hours). You have Tendonitis (Tennis Elbow) and need Sound Wave treatments.

In order to strengthen the muscles needed to perform this feat you must rig up a pulley to pull the same pull as you use when wrist wrestling. I would advise you to practice the first part of the movement (fast explosive). This is where the contest is won. You must get the jump on your adversary. Stronger men can lose if they are not aware of this trick.

Your nutritionist is good! She knows that tendon problems are lack of, or not enough, minerals, particularly manganese.

Strength is built with low reps!

Wrist wrestling involves pectoral, biceps and front deltoid power.

If you want to be a great wrist wrestler, don't waste your time on tearing newspapers, squeezing rubber balls, hand grips or pinch grip plates.

Barbell Curls

As I remember there were NO e-z curl bars allowed at Vince's. He said they train the forearms and brachialis - not the biceps. He used a straight bar, with a thumb under grip, slightly wider than shoulder width (so at the top the pinky was just outside the shoulder).

Vinces Kickbacks

Vince's Kickbacks were performed by bending forward in half at the waist. Holding a dumbbell in each hand you simply straightened your arms so that the tension was at lockout?with your arms straight?behind you. If you bend forward far enough these are hard?especially if used in conjunction with another movement. You have to get the feel for the right angles or it won't stress the muscles.

Cradle Bench

The triceps "thingy" I remember was something called a "cradle bench," I believe. He built it. It was low off the floor, had a weird angle to it like a "V" and you put your elbows on the "V" portion and did some form of triceps extensions with your head down. I never used it but saw Makawway do it.

The other triceps exercise I recall was a leaning foward rope pull. The weight stack was behind me, I was leaning forward in a lunge position with the ropes held in each hand over my head, and I extended my arms straight ahead.

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