For Great Big Biceps, Lift Great Big Weights

You want the secret to full bulging biceps eh? Well I bet you’ve already found that during an arm workout it’s usually pretty easy to get a great pump in the biceps. Just curl a light to moderate weight with strict form for high reps and your arms will swell up huge in a matter of minutes. In that moment your arms feel enormous and beautiful and you fantasize of them staying that large forever. Sadly, the pump is only a temporary pleasure and an hour after the workout your arms have shrunk back to their normal size. High volume workouts are great for increasing the sarcoplasmic fluid around your muscles, which is an integral part of reaching maximum muscle hypertrophy, but it seems that biceps in particular are unable to retain the extra sarcoplasm fluid for long. Thus, the best way to ensure more permanent bulging biceps is by increasing the myofibrillar muscle fibers themselves. And the way to do that is by lifting some dang heavy weights.

Chuck Sipes Proved Strength and Size Go Together

Chuck Sipes bicepsChuck Sipes was a bodybuilder during the 60s and was known for his impressive feats of strength. He was also known for his gigantic biceps. Sipes believed his great physique was a result of his power training styled workouts.

Sipes believed that continuous application of power over a long period of time, the prolonged holding of a contracted position, was critical to maximum hypertrophy and was the key element that set him apart from other bodybuilders. He explained that pausing after each rep dramatically lowers the effectiveness of an exercise. Constant tension on the muscle must be maintained during every second of an exercise, especially for the biceps.

Secondly, he believed lifting really heavy was the best way to force the biceps to grow. Myofibrillar growth is best stimulated by the intensity of lifting seriously heavy weights under prolonged tension. This extra myofibrillar muscle growth will give the arms a nice full, dense look.

I won’t get into Chuck’s exact arm routine right now, but the moral of the story is lift heavy. I mean HEAVY! While remembering to maintain constant tension. This is the secret to full bulging biceps.


German Volume Training for Maximum Hypertrophy

Are you ready to pack on some serious muscle? I mean serious maximum muscle hypertrophy? Then prepare yourself for some pain that will guarantee you gain. It’s called German Volume Training (GVT), and it’s brutal.

german volume training

The idea is stupidly simple. For each workout you do two main compound exercises. For each of those exercises you do 10 sets of 10 reps with the same weight. Top off the workout with two supplemental exercises of 3 sets each and call it a day. Easy right?

Okay, not at easy as it sounds, but GVT is extremely effective. You will be incredibly sore for days afterward so be prepared not to walk for several days after your leg workout. You’ll be hobbling all about while your body recovers and forces itself to grow.

The program works by blasting the motor units with high volumes of extensive, repeated stress. This forces the body to adapt by hypertrophying the targeted muscle fibers. Many people see significant size gains of 8-15 pounds of lean mass in just 6-8 weeks!


The idea largely came from Germain weight lifters in the 70s who used this type of approach in the off season to pack on lean muscle. It was so effective that many of the athletes who used this training were able move up a full weight class within 12 weeks.

The routine shared here was refined, developed, and introduced by Charles Poliquin in the 90s. It immediately became one of the most popular routines ever produced.

Choosing the Weight

For each exercise, select a weight that would take you to failure at 20 reps. This weight will probably be about 60% of your one rep max. Use this weight for all 10 sets.

The first few sets will seem very easy, but soon the sets will get more difficult and you may struggle to complete all 10 reps. Don’t increase the weight until you can do all 10 reps of all 10 sets.

You may find that you get stronger again 8th or 9th set, this is because of a neurological response called post-tetanic facilitation. You can already see your amazing body trying to adjust to this stress with this short-term neural adaptation.


Poliquin suggests making each set last between 40-70 seconds for maximum hypertrophy results. You can do this by lifting the weight smoothly with control over about 2 seconds and then lowering the weight much more slowly over about 4 seconds. I would recommend maintaining constant tension on the muscle throughout the entire set by never fully locking out or relaxing at the top or bottom of a movement. Remember to use perfect form at all times, don’t get sloppy now!

Process & Rest Intervals

Each daily routine will consist of two main compound exercises (A1 and A2) followed by two more supplemental exercises (B1 and B2). You can superset each group of exercises while resting 90 seconds between each set in group A and resting 60 seconds between exercises in group B. Time the rest intervals with a stopwatch and don’t fudge the time too much, you want to be able to properly track your progress. Here’s a quick example of what this looks like:

  1. A1 – Set 1
  2. Rest 90 seconds
  3. A2 – Set 1
  4. Rest 90 seconds
  5. A1 – Set 2
  6. Rest 90 seconds
  7. A2 – Set 2
  8. Rest 90 seconds
  9. .etc

Continue this pattern until you’ve complete all 10 sets for both A1 and A2 exercises. Repeat this pattern for the B1 and B2 exercises, but only resting 60 seconds between sets.


It will be vital to eat like a champion during this routine. It’s a ultra high volume workout so you may find you need to dramatically increase your calorie intake to keep up. One suggestion Poliquin gives for maximum muscle-mass gains is to consume a liquid branched chain amino acid (BCAA) shake during the workout. He recommends .44 grams per pound of body weight.

The Phase 1 Routine

The following is a sample routine suggested by Charles Poliquin. You will repeat this Phase 1 routine 6 times, after that you will move to a more intensive 3 week program.

Day 1 – Chest and Back

Exercise Sets Reps
A1 Decline Dumbbell Press with Semi-Supinated Grip (palms facing each other) 10 sets 10 reps
A2 Chin Ups (palms facing you) 10 sets 10 reps
B1 Incline Dumbbell Flyes 3 sets 10-12 reps
B2 One-Arm Dumbbell Rows 3 sets 10-12 reps

Day 2 – Legs and Abs

Exercise Sets Reps
A1 Back Squats 10 sets 10 reps
A2 Lying Leg Curls Feet Outward 10 sets 10 reps
B1 Low-Cable Pull-Ins 3 sets 15-20 reps
B2 Seated Calf Raises 3 sets 15-20 reps

Day 3 – Rest Day

Day 4 – Arms and Shoulders

Exercise Sets Reps
A1 Parallel Bar Dips 10 sets 10 reps
A2 Incline Hammer Curls 10 sets 10 reps
B1 Bent-Over Dumbbell Lateral Raises 3 sets 10-12 reps
B2 Seated Dumbbell Lateral Raises 3 sets 10-12 reps

Day 5 – Rest Day

The Phase 2 Routine

After completing the Phase 1 routine 6 times, you can switch to another routine of your choice for three weeks. Any workout split that suits your recovery pattern will do. Poliquin recommends hitting each body part over a five day cycle, averaging 4-6 sets per body part at 6-8 reps.

The Phase 3 Routine

After the three weeks of recovery routine, you can begin the next phase of GVT. This time you’ll again be doing 10 sets method, but this time of only 6 reps. This time choose a weight that you would typically fail at 12 reps, and use it for all 10 sets.

Day 1 – Chest and Back

Exercise Sets Reps
A1 Incline Dumbbell Press 10 sets 6 reps
A2 Wide Grip Pull Ups (palms facing away from you) 10 sets 6 reps
B1 Flat Dumbbell Flyes 3 sets 6 reps
B2 Bent Over Rows with EZ Bar 3 sets 6 reps

Day 2 – Legs and Abs

Exercise Sets Reps
A1 Bent-Knee Deadlifts 10 sets 6 reps
A2 Seated Leg Curls Feet Inward 10 sets 6 reps
B1 Twisting Crunches 3 sets 12-15 reps
B2 Standing Calf Raises 3 sets 12-15 reps

Day 3 – Rest Day

Day 4 – Arms and Shoulders

Exercise Sets Reps
A1 Close Bench Presses with Chains 10 sets 6 reps
A2 Scott Close Grip EZ Bar Curls 10 sets 6 reps
B1 One Arm Seated External Rotation 3 sets 3-12 reps
B2 Incline Prone Lateral Raises 3 sets 10-12 reps

Day 5 – Rest Day

Now Build Your Own Routine

German Volume Training is intense, but you’re sure to see results in no time. After you’ve given this sample routine a complete try, take some time to recover a bit and then create your GVT routine based on the principles you’ve seen here. Substitute some exercises with equivalent variations and find some ways to incorporate other body parts more directly such as shoulders and forearms. The method is brutal, but it will make you a beast!

Bodybuilding Video

Free Online Documentary – World’s Strongest Man

This video features a fascinating look into the strong man competitions and the various competitors fighting for the title of strongest man in the world.

Bodybuilding Video

Jim Cordova Explains the Importance of the Negative in Weight Training

The gym is one of the few places where focusing on the negative can make you twice as successful. To understand what I mean, you first need to know what lies behind every repetition that you perform.

Every repetition consists of three phases. The concentric phase which is lifting the weight to transition or peak contraction phase, which is the midpoint, and eccentric phase which is lowering the weight. In other words, each repetition consists of a positive, midpoint, and negative.

The positive portion is easy to identify as it’s what you’re most familiar with. It’s the primary action of the exercise that you perform. For example, during pulling movements the positive portion of the rep occurs when you pull the weight toward your body. The negative occurs when the weight moves away from and back to the starting point. During pushing movements, the positive portion of the rep occurs when you push the weight away from your body and the negative occurs when the weight moves towards you.

Most people tend to focus only on the positive portion and pay little mind to the negative. You want to do the complete opposite. Generally, the negative portion of every repetition should move slower than the positive. At the very least you should move at the same pace as the positive. Never should you move faster by allowing the weight to fall back to the starting position. Doing such is asking for an injury simply because you’re allowing the muscle to relax and then suddenly contracting it to catch the weight.

Whenever you perform an exercise you’re going to want to focus on the negative especially since it is just as beneficial as the positive. Arguably, even more so. You may have noticed that when you perform a slow controlled negative repetition it tends to burn more and is very intense. That should tell you something. It’s very effective in terms of stimulating muscle growth and development. In fact, the negative portion of a repetition has been shown to have a greater impact on the hormones that lead to muscle growth and development, even more so than the positive. The negative has been shown to produce more micro trauma in the muscle. In other words, it breaks the muscle down more. The whole objective of resistance training is to break down the muscles so that they grow back stronger and more developed.

Lastly, by focusing on the negative you become twice as efficient during your workout since you’re essentially doing twice the work. Focusing on the positive is only half the repetition. So focus on the negative and I guarantee it will have a positive impact on your results.

Bodybuilding Video

Dorian Yates Blood and Guts Training Routine

Six time Mr. Olympia Dorian Yates shows us a real mass building training routine. This is high-intensity  training at its best. Typically, for each exercise there are two warm up sets to get the blood flowing and prevent injury, followed by one all out set at max intensity.

Nutritionally, Dorian recommends 1-1.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight. Generally, you will need about twice the amount of carbohydrates as proteins to ensure that the body uses the carbs for energy and the protein for tissue repair. If you don’t have enough carbs, proteins will then be used for energy. This is not only a more inefficient form of energy, but it robs the proteins of doing their muscle building work. If, however, you start gaining too much body fat, back down on your carb intake.

Complex carbohydrates are always best, except after a workout. Following a workout, simple carbohydrates are best for quickly restoring your energy stores and promoting an insulin spike. Don’t forget you still need to consume fats as well. A good ratio for fats is approximately 30% of your daily protein intake.

Episode 1 – Chest and Biceps

Episode 2 – Back

Episode 3 – Dorians Tips

Episode 4 – Delts and Triceps

Episode 5 – Legs

Body Video

Free Online Documentary – Pumping Iron

Pumping Iron is a 1977 docudrama about the world of bodybuilding focusing on the 1975 IFBB Mr. Universe and Mr. Olympia competitions. Pumping Iron documents the “The Golden Age” of bodybuilding, a time when competitors still looked like Greek gods with perfect mass, size, symmetry, and definition. Shot during the 100 days leading up to the Mr. Universe and Mr. Olympia competitions and during the competitions themselves, the film focuses largely on Arnold Schwarzenegger and his competitors, Lou Ferrigno and Franco Columbu, but also includes plenty of appearances of Mike Katz, Ken Waller, Ed Corney, Serge Nubret, and other famous bodybuilders of the era.

This film propelled Arnold Schwarzenegger into the public spotlight and finally gained him a real notoriety outside of bodybuilding circles. Arnold had already won the Mr. Olympia title six times in a row and this film documents his training for his seventh victory before planning to retire and pursue his acting career.

The documentary was co-directed by Robert Fiore and George Butler.

Watch the entire Pumping Iron movie online for free!

Body Featured

Using the Golden Ratio to Sculpt the Perfect Body

Steve Reeves Hey men, many of you are spending lots of time in the gym working out like wild men lifting dangerously heavy weights trying to transform yourself into the biggest baddest muscular monster possible. That’s great, and many of you have succeeded in looking like that massive monster you were chasing. Congratulations.

But there’s also many of you that want a sexy (yet muscular) body that women find attractive. I have never met one single woman that wants a man who looks like the massive monsters that are today’s modern bodybuilder competitors. Women want a man with the body of a Greek god. And for many men, this is exactly what we want as well. This is good, because reaching enormous bodybuilder status is impossible without a sweeping array of steroids and growth-inducing drugs. Attaining a Greek god body is still no easy feat, but it is very possible for every man. No drugs necessary.

Now, when trying to improve or conquer a challenge, it is imperative that you set a clear, solid goal. Working out to look better and attract the ladies is not a clear tangible goal. How do you know when you’ve successfully reached such a vague goal? How will you know what areas to focus on and how will you measure your progress towards that goal? Failing to plan is planning to fail, and if you charge ahead with an unclear objective, you will certainly waste your time.

You need specifics in your goals. Finding a picture of a fit person you wish to emulate is a good start, but even this can still be too vague. Variables like height and body type can make it difficult to determine how to calculate your success in emulation. This is why I suggest using the Golden Ratio to help you calculate precise target numbers that are perfectly customized to your exact body.

The Golden Ratio and Adonis Effect

There’s a reason most all humans find the bodies in Greek sculptures appealing. It’s because they were DESIGNED to be ideal. The sculptors actually used mathematical formulas to carve out bodies that were precisely the size and dimensions we find attractive and impressive. That’s right, the artists didn’t use fickle opinions to determine the measurements, but rather precise ratios that are unchanging, scientifically reliable standards of beauty.

golden ratioExamples of the Golden Ratio can be found throughout nature and has been a secret weapon of the best artists in the world for thousands of years. I will not go into the history and science of Phi and Golden Ratio in this article, but in a nutshell it is suggested that things with a ratio of 1 to 1.618 tend to be the most pleasing to look at. Human brains are programmed to look for symmetry and balance in everything, so we can use this clearly defined mathematical constant to our advantage in body sculpting.

The Golden Ratio already naturally appears all around your body regardless of your fitness level or health. If the length of the hand is 1, the length of the forearm would be approximately 1.618. If the distance from the floor to your belly button is 1, then your overall height from the floor to the top of your head would be about 1.618. There are countless examples of these proportions of the face and body, far too many to include here.

golden ratio body proportionsSince the Golden Ratio is already present in our skeletal structure, it’s time to apply the formula to our weight and muscles. Studies have already revealed that women are most attracted to men whose shoulders measure exactly 1.6 times the size of their waists. Impressive shoulders is the most important place to start, but it is only the beginning of the puzzle. Let’s begin defining our workout goals by determining our exact target measurements based on the Golden Ratio principle.

Using Golden Ratio Proportions to Determine Your Goal Measurements

Below is a simplified custom formula for determining the ideal proportions of your body. Since many of these measurements are related to each other, we want to find body parts that remain a constant size. For example, your wrists and knees remain fairly constant your entire adult life, so these will be used as our starting markers. Your waist measurement is another critical number for our formula, but the waist is also most prone to weight fluctuations. Fortunately, aside from fat gain, the waist doesn’t change size too much. Therefore, if you are not in peak physical condition just yet, you need to first determine the size of your waist in its most lean state that is realistic and comfortable to maintain.

Once you have the circumference of your lean waist measured, multiply it by 1.6 and the resulting number should be the goal circumference of your shoulders. These are the numbers that will create the most impressive V-shaped look for your body. Follow the formula below to determine the rest of your measurements.

Waist Size = your determined lean waist measurement
Shoulder Size = 1.6 x your lean waist measurement
Arm Size = 2.5 x wrist size
Neck Size = 2.5 x wrist size
Calve Size = 2.5 x wrist size or 1.9 x ankle size
Thigh Size = 1.75 x knee size

This will provide you with the ideal proportions for an impressive sexy body. Now you have actual measurements to use as your goal which means you can craft a workout program specifically tailored to your needs. You have now just taken the guess work out of setting a precise goal towards obtaining your sexy Greek god body!

Related Reading

For additional information about attaining the perfectly sculpted body based on ideal proportions, check out the book The Adonis Index. Click here for more info.