How to Add a Quarter Inch to Your Arms in 7 Minutes

There is some debate among bodybuilders about the best way to build your biceps. Is it high volume training? High intensity training? Exercising the biceps twice a week? Here’s what I’ve done to personally put on .25 inches on my biceps in just 4 brief, 7 minute workouts…If you’ve struggled trying to put size on your biceps and triceps, this could be the most interesting article you’ve about to read. Many people would like more muscular arms and so they have a notion that they need to do more volume training.

Soon enough, you find yourself working your biceps and triceps twice a week for 60 minutes! Of course, you don’t notice much in terms of progress and you wonder what else you can do.

But first a word of caution: This routine isn’t for beginners. It’s for advanced trainees who know their body, who can and will engage in high intensity work and have an open mind.

If you have 7 minutes, twice a week, this is a 4 week plan that is guaranteed to put a quarter inch on your biceps. Maybe more, maybe less but one thing is for sure. It’s going to be tough.

Introducing the Unvarnished Arm Routine!

Take a step back in time and meet Boyer Coe who won the 1969 AAU Mr. America and the 1969 NABBA Mr. Universe. Boyer is said to be one of the first athletes to use this unique arm routine. He’s also said to have biceps and triceps that were too big for his body. A problem many males would welcome.

If you’ve ever thought of getting your arms too big for your body, then this may very well be the routine that pushes them over the edge.

The Unvarnished Routine:

1. One-repetition chin up, immediately followed by
2. Standing biceps curl with barbell
3. One minute rest
4. One-repetition dip, immediately followed by
5. Standing triceps extension with one dumbbell

While this already seems simple enough, take the time to familiarize yourself with each part of this routine. Done correctly, in precise form, you’ll work every muscle fiber in the shortest amount of time possible. Some theories say the higher the intensity, in a short amount of time, leads to the biggest growth in muscle. Let me explain the routine.

Biceps Cycle:

One-Repetition Chin Up: The one repetition chin up isn’t just a single rep in your standard, leg swinging, gravity assisted, typical gym-goer. This is a 60 seconds up and 60 seconds down single rep.

You may need to read that again but I did say it is 60 seconds up and 60 seconds down.

Immediately going into the next exercise…

Standing Biceps Curl: Just like it sounds. You finish your one repetition chin up and you immediately do a barbell biceps curl for 8 reps. The weight you use will be slightly different and you’ll need to keep that in mind. Boyer Coe is said to have done his bicep curl with 100 lbs for 8 strict reps. Any person that can do the same is not only beyond strong but in amazing cardiovascular shape. You may want to underestimate your own strength and take something you know you could for 8 reps cold and use 60% of that weight.

Now take a one minute rest after your biceps workout and get ready because in just 60 seconds, you are doing the same concepts for you triceps.

Triceps Cycle:

One-Repetition Dip: Starting off from the rock bottom position, you slowly move yourself up, inch by inch in 60 seconds. Once at the top, it’s 60 seconds to the bottom position of the dip. Body weight is fine. No weight needed.

Immediately going into the next exercise….

Standing Triceps Extension: Grab your dumbbell of choice and do 8 repetitions of a strict, standing dumbbell triceps extension. If you normally can do 80 to 100 pounds cold, you might want to use something around 50-55 lbs. According to Coe, he used 55 lbs and it felt like a ton. If you can’t even get close to 8 reps, or your cheating the weight up, it’s way to heavy.

If there ever was a time to leave your ego at the door, it’s with this routine. Doing as much weight as possible will not get you the results you want. Be realistic.

Here’s How to Get the Best Results:

* Get your barbell ready and your dumbbell for the triceps extension in place. Once you finish your 60 second chin up and dip, you’ve got to move quickly. As in 2 seconds or less to the next exercise. Having the equipment in place ensures there is no hold up if you have to wait for the equipment or setup the exercise. It’s all ready to go.

* Move slowly during the chin up and dip. Go inch by inch. Whatever length of time it takes to get to the top, that’s the goal for getting to the bottom. 30 seconds up and 30 seconds down will be most difficult for most but a reasonable goal to start this challenge.

* Get a friend to call out the time. It will take enough out of you to actually do the exercise. It’s almost impossible to count in your mind or focus on a clock. It’s 100% easier if you can leave the time keeping up to a spotter or friend and focus on the chin up and dip. You won’t need time keeping for the biceps curl or the triceps extension.

* Following this routine exactly as outlined. You might feel after some rest you can do it again. Don’t. Also, don’t make the mistake of warming up too much when doing this as it takes so much on the initial try, that a bunch of warm ups will only serve to make that first chin up impossible.

* Perform this routine twice a week for two consecutive weeks. After that, discontinue it’s use, go back to your normal routine and keep this one around for use again in a couple of weeks.

In just seven minutes from now, you could be putting inches on your biceps in a most non-traditional method. This routine was used by Boyer Coe and became one of the many HIT routines in existence today. It’s the less is more approach but don’t be fooled. This routine is as tough if not tougher than 45 minutes in the gym blasting your biceps.

In 2006, Dr. Ellington Darden, the author of “The New Bodybuilding for Old-School Results” concluded a test on 38 men and 2 women. They signed up to participate in this 2 week Bigger-Arms Challenge. The average starting arm size was 14.5 inches.

The routine was exactly as described above with the addition on week 2, a negative only chin up and a negative only dip. All the participants did the 2 or 3 exercises, twice a week for those 2 weeks. Then the results were delivered by each participant.

In just 2 weeks, from 4 brief, 7 minute workouts, the average gain for each arm was 0.21 of an inch! That’s from just 4 brief workouts.

Now grab your stopwatch and go see if you can’t put almost a quarter inch on your biceps!

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Marc David is a bodybuilder, writer, and author of the the e-book “The Beginner’s Guide to Fitness and Bodybuilding” (BGFB): What Every Beginner Should Know but Probably Doesn’t. Marc has written over 20 articles and has been featured in several health and fitness websites. Marc’s opinionated and informative articles on bodybuilding, weight loss and training are featured regularly on: