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Arm Growth w/Wonky Joints & Mobility
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eatmoar
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Join date: Oct 2011
Location: Alberta, CAN
Posts: 11

Hey everyone,

I'm 29 and I've been lifting for about 4 and a half years. And while everything else grows at about the rate I'd expect, I can't get my arms to grow worth a damn. Not even way back near the beginning when "everything worked".

I've tried bulking like hell to get bigger overall, and some higher and lower volume approaches in 6-8 month blocks and nothing really seems to work for the arms to put on any real bulk.




Why do I think this makes an interesting, non predictable topic for you guys?


I can't rotate my arms enough to supinate my palms. The best I can do is rotate my thumbs outward about 45 degrees from vertical.

I also can't fully straighten my arms at the elbow. They will physically move no further than around 150 degrees (think lazy guy doing half ROM curls.)


These are both genetic issues, and everything I try, ESPECIALLY for building biceps causes a lot of strain in my wrists, elbows and shoulders.

It's a shot in the dark, but are there any ideas out there for bicep and tricep variations for a guy whose ROM is literally genetically crap? I know this is probably best directed to a professional who can help understand my biomechanics and limitations in person, but there's a lot of wisdom on this board. I'm hoping for a few ideas to try for a few months.

Training-wise I've been doing one of kingbeef's push/pull/legs splits for about the past 5 months, and his 5 day split prior to that. (Both from "do this routine..." thread) Prior to that, I stuck to 5/3/1 mostly, until my joints started really giving me hell and I took a good look at what my goals are.

Anyone have ideas of techniques to try? I'd love to compete one day before I tap out, but I know it's not going to work with noodle arms.

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leaftye
Level 1

Join date: Jul 2006
Location: California, USA
Posts: 467

Triceps are going to add the most inches to your arms. That's what I'd focus on first. Can you do close grip bench or dips?

You can get some decent size curling without supinating, but I think it will limit you. I can't supinate when I curl with my left, and tend not to fully extend with this arm, and I believe that's why my left arm is about half an inch smaller than my right. It's shaped differently too with less of a peak.

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eatmoar
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Join date: Oct 2011
Location: Alberta, CAN
Posts: 11

Yea, dips and CGBP are thankfully 2 things that work very well for me and have caused a fair bit of growth. I have a bit more trouble with extension type stuff like skullcrushers and even JM press.

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MytchBucanan
Level 1

Join date: Apr 2006
Location:
Posts: 1927

Are you able to do a seated overhead triceps extensions with both hands on one dumbbell? That is my #1 triceps movement. It really stretches and engages the big long head of the triceps. I'd recommend that one for sure.

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eatmoar
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Join date: Oct 2011
Location: Alberta, CAN
Posts: 11

Depends on the dumbbell, a lot of the time I'm not able to if it's wide enough. That one I might be able to solve with enough stretching or mobility work though, good call.

What about biceps though?

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buzza
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Join date: Aug 2010
Location: Italy
Posts: 653

MytchBucanan wrote:
Are you able to do a seated overhead triceps extensions with both hands on one dumbbell? That is my #1 triceps movement. It really stretches and engages the big long head of the triceps. I'd recommend that one for sure.


good tip!

( my main excercise for last 3 years has been CGBP,while I can still use a reasonable load on it -280xreps- it seems to have stopped size gains in the tris..all I could say is that CGBP works my tris but my delts also so I couldn't have the pump I get from an isolation movement...so I used OH db extension as first excercise (1 RP set) followed after 1min by CGBP,just one set of 10 reps to failure plus half reps, a sort of pre-exhaust mode , then one set of close-grip push up to the wall... well I got half inch gain in 5 sessions, not able to train now because of a cervicalis/neck pain=left arm barely moving (2inch smalller than right arm)but asap I will come back to that "magic" routine of 4 sets every 5 days LOL

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rds63799
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Join date: Nov 2011
Location:
Posts: 3730

my arms suck, and probably always will, but since adding a dedicated arms day they suck less than they used to.

might be something to consider

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MytchBucanan
Level 1

Join date: Apr 2006
Location:
Posts: 1927

eatmoar wrote:
Depends on the dumbbell, a lot of the time I'm not able to if it's wide enough. That one I might be able to solve with enough stretching or mobility work though, good call.

What about biceps though?


My favorite biceps movement is incline dumbbell curls. I tend to supinate and curl them simultaneously. If you are having trouble supinating them because of your wrist mobility, you could do them in a hammer style (and even half supinate).

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eatmoar
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Join date: Oct 2011
Location: Alberta, CAN
Posts: 11

Yeah with incline curls I can feel them pretty good, and I include them once a week minimum. I can kind of half supinate in that position, so it's decent, it's just light weight. I've done 1-arm preachers and they're sort of hit or miss. Feels great, but huge strain on the wrists and I have to sit awkward.

As for running a separate arm day, I've done that and all I got me was sore elbows. I guess that's kind of the idea of this thread, I want to get a few ideas for how to put together a real "joint friendly" arms day to add in.

Since I'm not running one right now tho, I bought a set of db's a while back use at home to give higher frequency a try. I'm usually too burnt to hit arms hard enough after chest or back, which I'd guess has something to do with it too (want it to grow - put more into it earlier, right).

I'll usually hit 3 or 4 sets of curls 2-3 times a week, depending how my recovery feels for my other lifts in the gym. That's only been going on for a few weeks, so we'll see where it takes em.

Good suggestions so far tho guys, I'll try adding in some overhead extensions. Overhead / long triceps head movements are the toughest for me to "feel" right for tris, and it's time I get on it and make one work if I can.

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dmachine
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Join date: Apr 2009
Location:
Posts: 9

cross body hammers, close grip upright rows focusing on biceps movement, triceps seem to be covered from what youve been saying

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eatmoar
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Join date: Oct 2011
Location: Alberta, CAN
Posts: 11

Yea, triceps are pretty much ok. The only thing that worries me about them is that I'm really lacking development in them down closer to my elbows. Now sure if there's a lot I can do about that other than work as much ROM as possible and pile on more mass for a while.


Thanks for all the suggestions guys. I like the close grip upright rows idea a lot, actually. That sounds like something I might actually be able to move proper weight with.

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EctoMorphosis
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Join date: Feb 2011
Location: Massachusetts, USA
Posts: 206

eatmoar wrote:
The only thing that worries me about them is that I'm really lacking development in them down closer to my elbows.


You can try these. I been doing them 2nd in my routine after either weight dips or CGBP and are loving them. It takes a little getting used to, but once you get form down they're a nice change of pace from over head DB and skulls. I like to finish with high rep rope of Vbar cable work.

G/L

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eatmoar
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Join date: Oct 2011
Location: Alberta, CAN
Posts: 11

So, it's been a few months since this thread now.

Close grip upright rows have been huge for me. Like truly huge. A lot of people seem to give upright rows a bad reputation, but I can do the movement pain free aside from some wrist aggravation if I go too insane with the volume.

I've been hitting the weighted dips much harder the last few months as well, and I feel like that's been driving some pretty good development. CGBP continues to feel awesome and high rep rope and fat bar work have become staple workout finishers.

The last tricep exercise - the one in the video, feels alright but I think I have some work to do in order to get comfortable with it.

All around, sorry to bump an old thread, but I had to stop in and leave some respect and thanks for everyone's suggestions. I've made some of it work for me, so some thanks is due.

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MytchBucanan
Level 1

Join date: Apr 2006
Location:
Posts: 1927

Good to hear! Like I said before by bread and butter arm exercises are incline curls (hammer start) and overhead seated dumbbell extensions. The minute I stop these exercises, I lose size. You have to find what works for you and with mobility issues you have to especially analytical.

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eatmoar
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Join date: Oct 2011
Location: Alberta, CAN
Posts: 11

Yeah, I've been doing incline curls, I like em. I'll make a point of finding the technique to make overhead extensions work for my mobility.

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Waittz
Level 4

Join date: Nov 2004
Location: Florida, USA
Posts: 2652

Don't take this the wrong way, if that is you in the avatar, direct arm work isn't going to make too much a difference. Can't build a 3rd story on a house without a strong foundation.

What is your height/weight and arm measurement?

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eatmoar
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Join date: Oct 2011
Location: Alberta, CAN
Posts: 11

Nah man, I realize that. My height and weight clock in at "short" and "small", and I get that. I've heard 3 lbs per inch of height is a good weight to be somewhat competitive even locally in bodybuilding and I'm sitting at around 2.2 lbs/inch. I started out at a buck five and obviously pretty unhealthy, so while I haven't gotten huge, think of it in terms of how far I've come and that it's still climbing. I do eat! I won't even go there with the numbers because none of it is news.

Compound lifts are in order to have an "ok" strength base (2.25x BW back squat, 2x BW front squat, 225 lb bench that took me four years to get while it takes most people probably a few months at best), but none of that is really the point of this thread. I've got some structural stuff to work around, and I appreciate the help I got.

I know I've got overall size to put on. I just figure if I'm going to be spending my energy in the gym I should be working smart.

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