What to Do When Your Arm Size Plateaus

What to do when your arm size plateaus

What most lifters don’t realize is that the natural potential for one’s biceps/triceps circumference is 16-18 inches. If you have good genetics you may exceed this amount (especially if fat) while if you have bad genetics you will be slightly under.

I roam around 16.25 inches at 5’5 in height, and it’s been that way for almost 2 years. In order for me to gain another half inch or so, I’d have to add over 50lbs to my bench press (say 350 to 405). This can take a very long time, only to gain a microscopic edge in arm size!

Does this make any sense to you? I’m supposed to bust my ass off for many years only to gain a tiny bit extra in my arms?

What if there was a better way…one where you put in a certain amount of effort and then get an equal return in gains?

In fact, instead of trying to gain that last 5-10% of biceps/triceps, how about you focus on another part of the arm? An area that will INSTANTLY make your arms look bigger while in a shirt, from the front, or from the side. An area that will separate you from all the curl monkeys across the world.

What am I referring to, you ask?

The forearms!

You see, while many have tapped our their natty gains for bis and tris, 99% of lifters are NOWHERE NEAR their potential for forearms. This is because people don’t train their forearms as hard as their upper arm, and because forearm training has many facets that are unknown to the public.

Everyone thinks you’ll get big forearms from doing curls, deadlifts, rows, and pullups but this couldn’t be further from the truth.

8 plate rack pull

I have witnessed 600lb deadlifters who had 12.5 inch forearms. I’ve seen guys with 18 inch arms who barely had over 13 inch forearms. But me? I have 16.25 inch upper arms and 14.5 inch forearms. Big difference in ratios here! This is because I train my forearms in a strategic manner and with full effort.

Am I an outlier? Absolutely not.

Most construction workers or people who have been doing manual labor for 20+ years report the same thing. Typically, their forearms will be 1 inch less than their upper arm. So a guy with 17 inch arms might have 16 inch forearms, something that you NEVER see in the fitness community.

Do you understand what I mean when I say that most people are nowhere near their forearm limit? They completely half-ass their forearm training (they didn’t do that for biceps and triceps though) and use ineffective training methods, which results in completely shit upper arm/forearm ratios.

In my opinion, your forearms should be 1-2 inches less than your upper arm. If it’s anything less than that, what you’re doing is not working and you need to change the plan right now.

Anyhow, how does one build bigger forearms if it’s not curls and deadlifts?


You must first recognize that hypertrophy is nothing more but a side effect of increased performance. Basically, if you are curling 20lb dumbbells and in a couple years you are now curling 80lb dumbbells, your biceps will be larger in size. This is due to progressive overload, the #1 indicator of muscle growth.

With forearm training, the same thing holds true but there are multiple elements to consider, all revolving around grip training of course. There is open-hand strength, crushing strength, pinching strength, curling strength, tearing strength, wrist strength, and bending strength.

In other words, the solution to big forearms is not just throwing in a couple sets of wrist curls at the end of your workout and calling it a day. It goes much beyond that.

You need to train like a competitor of Grip Sport or like an arm wrestler. This is the ONLY way of fully developing your forearms to their full capacity.

big forearms

So start training with thick bars, using heavy grippers, pinching on plates or using a hub, tearing decks of cards/cardboard, doing wrist curls/extensions, controlling sledgehammers with your wrist, and bending steel.

That’s when you know you’ve been training your forearms wrong the entire time. You will find that the stronger you become multiple variations of grip feats, the bigger your forearms will become.

Eventually, you forearms will resemble Popeye’s! That’s when you’ll appreciate the magic of specialized grip training.

Until next time,



  1. UlyssesBP July 4, 2016
  2. Mark Z January 17, 2017

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