Dear Ryan,

Ryan Rollison

I am trying to build my arms bigger and I’m a little confused on which exercises are the best for me to do.  I’ve read the magazines and they all say something different.  What should I do to increase the size of my arms?  It seems that there are also a lot of different routines, how do I know which is the best one to follow?



Thank you for the question. 

It means a lot knowing that you would still ask me after reading all that information in magazines.  I believe if you stick to the basics that you will get the results you desire.  It’s sad that the more you read in the books the more confused you will become.

I tend to stay away from all of that instruction confusion from other athletes. I am not saying they are wrong because it works for them. But you have to experiment and find what works best for you..

I mostly read the science, research and nutritional information in those books.  If it’s not backed by science and/or college testing. I really don’t pay much attention to it.  It’s nice to see other workout routines to give you a change but what works for one person may not work for another.

Like I just said, if you stick to the basics, you can’t and won’t go wrong!  The bicep is two different muscles.  You have the long head (outside) and the short head (inside) Straight bar curls are the best for building nice size arms. Taking a wide grip works mostly the short head and a narrow grip works the long head of the biceps.

Take a grip that’s shoulder width and hit both heads of the bicep at the same time. Start out with a light weight and do 20 reps to make sure that you can feel the muscle work and a nice little burn in the bicep.  Then raise the weight progressively throughout four sets so that your last set ends with a hard 8-12 reps.

The next good exercise is alternating curls. Start with your palms facing each other. Then as soon as you clear your thighs, supinate (turn) your wrist so that your pinky is heading towards the outside of your shoulder.   Squeeze the bicep and return to the starting position.  Then begin your rep with the other hand.  Continue to alternate hands in this fashion until your desired repetitions are completed.

The last bicep exercise I will suggest is the hammer curl. You start the same way as you do with alternating curls except you do not turn the wrist.  This works part of the forearm and adds thickness to the outside of the bicep.  switch the order in which you do the exercise so that you shock the muscle and you will get different load ranges on the different exercises.

Now, onto your triceps.  Your triceps has three different muscles, makes up most of the arm size and should be worked no less than the biceps. Triceps pushdowns are an excellent exercise for the triceps. Be sure that when doing this exercise, you do not move your shoulder joint. Only the elbow joint should move and you don’t want to go much higher than your chest or forearms just above parallel.

Kickbacks are another great exercise for this muscle group.  Bend over at the waist, keep your back flat and your elbows up pointing to the sky.  Straighten the arm into the locking position so that you contract the muscle then release slowly and repeat. Also, make sure you do not flex your wrists at the top of the movement.

Lying dumbbell extensions or standing overhead extensions are also good and very beneficial to the triceps. Lying face up on a bench, take two dumbbells and hold them above you towards the ceiling.  Keeping your elbows and upper arms perpendicular to the ground, lower the weights to the sides of your head.  Raise the weight back up and repeat.  Be sure to keep your shoulders down and your arms from swinging.

Also try 21’s to mix it up. Seven reps from bottom 1/2 way up, seven reps from top 1/2 way down and seven full reps

Good luck in achieving your Dream Bodies out there and keep the questions coming.


Ryan Rollison

Dream Bodies




Ryan Rollison

Dream Bodies