The NExT Arm Experiment

15-Minutes to Long-Lasting Growth

One workout, 10 negative exercises, and the deepest pump you've ever felt – followed by two days of brutal soreness, then long-lasting growth.

I've had so much success with a negative-style training experiment that I'm very serious when I ask this question:

How about adding one-half inch of muscle to each of your upper arms – not in one month or even one week – but in one day?

I've seen three-eighths-inch gains to five-eighths-inch gains, but the typical increase is one-half-inch on each arm.

Can you spare 15 minutes all-in to train?


This arm prescription consists of five biceps and five triceps exercises and involves a form of training I've been developing, referred to as NExT (Negative Experimental Training).

NExT is going to fill your arms with pronounced pains and fast gains which you've never experienced. The secret to superior results is how you do the negatives and stack the exercises. So pay careful attention to the details.

To take advantage of this growth effect, you'll use these three negative techniques:


This style requires you to reduce your normal resistance used for 10 regular reps by 20 percent. Do the initial positive rep of the exercise quickly followed by a slow 30-second negative, immediately followed by 10 faster (1-second positive and 2-second negative) reps, immediately followed by a 30-second negative for the last rep.

It's important you don't go to failure during the middle-10 faster-speed reps. You should be able to confidently do at least one more repetition, but don't attempt it. If necessary, lighten the resistance until it's correct.


This style is exactly like 30-10-30, except you eliminate the first 30-second negative. It's 10 normal reps immediately followed by a slow 30-second negative.

Negative Only Chins and Dips

Climb to the top position of a chin or dip. Hold and contract the involved muscles hard. Lift your feet and slowly lower to the bottom in 4-6 seconds. Carefully hold/stretch briefly at the bottom before you put your feet down. That's one rep.

Climb back to the top and repeat the movement for the required reps. Attach additional weight on a belt if you can handle it.

The negative phase and stretched position stimulate mTOR release. So savor the bottom half of the rep range and move even slower. That will trigger more growth.

The Boyer Negative

There's also a 1-rep negative-only version done in 30 to 60 seconds called the "Boyer" negative, named after pro bodybuilder Boyer Coe. Boyer's the first person I witnessed doing a strict 60-second negative chin. The shape and size of his arms were nothing less than spectacular and inspiring – especially when seen in person.

Push the Pain

There's an untold but achievable pain price you must pay for adding quick size on your biceps and triceps. Welcome it; learn to love it; make it your partner. Get ready for the burn, fatigue, and soreness.

Start On Wednesday

Although you could do the program on any day of the week, I find Wednesday works best. Pick a Wednesday, and circle the Tuesday before and the Thursday and Friday after. You'll be resting completely on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday if you want the maximum gains. Your workout will be on Wednesday.

Important Four Days

Four consecutive days must be devoted to this project to achieve the best results. The one rest day before the workout and the two rest days afterward are super important for realizing gains. So don't blame the program for your lack of gains if you don't completely rest on those three days.

"Muscle Events" Not Exercises

The workout components are not just exercises. Each is an independent muscle event that emphasizes the negative phase. Do each movement like three judges are grading your performance.

Study the entire routine before doing it. Keep track of the time. Your goal is to do the entire NExT Arm Workout in 15 minutes or less.

  1. 30-10-30 Close-grip bench press – no rest
  2. 10-30 Standing triceps extension two dumbbells – no rest
  3. 10-30 Triceps pushdown on lat machine – 45 seconds rest
  4. 30-10-30 Barbell curl – no rest
  5. 10-30 Hammer curl with dumbbells – no rest
  6. 10-30 Dumbbell curl – 45 seconds rest
  7. 8-Rep Negative dip – no rest
  8. 8-Rep Negative chin – 45 seconds rest
  9. Boyer Negative dip – no rest
  10. Boyer Negative chin – finished

These suggestions are for an experienced lifter. For the negative phases, note the seconds on a clock within eyeshot, or have a partner call out the numbers to you in 10-second intervals. Make sure all reps are perfect, especially the last one of each set.

30-10-30 Close-Grip Bench Press

  • Use no more than 150 pounds.
  • Place your hands 6 inches apart.
  • Lower for your first 30-second negative.
  • Transition smoothly between all three phases.
  • Take no rest moving to the next exercise.

10-30 Standing Triceps Extension with Two Dumbbells

  • Grab a 20-pound dumbbell in each hand.
  • Press the dumbbells overhead.
  • Keep your elbows close to your ears for all reps.
  • Hold briefly in the stretch on each rep.
  • Don't rest moving to the next exercise.

10-30 Triceps Pushdown on Lat Machine

  • Stand in front of a lat machine loaded with 80 pounds.
  • Grab the bar with an overhand grip and hands about 6 inches apart.
  • Pull the bar to the chest.
  • Keep elbows close and tight against the torso for each rep as you push the bar down.
  • Hold briefly in the lockout position on each rep.
  • Rest 45 second before starting the next exercise.

30-10-30 Barbell Curl

  • Use only 50 to 60 pounds.
  • Place hands shoulder-width apart.
  • Keep elbows anchored to your sides for the entire exercise.
  • Move to the top position quickly and smoothly and begin the first 30-second negative.
  • Take no rest moving to the next exercise.

10-30 Hammer Curl with Dumbbells

  • Use 20-pound dumbbells
  • Anchor elbows against sides the entire exercise.
  • Keep the dumbbells in your hands when finished and begin the next exercise with no rest.

10-30 Regular Dumbbell Curl

  • Use the same instructions as the previous exercise with supinated hands.
  • Keep tight and strict, because the pain will be intense.
  • Rest 45 seconds before the next exercise.

Negative-Only Dip

  • Add 40 to 80 pounds with a belt.
  • Start in the top position.
  • Contract the involved muscle hard before you lift your feet.
  • Hold briefly at the bottom of every rep.
  • Climb quickly and smoothly back to the top.
  • Keep the loaded weight belt on for the next exercise.
  • Take no rest moving to the next exercise.

Negative-Only Chin

  • Use the same weight as the previous exercise. 40 to 80 Pounds: Climb to the top position of the movement.
  • Place hands 12-15 inches apart.
  • Contract the involved muscle hard before you lift your feet.
  • Stretch briefly at the bottom of every rep.
  • Climb quickly and smoothly back to the top.
  • Rest 45 seconds before the next exercise.

Boyer Negative-Only Dip

  • Use body-weight only.
  • Push into the top position.
  • Take 30-60 seconds lowering
  • Move even slower during the last half of the range.
  • Hold briefly in at the bottom.
  • Do not rest moving to the last exercise.

Boyer Negative-Only Chin

  • Use body-weight only.
  • Pull into the top position.
  • Take 30-60 seconds lowering
  • Move even slower during the last half of the range.
  • Hold briefly in at the bottom.


Have a long cool drink and walk around. You made it through, and you'll be rewarded. But there's still some important follow-through you need to do.

Nutrition Tips

Make sure you're eating plenty of proteins and carbohydrates. Your overall daily calories should be approximately 20 per pound of body weight. In other words, if you weigh 180 pounds, your daily calories would be about 3,600 (20 x 180). Don't skimp on your grocery intake.

Drink at least 4 liters/quarts of cold water each day. The cold water will boost metabolism, and your bi's and tri's are going to be very sore for 48 hours and need plenty of hydration to recover and grow.

Sleeping and Napping

To facilitate muscle growth, it's important to get 9 hours of sleep each night. Ten hours is even better. Plus, a 20-minute afternoon nap makes a difference.

Thursday and Friday Rest

Again, completely rest on Thursday and Friday. I recommend training lower body on Saturday, upper body on Sunday, and resting on Monday before resuming regular training on Tuesday.

Saturday Lower-Body Workout

  1. 10-30 Leg extension
  2. 10-30 Leg curl
  3. 30-10-30 Leg press
  4. 30-10-30 Calf raise
  5. 30-10-30 Sit-up
  • Do one set of each exercise.
  • Use perfect "judged" form.
  • Rest no more than 20 seconds between exercises.
  • Finish the workout in under 10 minutes.

Sunday Upper-Body Workout

  1. 10-30 Lateral raise
  2. 10-30 Overhead press
  3. 10-30 Row
  4. 10-30 Bench press
  5. 10-30 Barbell curl
  6. 10-30 Triceps pushdown on lat machine
  7. 10-30 Wrist curl
  • Do one set of each exercise.
  • Use perfect "judged" form.
  • Rest no more than 20 seconds between exercises.
  • Finish the workout in under 12 minutes.

Going Back to Normal Training

Completely rest Monday.

Return to your regular training Tuesday.

Important: Wait at least two weeks before doing the NExT Arm Workout again.


Most bodybuilders should add 1/2 inch to the circumference of each of his contracted upper arms within the week. A week later, the growth should still be noticeable – and measurable – as long as you followed the plan.

I believe this is the most productive muscle-growth system I've ever crafted. And it's all accomplished in a single workout in just 15 minutes. You could use this approach to any body part.

Follow the plan and you should stimulate your greatest gains ever.

Do it, then tell me your story in my Ellington Darden Coaching forum.

Dr Darden was director of research of Nautilus Sports/Medical Industries for 20 years. He is the author of a number of best-selling books, including The Nautilus Book, The Nautilus Diet, A Flat Stomach ASAP, and The New High Intensity Training. Dr. Darden was also recognized by the President's Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition as one of the top ten health leaders in the United States.

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Buy Dr Darden's book: 30-10-30: Metabolic Challenges for Building Muscle