We live in a world of "instants." There's instant pudding, instant coffee, instant breakfast, instant everything! Speed is God, and our language is peppered with high-speed words or terms like FedEx, fax, 56.6 modems, and 300-megahertz microprocessors. When we plant a garden today, we don't plant seeds and patiently wait for them to grow; we buy full-grown plants and shove them in the ground, unceremoniously, with the help of backhoes and cranes. Modern man wants it, and he wants it now.

With all this attention being paid to speed, it's only natural that there be a speedy equivalent in bodybuilding. For instance, what would you give to be able to put 3/8-inch on your arms in as short a length of time as 24 hours? It's entirely possible with my One-Day Arm Cure.

Will everyone gain as much as 3/8-inch using this method? No. Some individuals will gain more. Some gain up to one inch in the five days following my one-day arm cure! I've even seen one individual who was part of the one-day-to-failure school gain 5/8-inch after doing my instant-growth routine. This particular individual hadn't made any progress in months, so I convinced him to humor me and try this method as an experiment. Obviously, his body was in dire need of more training volume. After his enlightening experience and after going out to buy new T-shirts he dumped his Heavy Duty Training Manual into the old shoebox where he keeps his eight-track tapes and platform shoes.

This method was first popularized in the muscle mags of the sixties, but either few people believed it or few people had the guts to try it. It was revived back in the 80s by Canadian bodybuilding coach Gunnar Sikh. After using the technique on a few of my clients, I modified and updated it, using more recent breakthroughs in exercise physiology and nutrition.

One word of caution, though: if you try this method, your arms will be so battle fatigued, so glycogen depleted, that they might even shrink slightly until supercompensation kicks in after the 24th hour. Once that first day is over, though, stand back and watch those suckers swell up like leeches invading a blood bank.

The One-Day Arm Cure takes a little preparation, though. It will take the entire day, so don't plan any picnics, shopping sprees, or Clint Eastwood movie marathons. You'll need to devote the entire day to the program. Here are a few things to take into consideration:

  • Since this is an all-day program, you might want to do it on a Saturday so that nothing else will interfere with your training and eating. This will also give you Sunday to recuperate.
  • The nutritional program that accompanies the training is very important, and you'll need to eat low-glycemic index foods all day until you're done (I'll give some suggestions later on in this article).
  • In order to make things move more smoothly, you may want to prepare your food ahead of time so that nothing interferes with the tight training and eating schedule.
  • Given that this program requires you to work arms several times in one day, it might be best if you do it at home. After all, it might be stressful or mentally draining to hang around the gym all day long. That's why the program I've designed requires only very basic equipment, like a bench, dumbbells, and a barbell. (The dumbbells should be adjustable so you can accommodate the different rep brackets. If you have fixed-weight dumbbells, you might want to use PlateMates to fine-tune the load.)

Here's the program, including scheduled meals:

The One-Day Arm Cure Program

7:30 Breakfast

  • 1 lean steak
  • 2 poached eggs
  • 1 slice of whole grain bread
  • 1 orange
  • 1 serving of fish oil
  • 3 g of vitamin C

8:30 Brutal Workout Preparation

1 serving of Plazma™

9:00 Program A

Exercise Reps Tempo Rest
Seated Zottman Curl 5-7 501 90 sec.
Pronating Dumbbell Extension 6-8 501 90 sec.
Seated Zottman Curl 5-7 501 90 sec.
Pronating Dumbbell Extension 6-8 501  

9:30 Program B

Exercise Reps Tempo Rest
Incline Dumbbell Curl 5-7 501 90 sec.
California Press 6-8 501 90 sec.
Incline Dumbbell Curl 5-7 501 90 sec.
California Press 6-8 501  

10:00 Program A

Exercise Reps Tempo Rest
Seated Zottman Curl 5-7 501 90 sec.
Pronating Dumbbell Extension 6-8 501 90 sec.
Seated Zottman Curl 5-7 501 90 sec.
Pronating Dumbbell Extension 6-8 501  

10:30 Program B

Exercise Reps Tempo Rest
Incline Dumbbell Curl 5-7 501 90 sec.
California Press 6-8 501 90 sec.
Incline Dumbbell Curl 5-7 501 90 sec.
California Press 6-8 501  

10:45 Recovery

1 serving of Plazma™

11:00 Program A

Exercise Reps Tempo Rest
Seated Zottman Curl 5-7 501 90 sec.
Pronating Dumbbell Extension 6-8 501 90 sec.
Seated Zottman Curl 5-7 501 90 sec.
Pronating Dumbbell Extension 6-8 501  

11:30 Program B

Exercise Reps Tempo Rest
Incline Dumbbell Curl 5-7 501 90 sec.
California Press 6-8 501 90 sec.
Incline Dumbbell Curl 5-7 501 90 sec.
California Press 6-8 501  

12:00 Lunch

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1 mixed greens salad
  • 1 yam
  • 1 serving of fish oil
  • 3 g of vitamin C

1:30 Program A

Note: Reps and tempo change from the morning's training.

Exercise Reps Tempo Rest
Seated Zottman Curl 8-10 302 75 sec.
Pronating Dumbbell Extension 10-12 302 75 sec.
Seated Zottman Curl 8-10 302 75 sec.
Pronating Dumbbell Extension 10-12 302  

2:00 Brutal Workout Formula

1 serving of Plazma™

2:00 Program B

If you're like most people, you'll hit a "wall" about this time it's what marathoners call "bonking." Of course, you'll have to remember that "riches go to the strong" and keep going. Power Drive should really help you maintain your strength and mental focus.

Exercise Reps Tempo Rest
Incline Dumbbell Curl 8-10 302 75 sec.
California Press 10-12 302 75 sec.
Incline Dumbbell Curl 8-10 302 75 sec.
California Press 10-12 302  

2:30 Program A

Exercise Reps Tempo Rest
Seated Zottman Curl 8-10 302 75 sec.
Pronating Dumbbell Extension 10-12 302 75 sec.
Seated Zottman Curl 8-10 302 75 sec.
Pronating Dumbbell Extension 10-12 302  

3:00 Program B

Exercise Reps Tempo Rest
Incline Dumbbell Curl 8-10 302 75 sec.
California Press 10-12 302 75 sec.
Incline Dumbbell Curl 8-10 302 75 sec.
California Press 10-12 302  

3:15 Mid-Afternoon Recovery

1 serving of Plazma™

3:30 Program A (High Reps)

Exercise Reps Tempo Rest
Seated Zottman Curl 12-15 201 60 sec.
Pronating Dumbbell Extension 15-20 302 75 sec.
Seated Zottman Curl 12-15 201 60 sec.
Pronating Dumbbell Extension 15-20 302  

4:00 Program B (High Reps)

Exercise Reps Tempo Rest
Incline Dumbbell Curl 12-15 201 60 sec.
California Press 15-20 302 75 sec.
Incline Dumbbell Curl 12-15 201 60 sec.
California Press 15-20 302  

4:30 Program A (High Reps)

Exercise Reps Tempo Rest
Seated Zottman Curl 12-15 201 60 sec.
Pronating Dumbbell Extension 15-20 302 75 sec.
Seated Zottman Curl 12-15 201 60 sec.
Pronating Dumbbell Extension 15-20 302  

5:00 Program B (High Reps)

Exercise Reps Tempo Rest
Incline Dumbbell Curl 12-15 201 60 sec.
California Press 15-20 302 75 sec.
Incline Dumbbell Curl 12-15 201 60 sec.
California Press 15-20 302  

5:15 Brutal Workout Formula

1 serving of Plazma™

5:30 Giant Set (High Reps)

Exercise Reps Tempo Rest
Seated Zottman Curl 12-15 201 0 sec.
Pronating Dumbbell Extension 15-20 302 0 sec.
Incline Dumbbell Curl 12-15 201 0 sec.
California Press 15-20 302 0 sec.
Seated Zottman Curl 12-15 201 0 sec.
Pronating Dumbbell Extension 15-20 302 0 sec.
Incline Dumbbell Curl 12-15 201 0 sec.
California Press 15-20 302  

6:00 First Recovery Feeding

1 serving of Mag-10®

7:00 Second Recovery Feeding

1 serving of Mag-10®

7:30 Now that your warmup's over, it's time to get down to the real workout...nawww, just kidding. It's over. You survived. Slap yourself on the back, if you can.

Notes on How to Perform the Exercises

You may have noticed that there are only four exercises in this entire routine. As such, it's all the more important that you do them correctly.

Program A

Seated Zottman Curl

Zottman Curls thoroughly stress all the elbow flexors, so they're one of the best exercises when it comes to thickening the upper arms. Since this movement requires a bit of coordination, it may take you a couple of workouts or, in the case of the One-Day Arm Cure, a couple of sessions to get used to the movement.

To begin, grasp two dumbbells and sit on the edge of a flat bench. Let your arms hang straight down, with your palms facing forward. You'll curl the dumbbells up, but with one slight variation: to prevent recruitment of the forearm flexors, bend your wrist back so that the back of your hand is at almost a 45-degree angle to your wrist. Again, it will feel awkward at first, but the masochists among you will be pleasantly surprised at the pump you'll feel in your biceps after this slight adjustment.

Now, after you curl the dumbbell all the way up, straighten the wrist and pronate your forearm so that the dumbbell is now pointing downwards. In effect, it will be as if you're about do the eccentric portion of a reverse dumbbell curl. While keeping your wrists in a neutral position, slowly lower the dumbbells.

Keep your elbows glued to your sides throughout the entire exercise. If, however, your elbows have a tendency to flare out, it means that your brachialis muscles are weak in relation to your biceps brachii. If that's the case, you'll need to lower the weight of the dumbbells so that you can perform the eccentric portion of the movement correctly (with the upper arms close to your trunk).

Pronating Dumbbell Triceps Extension

Grab your set of working dumbbells and lie face-up on a flat bench. Press the dumbbells straight up in a bench-press fashion. Use a semi-supinated grip (so that the palms are facing each other). You're now in the starting position for the exercise.

With the elbows stationary, lower the dumbbells down until the forearms make contact with the biceps. At this point, the plates of the dumbbell will probably make contact with your shoulders, too. Now, simultaneously extend the forearms back to the starting position while pronating your grip (turning the palms down or away from you). This pronation movement further recruits the small anconeus muscle, which doesn't usually get that much stimulation.

If you have access to a situp board or decline bench in your home gym, definitely use it instead of a flat bench. The decline dumbbell triceps extension allows for a greater stretch of the triceps than most triceps movements, and MRI testing has confirmed that this movement is especially effective at recruiting a large number of muscle fibers.

Program B

Incline Dumbbell Curl

This is the most effective exercise for isolating the long head of the biceps. It was popularized in the fifties by bodybuilding legend Steve Reeves, better known for his roles on screen as Hercules. If the long head of your biceps needs extra work, I strongly recommend that you make this exercise a staple of your arm workouts, provided you vary the angle of the bench at least every six workouts or so.

To do this exercise properly, recline on an incline bench with a dumbbell in each hand. As a rule of thumb, the lower the angle of the bench, the more muscle fiber recruitment of the long head of the biceps (the more flexible you are, the lower you can set the bench, but bringing it down to a flat position, although effective, might be too hard for most people's shoulders and rotator cuffs). Start out with your arms hanging straight down, and then curl the dumbbells up simultaneously while keeping the elbows directly in line with the ground for at least the first 90 degrees of flexion. This will prevent anterior deltoid recruitment.

After the first 90 degrees of flexion, you can allow your elbows to move slightly forward (they'll want to, anyhow). Remember to keep the palms supinated at all times to maximally stretch the elbow flexors. Lower the dumbbells per the prescribed tempo and repeat.

Note: If you have forward head posture, i.e. your head comes off the bench when you do incline dumbbell curls, try sticking a rolled up towel under your neck. It will actually increase your strength through neural mechanisms.

California Press

This movement is so named because it requires the use of a surfboard, a porn actress, and a bucket of coconut oil. Actually, I have no idea why it's called the "California Press," but the name definitely tweaks the imagination. Anyhow, the exercise is a hybrid movement which is actually a cross between a close-grip bench press and a lying triceps extension. It's fairly popular in powerlifting circles as it's used as a bench-press assistance exercise to increase the strength and mass of the triceps. Use a Tri-Bar? Olympic bar because it's much easier on the wrists. You can contact Tri-Bar by calling toll-free 1-888-874-2271.

First, get in the same position as you would for a close-grip bench press with the hands appropriately close together for that movement. Lower the barbell to the upper pecs as if you were doing the eccentric part of a triceps "Skull Crusher" (lying triceps extension). However,  instead of lowering the bar to your forehead, you're actually lowering it to your upper chest.

In the bottom position, the forearms should come into contact with the biceps and the bar will be lightly touching the upper chest. From this position, push the bar away from your chest as if you were doing the concentric portion of a close-grip bench press. Extend your arms and the barbell just shy of lockout.

A good starting weight would be about halfway in between what you might normally use in the lying triceps extension and the close-grip bench press. As an example, if you normally used 100 pounds for a lying triceps extension and 200 pounds for a close-grip bench press, you might use 150 pounds for California Presses.

The Day After

The day after the One-Day Arm Cure is usually the day trainees ask for my address and then try to contact Theodore Kaczinski about the finer points of mail bombs. The day after is also characterized by what Vancouver personal trainer Kosta Kromidas calls PATS, or "Poliquin Arm Training Syndrome." This condition is characterized by not being able to flex or extend your arms properly. As you walk around, arms glued to your sides, don't be surprised if strangers start pointing to you and saying, "Get a load of Lurch."

This is a great day to treat yourself to a massage by a qualified massage therapist. It will help you deal with extreme levels of soreness. You may also find that your appetite is a little suppressed, too, but make sure you force yourself to eat so your body is able to supercompensate for the ordeal it's been through by adding additional muscle mass to your biceps.

You may also want to take in about 0.45 g of creatine per kg of body weight over the next five days, in addition to loading up on anti-oxidants.

Although bodybuilding isn't generally the type of activity that produces instant results, the One-Day Arm Cure is as close as you'll come to achieving the yuppie dream of "everything right now." Keep in mind, though, that this routine only works once or twice a year.