In Part One of my "no curls" arm specialization training series, I talked about the absurdity of most arm specialization routines. I proposed that most trainees do more than enough biceps curls and triceps press downs and don't really need more of either of them.

So any specific arm training program – those that just include more variations of elbow flexion and extension or different sets and rep variations of those – is largely going to be ineffective.

Please don't misinterpret what I'm suggesting. I believe that direct arm training definitely has its place. I just think that it's been overemphasized. And I don't think that the lack of impressive arms on most gym-goers is due to a lack of curls.

A superior method of attacking the problem is to work backwards to figure out why the arms aren't developed to the extent you want. Now if you're an Olympic weightlifter who hasn't done a curl in his life – but has high levels of core and back strength–you probably would do well with a routine that consists of more curls. And I bet you'd be handling some serious loads. But having spent more time in gyms than I've probably spent out of them, I've found the aforementioned is rarely the case.

We all know that most guys think the squat rack is where you do curls, and a deadlift is what you do when you have to lift the bar do curls.

For most individuals, poor arm development comes down to two main things: an inability to handle enough load in arm exercises and of course, poor loading parameters and exercise selection.

A proven approach is (as I explained in part one) to strengthen the support structure, and then increase the compound loading through the arms before starting on any direct arm work.

Part one was designed to introduce the Testosterone audience to the importance of developing a strong upper back and torso to be able to stabilize heavy loads away from the body.

Part two of this series takes us into slightly more direct arm work. This phase would directly follow phase one, and would lead into a more conventional arm-training phase.

PHASE TWO – Do you qualify?

Two of the key exercises in this phase are lower rep weighted chins and dips. (Most coaches and long term trainees would probably agree with me that these two exercises are considered the king of the mass builders for the biceps and the triceps).

Whenever you enter into a specialization routine you have to realize one thing: the very nature of "specialization" means it's not for complete novices. A certain "Time-in-the-trenches" is expected. So please don't email me or post the question, "Are pull downs an acceptable substitution for chins?" or, "I can't do dips, are bench dips a good alternative?"

The answers are no and hell no! Quite honestly, if you can't perform a minimum of ten to twelve chins and dips, in good form, then it is my opinion you do not need to be doing an arm specialization routine. You'd be better served following a good general strength phase that strengthens the entire body.

The first set of both chins and dips in this program starts with eight reps. I'm assuming that if you "qualify" for the program that you'll be using some form of external loading.

The Workout:

Anytime you enter into any type of specialization routine, sequencing becomes important. The work you do first in the week, or workout cycle tends to be the most productive.

Dan John has talked about what you do first in the workout determining your success rate. Combining both of these methods leads us to the conclusion that this routine should be day one in your program (and as for most people, day one is usually Monday, thus allowing you to avoid the bench press crowd).

A1: Close Grip Weighted Chins

Do these from a full hang using a supinated grip. Take a full one-second pause at the bottom and top of each rep.

A2: Seated Rack lockouts.

This is an underused exercise that is excellent for packing on mass and strength to the triceps. Set up a bench inside a power rack and set the pins at ear level. Un-rack the bar and lower the bar to the pins. Keep the tension on the working muscles at the bottom position. Hold the bar in this position for a 2-second count. Press back up to lockout and repeat.

B1: Weighted Dips

B2: Supinated Fat grip Bent over Barbell Rows.

Using either a fat bar, the commercially available EZ-grips (I have no idea why they call them EZ because they make most lifts harder), or just wrapping a gym towel around the bar, perform a palms-up grip bent over barbell row. Again, I want to see a full 1-2 second pause at the bottom of the rep. This is another compound exercise for the back and biceps.


Improving your arm size and strength has three fundamental requirements: progressive overload, maximum muscle recruitment, and variation in the stimulus.

Hopefully the loading progressions in this program will take care of the progressive overload as I want you to increase your loads used each week. The exercise selection in the program will expose your arms to higher loading than can occur during any isolation exercise. Higher loads = increased muscle recruitment.

And although most people seem to recognize that training load should be progressive, few seem to realize that the training stimulus itself needs to be periodically varied to prevent overuse injuries and staleness.

So as far as arm training goes, I think this program covers it all. If you've followed parts one and two – you might have now gone eight weeks without curling! This sets your body up nicely to experience accelerated progress when you go back to regular arm training.