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Strong, powerful arms – that’s what we want.

It’s what most women want in a man too, apparently.

how to build thick arms

In a poll last year by Men’s Health magazine, 67% percent of women said they would prefer thick arms to a thick penis! Click here if you don’t believe me.

Here’s the good news: you’ve just saved the $50 you were going to spend on a penis pump.

And here’s the bad news: you’re gonna have to spend some extra time pumping up those arms.

Don’t panic. This article will deliver six solid strategies for bulking up your arms through weight training.

I’ve used them all to good effect. And while I’m not claiming to be on a par with Popeye, my arms are much thicker and stronger than they used to be.

But it wasn’t always like that. Infact I was so self conscious about my skinny arms all through my teenage years that I used to do all sorts to try and hide them.

I would spend ages shopping for t-shirts and would only wear ones that hid most of my upper arms.

Short sleeved shirts were a complete no-go because they would have fully exposed the undeniable fact that my arms clearly resembled twigs.

And on nights out sporting whatever skinny-camouflaging-clothes-combo I came up with, I would end up just wanting to punch the guys who were showing off their bulging biceps in tight t-shirts.

I didn’t do it obviously. Incase they snapped one of my twig arms right off.

Ahem, moving swiftly on…

Assuming you’re already clued-up on the basics of muscle gain ( i.e. lifting heavy weights, and eating a clean diet with sufficient amounts of protein ), let’s move on to the plan of attack for inflating those arms of yours.

Six Step Strategy For Strengthening And Thickening Your Arms  

#1 Focus more on your triceps.

The schoolboy error that most people make when aiming for bigger arms is putting too much emphasis on biceps isolation exercises.

Thinking of the ‘guns’ and flexing the head of the bicep, they hit barbell curls hard and try all sorts of variations of dumbbell curls for growth.

When you consider that the triceps make up roughly two thirds of the upper arm, it makes more sense to put more emphasis on this muscle. As it is made up of three heads (long, lateral and medial), the triceps brachii is the largest muscle in the upper arm and deserves some special attention.

My favourite triceps exercises are: dips, triceps extensions on cable machine, skull crushers (below) and narrow bench press.


#2 Change up your routine regularly.

You must keep mixing it up with the types of exercises you do, the number of sets, and how many reps you do each time in the gym. Don’t allow your muscles to adapt to the same old routine, you must find fresh ways to keep stressing your muscles in order to force them to grow.

“You’ve got to shock the muscle, shock the muscle, and shock the muscle with different kinds of training principles.” – Arnold Schwarzenegger.

His arms are now legendary and, in his prime, Arnie revealed his favourite biceps exercises were: barbell curls, dumbbell curls on an incline bench, and concentration curls.

His top triceps moves were: narrow bench press, triceps extensions, and single arm dumbbell triceps extensions (above the head).

#3 Don’t forget compound exercises.

It would be daft to get too carried away with biceps and triceps isolation exercises in an attempt to grow bigger arms.

Compound exercises such as chin-ups, below, and pull-ups are devastatingly effective not only for increasing the size of your arms, but for overall upper body development.


To download my free guide on the best compound exercises and how to perform them correctly click here.

#4 Feel the tension.

Quite often when performing exercises such as the dumbbell curl we’ll lift the weight to the top and move straight into lowering it again for the next rep.

Instead of this, make a conscious effort to hold the dumbbell at the peak of the movement and squeeze for 2-3 seconds.



This is another top training tip Arnie revealed in this article he wrote for Men’s Fitness magazine. Working out this way intensifies muscle contractions and causes more stress.

“The more stress you place on the muscle, the more muscle growth you stimulate,” according to The Terminator.

#5 Slow down.

We’ve just mentioned the importance of squeezing when contracting the muscle, but there are also more gains to be had by slowing down the negative part of your exercises every now and then. (Remember, it’s best to keep switching up your routine).

For example, lowering your body more slowly when doing chin-ups will place more strain on the muscle and encourage more growth.

Same goes for isolation exercises such as preacher curls or triceps extensions. Make a conscious effort to lower the bar more slowly and in a controlled manner for maximum effect. (This will mean lifting a lighter weight than usual).

#6 Add creatine into the mix.

If you’ve been lifting weights for a while with little progress in muscle size and definition, then supplementing with creatine monohydrate might well be your saviour.

It’s an amino acid that’s found in various foods and is also naturally produced in the body, helping to deliver energy to all cells, primarily muscles.

Creatine has been proven to be effective in improving performance in weightlifters and other athletes. This is because it increases the body’s ability to produce more energy rapidly, meaning you can train harder and for longer.

Creatine also pulls more fluid into the muscles, giving them a fuller look. For more details on the science behind creatine and recommendations on dosage visit

If you put these strategies into practice and stay consistent with your training you can expect to see growth in your arms.

And if you’ve never supplemented with creatine before you might be surprised at the results in as little as two weeks.

Okay, enough reading. Time to hit the weights.


  1. Phil says:

    Hi Marc,

    Great article as always.

    I would use caution to readers with creatine. I tried it about two years back and after 5 times, I got real bad gout in one toe joint; absolutely horrible thing to get.

    On going to Dr. Google, I found that there were loads of people in exactly the same situation. I don’t know how you find out if you will be afflicted or not however, once you have got it, you’ve got it for good! Every time I read the word creatine, I shudder and get angry.


    • Marc McLean says:

      Hi Phil, glad you enjoyed reading the article.

      And thanks for highlighting the link between creatine and gout. Creatine does cause a spike in uric acid, and so I can see why it would affect people with gout. Anyone with medical issues, gout or otherwise, should take medical advice before taking any new supplement. It makes sense for you to avoid creatine completely if you’ve been diagnosed with it, or suffered flare-ups in the past.

      However, I’ve not come across any evidence that creatine actually causes gout – and countless studies have shown it is perfectly safe for healthy individuals.

      Hope you’re feeling a bit better now, and the training is going good!

      Cheers, Marc