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PostPosted: Wed Oct 31, 2012 9:20 am 
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I think the fact that the OP would even ask about curls in the first place suggests his goals are physique-oriented. Also I have no idea where that thing about having to add 20lbs of muscle for one inch on your arm came from but what a load of nonsense. Well established? By who?

Also, is it just your arms that this works for? Can I just squat and get a big chest? Lats? Rear delts? Can I do only squats and get a balanced physique? Why ever do another exercise seeing as squats will magically make my other muscles get bigger.

You want big arms? Eat. You want big arms that look good? Curl.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 31, 2012 11:21 am 
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The OP probably asked about curls because he doesn't know any better.

Robert, listen to what I'm saying. I'm not attacking your curls. I'm simply saying that they are unneccessary. By the way, the thing about adding 20 lbs of muscle - that's a Poliquin thing. He might know a thing or two aboout training. Marty Gallagher, Mark Rippetoe, they agree with him.

My point is simple, you want big arms, gain overall muscle. The best overall muscle gainer - is squats. Couple that with other compound movements, that is all you need. If you want to curl, curl away. It isn't going to hurt you, other than possibly overtraining.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 31, 2012 11:46 am 
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meh, I know it's nothing personal hoose, it just irks me that people always advise against training biceps when they are just as important a bodypart as any other. Surely the goal is to get your whole body stronger, including your arms? It's like the world has gone too far in the other direction; you have to either do no curls or by the guy who does nothing but... People look down their nose at folk who train arms directly. You've proven this by saying that the OP asked about curls "because he didn't know better".

Last time I picked up a box I didn't power snatch it. I used my arms.

I'll never agree that squatting will build your arms. Legs = yes, back = yes, arms? Definitely not. Unproven benefits of transient hormonal fluctuations aside, I just don't see how they ever could when there is zero training stimulus on them. I know powerlifters and olympic lifters too, and their arms aren't a patch on the bodybuilders I know.

I can name-drop coaches too: Wendler recommends 5/10 curls at the end of upper days for elbow stability. And he's a powerlifter! OMG!

Like I said before, EVERY bodybuilder in the world trains their arms. Success leaves clues.

You can get big doing just the compound moves, but if you don't perform isolation movements on the areas the compounds neglect like arms, rear delts etc then yeah you'll be big, but that's all you'll be. Big and aesthetic are two different things. If circumference is all you are after then just do a zillion reps of fork curls every day (unless that's too much like arm isolation work for you).


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 31, 2012 2:05 pm 
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I think we can basically agree on the same thing and are argueing semantics. It is what makes this forum fun.

FWIW, I'm not looking my nose down on those who do curls. Where we disagree is the point that I think it is completely unnecessary. I'm estimating these numbers and using my bro-science perogative here, but here is what I'm basically saying. If you do nothing but compound lifts in a year you will get X% growth on your arms. If you do nothing but isolation work, you will get Y% growth with Y being significantly less than X. If you do both, the result will be X plus a small amount. For example and these are just made up numbers.
X=20% growth
Y=6% growth
X + isolation work + 21% growth

For most people - EXPECIALLY for beginners, that little extra is just not necessary.

And just to note - Wendler recommends curls for stability, not growth.

On a side note, as I've stated several times - chemical engineering throws everything out the window. If I do nothing but steroids and curls, my arms will be huge.

Lastly, I will throw this opinion out there - body builders arms look bigger because they are more defined.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 31, 2012 2:55 pm 
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Hey, I have completely lost the thread of the argument here, but thanks for any advice. I strength train and I curl for 2 reasons:

1) because my biceps are proportionally weak
2) because it was a part of the workout I designed with the help this forum (and the guidelines of the westside for skinny bastards program) - I know that sounds stupid but it has worked up until now and I didn't see any real reason to drop it

I do other bicep exercises and they are all compound, but I still feel the biceps are lagging.

As a sidenote I don't squat as having never been taught how to do it, I didn't want to hurt my back. I do deadlift however.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 31, 2012 3:11 pm 
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medic002 wrote:
As a sidenote I don't squat as having never been taught how to do it, I didn't want to hurt my back. I do deadlift however.

Go watch So You think You can Squat. Then go Squat. Front or Back, Goblet or Zecher, Unilateral or Bilateral, doesn't matter. Just do some squats. If you have issues or fears, film your form. Then you'll see the critical points.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ME8gEN54Ao

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 31, 2012 5:20 pm 
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Don't worry about it medic. Robert and I are argueing minutiae.

Do learn how to squat, though.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 31, 2012 5:31 pm 
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An experiment.

Over the last four years since i started lifting i have taken measurements of my body size on an intermittent basis. ie, 4 times. The last time being march last year. During that four year period my arms have grown 2 inches, that is with only minimal direct arm work. So i'm going to add some arm isolation work into the fray until my birthday in Feb. Nothing huge, a few sets of curls and some form of tricep extension once each a week. I'll see what size, if any, is added to my arms.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 31, 2012 9:47 pm 
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Well, just look at me. I don't curl, and my arms are massive. MASSIVE, I tell you. Huge. Record-setting.

Sorry, I can't post photos.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2012 4:09 am 
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Jungledoc wrote:
Well, just look at me. I don't curl, and my arms are massive. MASSIVE, I tell you. Huge. Record-setting.

Sorry, I can't post photos.


haha, me too, me too.

* flexes them bad boys just before hitting submit *

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2012 1:07 pm 
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hoosegow wrote:
I think we can basically agree on the same thing and are argueing semantics. It is what makes this forum fun.

FWIW, I'm not looking my nose down on those who do curls. Where we disagree is the point that I think it is completely unnecessary. I'm estimating these numbers and using my bro-science perogative here, but here is what I'm basically saying. If you do nothing but compound lifts in a year you will get X% growth on your arms. If you do nothing but isolation work, you will get Y% growth with Y being significantly less than X. If you do both, the result will be X plus a small amount. For example and these are just made up numbers.
X=20% growth
Y=6% growth
X + isolation work + 21% growth

For most people - EXPECIALLY for beginners, that little extra is just not necessary.


lol, wat? If you are after MAXIMUM growth, then do your compounds first, then the isolation stuff after to finish off the bits that don't get trained maximally from the compounds. So do your rows, chins whatever, then curls after. That'll ensure everything is getting worked to the same degree and you won't end up with lagging bodyparts. That applies to beginners, advanced trainees and everything in between.

hoosegow wrote:
On a side note, as I've stated several times - chemical engineering throws everything out the window. If I do nothing but steroids and curls, my arms will be huge.


this is getting very silly now. There is no difference between how natural and enhanced bodybuilders train. None. They ALL do curls.

hoosegow wrote:
Lastly, I will throw this opinion out there - body builders arms look bigger because they are more defined.


off season anyone? Such nonsense.

Powerlifters arms just look big because they're fat.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2012 1:09 pm 
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Proper Knob wrote:
During that four year period my arms have grown 2 inches


have you added 40lbs of bodyweight?


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2012 1:12 pm 
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robertscott wrote:
have you added 40lbs of bodyweight?


No. Maybe 25-30lbs.

Not sure really, i don't weigh myself regularly.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2012 2:57 pm 
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"How will adding back exercises bring up his biceps? Obviously the biceps get worked during back stuff, but they are not the limiting factor, so they are not getting worked to their full potential." - robertscott

I have to disagree here. I think arm strength is often a limiting factor, especially on pull-ups. It makes sense when you think about it, since the lats are a much larger muscle group than the the biceps.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2012 3:27 pm 
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I used to train like a bodybuilder, so I can't say with certainty how much of my arm development is due to compound exercises vrs. isolation exercises. However, the fact that I could completely drop all the isolation exercises from my program with no loss in muscle mass suggests that curls and extensions are overrated.

I think beginners are better off starting with just compound movements. Then after learning the big lifts and packing on some muscle mass, they can try adding some isolation exercises if they wish to address any lagging areas. However, for many this just isn't neccissary.

PS) On a related not I never got much out of Dumbbell/Cable Laterals and Bent-over Laterals, but my delts have responded well to lifts like High Pulls and Rear Delt Rows.


Last edited by Matt Z on Thu Nov 01, 2012 3:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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