Big Ramy's Planet-Size Pipes

Journey to Kuwait and get up close and personal as Big Ramy trains arms.


You’re the biggest bodybuilder on the planet. You’re so big you are a planet. You’re training in Oxygen Gym in Kuwait City, pumping up the two best arms in at least the Middle East, driving yourself ever onward, bigger and better, bigger and better. 


Sometimes you remind yourself just how good you’ve got it. You toil in arguably the best-equipped muscle-making space in the world, the $17 million Oxygen Gym in Kuwait City. Its neon flourishes give it an ultra-modern ambiance, and owner Bader Bodai has filled it with so much cutting-edge equipment that striding into the gym for your daily workouts sometimes feels like time traveling into a utopian future. As just one example of Oxygen’s abundance, it has 45 leg machines—enough for someone to choose a different four each time for 11 straight workouts!

Today, you meet with your trainer, Ahmad Alaqi. He’s brought a progressive system to your leg, back, chest, and shoulder work, going from sets of 15 reps to sets of six reps, lowering the reps weekly over five weeks and then starting over again at 15. But today is different. Today is arm day. For you, arm training is about maximizing the pump.

“We get the heavy lifting from pressing and pulling during chest and back workouts, “Alaqi tells the curious journalist. “So for arms, we don’t need to go as heavy and risk injury. We try to fill the arms with as much blood as we can.” That’s why you alternate biceps and triceps exercises. “I think this is better [than working biceps and triceps separately] because you fill the whole arm with blood,” Alaqi states. You tighten up your wrist straps, as a precautionary measure to fend off tendon strains. It’s time for work.


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