Classic Gun Show

Old school arm workouts from bodybuilding legends.


Welcome to the ultimate gun show. Each of the 20 top gunmen have something to teach you about arm training. Carry their advice to the trenches, and you’ll be well on your way to heavily arming yourself.


Britain’s Brian Buchanan had a brief but promising IFBB career, placing in the top five in half of the dozen IFBB contests he entered in 1988 and ’89, before retiring at age 27 (he made two even briefer comebacks in the ’90s). His ridiculously small waist garnered much attention, but his vast globular arms were equally preposterous. His high-volume workouts emphasized heavy weights for six to eight reps.

“Let’s be blunt and define the two qualities that a bodybuilder needs if he’s to have any chance of reaching the very top. First, he must be born with outstanding physique genetics — a natural ability to respond to training and build muscle. Second, he must have the mental tenacity, the will, to harness and develop that physical potential.” — Brian Buchanan


  • Barbell Curls: 5 sets, 6-8 reps
  • Seated Dumbbell Curls: 5 sets, 6-8 reps
  • Cambered-Bar Preacher Curls: 5 sets, 6-8 reps
  • Concentration Curls: 5 sets, 8-10 reps
  • Lying Triceps Extensions: 5 sets, 6-8 reps
  • Bench Dips: 5 sets, 6-8 reps
  • One-Arm Dumbbell Extensions: 5 sets, 8-10 reps
  • Rope Pushdowns: 5 sets, 8-10 reps


Unlike the others here, Albert Beckles didn’t grow his way into our top 20 until well past his 40th birthday. At various times, Beckles has claimed birth years of 1930 and 1938, but even if the more recent date is true, it still means he placed second in the 1985 Mr. Olympia at age 47 and he won his eighth IFBB pro show at 52. Despite high biceps and forearm attachments, evergreen Beckles triumphed with history’s most freaky peaky bis, coupled with a devastatingly delineated side tri shot.

“I like to place special emphasis on the peak contraction of curls. I often resist supinating until I get very close to contraction. Then I twist my wrists outward as far as they can go just as I reach the top of the curl. This creates a tremendous contraction, and I hold it for a second or two.” — Albert Beckles


  • Seated Dumbbell Curls: 4 sets, 8-10 reps
  • Cable Curls: 4 sets, 8-10 reps
  • Concentration Curls: 3 sets, 8-12 reps
  • One-Arm Cable Curls: 3 sets, 8-12 reps


Touted as an Olympia favorite in the early ’80s, Fox never won an IFBB show, but he was second twice. Unfortunately, he’s currently serving a life sentence on the island nation Saint Kitts and Nevis after being convicted of double murder. In better times — focusing purely on his bodybuilding exploits — Fox sported bis and tris so thick from every angle it was as though two large legs were attached to his shoulders.


  • Use maximum weights for relatively low reps.
  • Rest for one and a half to two minutes between sets.
  • Train with high volume (25-30 sets for biceps and triceps, respectively).
  • Use forced reps to eke out one or two final repetitions.


  • Lying Triceps Extensions: 5 sets, 6-8 reps
  • Bench Dips: 5 sets, 6-8 reps
  • One-Arm Dumbbell Triceps Extensions: 5 sets, 6-8 reps
  • Cable Pushdowns: 5 sets, 8-10 reps
  • One-Arm Pushdowns: 5 sets, 8-10 reps


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