Top 10 Tips for Adding More Muscle Mass this Season

It generated tremendous controversy and curiosity in gyms around the globe, and had even experienced lifters questioning whether it was possible to make such enormous progress to your arms in as little as a day’s time. It was our July 2004 program, designed to add an inch to your arms in 24 hours—and yes, it really worked.

Your Arms Will Swell

In case you missed it the first time around, we dusted off this routine and updated it based on nearly a decade of more in-the-gym experimentation for even better gains. We can’t promise that you’ll see a full extra inch on your pipes, but if you follow our directions correctly, you should get close. In fact, if you gain anything less than half an inch, you’ll know you did something very wrong. Along with that guarantee we’ll give you another one: you will be sore. But within four days—after your bi’s and tri’s have had a chance to recover—your arms will swell to where you’ve never seen them before. 

The Program

You’ll need to set aside five consecutive hours to be near weights so you can train. For this reason, our routine is probably best done on a weekend or other day you’re not working and is ideal if you have a home gym or some basic free weights in your house. You’re going to complete 60 total sets over the course of the day, broken down into three 20-minute blocks done every hour. During each 20-minute period, you’ll do 1–3 supersets for the biceps and triceps. Of course, this won’t take a full 20 minutes to perform, so you’ll rest and go about your day from whenever you finish until the next 20-minute block begins.

At first, these rests will seem long. Obviously, 15 minutes or so (whatever time is left after you’re done with your supersets) is more than enough time to recover. But by the third hour, you will be begging for longer breaks. Choose your weights appropriately, as you are better off starting lighter and adding weight as you go rather than going too heavy and then having to reduce it. Each 20-minute cycle contains a different set of exercises and a different protocol.

Dumbbell Curl_2

The Science

You know the basic premise of weight training by now. Lifting weights tears down muscle fibers, which the body then repairs and makes bigger so that, going forward, they can better handle the stress that damaged them. Part of the process is inflammation—swelling in the injured muscle cells— and this accounts for some of the increased size you notice after training sessions. Scientific studies have confirmed that this swelling can last for a week or more following very intense exercise, but this program isn’t about tricking you into thinking you’ve added muscle when you’ve really just pumped water into your arms. Inflammation will account for some of the gain, but so will actual hard, dry muscle. Either way, your arms will be bigger, and isn’t that all you’re really after anyway?

The goal is to keep this cycle on repeat. Your one-day bi and tri bombardment will result in a lot of inflammation and require rest, but when you train again (on your own program), before your arms are fully repaired, you’ll provide another stimulus that keeps the arms engorged. This should be within a week of completing this program. If you return to the gym immediately following the dissipation of soreness, the overall cell volume (muscle size) is retained as you begin another breakdown and rebuilding process. Muscle protein synthesis is enhanced immediately following exercise, so as long as you continue to work out, you can continue to build muscle. With that said, after performing this program, don’t restart your training if you’re still very sore, see bruising or discoloration in your muscles, or have sharp pains in the muscles and joints. While the goal is to beat your arms up enough that you cause a massive regeneration that leads to new muscle tissue, we don’t want to damage them beyond what they can recover and grow bigger from. That would defeat the whole purpose. So wait at least four days before you do any direct arm training again, and eat above maintenance calories. You can repeat the program every three months.

Two arm kickback

The 1-Inch-In-A-Day Arm Routine

Time* Exercise Sets Reps
0 Standing Barbell Curl 3 10
  -Superset with-    
  Seated Two-hand Overhead Dumbbell Extension** 3 10
20 Seated Alternating Dumbbell Curl 2 12
  -Superset with-    
  Two-arm Dumbbell Kickback 2 12
40 “Crazy 6’s” Barbell Curl*** 1 6
  -Superset with-    
  “Crazy 6’s” Lying Triceps Extension*** 1 6

Repeat the workout every hour for five hours total. Rest 90 seconds between all supersets.

* Time refers to the minutes past the hour the listed exercises are performed. For instance, “0” could be 2 p.m., “20” would then be 2:20 p.m., and “40” would be 2:40 p.m.

** Use a low-back bench or chair if you have one. Otherwise sit at the end of a flat bench.

*** Take six seconds to perform the positive phase of each rep and six to do the negative (a total of 72 seconds of tension on the muscles).