Like King Kong rampaging in Manhattan, another foreign behemoth arrived in the Big Apple and caused a sensation this past year. Behold bodybuilding’s newest phenomenon, Mamdouh “Big Ramy” Elssbiay. Near the end of 2011, this 5’9″ Egyptian weighed an ordinary 200 pounds and was just a “random dude in the gym.” Incredibly, he rapidly packed on enough muscle to dominate the Amateur Mr. Olympia the following year. Then, last May, the 28-year-old won his professional bodybuilding debut, the New York Pro, tipping the scales at a mind- jarring 288.

There was nearly 50% more of him than there had been just 18 months earlier! Seemingly as wide as he was tall, Elssbiay’s size even dwarfed other giants in the New York lineup. Big Ramy lives just above the Kuwait gym where he trains and works, so the tools of his trade are always just a staircase away. More often than not, on arm day the tool he chooses to pound the outer biceps and brachialis is the hammer curl.


Hammer curls can be performed with dumbbells, a parallel-grip bar, or a rope on a cable.

Keep your thumbs up and pinkies down throughout each rep.

Curl dumbbells straight up and down to each shoulder; this will mimic a hammering motion in each hand.


Elssbiay’s Biceps Routine

EXERCISE                  SETS                  REPS

Hammer Curl               4                          10-12

Preacher Curl             4                          10-12

Rope Hammer Curl    4                          10-12



“I believe in strict form for arms. Cheating would help me use heavier weights, but it would rob me of the control I need to target the muscles.”



► 2012 Amateur Mr. Olympia winner

► 2013 New York Pro winner