Build Muscle. Get Strong. Inspire!
Cart 0

Build Massive Arms by Franco Columbu

Strength Oldschool

Build Massive Arms by Franco Columbu

Since the beginning of time, BIG ARMS have symbolized strength and power. The Roman gladiators possessed strong muscular arms that frequently decided the outcome of life or death into he arena.

Even now, two centuries later — when someone wants to see how well built you are, the first thing they ask is “Let me see you make a muscle.” They aren’t interested in your lat spread — huge pecs or your classical abdominal development — they want to see you roll up your sleeve and show them a bulging biceps!

Muscular arms, desired and envied by lesser men, are frequently the target of feminine admiration. Women like to be held by men with big arms because they appreciate a strong, masculine man.

1970 Franco Columbu

Public attention has been recently focused on the sport of Arm Wrestling. It’s growing in popularity as fast as Kung Fu, Karate, and Elton John. At the recent Professional Arm Wrestling Championships more than 3000 enthusiasts participated! Outside of the Boston Marathon, when have you ever heard of so many competitors in an athletic event in a minor sport? Undeniably, big strong arms are synonymous with muscle power and muscularity.

One of the most important factors in winning a muscle contest is having massive, shapely, well-defined arms. Big arms often sway the verdict in aa close decision. When I beat Frank Zane for the 1974 Mr. Olympia title, (under 200-lbs.) it was the massiveness of my arms that was the deciding factor in a hard fought battle.

1974 Mr Olympia - Frank Zane Vs Franco Columbu

[Pic above:] 1974 Mr Olympia - Frank Zane Vs Franco Columbu

Under the posing lights, it matters little what you do or which body part you are trying to emphasize, if your arm development is deficient the pose becomes unappealing. The arms must always look good — regardless if they are viewed from the front, back or side, whether held up or down, relaxed or flexed. You can’t hide or disguise small arms. They are a controlling force in bringing attention to to other body parts. Well developed arms enhance any pose.

The key to impressive arm development is balance. The biceps should be big with a high, well-defined “peak,” and the triceps should be large and full with good separation of all three heads of the muscle. Well developed forearms make the upper arms appear more symmetrical and impressive and contribute a finished look of dynamic power.

Bodybuilding Legend Franco Columbu

Before getting into the actual training routine. I want to emphasize the importance of gaining muscular weight to increase arm size. To build larger, more muscular arms, you must increase your bodyweight. For each inch of arm growth,you will probably have to gain about 7 to 10 pounds. It is difficult to add new muscle tissue without gaining muscular weight. The arms can’t transpose muscle size from another body area. For example: the waist may become smaller and the thighs or back may get larger but the arms probably won’t increase in size. You can’t take it off the waist and hips and put it on the arms. The body just doesn’t work that way. You have to build new muscle tissue and that means, gaining muscular weight!


The following program has been devised after spending several years experimenting with many different training techniques. It is designed to build mass,shape and definition simultaneously. It is a superset program in which a biceps exercise is alternated with a triceps movement without resting.

Exercises For Massive Arms

The exercises that follow should be done in the exact sequence described. this training routine is designed for maximum muscle growth. Study the exercise instructions carefully so that you fully understand how each movement is performed.

Superset #1 –

Incline Dumbbell Curls –

This exercise is great for building a high peak and for carving a deep split in the biceps. While lying on an incline bench, start with the arms straight with the thumbs facing forward. The elbows should be close to the sides of the body, but the dumbbells are curled to a position about 8″ to 10 ” away form the body. Curl the bells towards the shoulders, simultaneously turn the palms of the hands so that they face upwards (supinating them) and complete the curl. Tense the biceps at the top of the movement to insure a full “peak contraction.” On the first set, use a lighter weight and do 10 repetitions to warm up the tendons and ligaments of the elbows as well as the biceps muscles. On the remaining sets, increase to a weight and do only 8 reps. After finishing each set of curls, immediately go to the following triceps exercise without pausing.

Triceps Pressdowns –

This is an excellent exercise to clarify all three heads of the triceps. It also serves as an excellent warm up movement of the ligaments and tendons of the elbow (extensor portion). Using a close grip, with the elbows next to the sides, push the bar downward until the arms are lock-out straight; slowly return the bar to the starting position high on the chest. Repeat for ten reps. After the first set, increase the weight and do for eight reps on all of the subsequent sets.

Remember — this movement is superseded with Incline Curls. Do one set of each exercise without resting — then pause for 30 seconds before doing the next superset. Do a total of five supersets on this first group.

Franco Columbu Tricep Pushdowns

Superset #2

Semi-cheat curls –

This basic barbell movement creates a tremendous amount of biceps size and power. It cannot be neglected for maximum growth. Use as heavy poundage as you are capable of. Start with the arms straight down. Curl the bar upward as close as possible to the shoulders. A good point to remember is to squeeze the bar. A strong gripper is a strong curler. Do the first four reps strict, then force out two additional by using a little upper body cheating movement to get the bar started. Lower the weight slowly.

Franco Columbu Barbell Curls

Do five sets of 6 reps, supersetting it with…

Lying Triceps Extensions –

This exercise is superior for building massiveness and particularly affects the inner head of the triceps. It can be done with the Cambered Curling Bar or a regular barbell. While lying down on the bench, with the elbows pointing straight up, lower the bar down to the forehead and then press it back to the starting position until the arms are fully locked out! Do one warm up set of 10 reps, then go back to the Incline Curl and alternate these two exercises for a total of four additional supersets of 6 reps on each exercise.

Superset #3

Scott Bench Curls –

This is an excellent exercise for peaking the biceps and building arm massiveness. Grip the bar with a medium grip, keep the elbows straight and close together. Lower the bar all the way down. keep the body still and force the arms to do all the work up and down. Do a total of 5 sets of 10 reps in superset style with…

Close Grip Bench Presses –

Here is a seldom used exercise that builds huge triceps. While lying on a bench grasp a heavy barbell with the hands about 6″ apart. Lower the bar to the chest in a controlled manner then push it back to the starting position to full lockout! Do not rest at either the top or the bottom. Keep your triceps tensed at all times. Repeat for 10 reps, combining it with the Scott Bench Curls for 5 supersets.

Franco Columbu Close-Grip Bench Press

Additional Training Tips

After completing this program don’t do any more exercises that involve the arms. Because the arms are made up of smaller muscles, they are easily over trained.

All of the superset groups should be done without resting. This means that you go from the biceps to the triceps without stopping. After each set of each exercise is completed, then rest for 30 seconds before going to the next superset:

Use this program three times a week. Stay with it for a minimum of six weeks for the fullest benefit.

Always try to push yourself to handle as much weight on each exercise as you can ( except for the warm-up set of the first two superset groups). This is essential for fast progress.

Use forced reps on the Semi-Cheat Curls and Lying Triceps Extensions whenever possible and your arm size and your power will increase rapidly.

Always train with enthusiasm and THINK big arms. Motivate yourself with more enthusiasm in the gym with each workout.

This is one of my favorite arm programs for fast muscle growth. It helped me win “BEST ARMS’ in both the MR. WORLD and MR. UNIVERSE contest plus both titles. It worked great for me and I am sure that it will work just as will for your.

Bodybuilding Legend Franco Columbu Front Double Biceps


  • Incline Dumbbell Curls supersetted with Lat Bar Triceps Pushdowns – 5 sets of 8 reps
  • Semi-Cheat Curls supersetted with Lying Triceps Curls – 5 sets of 6 reps
  • Scott Bench Curls supersetted with Close Bench Presses – 5 sets of 10 reps

The first set is a warmup with lighter weight for 10 repetitions. See text for complete explanation.

Buona fortuna, Franco Columbu


Older Post Newer Post

Liquid error: Could not find asset snippets/relatedblogs.liquid