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“The One-Arm-A-Day Arm Cure”

By George A. Baselice

A.C.E., I.S.S.A., A.F.P.A., A.A.P.T.E

Instructor for the Personal Training Course Accredited through Hofstra University


          Don’t be shy. I want an honest answer to the following question and shhhhh, I promise not to tell anybody. Has anyone out there tried The One-Day Arm Cure by Charles Poliquin, or am I the only nut who can pretend to afford an entire day devoted to training arms? Well, I gotta tell ya, I’ve had better Sundays at my mother-in-laws’ house! And my arms got a better pump just helping stir her tomato sauce! This is one nutty program. I can’t give full credit to Mr. Poliquin for this brainstorm, nor does he credit himself for it. The method was developed and popularized in the various muscle magazines of the 60’s, Mr. Poliquin just, ugh, refined it. He took a few of his favorite arm exercises such as the seated Zottman curl and the California press and had you perform them every half-hour. Every few hours you ate a certain magical combination of foods and supplements but no bathroom time-outs. I guess I cheated because I added in a few squirts and one dump. Hey, I went from 9am to 7pm. What was I thinking! Did I gain between 3/8 to ½ inch on my arms five days after completing this program as the article claimed? NO. Did my arms shrink for the first 24 hours after this workout as the article also claimed? YES. And they’re still shrinking! As negative as I sound, I’m in no way whacking on Charles Poliquin. He’s helped change sports conditioning and bodybuilding training for the better. I applied many of his training protocols to the 12-week exercise & nutrition program outlined in my book “The Turning Point” which won me the World’s Best Personal Trainer Contest www.worldsbesttrainer.com. So I credit much of my skills as a personal trainer to his teachings, except this one. But here’s his chance (and yours) to call me and my training methods nuts (we’ve been called worse) because I came up with a nutty arm routine of my own: “The One-Arm a Day Arm Cure”.

          Your mission Mr. Phelps, if you decide to accept it, (sorry, but I’m a big Mission: Impossible fan) is to work just one arm (both triceps and biceps, 8sets of 8 reps total) each day alternating six days a week for six weeks. One day your right arm; the next day your left. Do no other exercises except alternating one of the following each day: Squats (4x10), Bench Press (4x10), and Bent-Over Barbell Rowing (4x10).

*Note the Importance of the other “Big Three” exercises - You will fail to get big arms just by working your arms. The whole body must be trained, but not overtrained. By utilizing only the Squat, Bench and Row, we give the body what I call a “ripple effect”. No other exercises (with the exception of the Deadlift) give as much stimulation to the muscles involved and throughout the entire body. These big bang exercises are also powerful growth hormone stimulators and work your cardiovascular system to an extent unequaled to any “aerobic” workout. They’re simply outstanding. Sure they’re tough, but the indirect high growth potential for your arms far outweighs the effort required.

          Before I jump right into the basic concept of this program, let me point out that this is an advanced routine, one that would be far to difficult for a beginner (someone with less than a year of fundamental resistance training). I’m about to recommend a course of action by which the advanced bodybuilder can improve the size and shape of his or her arms significantly. At the same time, the actual duration of your workouts will decrease. Don’t panic – you read correctly! Less time – but definitely more effort. You’ll have to focus and concentrate like never before. Just make sure you follow the usual guidelines that are designed for you to get the most out of any such workout program; warm-up sufficiently, end a set before your form breaks down, pay attention to proper nutritional, supplemental, and sleep needs, etc. I’m dispensing with detailed recommendations on these areas as I feel most experienced bodybuilders have sufficient knowledge of them already. If not, refer to my book “The Turning Point” and/or Chris Aceto’s outstanding book “Championship Bodybuilding”.

*Follow these five major guidelines:

1) Concentrate on two basic arm exercises only (one for biceps/one for triceps), per workout. The search for some kind of magic exercises or program to suddenly create twenty-one inch monsters out of matchsticks is useless and time consuming. Forget that – you want to work harder, not longer. I don’t try to make weight training more complicated than it needs to be. Forget all these “advanced mad Russian programs” or the “muscle building secrets of the Bulgarians”. I’ve gotten the best results for my clients and students by sticking with the basics.

2) Work as hard and heavy as possible. I know, I know – you’ve heard this one before, but this time you’re not only going to do it, you’re going to DO IT RIGHT! You should be using your maximum weight as much as possible in this program. I would define a maximum as one you truly struggle with on the last few reps, with a minimum of cheating. The last rep should leave you breathless and too “cramped” to support the weight any longer. And remember to constantly keep upgrading your poundages. What has been a gut-busting struggle to lift three weeks ago, should no longer be today, and weight has to be steadily and constantly added to your routine to ensure the muscles are always worked to their maximum.

3) Longer isn’t better (at least that’s what I tell my wife Carmela!). This is the answer for all those of you who have just been thinking that they can maintain such intensity for their usual fifteen or twenty sets each of bicep & triceps work – You can’t! But what you want to achieve is as thorough a working of the muscle as possible in as little time as possible. The late, great bodybuilding “guru” Vince Gironda defined true intensity as “doing more work in less time”. Look at your workout time as an uninterrupted battle between the weight and yourself. This rules out conversation between sets, lingering at the water fountain, striking and holding a spectacular front double bicep pose for all those wearing spandex, and gazing too long at all those wearing spandex! Work at a steady, efficient pace at all times and limit your rest between sets and exercises to bare minimum – say half a minute to a minute at the most.

4) Keep your movements slow and strict. Even though I have just preached the necessity of limiting wastages of time, that doesn’t mean you try to appear in the Guinness book under the heading “World’s Fastest Curler”. Momentum should not be your training partner! The movements should be a slow (not super slow), smooth and controlled eccentric with an explosive concentric - not jerked up and down and slow enough to avoid letting gravity and momentum do the work for you.

5) Visualize your goals, and concentrate on them. Remember that it was Arnold who started imaging his biceps filling the whole room he was in. Frank Zane will give you the same pitch for utilizing the mind properly to shape the body. Watch intently the action of the bicep or tricep as you train in a sleeveless shirt. This is why one limb training is effective. All your effort, concentration and sheer force is on that one muscle to achieve that one goal – size. Keep that image of the muscle swelling before your eyes for as long as you can after. Believe that the food you’re digesting that day is going straight to the arm you’re training that day to nourish it. By simply thinking size, size will follow.


This will be your plan…



Squat – 4 sets, 10 reps


The arm workout (right arm only*)

*Size and/or strength imbalances left to right are extremely common. If you have an imbalance you may benefit from applying the “King Weak-Side Rule”. Named after Ian King, its self-proclaimed founder, although Paul Chek has also been emphasizing this technique for years. Arnold was the first that I ever recall recommending the weak side rule as it pertains to bodybuilding. Check out his “Building Jumbo-Wide Shoulders” booklet from his 1976 mail order bodybuilding program. Good luck finding it and no, mine is not for sale! Neither is my Charles Atlas ‘Dynamic-Tension course! Arnold states under the one arm side cable laterals exercise description: “If you have one arm weaker than the other, a good trick is to do the weak arm first”.  So let’s listen to Arnold and his 22-inch guns and start Monday’s workout with your weaker arm to take advantage of Sunday’s rest. Your concentration and strength will be at their most efficient. If you’re unsure which arm is the weak one, you will by the end of the first week! If you find an imbalance of less than 20%, add an extra set on the weak side. If the imbalance is closer to 50% cut the rep range down to 6 (without going to complete muscular fatigue) on the strong arm compared to the 8 reps for the weak side. When you do initially go back to your regular workout routine and return to doing both arms in the same workout, do 2 extra sets on the weak side for every 1 set on the strong side.


Seated, Offset-Grip Dumbbell Curl – 4 sets, 8 reps

Sit upright on a regular bench holding a dumbbell in your right hand with the thumb side of your hand resting against the inside surface of the dumbbell plate. Start the exercise with a neutral grip (as if holding a hammer), and curl the weight simultaneously supinating your wrist (turn your palms up) as you complete the curling movement. The purpose of the offset-grip is to provide resistance upon supination; otherwise each side of the bell would counterbalance each other as it does during the most overly used, commonly performed rotational curl. This places emphasis on the supinator muscle of the forearm along with the biceps brachii. The brachioradialis also assists with supination. For added resistance upon supination, I stick a magnetic 1-¼ lb. Platemate to the heavier end of the dumbbell.


Decline Dumbbell Triceps Extension – 4 sets, 8 reps

I find this exercise to be one of the most effective for recruiting all three heads of the tricep. You’ll find it also allows for a greater stretch than most triceps exercises and the extended range of motion against gravity will literally shock your muscles into new growth. Start by positioning yourself supine on a decline bench with a dumbbell in your right hand.  Make sure to hook your feet under the padded rollers or you'll slide off like a sack of potatoes, making a big loud thump on the ground with your head and blaming it on me when the whole gym starts laughing. Once you get in position, lift the dumbbell overhead in a bench press position. Your grip should be neutral, as if you’re holding a hammer with your palm facing in towards you. Keeping your elbow pointed directly upward (and don’t let it flare out), lower the bell until the plate makes contact with your right shoulder. Lift the bell back up to the staring position by extending your elbow. Your elbow should be the only moving joint during the exercise. To jazz this up a little, rotate the palm down towards the floor as you are reaching the 90-degree angle point of the decent. Make this a slow and gradual rotation as you enter the point gravity has its most pull. Then as you come back up to the top, gradually rotate back to the neutral grip. This added load on the triceps at the toughest part of the move is a great variation that will have your tri’s smokin’.



Barbell Bench Press – 4 sets, 10 reps


The arm workout (left arm only)

Seated, Offset-Grip Dumbbell Curl – 4 sets, 8 reps


Decline Dumbbell Triceps Extension – 4 sets, 8 reps




Bent-Over Barbell Row – 4 sets, 10 reps


The arm workout (right arm only)

Seated, Offset-Grip Dumbbell Curl – 4 sets, 8 reps


Decline Dumbbell Triceps Extension – 4 sets, 8 reps





Begin cycle over starting with left arm

Thursday-Squat/left arm; Friday-Barbell Bench Press/right arm;

 Saturday-Bent-Over Barbell Row/left arm




Rest, Recover, Rebuild



            Follow the program exactly as given for six weeks. Rest a week, then follow it for another month. Then, drop all arm specialization (if you don’t you’ll go stale). Go back to your regular workout routine. Let a good two months pass and go at the routine again, same procedure. If you can stand it you can try it a third and even fourth time, bringing your arms, ultimately, up to really impressive proportions and detail. If you like, you may switch arm exercises a bit after following the outlined schedule twice. I suggest for the biceps using the One-Arm Seated Incline Dumbbell Curl or the (unsupported) One-Arm Bent-Over Dumbbell Concentration Curl. For the triceps, you can try the One-Arm Reverse Grip Cable Pushdown or the One-Arm Cable Kickback. Just keep the Seated, Offset-Grip Dumbbell Curl and the Decline Dumbbell Triceps Extension as “staples” of the program. And of course you can perform the Deadlift in place of the Squat or Bent-Over Barbell Row once in a while. Although the name may imply it’s dead, the dreaded deadlift should be alive and well in every bodybuilding, powerlifting, beginning or advanced athlete’s program. Include the deadlift in the One-Arm a Day Arm Cure for a month, and see if you don’t start to notice dramatic gains in strength and muscularity. Periodized performance of deadlifts with progressive increases in poundage will pack massive muscle on your legs, back, and ARMS. Refer to the vast majority of quality publications by any or all three of the strength and conditioning specialists I previously mentioned (Chek, King, Poliquin) for the proper technique and performance of the deadlift, bench press, squat, or bent-over row.

Now it’s up to you. How badly do you want those big, sculpted arms?


Train Safe, Smart, and with INTENSITY!

George A. Baselice, www.worldsbesttrainer.com








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