Build bigger arms in a day the Peary Rader way


Younger seniors, especially, may like this workout and can expect tangible results. It is not for beginners. Beginners should first build a strength and fitness base. See here.


Saturday was a stay-at-home day. Patty had a school project to finish and I had a few household repairs I'd been putting off. We were housebound for the day, and I decided to include a workout program I remembered from the 1950s.

People who have been around as long as I have may recall Peary Rader's wonderful, pre-steroid era Iron Man magazine, before it was sold to new owners. One program Peary Rader wrote about explained how to gain up to 3/4 of an inch to your arms in a day. (Steroids, thank God, were not involved.)

In a nutshell, here's what you were to do:

First, pick a day (the program takes 12 hours) when there won't be many distractions. Select a barbell, or two dumbbells, or a resistance band that allows you to curl 10 reps without going to failure. This is an important point: You want the reps to be reasonably arduous and produce a fair pump, but absolutely no exhaustion.

Next, pick a weight or resistance that produces the same effect while doing 10 reps of triceps extensions or press-downs.

For the next 12 hours, every hour, on the hour, you superset doing one set of biceps curls for 10 reps; and immediately follow that with one set of triceps extensions or press-downs.

The one hour between supersets should be an active rest period. Desk-work or or light household chores are perfect. Massaging your upper-arms a bit is a good thing, too.

Feeding the machine

Eat your normal daily diet (assuming it is a healthful one) during the 12-hour period, but also brew up a protein shake and sip on it throughout the day.

Okay, did I gain 3/4 of an inch to my upper-arms? No. That would have been an unlikely outcome for someone my age (I was 73) and had already been working out regularly for years. However, two days later, I did measure and seemed to have added a hair under 1/4-inch, and my arms felt more solid that before.

Any muscle gain is a plus. But at my age, simply remaining as fit and strong as nature, a good diet, and my training allow is primary. I had fun making the effort, and I got some desk-work cleared up. It was a pretty good day.

Younger seniors, say in their 50s, may expect greater muscle gain than mine.

Important: Give your arms a couple of day's rest before the 12-hour workout. And don't workout your arms, specifically, for a couple of days afterward. . . . If you like the results, you can do the workout again several months later. But doing it more often than that is pushing it and will probably be counterproductive. . . . In the Iron Man course the muscle gain was for your arms. However, supersetting other isolated body parts should also work in much the same way. . . . Taking Creatine might also add to muscle volume increase.

The 12-hour pump workout is not for beginners. They should start with a beginners' program here.


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