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 at the time) 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.

Subscribe to my Free
Gray Iron Fitness
(twice monthly)

Enter Your E-mail Address
Enter Your First Name (optional)

Don't worry — your e-mail address is totally secure.
I promise to use it only to send you The Gray Iron Fitness Newsletter.

Here is what our subscribers are saying . . .

"Thank you for your newsletter. I loved it, and please keep them coming. I found the last one very inspiring. I like the food control portion a lot." -Amy Harwood

"My wife and I are just now starting to get off the couch and back in shape . . . we have a ways to go but you two are an inspiration." -Joey & Lynn Everhart

"Thanks Logan for your inspiring newsletter each month. I have taken your advice and am riding my stationary bike 20 minutes each morning and just started using my Weider Crossbow. I am feeling better each day." -Dennis C. Ewert (64 years old)

"As an almost-52 year old woman who's just gotten 'turned on' to weightlifting, I really appreciate your newsletter and look forward to getting it." -Wanda Araujo

"Really enjoyed your thoughts on retirement in the latest newsletter." -Larry, 56

"Great articles. I look forward to your newsletter and the interesting and informative articles you share." --Pete

"I love your newsletter. May it go on forever."

- TJ Granack