I do a full body workout (legs, chest, back, biceps, triceps, abs). The next day I always feel a bit sore in general. However, nowhere whenever I train have I felt sore in my biceps or triceps. For the workout, I do the following:

  • Straightleg deadlift
  • Barbell Benchpress
  • Cable Lat Pull Down
  • Tricep Cable push down
  • Barbell Curls (biceps)
  • Crunches

That is my basic routine. I do 3 sets of 8 reps of each exercise. In the case of bicep/triceps, I can never barely go past my 8th rep of the 3rd set, so I think I'm using enough weights.

Also, I've never seen good increase in arm size. I somehow link this to the fact that I never feel sore, so I am not training enough. Does this make sense? Should I do somethinig different? Is there anything 'bad' in my routine, or which can be improved?

4 Answers 4


If you're not seeing muscle increase in your arms, it's either you're not working the muscles hard enough or you're using bad forms. You don't necessarily need to change your routine.

First, check your forms and ensure that you're lifting the weights appropriately. That might require you watching a lot of videos and practise in order to use the proper forms.

Second, increase the weights you currently lift and try to complete the same sets/repetitions. With good forms, your muscles will be more challenged and they'll reciprocate by getting bigger.

Third, whole body exercises are better than isolation ones. So, keep doing those ones. If you can find free weight equivalent to the machines, use them.

Fourth, ditch the crunches; they're a waste of time. Replace the crunches with standing crunches and reverse crunches. Do at least 20 reps of each.

Fifth, embrace body weight exercises. Do pull-ups and chin-ups to build your lat, shoulders, triceps, and biceps. Do planks (bridges) and push-ups to build your core and biceps.

Sixth, definitely increase the weights of your barbell curls and bench presses. Those directly affect your biceps. Perform goblet squats (with weights of course) to increase your triceps, biceps, and thighs.

Seventh, progressively increase the weights as you realize your body's adapted to the new weights. Bigger weights will both help you to be strong as well as build muscles.

Eighth, eat protein meals often. If possible, drink protein supplements after your workouts.

Ninth, don't do all these at once. Mix and match as desired. Do them as frequently as possible.

Tenth, never stop exercising :).

  • I've watched some bicep curls exercises, and it seems I was doing them in bad form. I was always doing them in front of a mirror, with my shoulders facing straight towards the mirror. The video suggested to face your bicep towards the mirror, and I was amazed how different from what I thought, I was doing it. I'll make sure I use proper form from now onwards to see if it makes any difference. Thanks for the thumbs up! Apr 9, 2014 at 13:38
  • @KarlCassar No problem; glad to have helped. If you can add the link of the videos to your comment/question, it might help others who have similar problems. Thanks :) Apr 9, 2014 at 13:51

Soreness (DOMS: Delayed onset muscle soreness) is not a good indicator of work effort. Check out this answer for more info, specifically on the types of things that cause DOMS and the things that don't.

If you want sore triceps, do heavy skull crushers. If you want sore hamstrings, (carefully) do good mornings. They make you sore because they are eccentric: they lengthen the muscles under tension.

Regarding your arms not increasing, your listed exercises seem more like a "routine" and less like a "program". If you want results, stick with an accepted and highly regarded program like Starting Strength or Strong Lifts 5x5.


Perhaps you should try to switch up your routine, and focus muscle groups instead of all over workouts.

Perhaps 4 days a week training?

Example of...

Monday: Chest & Triceps

Wednesday: Back & Biceps

Friday: Shoulders + Core

Sunday: Legs

Perhaps you should try to focus more on each muscle group in an intense and short workout for about 40-60 minutes. Try different excersises instead of just the one for each muscle group. Personally when i train chest i will tend to do the following excersises...

Flat barbell press - 3 sets incline dumbell press - 3 sets Flat flies - 3/4 sets Cable crossovers - 2 sets

3 or 4 excersises on each muscle group tend to work very well for me...

Biceps for me have been very difficult to train, as i never used to put the same effort in as any other muscle groups. This is a mistake. You should take just as long training your biceps as you would a larger muscle group like your chest or back.

Try out some different routines, and over time i am sure you will see some improvements :)


Hypertrophy occurs when you push the muscle past what it is used to. Muscles thrive on regularity. In order for them to grow you need to change things up occasionally. I recommend varying a routine every 6 to 8 weeks of training. That may mean a number of things. For example, varying the sets, reps, or weight. Changing the order of body parts or exercises in a routine. Or, changing the intensity (eg. super sets). Getting 'sore' muscles is not a requirement for increasing mass. Neither is adding extra training days. However, training smart with consistency will lead to gains.

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