To Top

Building Troubled Arms with the Perfect Mass-Building Split

www.ironmanmagazine.comQ: I’ve always had trouble building arms, but I notice that on back day they pump up bigger than ever. I’m using the Perfect Mass-Building Split [Chapter 7 in the Pre-Ex 3X Mass Workout], but I’m thinking that maybe I should do arms with back because of the pump. Also, I’ve been using dumbbell pullovers as the first isolation exercise for lats in my pre-ex superset. You used stiff-arm pulldowns in the e-book, but I don’t feel those. Are DB pullovers okay for the iso move?

A: No, I don’t think you should train arms with back. Give the Perfect Mass-Building Split a chance to work. Remember, it’s a direct/indirect approach, so you do want that residual arm stimulation on back day. A big arm pump is a great indicator that you are expanding the sarcoplasm, the energy fluid in the fibers, with major mass gains to come.

As for your exercise choice, yes, dumbbell pullovers are an effective isolation move in a pre-ex superset. I assume you’re doing the pullovers and then going immediately to pulldowns, which brings in your fresh biceps to push your lats further into the growth zone. It’s a good lat combo that diffuses the weak link, the biceps—and those two exercises are precisely why your arms are blowing up big.

You’re getting biceps work on the pulldowns. That’s a given, but you’re also blasting your triceps. Most people don’t realize that pullovers activate the largest segment of the triceps, the long head. So you’re pumping up the beefy long head and then moving to pulldowns.

By supersetting pullovers with pulldowns, you’re indirectly working your bi’s and tri’s , resulting in eye-popping upper-arm size—as in full engorgement.

Add to that the fact that your lats and teres major, right under your arm, are pumping up to push out your triceps, and you can see why your pumped arms look even bigger. It’s like sticking a tennis ball in your armpit and smashing your triceps against it—your upper arm will look like a 20-pound ham—or a 15-pounder if you’re a small guy.

In fact, I often use dumbbell pullovers to finish off triceps on arm day as well—just one or two sets for long-head stretch.

One suggestion for back day: If your gym has a pullover machine, try it. That exercise gives you lat stretch and full contraction; dumbbell pullovers only provide stretch.

Editor’s note: Steve Holman is the author of many bodybuilding best-sellers and the creator of Positions-of-Flexion muscle training. For information on the POF DVD and Size Surge programs, see the ad sections in this issue. Also visit  and for info on X-Rep, 4X and 3D POF methods and e-books.  IM

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

More in Arms

  • Order In The Workout Can Effect Muscle Growth

    Most of us train more than one muscle group in a workout, unless we train seven days a week and only...

    Iron Man MagazineNovember 10, 2015
  • Man Handle – 5 Exercises For Better Grip Strength

    The phrase “functional fitness” gets thrown around all the time, but what does that actually mean? At its root, a functional...

    Iron Man MagazineNovember 6, 2015
  • Pronated Grip Best To Grow A Big Back

    If you’re trying to grow a big back, the lat pull-down is probably a go-to machine for you. Make sure you’re...

    Iron Man MagazineOctober 5, 2015
  • Get Bigger Arms In 6 Weeks With This Program

    With summer fast approaching, people are in a frenzy to put the final touches on their physique so they can be...

    Iron Man MagazineSeptember 28, 2015
  • Dumbbell Wall Presses

    If you want a balanced chest—a thick slab of muscle from top to bottom—you want to develop your entire chest. That...

    Iron Man MagazineApril 30, 2015
  • Goodin’s Arm-Training Secrets

    Over the years I’ve had quite a number of men with many years of lifting experience come to me and tell...

    Dave GoodinMarch 29, 2015
  • One-Arm Lever Deadlifts

    Want to improve your big lifts fast? Improve your core strength. The deep muscles of the core—the obliques and transverse abdominis—are...

    Iron Man MagazineJanuary 1, 2015
  • Hanging Bodyweight Pullovers

    Whether you’re competing or you just want to look good at the beach, a set of six-pack abs is a must-have...

    Iron Man MagazineSeptember 8, 2014
  • Triceps: Unconventional Combo to Grow

    I recently received a note from a trainee who was having elbow pain training triceps. Heavy skull crushers, or lying extensions,...

    Steve HolmanSeptember 2, 2014