A PhD-sponsored gun show – something you don’t hear every day. Don’t be alarmed, this is simply Jim Stoppani going at it to give you the biggest arms possible.
Is a more scientific approach gonna be better than good “ol sets n’ reps? Let’s find out.
About the Author – Jim Stopanni
You have by no doubt seen some of Jim’s videos by now – he’s the really tattooed bald guy that knows way too much about fitness.
If you’re reading this Jim, no offense, but that is how I described you for 12 years. I was 16 ok don’t judge.
Jim, a doctor in Physiology, graduated from the University of Connecticut and went on to make some pretty big waves in the fitness world. Jim is a rather calm and collected individual that simply aims to get the job done right.
Jim always had an affinity for training and getting the most out of his body. This meant he messed around with different training techniques as well as dietary changes.
- Encyclopedia of Muscle & Strength, 2006
- LL Cool J’s Platinum 360 Diet and Lifestyle, 2010
- Stronger Arms & Upper Body, 2008
- Nutritional Needs of Strength/Power Athletes – Essentials of Sports Nutrition and Supplements, 2008
Further than just being a great author, Jim has also been the nutritionist/trainer to some high-level clients like Dwanye “The Rock” Johnson.
As mentioned before, Jim is a very scientific man that really aims to take the results and evidence we find with higher-level athletes and sprinkle what is necessary into the “everyday” client’s program.
Most of us aren’t high-level athletes – no matter how many BCAAs we drink. This simply means we cannot train/eat exactly the same as those athletes, but we can cherry-pick what is applicable to us.
This is exactly what Jim has done with the 6 Weeks to Sick Arms.
Jim Stoppani’s 6 Weeks to Sick Arms Overview
Arms. The “sign” of strength and fitness according to a few, we kinda all just want bigger and better-looking arms. Split primarily into the front (Bicep) and back (Tricep) parts, you’re going to have to do more than just curls and pushdowns in the 6 Weeks to Sick Arms to get the best results possible.
- Fitness level: Intermediate
- Duration: 6 Weeks
- Workouts per week: 2 – 3 Workouts per Week
- Average workout duration: 45 Minutes
- Equipment needed: Full gym
- Goal: Build muscle
Few people understand just how difficult it can be to actually carry a great amount of Arm Mass. Sure, some folk do this purely because of genetics, but most of us need to do about a billion curls to get a peak.
Damn you genetics!
Jim designed the program to work in tandem with your current workout plan. This means that you should not be following this plan on its own.
Unless you’re entering a competition where only arm size matters? Wait, I think that’s called a bar…
With 2 – 3 workouts per week, you could easily move this into your current workout schedule without changing too much. Maybe remove arm training from your other days to maximize recovery for Jim’s training.
You’ll also make use of something interesting called “Periodization”. This is simply doing certain movements at certain intensities and volumes to achieve certain results.
For instance, training a muscle way too much could lead to hyper-adaptation, which when followed up with low volume training could lead them to “pop” and look huge!
Jim does not really give you any guidelines when it comes to training your other body parts but is eager to remind you that the overarching goal is to gain muscle mass on the arms – not your legs.
That being said, doing the MEV – Minimum Effective Volume on the other muscle parts can lead to greater muscle retention. MEV is the minimum amount of volume (per week) a muscle needs to grow or just stick around.
Another important thing to remember about arm training is muscle groups. Yup, if you weren’t aware, both the Biceps and Triceps are split into other muscle groups.
|Muscle Group Name||Scientific Name||Exercises to target this part|
|Short Head||Biceps Brachii||Concentration Curls, Preacher Curls|
|Long Head||Biceps Brachii||Incline Dumbbell Curls, Cable Curls|
|Arm “Width”||Brachialis||Hammer Curl Variations|
|Muscle Group Name||Scientific Name||Exercises to target this part|
|Long Head||Triceps Brachii||Kickbacks, Skullcrushers|
|Lateral Head||Triceps Brachii||Dips, Tricep Pushdowns|
|Medial Head||Triceps Brachii||Close Grip Bench, Rope Pushdowns|
To get effective growth, you’re gonna want to hit all the heads of both the biceps and triceps. Some of these will also be more “sensitive” to higher weight, such as the Medial Head of the triceps. This means you might need to make use of different weight schemes as well to get optimal results.
In both the bicep and tricep training will you make use of certain training techniques to get the most out of your sessions, such as:
- Drop sets: Going to failure on weight, and then removing some weight, and going to failure again
- Forced reps: Someone helps you “force” some reps once you have reached failure
- Rest-Pause: You do a set amount of reps on a weight, rest for a period, and then go again
- Negative Reps: You make the eccentric part of the rep (lowering the weight) a lot slower (3 – 5 seconds)
- Supersets: Doing one exercise directly after the other
As the week progresses on this plan, your total weekly volume for arms will increase systematically to make sure your body adapts accordingly. You’ll start off with one session per week, and systematically work your way up to 3.
Overall, you’re going to have to practice progressive overload. This is the mechanism of doing more overtime, more load, more reps, more time under tension, etc. This is really the only way muscles will grow, by providing a greater stimulus.
Jim Stoppani’s 6 Weeks to Sick Arms Details
The program might seem simple off the face of it – I mean, how technical can arm training be? Well, a lot actually. Let’s break it down into two main sections: Bicep and Tricep Training.
Bicep training is often overdone, and even more so it is done ineffectively. The biceps are not the largest part of the arm, and in reality, only account for 30-ish percent of the entire volume.
That doesn’t mean we should only be training the triceps. Biceps are still exceptionally important, even from a strength aspect. Ask any powerlifter about the risks of deadlifting with a mixed grip, and the answer is that you can tear a bicep real easily.
The main movements you’re going to be focussing on for bicep growth in this plan are
- Barbell Curls
- Incline Dumbbell Curls
- Preacher Curls
- EZ Bar Curls
- Concentration Curls
If you paid attention earlier, you’ll notice that the combination of these will cover all the heads of the bicep, which is a pretty scientific approach to getting the most amount of growth.
The rep schemes will vary from 8 reps to as high as 20 reps per set. A misconception in the fitness world is that biceps need a ton of reps to grow. Going back to the basics of hypertrophy, a muscle will only grow if
- You provide enough calories and enough protein
- You provide progressive overload by increasing load or volume
- You provide the muscle with enough rest
Just because the biceps are smaller compared to other body parts, doesn’t mean it suddenly doesn’t follow the laws of nature. It will still respond to heavy, progressive overload. That being said, a combination of high reps and lower reps might give you the best chance of growth.
Compared to the biceps, the triceps are big ‘ol meaty boys. They might still be small compared to other parts of the body, but they can be enormous on the upper arm.
Their main function is straightening the arm and supporting the shoulder, so they’re pretty busy. That being said, if you don’t have strong triceps, you can forget about ever having a big bench press.
A term you’ll hear often is “bodybuilder biceps with powerlifter triceps”, meaning that the stronger folk (powerlifters) have better triceps. Probably because triceps respond really well to lower reps with higher weights.
Just as with biceps, however, they will still respond to any progressive overload given. This is why you’ll be doing some different rep schemes for triceps. The most important tricep movements you’ll be doing are
- Skull Crushers
- Overhead Extensions
- Rope Extensions
- Tricep Extensions
- Close Grip Bench
As always, you’ll have to be performing progressive overload on these lifts to get your triceps the best results. One word of warning, however, watch out for tendinitis.
Tendinitis is inflammation around the joints and tendons that will be extremely painful. Not only will this make everyday life unpleasant, but it’ll make training nearly impossible. Make sure to monitor your tendinitis, especially when training triceps.
2 Jim Stoppani’s 6 Weeks to Sick Arms Pros
- Has one goal and one goal only: When it comes to really put on muscle mass, that can take a long time. Longer than you think. The act of hypertrophy is so calorically and time-consuming, that most people don’t have the patience for it. It’s nice to find a program that has one goal, and one goal only.
- As advertised, quite scientific: Jim is an incredibly smart individual, so it would make sense that both his exercise and rep scheme selections would be based on science. You’ll be hitting all the heads of the muscles in question, from all angles, to get the best stimulation possible.
2 Jim Stoppani’s 6 Weeks to Sick Arms Cons
- Completely lacking nutrition advice: Not everyone was born with a silver food scale up in an Ivory Tower. Not everyone has the exact knowledge of the Protein, Carb, and Fat breakdown of that particular chicken breast. A teensy little bit of advice would’ve gone really far, especially since the goal is mass
- Not sure if it actually works: 6 weeks is not a long time in the world of bodybuilding. A usual off-season (the time when you gain muscle) is between 16 – 20 weeks. I’m not entirely sure 6 weeks is enough time to really gain a lot of arm mass. Plus, there is lore in the bodybuilding world of “for every inch of arm mass you want to gain, you need to gain 12 – 15 lbs overall”. With the lacking nutrition advice, not sure this program is ready to cut the mustard.
Jim Stoppani’s 6 Weeks to Sick Arms – Final Thoughts
Arm training. You either love it, or you can deadlift 7 plates and wear hoodies to the gym because you have nothing left to prove. Good on you. Regardless, we all should and probably are still doing some form of arms training.
While this program is advised for “intermediates”, I feel it is more applicable to beginners. The reps and sets aren’t that challenging, and the intensity methods are really not that intense.
This would make a decent chance for a beginner. An intermediate? I’m not so sure.
Jim also doesn’t really talk about progressive overload a lot. To really grow muscle mass, you need overload, and you need a ton of food! And the lack of nutrition advice makes this program a bit stale to me. Sure, you can get nutrition advice elsewhere, but…Jim, come on.
You’re the bald guy with a lot of tattoos that knows so much. I did expect a bit more.
Rating: 2.0 out of 5