The Hardgainers Guide To Building 3D Arms

April 18, 2011 by  
Filed under The Fitness Bug

Screw the intro. Let’s just jump right into it.

#1 Longer arms need a specific fix

Ok. We all know that taller/shorter guys build muscle at the same rate, as heavily discussed in the building muscle for short vs tall guys post. However, the main issue is not so much that it’s harder to build muscle for taller guys. The main issue is how to make the muscles ‘appear’ bigger.

The solution for bigger arms =



You see, height really isn’t the issue here. If you’re a hardgainer, you’re a hardgainer. And 9 times out of 10, your main issue will be fixing the struggle of building muscle on longer limbs. In most cases, you’ll be able to build stand out chest, shoulder, lats and abdominal muscles with ease. Triceps, Biceps forearms and legs however is a whole new challenge altogether. You’re probably nodding your head right now, talking back to yourself saying ‘yup, yup, that’s me’.

Now, there are many factors to why you could be struggling to build on those muscle groups as a hardgainer (Diet, workout frequency, workout intensity, workout longevity and others). But the reason I place consistency as point #1 is because the rules of building muscle are mostly the same for anyone who decides to do so.

If you have naturally smaller muscle groups on certain parts of your body, it’s not hard to workout that those muscle groups may take a little longer to build to take them to ‘stand out’ level. So the only real solution is the above + consistency. It may just take a little longer until those muscle groups begin to ‘stand out’. That’s it.

Now that we have consistency out of the way. Let’s look at the exciting stuff. The most effective ways to build 3d arms as a hardgainer.

#2 The exercises


Ok. Most of you know of my distaste for the lack of pull ups/ chin ups being performed by the average gym goer. Which is retarded, because pull ups and chin ups are hands down two of the best upper body exercises there are (Which also help increase your gains in the big 4 compound exercises).

And if you’ve been around the site for some time, you’ll also have picked up the points where I talk about the importance of focusing on building your triceps over your biceps, as triceps make up at least 2/3s of your upper arm (They are the real t-shirt fillers). Although that point is true, you do in fact need to focus on building both. It’s just that you can get away with skipping bicep isolation exercises altogether and get the same or even better results ‘over time’ (Because building standout arms naturally, as a hardgainer will take time I’m afraid). And now for the exercises that will get you those stand out bi’s, tri’s and forearms  in record time (As long as you stick to all other aspects of the training regime).

  • Chin ups + weight assisted – Biceps
  • Pull ups + weight assisted – Triceps
  • Muscle ups – progress to these from pull ups

  • Dips

And of course, the big 4 compound exercises

Like I said earlier, triceps make up nearly 2/3s of your arms. Compound exercises are great, but they won’t always necessarily hit those…

#3 smaller muscle groups


Why is this important?

Well, this is something that I don’t see talked about too often. You see, the muscle building trend in todays world is how to build a shredded yet somewhat still bulky physique. (Unlike our 1980 ancestor friends whose goal was to get as big as a house). And when your goal is to build the ‘ripped’ physique, it’s your smaller muscles that will play a big part in getting you to look that way. Now, it is true that you can follow a training program that focuses on  building out certain parts of your body, which of course would be an ideal solution for buildng out these smaller muscles (After all, following ANY good training program is recommended for opitmal results, regardless of what your goal is – I’ll cover this at some point).

But let’s now look at the exact smaller muscles in your arms that will make that 3D effect happen for you. And the exercises you can perform to make them grow and stand out.


(Click exercise name to view video of each exercise)

Places a focus on the long head (lateral head) of the biceps brachii as the shorter head will enter into less active state as it continues to contract.



Triceps brachii (Medial head)

If you can build these smaller muscles to the point where you can see them without flexing your muscles, then you will truly stand head and shoulders above the rest and your arms will truly look 3D.

#4 Grow a pair of wings



Now, like I said before. It’s important to build both tris and bis when building muscle to get your arms looking truly 3D. And I did say to place a focus on building out your triceps. Because most of that roundness and appearance of size (from a front view of your arms) will come from the muscles at the back of your arms (triceps).

However… a common thing that I see on some people, is that they build stand out triceps (GREAT!). But have no bicep development what so ever. Which means, when you turn your  arms outwards away from your body while standing upright, your arms will look puny as hell. Not a good look when wearing that tight white tee/vest in summer. If that is a problem you face, follow all that you read above and you will be cured.

Redbull gives you wings

No it doesn’t, resistant training does.

Ok, I’ve talked about building your lats before, in this post. And here’s the extreme lats development picture that I used in that post…

Now, building a great pair of lats will do two things…

  1. Give you width and make you look bigger than you are
  2. Make your arms appear bigger than they actually are

And point no.2 is what we’ll discuss here. You see, it’s all good and great talking about how to build 3D arms, developing muscles groups that you constantly struggle with, etc, etc, etc. But it’s not always that easy. Most of us have lives outside of fitness, which we have to combine with fitness in order to live it as a lifestyle. Because this muscle building game is a marathon and not a sprint. And as a hardgainer, you will struggle to build stand out arms.


If you can build a solid pair of lats, you can cheat a little. Because your arms will have no choice but to rest against them. Which means your triceps will look bigger than they actually are.

Of course, I don’t encourage NOT building struggling triceps/biceps. But if you are sick of your long lanky arms making the rest of your body look puny, then an increase in lat development is one way to go.

In fact, forget you even read that. Work hard and build EVERYTHING!


I could probably go on and speak more in depth on this topic, but I’m going to stop before I bore you to death. (To be continued – at some point). The main thing to take away from this is that you need to focus on building rounded, truly 3D arms as a hardgainer. Do that and you will look skinny no more… from ANY angle.

And if you need to fix the diet part of your bodybuilding lifestyle to a whole new level, then check out this video from fitness model Kyle Leon. Who has designed a way for everyday people to get ripped the fitness model way. After all, those are the folks who get into that lean shape a few times a year. Diet IS the most important part of building muscle, so here is the video for you.

Build it… > Wear it right!

Born Tough

See you in the comments.

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