Are you curious about the Jim Wendler arm workout?
Do you wonder how the creator of the 5/3/1 program trains his arms for size and strength?
Then you’ve come to the right place.
In this comprehensive guide, I will show you how to use the Jim Wendler arm workout to take your training to the next level!
Jim Wendler is one of the most successful strength coaches in the world today. He is most famous for inventing the 5/3/1 training program, which he describes as the simplest and most effective training program for raw strength.
Jim’s program is primarily designed for people who want to build maximal strength. However, Jim also has plenty of training strategies for bodybuilders who want to build muscular size.
In fact, Jim has several effective strategies for building massive arms!
Jim Wendler Stats
- Date Of Birth: February 13th, 1975
- Height: 5 Feet 10 Inches
- Weight: 240 Pounds
- Body Fat: About 15 Percent
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The Jim Wendler Arm Workouts
Jim Wendler says the 5/3/1 program on its own is very effective for building massive arms.
If you are getting stronger on basic compound exercises like the bench press, overhead press, chin ups / pull ups, rows, and dips, then your biceps and triceps are going to grow.
However, Jim knows that many bodybuilders use his training program, and if there is one thing every bodybuilder wants, it is bigger arms!
If your main goal is to build size, then Jim recommends you perform isolation exercises for your biceps and triceps at the end of your workout. Here are some of Jim’s top 2 favorite arm exercises:
Jim Wendler’s Favorite Arm Exercises:
- Exercise #1: Fat Bar Curls
- Exercise #2: Dips
Jim says these 2 exercises will make your arms grow faster than anything else.
“The two best movements for building your arm size and strength (direct movements) are Fat Bar Curls and Dips. The Fat Bar Curls help strengthen and build your biceps and forearms. Dips done correctly either body weight or loaded can help you build some big AND strong triceps. Both are functional movements in that they do more than give you size.”
Jim says that curling with a fat bar is the fastest way to build up your biceps.
Research shows that the thicker grip actually recruits more motor units in the biceps muscle, which means faster size and strength gains!
Here is a video of someone performing reverse curls with a thick bar:
Thick Bar Reverse Curls
The thick bar is a great training tool. Unfortunately, you may not have access to one. This is especially true if you train in a regular commercial gym.
If that describes you, then you can always pick up a pair of Fat Gripz. For example:
Fat Gripz Curls
For triceps, Jim Wendler recommends that you perform dips. He says dips are far superior to other isolation exercises for building triceps size and strength.
Of course, you can use whatever accessory exercises you want while running his 5/3/1 training program. However, Jim is talking from experience when he says dips are the way to go!
Jim Wendler Dips
If you really like to perform isolation exercises for your triceps, then you may want to try Jim Wendler’s “triceps hell” circuit.
The basic idea is to superset two triceps exercises together with no rest between movements.
“Triceps Hell is lactic acid punishment for your arms. The goal is simple: 2 triceps movements, supersetted and both are done for 5 sets of 10 reps.”
For example, here is the Westside Barbell powerlifting club demonstrating the “triceps hell” circuit using rolling dumbbell extensions and band pushdowns:
Jim Wendler Triceps Hell
- Exercise A1: Dumbbell triceps extensions, 5 sets of 10 reps, no rest
- Exercise A2: Rope cable pushdowns, 5 sets of 10 reps, 1-2 minutes rest
Jim says that it doesn’t matter too much which exercises you use for the superset. The Westside crew almost always supersetted lying triceps extensions with band or rope pushdowns.
However, Jim says as long as you get a massive “burn” in your triceps, then you are good to go.
“I don’t think it matters too much what implement you pick as long as your triceps go through absolute hell.”
Jim Wendler recommends most bodybuilders perform 50-100 reps for the biceps and triceps per week.
These can be performed at the end of your upper body workouts (or lower body workouts, depending on which 5/3/1 template you use) to build muscular size.
“Doing 50-100 reps of biceps work and triceps work per week is easy to fit into the main workouts. Plus, you keep the back work (chin ups/rows) and your arms will “grow” just fine.”
Now let’s look at some sample 5/3/1 upper body workouts that you can use to build massive arms. Check it out:
Jim Wendler 5/3/1 Bench Press Workout
- Exercise A1: Bench press, 3 sets of 1-5 reps**
- Exercise B1: Dips, 5 sets of 5-15 reps
- Exercise B2: Chin ups, 5 sets of 5-15 reps
- Exercise C1: Skull crushers, 50-100 total reps
- Exercise C2: Fat bar curls, 50-100 total reps
For inspiration, here is a video of Jim Wendler bench pressing:
This is a very simple but effective upper body workout.
Jim starts this routine by performing a few heavy sets of bench presses, plus his his primary accessory movements like dips and chin ups. After that, he performs his biceps and triceps isolation exercises including skull crushers and fat bar curls for 50-100 reps each.
Now let’s look at an upper body workout where Jim uses the “triceps hell” technique. Check it out:
Jim Wendler 5/3/1 Overhead Press Workout
- Exercise A1: Overhead press, 3 sets of 1-5 reps**
- Exercise B1: Dumbbell bench press, 3 sets of 8-15 reps
- Exercise B2: One-arm dumbbell row, 3 sets of 8-15 reps
- Exercise C1: Rolling dumbbell extension, 5 sets of 10 reps
- Exercise C2: Rope cable pushdown, 5 sets of 10 reps
- Exercise C3: Fat gripz dumbbell curl, 5 sets of 10-20 reps
For inspiration, here is a video of Jim Wendler performing the overhead press:
This workout is far more intense than the previous one.
The “triceps hell” technique is very intense, so make sure you are following a good muscle-building diet while following this routine!
Conclusion | The Jim Wendler Arm Workouts!
Jim Wendler is one of the most popular strength coaches in the world today, and it’s easy to see why. He has a gift for designing simple but effective workouts that produce results in the real world.
This is especially true for his arm building workouts!
Jim recommends you focus on classic mass-building movements like dips and thick bar curls to build the biceps and triceps.
If you are serious about building huge arms, then you may want to follow Jim’s lead and perform 50-100 reps of arm isolation exercises per week at the end of your 5/3/1 workouts.
This strategy may be just what you need to take your training to the next level!
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