Massive, Muscular Arms — by David Barr

Title: Massive, Muscular Arms
Author: David Barr
Year: 2021 (May, 15)
Publisher: Human Kinetics


Big Arms are a still a Status Symbol

Big arms are a timeless status symbol, and earn awe, admiration and respect from everybody; men, women and children alike.

Without doubt, it would be hard to find a bodybuilder who doesn’t strive to build titanic triceps and sleeve-busting biceps. Arms are certainly one of my favourite body parts to train too, so I was pleased to see a new book called “Massive, Muscular Arms: Scientifically Proven Strategies for Bigger Biceps, Triceps, and Forearms” by David Barr, while I browsed bodybuilding websites online. A quick click of the order button and my copy was on the way, but was the answer to massive, muscular arms really contained within its pages? Check out my review to find out…!

The Book is Full of info on Arm Anatomy, Growth & Muscle Contractions

The book is packed with information right from the start, telling us about arm anatomy, hypertrophy, and different types of muscle contractions.

Indeed, the first three chapters made me realize that the book is full of up-to-date science and devoid of any old-fashioned thinking. Gone are the days of just isolating your arms to build them up; training the whole body is a necessity to yield best results.

Goblet Squats, Cable Rows & Kettlebell Presses are Recommended

Goblet squats, cable rows and kettlebell presses are some of Barr’s recommendations to use for your full body approach. Likewise, bullet-proofing the joints to avoid injuries should be high on your list of priorities. You’ll find a selection of exercises to improve shoulder stability and core strength too. These are essential if you hope to stay healthy whilst training.

The middle section of “Massive, Muscular Arms” is where you’ll find the exercises that you’re looking for to add inches to your arms.

Seeing that the (pushing) triceps are the biggest arm muscles, Barr makes a wise choice in placing this chapter before the smaller (pulling) muscles, ie. the biceps. He gives a good explanation about how different shoulder positions affect the feel of tricep contractions, and the reader should bear this in mind when selecting their exercises.

Size Up: Bench Dips, Pushdowns & Muscle-Ups also Discussed

As you’d expect, old classics like bench dips and pushdowns feature in this chapter. For more advanced lifters, the modified muscle-up, and the JM Press – an awesome exercise popular amongst powerlifters – will pack some solid muscle onto your upper arms.

Barr moves on to present 13 exercises for the muscle group every gym-goer loves to train; the biceps. Like the triceps section, each exercise is accompanied with photos and clear explanations. Concentration curls and preacher curls may be familiar to you, but Harski hammer curls -an unusual lift combining a barbell and a band- are sure to present a new one for you to try.

Forearms Create a Formidable Impression: Grip Strength is also Covered

The much-neglected forearms deservedly get an array of exercises to try in the next chapter. Barr rightfully reminds us that “there are few other muscles capable of creating such an immediate impression.” Training your grip is certainly helpful if you want steel-hewn forearms, and the inclusion of some grip strength exercises is a welcome addition to these pages.

Following these three great sections, there is a whole chapter devoted to non-traditional arm exercises.

The TREADMILL to Exercise the Arms?

Barr lists some exercises which use sleds, ropes, and bands to stimulate arm growth and aid recovery. Something I’ve never seen in any training book is the use of a TREADMILL to exercise the arms. The author explains how to do press, row, and fly variations that will target your biceps and triceps. I’m definitely looking forward to attempting these next time I’m at the gym.

Good Tips on Optimizing & Faster Recovery are Given

Now that you have all these new exercises to build powerful arms, fast and effective recovery will be a necessity. Lots of sound advice and tips are given about how to optimize recovery, for example, minimising blue wavelength light to avoid disrupting sleep.

Although there isn’t a great deal about supplementation, there is some detailed information about creatine. Ideas for structuring your training programs are shown near the end of the book, including some creative minimalist “bare bones” approaches for when you have access to little or no training equipment.

To conclude, a useful glossary is included to refresh your mind on the several scientific terms used throughout the book.


If you haven’t guessed already, I was very impressed with this book. All 11 chapters are packed full of information, constantly educating the reader. Some of the science may be a little confusing for beginners, but there is a wealth of arm training information that is ideal for intermediate and advanced lifters.

If maximizing arm development is your goal, David Barr’s, “Massive, Muscular Arms” will put you on the right track.

Favourite Chapter: Non-traditional Exercises (Chapter 7)

Favourite Quote: “When you develop a set of muscular arms, don’t be surprised if your wardrobe suddenly develops a lack of long sleeves in turn.”

Favourite Exercise: JM Press

Book Rating: 9.5/10

We hope you found this review as stimulating and exciting as the possibilities you have to grow and develop your own arm muscles! What are your favourite arm exercises? Let us know in the comments below, and join in the conversation on FacebookTwitter, Instagram, and KEEP Your Fit ON!

Alan Riseborough

Alan is a strength and physique enthusiast and has 28 years' of training experience behind him. He has competed in powerlifting, arm wrestling, bodybuilding and grip strength competitions. He also includes rigorous bodyweight, sprinting and kettlebell training regularly in his routines. He believes in the transformative power of the squat which is (believe it or not) his favourite exercise!

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