Larry Scott is one of the most famous bodybuilders of all time. He won the Mr. Olympia contest two times in a row from 1965 – 1966 and was the first bodybuilder to build a true pair of 20-inch arms. Larry accomplished all of this during the “golden era” of bodybuilding before anyone used performance enhancing drugs. Talk about impressive!
Larry had many strong body parts. However, he was best known for his unbelievable biceps and triceps development. His arms were so big and so round that he looked like an alien from another planet!
Larry built his biceps and triceps using a special training method called “tri-sets.” A tri-set is a series of three exercises performed in a row for a body part with only 10 seconds rest in between exercises.
Here is what a tri-set looks like in the real-world:
- Perform exercise #1, rest 10 seconds
- Perform exercise #2, rest 10 seconds
- Perform exercise #3, rest 2-3 minutes, repeat!
After performing your third exercise you rest for 2-3 minutes and repeat the circuit. Your goal is to perform the tri-set a total of 3-5 times.
Here is the exact bicep workout that Larry Scott used in his prime. Check it out:
The Larry Scott Bicep Workout
- A1: Dumbbell Preacher Curls, 3-5 x 6-8**, 2/0/1/0, 10 seconds rest
- A2: Barbell Preacher Curls, 3-5 x 6-8**, 2/0/1/0, 10 seconds rest
- A3: Reverse Ez-Curl Bar, 3-5 x 6-8**, 2/0/1/0, 180 seconds rest
**Perform 6-8 full range of motion reps then 4-6 partial reps out of the bottom position.
Here is a great training video for this workout:
Larry’s favorite bicep workout was short and sweet. He performed three different types of preacher curls on his favorite preacher curl station. At the end of each set Larry performed 4-6 partial reps out of the bottom position of the exercise. Larry called these “burns” and he felt they were absolutely key for building the part of the biceps right near the elbow.
Larry performed 3-5 total rounds of this tri-set for his biceps depending on how he was feeling. If he was having a great day he performed 5 total tri-sets. However, most of the time he performed 3 hard tri-sets and called it a day.
Larry’s favorite triceps workout was very similar: he performed three different types of triceps extensions as part of a tri-set. Check it out:
The Larry Scott Triceps Workout
- A1: Lying ez-bar extensions (to forehead), 3-5 x 8, 2/0/1/0, 10 seconds rest
- A2: Overhead rope cable extension, 3-5 x 8, 2/0/1/0, 10 seconds rest
- A3: Tricep dumbbell kickback, 3-5 x 8-10, 2/0/1/0, 180 seconds rest
One of the things that I really like about this workout is Larry uses different exercises to overload all three heads of the triceps.
The lying ez-bar extensions are great for overloading the long head and lateral head of the triceps. The overhead rope cable extensions are perfect for stretching out the long head even further. Finally the tricep dumbbell kickbacks do a great job of targeting the medial and lateral heads of the triceps. After 3-5 rounds of this tri-set all of the muscle fibers in your triceps will be absolutely destroyed!
Larry Scott did a great job at designing his arm routines. Here are three training tips that I think you should take away from Larry Scott’s arm workouts:
- Larry Trains With Tri-Sets!
- Larry Trains With Preacher Curls!
- Larry Trains With Partial Reps!
Let’s take a closer look at each of these factors.
Tip #1: Larry Trains With Tri-Sets!
Tri-sets were one of the most popular training methods in the “golden era” of bodybuilding. Many bodybuilders in the 1960s and 1970s relied on tri-sets to increase the size of their arms.
So what’s the big deal with tri-sets? What makes them so special? Tri-sets are so effective because they increase the time under tension of your sets and force your muscles to work longer.
At the end of the day building muscle is all about maximizing two things: load and time under tension. For example:
- Hypertrophy = (Load) x (Time Under Tension)
If you lift a heavy weight for 1 rep then your arms won’t grow very much. On the other hand if you perform 1,000 reps with the pink dumbbells then your arms won’t grow much either. You need to maximize BOTH the amount of weight you lift AND the time under tension of your sets.
I think Ronnie Coleman said it best:
“It’s called bodybuilding and the only way you can build muscle is with repetition. Heavy weight, as heavy as possible and for as many repetitions as possible.”
Tri-sets are so effective because they maximize the amount of weight you lift AND the time under tension! Just think about it: with a tri-set your set lasts three times longer than normal because you are performing 3 exercises in a row. But you can still lift a heavy weight for your first exercise so you get the benefits of heavy weight and high reps all in one set! How cool is that?
Tip #2: Larry Trains With Preacher Curls!
Larry Scott’s favorite bicep exercise was the preacher curl. Larry performed many different types of preacher curls: supinated grip ez-bar curls, pronated grip ez-bar curls, dumbbell curls and so on. Larry did every preacher curl variation he could think of!
Larry loved the preacher curl because it really let him isolate his biceps. You can’t swing the weight or use momentum because your upper arms are fixed against the preacher curl station. Larry used the preacher curl station so much that many strength coaches like Charles Poliquin call the preacher curl the “Scott curl” after Larry Scott.
If you want bigger biceps then start using the preacher curl as one of your core bicep training exercises. It is the best exercise you can do to train the short head of the biceps and one of the top 2 biceps exercises you can perform.
In case you were wondering, the other great bicep exercise is the incline curl.
Tip #3: Larry Trains With Partial Reps!
Larry Scott loved to perform partial reps at the end of his sets on preacher curls. Larry would perform 6-8 regular reps and then perform 4-6 partial reps out of the bottom position. Larry called these “burns” because of how much lactic acid they produced in the biceps.
Many bodybuilders avoid the bottom position of preacher curls where your arms are completely straight. This is a big mistake! The bottom position really stretches your biceps out and does more to stimulate growth than any other part of the exercise. If anything you should perform partial reps out of the bottom position like Larry Scott did. I think you will be shocked at how effective they are for growth.
The bottom line is Larry Scott used some really arm training routines to build his 20-inch arms and become the first-ever Mr. Olympia champion.
If you are looking for some arm routines that actually work then look no further than the Larry Scott arm workout. I think you will be shocked at how effective these tri-set routines are for stimulating growth.
“I believe in the philosophy of staying hungry. If you have a dream and it becomes a reality, don’t stay satisfied too long. Make up a new dream and hunt after that one and turn it into a reality.”
Thank you for reading and I wish you the best of luck on your strength training journey!
Supersets are one of the best hypertrophy training methods ever invented. A superset is a training method where you perform 2 exercises in a row with 10 seconds rest between exercises. In my...
Branch Warren is one of the most popular and successful bodybuilders in the world. Branch won the Arnold Classic bodybuilding competition two years in a row from 2011-2012 and is the training partner...