You’ve never tried anything like the Larry Scott arm workout before! It’s guaranteed to blow up your arms to 20 inches or your money back!
- Part 1: Introduction To Bodybuilding Champion Larry Scott!
- Part 2: The Larry Scott Biceps Routine
- Part 3: The Larry Scott Triceps Routine
- Part 4: Larry Scott’s Wisdom: Tri-Sets
- Part 5: Larry Scott’s Wisdom: Preacher Curls
- Part 6: Larry Scott’s Wisdom: “Burns” In The Stretched Position
- Part 7: Conclusion
Larry Scott had a very unique way of training his biceps. In particular Larry loved performing tri-sets on the preacher bench.
In this article we will be taking a deep dive into why the Larry Scott arm workout worked so well for Larry and the lessons you can apply to your own training!
Now let’s get down to business…
Part 1: Introduction To Bodybuilding Champion Larry Scott!
Larry Scott was crowned the first ever Mr. Olympia in 1945 and successfully defended his title in 1946 before permanently retiring from the sport.
In his prime Larry Scott was 5 feet 8 inches tall and weighed in at a very lean 205 pounds!
He was also sporting one of the world’s first legitimate pair of 20 inch arms!
Keep in mind this during the “golden era” of bodybuilding in America when steroids and other performance enhancing drugs were practically non-existent.
Talk about impressive!
Larry Scott was known for many things, but most of all his mind-blowing biceps.
Larry was obviously genetically blessed in the biceps genetics department, as he has some of the “lowest” inserting bicep muscle bellies that I have ever seen! It looks like his biceps just insert straight onto his forearms!
However, great genetics alone is not enough to make you a champion.
As Arnold Schwarzenegger so famously said, the body is not the most important asset of a bodybuilder.
The mind is the most important thing!
It is the mind that pushes you to do that extra rep, to endure through the pain, to do whatever it takes to reach your goal.
Because only the mind can create that vision inside your head for where you want to be.
Larry Scott’s training mindset was perhaps even more impressive than his mind-blowing bicep genetics.
He experimented and experimented and experimented some more until he figured out exactly the type of training that works best for him.
I would like to share with you not only the exact routines that Larry used to build his incredible biceps and triceps, but also the principles that formed the foundation of his arm training program.
You can find the Larry Scott arm workout plastered all over the internet, but Revolutionary Program Design is the only place that will teach you the exact principles behind WHY his routines worked so well and how to apply these principles to your own training.
You should be warned: Larry’s arm routine is not for the faint of heart.
I remember in 2010 when I first tried Larry’s exact arm workout. I could barely lift my arms the next day they were so trashed!
You truly have to be a little bit crazy to want to train this way. But if that describes you, all aboard the crazy train!
Part 2: The Larry Scott Biceps Routine
Larry Scott had many different bicep routines that he used on the path towards becoming the world’s first Mr. Olympia champion.
However, all of his favourite bicep routines shared some common themes.
Here is one bicep routine Larry used religiously:
- A1: Dumbbell Preacher Curls, 3 x 6**, 2/0/X/0, 10 seconds rest
- A2: Barbell Preacher Curls, 3 x 6**, 2/0/X/0, 10 seconds rest
- A3: Reverse Ez-Curl Bar, 3 x 6**, 2/0/X/0, 180 seconds rest
**Perform 6 full range of motion reps then 4 partial “burns” out of the bottom position.
If you have any trouble reading it then you may want to read this article to get up to speed.
Note: Larry did not precisely define all of the loading parameters of his arm routines, such as the exercise tempo and rest intervals.
These values were included in the above routine to further optimize the arm workout.
Talk about a workout! Larry Scott’s arm routine is guaranteed to give you one of the best pumps of your life.
In case you were curious, here are some videos demonstrating how to perform each of these exercises.
Dumbbell preacher curls:
I often recommend performing preacher curls one arm at a time.
This is because research has shown that unilateral preacher curls recruits more motor units (muscle fibers) in the biceps than bilateral preacher curls.
However, performing the curls bilaterally makes a lot of sense in this routine because Larry is performing tri-sets!
Barbell preacher curls
As a general rule of thumb the ez-bar version of this exercise is a little easier on the wrists.
However, using the straight bar ala Larry Scott is also an excellent choice.
Reverse ez-bar preacher curls
Unlike the previous two curling exercises Larry’s reverse preacher curls do an excellent job of targeting the often-neglected brachialis muscle.
I am sure you already have questions about Larry Scott’s bicep routine. I know I did when I first read about his unique training style!
But before we can dive into the nitty gritty of Larry’s bicep routine we have to cover the other side of the coin: his triceps routine!
Part 3: The Larry Scott Triceps Routine
Larry Scott’s triceps were always overshadowed by his monstrous biceps. But that doesn’t mean he was a slouch in the tricep department!
Larry had full, thick tricep bellies that looked like they were just hanging off the bone!
His triceps workout shares a lot of similarities with his biceps workout, but there are some key differences.
Here is Larry Scott’s favourite triceps workout:
- A1: Lying ez-bar triceps extension to forehead, 3 x 8, 2/0/X/0, 10 seconds rest
- A2: Overhead rope cable extension, 3 x 8, 2/0/X/0, 10 seconds rest
- A3: Tricep dumbbell kickback, 3 x 8-10, 2/0/X/0, 180 seconds rest
If you are struggling to read this routine then I suggest you check out this article. It should answer most or all of your questions!
Larry uses a variety of exercises for his triceps tri-set. Let’s take a closer look at each one to make sure we understand the proper form.
Lying ez-bar triceps extension to forehead:
As usual my colleague Dr. John Russin gives a fantastic demonstration of proper exercise technique.
Overhead rope cable extension:
Tricep dumbbell kickback:
Clearly these 2 bicep and tricep routines worked like magic for Larry Scott.
But what is it about this routine that makes it so unbelievably effective for hypertrophy?
For the purposes of this article we are going to focus on Larry’s biceps workout.
Of course much of the discussion that follows also applies to his triceps workout, particularly the section on tri-sets.
In reality Larry’s bicep routines were based on three foundational principles: t
- Preacher curls
- Burns in the stretched position.
Let’s examine each of these principles in order.
Part 4: Larry Scott’s Wisdom: Tri-Sets
Larry Scott was a huge fan of tri-sets. In fact, Larry performed tri-sets in nearly all of his arm workouts, both for his biceps and for his triceps!
This is something we share in common (well, besides our good looks). I am also a huge fan of tri-sets for blasting through hypertrophy plateaus!
If you are not familiar with tri-sets, they involve performing three exercises back-to-back for the same body part with very little rest in between exercises.
Hypertrophy is a function of (load) x (time under tension).
If you want to maximize muscular hypertrophy, then you need to maximize both the load you are lifting and the total time under tension that your muscles are exposed to.
Tri-sets work so well because they dramatically prolong the time under tension of a set without compromising on the load!
Not only that, they allow you to incorporate three different exercises into a single “set,” thus recruiting and fatiguing as many motor units as possible within a muscle!
Uni-angular tri-sets were a special kind of tri-set that Larry was particularly fond of.
They involve performing three arm exercises in a row where the angle of the upper arm relative to the torso does not change.
For example, choosing three preacher curl variations (as Larry Scott liked to do) is an outstanding way to organize a uni-angular tri-sets workout.
It is almost 80 years sense Larry Scott was crowned the greatest bodybuilder in the world, and most bodybuilders are STILL unaware of the benefits of tri-sets.
Don’t make this mistake!
One final note about tri-sets:
Larry Scott was always careful about how many sets of tri-sets he performed in any given workout.
Over time he found that he got his best results performing only three tri-sets each for biceps and triceps per workout.
Anytime he did more he started to feel like he was overtraining from excessive training volume.
Some strength coaches such as Charles Poliquin have recommended up to 5 or more tri-sets per workout if you are having a great day.
However, for the average trainee, it is probably a good idea to play it conservatively and stick to 3 total tri-sets per workout.
Part 5: Preacher Curls
The preacher curl was Larry Scott’s trademark bicep exercise.
In fact, Larry popularized the preacher curl so much for developing the biceps that many strength coaches (myself included!) refer to the preacher curl as the “Scott Curl” from time to time!
So what is it that makes the preacher curl so effective?
There are a few factors.
If you are doing something like standing barbell curls it becomes very, very easy to “cheat” and use momentum to lift the weight instead of your arms.
With preacher curls cheating is almost impossible! You are left with nothing but your biceps to lift the load.
As I’ve talked about before, the more you can isolate the working muscle during isolation movements the more effective that exercise will be.
Basically, your body does not have to “waste” energy firing other muscle groups during things like standing barbell curls and can devote all its attention to firing the biceps brachii muscle on preacher curls.
However, there is another reason: the preacher curl places an enormous stretch on the biceps brachii!
This is especially true if you lower the weight all the way down in the bottom position to the point where your elbows are fully extended.
If you have been lifting for a few years then I am sure you already figured out this next point on your own:
The muscle that is stretched the most is recruited the most.
In other words, all other things being equal, the more you stretch a muscle during an exercise the more you will activate that muscle!
All too often I see gym trainees stopping well short of full extension and miss out on the benefits of overloading the stretched position on this exercise.
Whenever I include preacher curls in one of my clients’ training routines I always emphasize the importance of fully stretching the biceps in the bottom position.
Even some very knowledgeable coaches such as Dr. Mike Israetel mistakenly recommend avoiding the fully stretched position on preacher curls!
Dr. Israetel’s argument is that by fully extending the elbow you limit the amount of weight that you can lift.
The problem with his train of thought is that when it comes to hypertrophy training, it is not about how much weight you can lift on an exercise, but your ability to recruit and fatigue the target muscle group!
The stretched position is the MOST IMPORTANT part of a preacher curl and you should look for ways to spend MORE time in the stretched position, not less!
Larry Scott never made this mistake though. And he was certainly rewarded for his efforts!
Part 6: “Burns” In The Stretched Position
Larry Scott absolutely LOVED to perform partial range of motion repetitions on the preacher curl after reaching failure at 6 reps.
He would start with his arms fully extended and then raise his arms up 2-3 inches before letting his arms fully extend again.
After reaching failure on the main part of the set it was all Larry Scott could muster to lift his arms 2-3 inches!
For example, here is a bodybuilder giving an excellent demonstration of how to perform partials in the stretched position of a preacher curl:
Note: the video starts after the lifter has achieved failure and right before he starts doing his partial reps.
I would be cautious about diving straight into partial reps on the preacher curl without doing some full range of motion work first for injury prevention reasons!
This is an absolutely awesome way to overload the stretched position of an exercise or a muscle, as I talked about in my article on manipulating the strength curve.
What does the science say about “burns?”
Bodybuilders have long believed that these “burns” are incredibly effective for improving hypertrophy, especially in the part of the biceps closer to the elbow.
For a while the research could not back this up. However, newer research shows us that is no longer true!
It appears that what bodybuilders like Larry Scott were ahead of the curve after all! Bro-science be damned, burns in the stretched position really work!
But don’t just take my word for it. My colleague John Meadows has been using “burns” in the stretched position of exercises for the chest, lats, and hamstrings (among other body parts) for his entire training career!
For example, here is John Meadows himself using partial reps on leg curls to overload the stretched position:
This technique can be used on many body parts as a post-failure technique.
More and more research is coming out highlighting the beneficial effects of placing a muscle in a stretched position mid-exercise.
So get after it and overload the stretched position with partial “burn” reps like Larry Scott!
Part 7: Conclusion
Larry Scott was a genius when it came to bodybuilding training and clearly in a class of his own.
There is no denying that his incredible genetics helped him to become the bodybuilding champion of the world.
However, in my opinion his dedication and brilliant training methods were an even more important factor in his success.
If you have a higher than normal pain tolerance I highly recommend you give Larry Scott’s arm workout a try.
Another great option would be to figure out a way to incorporate three of Larry’s favourite training tools into your own training: tri-sets, preacher curls, and “burns.”
Of course I offer online coaching services for highly dedicated individuals who are willing to put in the work to reach their goals in record time. You can read more about
Thank you for reading and I wish you the best of luck in your strength training endeavors!
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