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Build Massive Arms with Elias Petsas

Elias Petsas had a fabulous upper body with wonderful proportions and shape combined with outstanding definition. His upper body was so well proportioned that his 19-inch arms did not look out of proportion.

by Achilles Kallos-- 1972

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Over the past year whilst traveling around the world I had the occasion to meet many top bodybuilders. Without exception these top fellows have all possessed large arms. Nineteen inch arms seem almost common. Oddly enough many of these men have been short of stature, 5 ft. 7 inches and under. On the other hand, however, these huge arm guys quite often appear very out of proportion. they have arms far too large for either their frames or height, and it makes them look almost freakish. There are of course exceptions 5 ft. 6 in. Elias Petsas, 1970 Mr. Greece not only has muscular shapely 19 inch arms, but has broad shoulders and a 50 inch chest to go with it.

When you have seen as many big arm men as I have, you seldom become impressed with the average top bodybuilder .However, there ate times when you just cannot help but take notice when a person like Elias comes your way.

From my point of view I have been battling to get big arms and when I see someone with arms the size of Elias', I quickly asked if there is any secret. Unfortunately, the only so called secret I have found is hard work. Yes, without exception all these big arm men I have seen and spoken to worked very hard on arm training. The only discovery they have found in their particular cases is the exercises, sets and repetitions that suit them best. Once they have discovered what system works best, they stick to it as long as progress is made.

All of them to the basic curls and triceps extensions and vary the style according to their needs . They use maximum weights and concentrate on the exercise . In most cases performance is done as strictly as possible to permit the use of heavy poundages. Some prefer 10 to 12 reps and others lower reps between 6 to 8. The sets usually amount to 5 or 6. Fifteen to twenty sets for biceps and the same for triceps. Arm training may be done in one session or split, triceps one day, with another one or two body parts and biceps another.

Let us get back to the exercises and course I would recommend. Arms one session, rest of the body the nest day. Select three biceps exercises and three triceps ones, 5 to 6 sets, 6 to 10 repetitions each. Here are some of the movements Elias Petsas favors:


  1. Standing Barbell Curl - Warm up with ten repetitions and gradually increase the poundage whilst decreasing the repetitions. Something like this:
    90 lbs. barbell curls, 10 reps x 2 sets
    100 lb. barbell curl 8 reps x 2 sets
    110-120 lb. barbell curl 6 reps x 2 sets

    If you can work heavier weights all the better. Elias does 150 lbs. 8 reps. Do not forget to do the exercise strictly and lower the weights slowly for added muscle action.

    Do not forget to do the exercise strictly and lower the weights slowly for added muscle action.
  2. Seated Barbell Curl - This affects the biceps differently because more tension is obtained. No relaxing between sets. 6 sets, 6 to 8 reps.
  3. One-arm Concentration Curls - Heavy weights are not necessary if you concentrate on doing this exercise properly. Slow steady curls. Rest your elbow on your knee for added effect, 6 sets 8 reps. Elias works up to 65 lb. dumbbell 8 reps.
  4. Dumbbell Curls - Gets the biceps form another angle. 6 sets, 8 reps.


  1. Lying Triceps Extension - This is an important triceps developer. Keep your elbows pointed upward and lower the weight slowly. 6 sets 8-10 reps.
  2. One-arm Dumbbell Triceps Extension - Doing this whilst seated affects them from a different angle. Keep your elbow as close as possible to your head throughout the exercise. 6 sets 8-12 reps.
  3. Parallel bar dips - Here is one exercise where you can use heavy weights. Warm up with ten reps and increase the poundages each set.
  4. Pulley Pushdowns - Keep elbows close to your sides throughout the exercise. Tense the triceps in completion. 6 sets 10 to 12 reps.

Try these eight exercises of a couple of months and see of they do not increase your arm size.

By the way, finish off the arm routine with a few sets of wrist curls to balance your forearms with your upper arms. Wrist curls always leave my arm with a terrific "pump" feeling.

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