What’s The Maximum Size Arms You Can Achieve Naturally Without Steroids?

Arm training is one of the simplest things in life. You don’t need more than 2 months of studying to learn what it takes to reach your arm potential. By “studying” I mean learning arm anatomy and proper execution of the basic biceps & triceps exercises such as curls, close grip bench press, dips, pullover and others. As expected, the industry wants to complicate things and sets many traps on your path. They throw video after video showing people on large doses of steroids trying to reinvent the wheel and over-complicate as much as possible. The goal is simple – to make you believe there is a magical routine that’s going to take you to lean 18 inch arms or maybe even more, naturally, of course. I used to believe the fairy tales until I actually tried to put a measuring tape around my arm. This is when I realized that in order for me to have 18-20 inches arms I would need to add muscle from my legs to my arms. In other words, I don’t see it happening the natural way for most average people, especially if you we are talking about muscle size. Most people eating at McDonald’s regularly have at least 16 inch arms but we all know why.

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The corrupt media keeps on pimping fitness models and professional bodybuilders who on the other hand are behaving like biceps curls are rocket science. Cool, except that at the end of day this is not going to give you the arms of the HodgeTwins. 19 inches arms are not going to happen solely through eating “enough” protein and doing curls Kai Greene “you are not a weightlifter” style.

In order to determine what is the maximum arm size you can achieve naturally without damaging your body using steroids, we must start at the top of the pyramid. Who’s there? Professional IFBB pros, powerlifters and strongmen. I will just use bodybuilders as example because the other two categories are rarely in lean condition, and consequently their arm size numbers can be inflated a little too much. “I have 25 inch arms,” says the 350 lbs / 159 kg permabulker powerlifter. Cool story bro, tell someone who actually cares.


Most professional bodybuilders have between 20-22 inches arms in lean condition. There are some exceptions, but this is the accepted “pro arm range”. What do those guys do? They take steroids, insulin, growth hormone and other drugs to keep themselves lean and mean. Therefore, it’s obvious that you can’t have arms this big naturally, unless you are super fat or a mutant with incredibly thick bones, which is not the case for the larger human population on Earth.

The difference between Arnold’s era and today’s “gut era” is called insulin and growth hormone. That’s why there is a 50-70 lbs / 22 kg – 31 kg difference between modern pros and those from the 70s. The latter usually had between 18-20 inches arms and were also using trucks of steroids. One of the smaller guys, Frank Zane, is rumored to have 17 inches arms while Arnold’s 22 inchers were once measured at 19 inches by Arthur Jones. Is this true? I don’t know. One thing is certain, though – if the bodybuilders from the 70s were having arms in the 18-20 range, you can’t have that naturally either because those people were eating Dbol and friends like candies. Many bodybuilders from the Golden Era were just as reckless as the professional bodybuilders of today. Their bodies have been paying the price ever since.

This leaves us in the “up to 17 inches” realm when it comes to true naturals. My observations say that the smaller your bones structure is, the smaller your arms will be. A guy with 6 inch wrists will naturally have 2 inches smaller arms than a guy with 8 inch wrists. That’s solely because of bone size. This fact puts people with smaller wrists at the bottom, unless mutant genetics are present. Of course, there’s also the illusion factor – the smaller your wrists are, the bigger you arms look.

At the end, most true naturals will have arms in the 13-16 inches range depending on genetics. I am talking about arm size in super lean condition with the biceps heads visible – a state that’s exceptionally hard for some individuals to maintain. I know this does not seem like a lot, but I can assure it looks better than you think.

We have been convinced by the media that unless you have 18 inch arms, you are not training. This is not the case at all, and it’s about time we stop falling for Hollywood style manipulation. Just work hard, get stronger and call it a day. There are far more important things in life anyway.

18 comments

  1. Michael Dozier

    I am 33 6’3″ 218 lbs. Lifted off and on during my army years now I’ve committed fulltime for life. Cold my arms are 17 even. That’s with a 1 inch gain on both from the past 6 months of training. No creatine yet. Gonna start soon. I am probably around 12-13% body fat average year round. I have no doubt I will go into 18″ with another year. Gonna see how far I can go. Goal is 20″ by 2020

    1. Jason Bodi

      Nice 6 1 228lbs and prob about 17% body fat it’s kinda high but I hate cardio I just lift faster but I’m trying to get my arm to 18! 100% all natural just protein intake! Good luck man u got this!

  2. bri

    I don’t think Michael is far off. Not everyone is rail thin. 6′ 3″ & 218. 17″ arms seem pretty typical to me. 4 years to add 3 ” doesn’t seem far fetched at all.

  3. nick

    Most men will hit their natural limit after 2 years of lifting, all this crap about in 4 years I’ll be this or that is wrong, The most common case is “I have 16 inch arms, your telling me that if I lifted for 10 years and I added a a quarter of an inch every year I can’t get to 19’s or 20’s?” Naturally
    Yeah, you really can’t

  4. nick

    Lol at 20 inches naturally. If you really get it you’ll understand how rediculous it is. Say if you get your 20 inches, then you stop lifting for 2 years… what do u think will happen, you’ll go back to your 15.5 inch arms you started with then if u start lifting for 6 monthes ull get to 20’s again? Or will it take u “10 years” to get it again

  5. Joseph

    I think a small number of genetic elite people would be able to achieve 18 in arms naturally.I consider myself to have well above average genetics and i hope one day i will get my guns to the 18 inch mark.I currently have 17 in arms so one more inch to go.

  6. Petar

    I don’t know why most of the people use creatine ot other supplements i am 19 years old i had 13-14 inch arms, trained for 1 year an 2 month’s and got to 16 inch only eating and training now i havent train for year and half and dropped to 15 if i take stuff like that will it stay the muscle gain more or what?

  7. Bob

    I’m 40 been lifting since I was 14.When I started I was 5’9 135 with 11″ arms now I’m 6’2 240 with 21.25″ arms.I eat 3 meals a day and train hard as hell.Bodyfat Is 16% and its fine with me as I don’t care to be ripped.My arms won’t grow anymore unless I gain weight but I don’t want to.So yes train hard and you will get there.

  8. Charles Thomas Denham

    Most of you guys are just shit talkers! It’s hilarious! The ones talking shit about other people’s dreams! Grow up! By the way I am all natural at 5’8″ at 245 lbs and don’t quite have 19’s but for two years now I’ve been trying to get out of the 18-1/2″ range but seam to only gain a couple of millimeters a year. Anyways. Good luck to the natural people like myself.

  9. ironvikingfit

    32 years old, 6′ 205lbs 17″ arms 12% BF, waist size 33″. I’ve been lifting steady for 2 years and gained 40 lbs during that time. 100% lifetime natural and I plan to keep it that way. I know this isn’t generally normal but I believe good genetics are part of the equation.. as my brother is 240 lbs and 15% BF and doesn’t lift.. at all. Genetics is everything!!… Almost

  10. Your mama

    That’s great ppl. I’m a natty 6’6″ 275 lbs with a 28″ waist and maintain 7% BF year-round. My arms are 22″ and I’m aiming for 25″ by year-end so I can enter some contests. See you at the pros!

  11. Swede

    This will earn me a lot of hate. But a lot of it is genetics. I am scandinavian and built like a brick. 178 cm or 5’10 tall. About as wide. Always been square. Also given the fact that I had a full thick beard by age 14, I guess I am not quite normal. My lean mass index says I use steroids. A lot of steroids. Never have. Not even seen steroids IRL. The closest I have gotten is googling and reading about them. Been bodybuilding a bit over 2 years now and while I am not in contest shape, I am around 12-13% BF. My abs show a little, veins pop out here and there. My arms measure 50 cm (19,6 inches) when pumped and 48 cm when not. My arms were already a bit over 40 cm when I started lifting, though, from many years of eating enough protein/calories and hard manual labor. And no, I have not stopped gaining muscle yet. I slow plateau but then I just deload and change training split/exercises. I have absolutely nothing to gain by lying. I have never taken anything beyond perfectly legal supplements. BCAAs, creatine, pre-workout, protein powder, glutamine, ZMA and multivitamin. I have never owned or taken insulin, anabolic steroids of any kind, growth hormones etc and I am most definitely not injecting fucking oil.

    The major differences are that I have always worked with my body. From childhood. Always ate a LOT of food cooked from scratch. Lots of meat and milk. I barely ever drank water until I got in my late twenties, almost entirely organic whole milk. Always did some form of sport. Swimming, MMA, weight lifting, bodybuilding etc. And I train the arms with over (20 is lower end, when I lift heavier weights) 20 sets of 10-12 reps per muscle group once per week. Usually a bit over that. Averaging around 300 reps or just below per group (bis, tris and forearms, i.e. 900 all told). Add in secondary work from back day, chest day and working and it is quite a bit of stimuli. I eat accordingly. Which is four full meals and a few eggs in the evening. Food box maniac, I always carry food. Most lack heavy bones, most lack muscle shape required for girth, most don’t attack training with enough intensity and most don’t know how to eat or take supplements. Which combined makes the number of people with small arms quite large and the number with big arms naturally quite small. I am GOING to take steroids, however, the same damn week as my measuring tape starts saying I have lost lean mass in my arms even if I have kept up training. I reckon it will be in my late 30s somewhere. I am 30 years old now. That said. Few people on earth have scandi upper body genetics and meat/milk-heavy countryside work/food. Hell, most non-nordics don’t even tolerate lactose. Also, I have thrown away career for having a calm but lower paid job that I do not lose any sleep over and that does not stress me out in the least. I live minimalistic. I work, I eat, I rest, I train, I spend time in the forest, I food shop, I cook, I spend time with my wife who is also a lifter and I don’t stress. I plan so that I do not have to.

    Someone who is not large by nature will not be able to be large and lean without steroids. It is as simple as that. You will find a bunch of slavs, balts, scandinavians, finns and west africans who are rather broad by nature, on the other hand. Some neanderthal heritage perhaps. I am certainly hairy enough and my brow ridges, while not quite as extreme as arnolds, are large. Same with finger thickness etc. Which is also why somr of this may be misspelled, since it was written on my mobile screen.

    So if yiu want to get large naturally, go back in time and choose to be born as a northerner with the right genetics and grow up on a farm doing heavy and dirty things from childhood, eat like a crazy person several times per day, start lifting early in life and train through the pain instead of giving up as soon as you think another rep will kill you. Which it won’t. Also, Arnie is not lying. You have to visualize what you want to build. Mind is over matter, given the right circumstances.

    Now, hate all you want. Living a modern city lifestyle? Not born fairly large? Go buy some roids if you want to be big. It is the only way unless you possess the prerequisite conditions for natural growth.

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