How to Get Arms Like a Champ

If you’ve ever stared longingly at the sculpted arms of a fitness model — or even someone in your gym — then I’ve got a hot tip for you: You can have them, too. The question is: Are you willing to change the way you lift?

I’ve trained for 12 years and won the Arnold four times, so I’ve got some insider information on this topic. Here’s the secret to getting arms like an Arnold champion: You have to be willing to lift a little heavier and get outside your comfort zone. By lifting heavier, you’ll burn the most fat and build muscle faster.

So I personally like to do heavier weight twice a week and everything else is medium to light weights. There are three moves you’ll want to master to ensure you hit all three muscles in the shoulders:

  1. Shoulder press
  2. Alternating front raise (to hit the front of the delt)
  3. Bend-over rear-delt flye (to hit the back of your shoulder)

Then I do finisher sets at the end of a workout — maybe 5 pounds for 30 reps (or anything that’s low weight/high rep). I’m always changing the tone and pace to ensure a well-rounded workout.

If you hit all three of the above moves, you’ll sculpt your arms all the way around so that they have a 3-D look. And if you really work at it, you’ll get good results fast.

Getting in the Right Mindset

Doing the “right moves” is only half the battle when it comes to working out. You also need to have the right mindset.

My goal was to be the best Figure athlete in the world — and that mindset was what motivated me every single day. Soon, eating healthy and training became a lifestyle and I was competing year-round. In the end, I was always competing with myself, to become the best me possible.

Through trial and error, I found it was much easier to stay in the right mindset when I followed these healthy practices.

  1. Schedule everything. I always make it a habit to write my daily schedule down: what time I’ll be going to the gym, what I’ll eat at each meal, how much water I’ve had, etc. It’s much better to start the day with my intentions clearly written out.
  2. Build a support system. I can’t stress this enough: It’s important to have people who believe in you and who will remind you of what you’re doing and why.For me, that’s my husband. For you, it might be a friend or a co-worker or even a neighbor. Your support system will help you succeed. Once you sign up for my eight-week program, the Next Level Lifting Facebook group is also a good place to find a support system.
  3. Love what you do. Finally, if you aren’t enjoying the work, then it’ll show in your results. Just loving what you do and trying to make a difference within yourself enables you to succeed — it’ll also help you become a guide to other people who are making healthy changes.

These days, I’m done competing because we are trying to start a family. So I don’t work out to an extreme anymore — and that’s OK. I still love going to the gym four days a week and being active. So unless you’re planning to compete, you can still get the results you seek without being extreme about it.

Written by Candice Lewis-Carter for Oxygen Magazine and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to

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