Charles Glass’ Arm Workout (Build Big Biceps Like a Pro)

Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC
Published by Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC | Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Last updated: May 10, 2024
FACT CHECKED by James Cunningham, BSc, CPT
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Charles Glass is the godfather of bodybuilding, with decades of experience.

His arm workout effectively builds muscles, induces the most significant hypertrophy results, and gains strength.

Based on my observations as a personal trainer and thorough 17-hour research, I pulled the best Charles Glass arm workout since there were so many.

I ensured the arm workout was beginner-friendly and excellent for developing all major arm muscles, such as all three triceps and two bicep heads.

Charles' Stats

  • DOB: January 23, 1951
  • Height: 5' 6
  • Weight: 262 pounds (at his heaviest)
  • Waist: 29 inches

Arm Workout Routine

Below you may find the entire Charles Glass’s workout routine.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Charles Glass (@thecharlesglass)

Barbell Curl

Barbell curls are excellent for developing the short head and long head of your biceps brachii.

Barbell curls can easily get you to your bicep peak if you implement the programming principles beneath this workout section.

How to Perform Barbell Curls:

  1. Load the barbell on the floor with the appropriate weight to perform 6 reps.
  2. Pick the barbell from the floor and keep the elbows slightly bent.
  3. Start the exercise by flexing your elbow while keeping your shoulder joint fixed.
  4. When the bar reaches the end range of movement, reverse the motion to return to the starting position.
  5. Repeat for 6 reps and 5 sets.

Skull Crushers

Skull crushers are excellent for developing all three tricep heads.

How to Perform Skull Crushers:

  1. Load the EZ bar with the appropriate weight and lie on your back on a flat bench.
  2. Extend your elbows while keeping your arms in the shoulder-width position.
  3. Start the exercise by flexing your elbows and bringing them towards your forehead.
  4. When the bar reaches just above the surface of your forehead, reverse the motion to return to the starting position.
  5. Repeat for 3 sets and 12 reps.

Barbell Drag Curls

Performing drag curls indoors

A drag curl is a modified curl version where the range of motion is slightly smaller, but the biomechanics of the movement is different.

How to Perform Barbell Drag Curls:

  1. Load the barbell with the appropriate weight on the floor and pick it up.
  2. Let the barbell hang from your hands near your body while keeping your elbows slightly bent.
  3. Start the exercise by curling the barbell towards your shoulder joint.
  4. As you curl the barbell, extend your shoulder joint backward and decrease the distance between the barbell and your shoulder.
  5. When you reach the top position, reverse the motion to return to the starting position.
  6. Repeat for 4 sets and 8 reps.

Close-Grip Bench Press

The close-grip bench press will activate both the triceps and your chest muscles, such as the pectoral major.

"Usually, we would advise that you perform the close-grip bench press with your elbows in close to your torso instead of flared out, as Glass recommends."
- Brett Williams, Certified Personal Trainer

How to Perform a Close-Grip Bench Press:

  1. Load the barbell with the appropriate weight on the rack and lie beneath it on your back on the flat bench.
  2. Unrack the barbell with your hands in the pronated close grip and align it with your chest.
  3. Keep your elbows fully extended above the chest level.
  4. Start the exercise by bending your elbows and extending your shoulder joint.
  5. When the barbell reaches your chest level, reverse the motion to return to the starting position.
  6. Repeat for 3 sets and 6 reps.

EZ Bar Bicep Curl

Doing bicep curls using EZ bar

EZ bar bicep curl is a modified version of regular barbell curls targeting the same muscle groups.

How to Perform Ez Bar Bicep Curls:

  1. Load the bar with the appropriate weight and let it hang in your hands while your elbows are fully extended.
  2. Start the exercise by curling the EZ bar towards your shoulders and stopping when you reach the top position.
  3. Hold the top position for one-second isometric contraction and reverse the motion to return to the starting position.
  4. Repeat for 3 sets of 12 reps.

Tricep Pushdown

Tricep pushdowns are excellent for developing your medial and lateral tricep heads.

How to Perform Tricep Pushdowns:

  1. Set the appropriate weight to use the rope extension on the cable machine.
  2. Start the exercise by pushing the rope while keeping your shoulder joint fixed.
  3. When your elbows are fully extended, reverse the motion to return to the starting position.
  4. Repeat for 3 sets and 12 reps.

Also Read: How to Do Tricep Pushdowns Properly

Alternating Dumbbell Curl

Alternating dumbbell curls

Alternating dumbbell curls are an excellent unilateral variation of regular dumbbell curls.

How to Perform Alternating Dumbbell Curls:

  1. Pick two dumbbells of appropriate weight in each hand and let them hang near your body.
  2. Start the exercise by curling the dumbbell in your right hand towards the shoulder joint.
  3. When the dumbbell reaches the end range of motion, reverse the motion to return it to the starting position.
  4. While on its way down, start curling the dumbbell in your left hand.
  5. Repeat for 3 sets of 12 reps.

Overhead Tricep Extension

Overhead triceps extension places your tricep muscles in the ideal position to use the long head and avoid active muscle insufficiency [1].

How to Perform Overhead Tricep Extension:

  1. Pick a dumbbell of appropriate weight and hold it in the overhead position with extended elbows.
  2. Start the exercise by bending your elbow joint while keeping your shoulders fixed.
  3. When the dumbbell reaches the bottom position, extend your elbow to return the dumbbell to the starting position.
  4. Repeat for 3 sets of 10 reps.

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Workout Principles

A couple of workout principles are used to maximize your arm development using Charles Glass`s arm workout.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Charles Glass (@thecharlesglass)

The first principle is hypertrophy programming, which tackles reps, sets, and rest intervals, and research published in the National Library of Medicine confirms this [2].

Scientifically, and based on my personal experience, the best way to induce hypertrophy effects is to do the following:

  • Repetitions - Repetitions should be kept in a range of 6 and 12. This amount of reps can be done with 60 to 87.5% of your 1RM (repetition maximum), depending on the number of reps.
  • Sets - The number of sets you should complete will also depend on the number of reps you do in a single set. However, the least you should do is 3-4 sets; anything above that is better for hypertrophy development.
  • Rest intervals - Rest no more than 90 seconds between each set to maximize the muscle-building effect of each workout session.

The next principle is progressive overload. It means constantly increasing the workout volume for the following sessions [3].

This can be done by increasing the external resistance, reps, sets, or sometimes by decreasing the rest intervals between the sets.

The last workout principle is about rest between each following workout.

Keep the rest between 48 and 72 hours before exercising the same muscle group again [4].

This is the best way to avoid overtraining and negative super-compensation effects.

"Drag curls are a good exercise for biceps, because you have to remember gravity wants to pull the weight straight down."
- Charles Glass, Bodybuilder Trainer

Diet Plan

Top view of a diet plan with keyboard

Charles Glass used an old-school bodybuilding diet in his prime.

This is because there weren't many options back then regarding fancy protein powders and carbohydrate supplements.

Charles ate real foods such as fish, chicken, and steak to meet his daily protein requirements and avoid muscle loss.

Additionally, he didn't fluctuate his weight as some bodybuilders do in the modern day and age. From my own experience, this can be difficult to achieve, but the results from such discipline are huge.

Here is one example of his weekly diet plan:

  • Meal 1 - ground beef, toast, and whole eggs
  • Meal 2 - brown rice, chicken, and vegetables
  • Meal 3 - sweet potato, fish, and vegetables
  • Meal 4 - brown rice, lean steak, and a salad
  • Meal 5 - cottage cheese and cheese omelet

Diet / Nutrition Principles

Raw foods needed for healthy nutrition

Charles never had a strict nutritional principle since the technology wasn't as developed back in his time as it is now.

However, he always ate a massive meal after each workout.

Eating two hours after the workout was the best way to support muscle development.

Supplements

Charles Glass still stays with his old dieting principles, but he adds additional supplements to support his current weight training regime.

He even has an online shop selling a couple of supplements.

Charles mainly uses pre-workouts and protein powders to support his training regime.

He always drinks his protein shake after the workout session and sometimes as a snack or meal replacement, but that is rare.

Psychological Aspects of Training like Charles Glass

Training like Charles Glass isn't just about physical prowess; it's a mental game too.

His approach transcends typical coaching, delving into the psychological aspects that fuel success. Glass's methods focus on mental resilience and motivation, essential for enduring rigorous arm workouts.

He instills a mindset of discipline and determination, preparing athletes not just physically but mentally to tackle challenges and push beyond their limits. This holistic approach is key to the remarkable results his trainees achieve.

Charles' Long-term Progression and Adaptation in Arm Workouts

Charles Glass emphasizes the importance of evolving arm workouts for long-term progression.

His approach adapts exercises to match advancing skill levels, ensuring continuous improvement and avoiding plateaus.

By gradually increasing intensity and incorporating varied techniques, Glass's method fosters sustained muscle growth and strength gains.

This dynamic adaptation keeps workouts challenging and effective, catering to the changing needs of the body as it develops, a crucial aspect often overlooked in standard training regimens.

FAQs

Can I Hit Arms 3X a Week?

Yes, you can hit your arms three times a week. Remember that there needs to be between 48 and 72 hours of rest before working out the same muscle group again to avoid overtraining effects.

How Do You Get Cannonball Arms?

You get cannonball arms by hitting all muscles of your arms as often as possible but without entering the overtraining phase. Additionally, you must use a proper diet with enough carbs and protein to support your energy and anabolic processes after the workout and build damaged muscles in your arms.

Is 48 Hours Enough Rest for Muscles?

Sometimes, 48 hours is enough rest for muscles between the previous and upcoming workout targeting the same muscle group. However, it takes up to 72 hours for some people to exercise the same muscle group again, so the rest intervals are primarily individual and metabolism-dependent.


References:

  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35819335/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6950543/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4215195/
  4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12741861/
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About The Author

Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC
Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC is an ex-National Soccer player turned MMA and Kickboxing champion, with ACE CPT and PN1-NC certifications. His advice is rooted in education and experience, ensuring that readers receive scientific and battle-tested insights. His mission is to empower his clients and readers to realize their potential and become the best versions of themselves.
Learn more about our editorial policy
James Cunningham, BSc, CPT
Staff Writer & Senior Coach
James Cunningham, BSc, CPT holds a BSc degree in Sport & Exercise Science from University of Hertfordshire. He's a Health & Performance Coach from London that brings a unique blend of academic knowledge of health supplements and practical exercise experience to the table for his readers.
Learn more about our editorial policy

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