Written by Ron Harris & Photography by Per Bernal
03 October 2018


Destination Big Arms

Victor Martinez & Roelly Winklaar Smash Biceps & Triceps



RH: Some people say that arms are a body part that can never get too big. Do you agree or disagree with that statement?

VM: I would say anything can be too big if it throws off your proportions. You usually don’t see arms that are too big, unless we’re talking about fake-ass synthol arms, which always look stupid. Shoulders can be too big if your chest or back isn’t as developed as it should be. The one guy who I think had the biggest combination of shoulders and arms was Kevin Levrone, but it looked awesome on him because he wasn’t lacking anything. Sergio Oliva had the freakiest arms of his era, but he was also thick everywhere so they didn’t take away from the overall physique.

RH: Victor, do you, or have you ever, had to stop training arms sometimes too, so they didn’t get too big?

VM: I have never had the luxury of not having to train any body part, ever. In my earlier years, my arms were actually kind of weak. My arms were so bad, to me at least, that I was training them twice a week for a long time. That didn’t help, so I went back to hitting them once a week. I was still doing too much for them. I got so frustrated at that point because they still weren’t growing that I said screw it, and only trained them every other week. Believe it or not, they grew once I cut back to working them every two weeks for a while. What I didn’t realize until later was that my arms were overtrained. I think a lot of guys overtrain their arms, thinking that’s the key— but most of the time they probably need more rest and recovery than you’re giving them. They already have to work on chest, back, and shoulder days to assist whether you like it or not, so you have to be really careful with how much isolation work you do for them on top of that.


RH: Roelly, do you feel weird when people ask you for advice on arms, since they have never been a problem for you? Do you try to give them advice, or do you tell them to ask someone who worked really hard to build up underpar arms?

RW: No, it’s not weird. I mean, if you want big legs and you walk into a gym, who are you going to think can help you, the guy with skinny legs or the guy with huge legs? I love to help anyone who asks me.

RH: Victor, you worked with Victor Munoz for years as your trainer, and I know he’s old school. Did you guys do any long-lost exercises for arms?

VM: For shoulders, I do the standing one-arm dumbbell press like Mike Katz did in “Pumping Iron.” I don’t see guys doing that one. I also do a variation of a concentration curl where I lie facedown on an incline bench to make sure I can’t cheat at all— it’s all biceps. A few years back when I wanted more peak in my biceps for my rear double biceps pose, I was doing a lot of close-grip barbell curls to build the outer head of the muscle.


RH: Roelly, you have at least one unique shoulder exercise you do, those “shoulder bombs.” Do you also do anything for biceps or triceps that Sibil invented?

RW: My biceps don’t grow as easily as my triceps, so I started doing “three in one” dumbbell curls. You start sitting down and do 8 reps, and then you stand up and do 8 more. Then you finish with 8 reps of hammer dumbbell curls. It’s all the same pair of dumbbells, and you don’t rest at all until all 24 reps are done. Even then, you only rest about 30 seconds and do it all over again until you’ve done four rounds of that. I’ve had people tell me they thought it looked stupid until they tried it, and then they couldn’t believe how tight and pumped their biceps got. It’s made a big difference for my biceps.

VM: I prefer doing straight sets and occasionally drop sets. Supersets and giant sets never seemed as productive for me. You can get a killer pump, but it really limits the amount of weight you can use.


RH: What did you guys talk about during this shoot? Did you ask Victor for any advice? Did he offer any?

RW: We talked about probably the same things any bodybuilder who is still dieting talks about— food, how tired we were, and how great it would be to eat normal food again! It was a good time. Victor is a very cool guy and always makes me feel comfortable and not intimidated because he has been a pro so much longer, and has done so much more in the sport than I have yet.

VM: I actually did have some important advice— about food! The shoot was dragging on and Per was working us like dogs, as usual.


RH: Do you enjoy training arms?

VM: I’ve never liked training arms too much, though I do enjoy training everything. The pump with arms is so extreme it gets annoying.

RW: I used to love training triceps because they grew so easy and everyone gave me compliments on them. But I had to cut way back on them. I did like training biceps, but not as much. My biceps were a weak point for a while because my triceps overpowered them, but I fixed that changing the exercises all the time and working so hard on them. I would have to say arm training is my favorite out of everything. Wouldn’t most bodybuilders say that, too?


RH: If someone is having trouble building their arms, what do you think they are usually doing wrong?

RW: The one main thing I see a lot of guys doing is using too much weight, more than they can really handle with any kind of good form. Once you are going so heavy that you’ve lost the correct form, the muscle you are trying to work isn’t really doing it anymore. Other muscles help too much, like shoulders and even the lower back.

VM: Guys train them too often, and they do way too much. Biceps in particular are a pretty simple muscle. There is no reason to ever do any more than three different exercises for them in any one workout. Your form needs to be good, too. You have to squeeze the muscle at the end of each rep, and control the negative so you also get that good stretch. You can’t do that when you’re going too heavy. So I’d say the ego gets in the way of progress with arms quite a bit.


RH: OK, like I always do, I’m gonna put you both on the spot now. Roelly, who do you think has better arms, you or Victor?

RW: It’s difficult for me to judge that. I’ve been told my arms are some of the best in the world, better than Victor’s. I don’t see it, and I’m not claiming it, but that’s the opinion of others.

RH: Victor, who do you think has better arms?

VM: I don’t know how to answer that one. With the arms, I’d have to say my biceps are better but he has a little edge with those freaky triceps of his.

RH: Cool guys, that’s a wrap!


Roelly’s Arm Workout


 Pushdowns                                                 1 x 20 (warm-up)

                                                                   4 x 12, 10, 8, 6 (increasing weight)

 Decline EZ-bar Extensions                           4 x 6-8

 Dumbbell Kickbacks                                   4 x 12

 Seated Machine Dips                                  4 x 8-10


Barbell Curl (straight bar)                          1 x 20 (warm-up)

                                                              4 x 12, 10, 8, 6 (increasing weight)

 Incline Alternate Dumbbell Curls               4 x 8

 EZ-bar Curl                                             4 x 6

 Preacher Curls                                        4 x 8


Victor’s Arm Workout


 Barbell Curls                                          3 x 10

 Concentration Curls                                3 x 10

 Hammer Curls                                        3 x 10


 Close-grip Bench Presses                        3 x 10

 Bench Dips                                             3 x 10

 Rope Pushdowns                                     3 x 10

 Dumbbell Kickbacks                                 3 x 10


Victor’s Training Split

 Day 1:    Delts and triceps

 Day 2:    Back

 Day 3:    OFF

 Day 4:    Quads

 Day 5:    Chest and biceps

 Day 6:    OFF

 Day 7:    Alternates between back or legs from week to week


Roelly’s Training Split*

 Monday:              Chest and triceps

 Tuesday:              Quads and hams

 Thursday:            Shoulders and traps

Friday:                  Back and biceps