Photos by Christopher Bailey
Sasan Heirati is looking to make a huge impression in the IFBB pro ranks, and one thing is certain—Heirati is unlikely to be let down by his arms. At 22 and 21 inches (the right one is slightly bigger than the left), they’re not lacking size, but, as always with Heirati, it’s about the quality rather than just mass. However, he wasn’t born with impressive pipes. “When I started bodybuilding at 14, I didn’t have good arms, but they grew quickly,” he says.
Constant tension, slow negatives, and midpoint squeeze have been his watchwords for growth. Yates-style 30-minute workouts with just one or two working sets per exercise are not for him. A typical Heirati arms session lasts 60 to 90 minutes and can contain 40 sets, which proves there is no single route to growth.
What’s curious about Heirati’s approach, though, is that although his sets are high, his reps are low. “I swear by six to 10 reps for all body parts except quads, which I’ve found respond better to high reps,” he says.
Lots of short sets punctuated by 60 seconds of rest is his favored approach. “I like to keep the pump going,” he says. “I train at a good pace and rarely go beyond failure. A lot of people say pump training doesn’t grow muscles, but I disagree, and a lot of greats have trained this way.”
The low-rep range enables him to combine heavy weights and volume, but the poundage is always secondary to maintaining the pump and the mind-muscle connection.
“People often use too much weight,” says Heirati. “Arms are the body part above all others where you should keep the weights moderate and focus on the squeeze, contraction, and the eccentric movement.”
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