Nathan is a friend of mine who is working on putting some lean muscle mass onto his body. He started out as a 5'11" 15 year old with only 90 lbs of muscle on his body. Now, he's up 35 lbs and looking to go another 30 before he's done. His progress is remarkable frankly. He's cranking out pull-ups at a rate that is inspiring (and motivating). He talked to me last night and asked about a pull-up and push-up based arm workout plan.
Nate, here's what I've got for you...
Now, I've never been one for giving out specific routines. I feel that being your own trainer and taking your own wants and needs into consideration is paramount. Still, I'll give you a routines and I'll give you some ideas. Feel free to change based on your needs.
I like to divide my workouts into two sets: A calisthenics set and a self-resistance and isometric set. The former will work your muscles as a team and you use the latter to zoom in on specific muscle groups. Plus, you get the benefit of working at a higher intensity, low volume manner and a slightly higher volume, lower intensity all in one workout. So, not only are you working from many different angles but you're conditioning slow and fast twitch fibers in one workout.
Now, for the Calisthenics, I like to use several different push-ups and chin-ups/pull-ups, each set at 30-40 percent of my max reps (change the rep numbers at your leisure. I'm just guessing at what you might be able to do). While this may not seem like much, when you're doing 6 exercises back to back, it's very demanding. Take as little of a break as possible between each set. For zeroing in on your arms, Nate, I like this set:
Close Grip Chin-ups, 7 reps
Diamond/triceps push-ups, 15 reps
Close Grip Pull-ups, 7 reps
pike push-ups, 7 reps
towel pull-ups, 7 reps
T handle Push-ups, 20 reps
This will give you a very wide range of angles in a short, intense period of time. Rest, at most, 5 deep breaths between sets. If you don't need the rest, don't take it.
Now, onto the next set...
I like to start with either a DVR or DSR for the triceps or biceps. Do 5 movements at maximum tension. Now, it's time for isometrics. I've always liked the milo and I also like doing it with different hand positioning. You can do this with the fists as taught by John Peterson or you can do them with your hands clasped together as well. I do both. After doing the Milo, do another DVR or DSR for the part of the upper arm that you didn't do on the first set. So, this superset would look like this:
Wrist-Twist triceps DVR, 5 reps max tension
Milo w/fists, all 6 positions
One Arm Chin-ups DVR, 5 reps max tension
Now, follow this up with the calisthenics superset.
After the second set of Calisthenics, I like to do another set of DVR/DSR and Isometrics, switching it up again, to look like this:
Triceps Knife Hands, 5 reps max tension
Milo w/ hands clasped together, all 6 positions
Self resistance bicep curls, 5 reps max tension
Do the Calisthenics set a third time, if you can.
This workout should take you 35 minutes. If you want to increase the intensity of the workout, then work only the tricps in the first DSR/DVR/isometric set and only the biceps in the next set. You can do the milo still or you could do powerflexes. It's up to you. This is very hard though. I'd try it the way I laid it out to you for now.
Anyway, Nate, I hope this helps you out in getting where you need to go. If you ever have questions for me, I'm always here for you. That goes for everyone else out there reading this blog. Keep up the hard work, stay positive and think strong!