When it comes down to it, there’s really one main reason that we all started lifting weights. We want some big arms. This workout will take you one step closer to that goal, leaving your biceps burning, and your triceps screaming out in pain. This isn’t an easy routine; it’s not something you add on at the end of your workout. This workout is for those of you who are serious about developing a set of huge arms. It’s for those of you who love the pain, who want to walk out of the gym with a massive pump feeling like a beast. This workout is for those of you who are willing to put in some work. You want some alpha arms? Earn them.
First things first, if you are serious about adding some serious size to your arms, this workout should not be your only arm training for the week. You should be hitting triceps after your chest day and biceps after your back day. I’m not saying you should start skipping every leg day and hitting arms instead, but if you’re serious about growing your guns make them a priority. Since arms are one of the smaller muscle groups on your body, they typically recover the fastest. As such, you should be able to work them multiple times a week. For example, a good training split should be set up similar to this:
*Note: The above training split is excellent if arms are your priority. A typical split should be adjusted based on your goals at that specific time.
This split allows you to overload your arms, working both your biceps and triceps twice a week. The huge array of arm exercises available today makes it difficult to choose which to perform. However, working your arms twice a week allows you to include significantly more arm exercises into your repertoire. I will admit that I change my arm workouts often, always in search of a new challenge. However, there are some exercises that are always staples in my workout. Exercises such as barbell curls, skullcrushers, preacher curls, and French presses always remain in my routine at some point throughout the week. I have taken these staples and formed them into a tried and true arm routine that always leaves me with a massive pump, and exhausted arms.
-Standing Barbell Curls
|4-6,6-8,8-10,10-12,12-15||5||*Do 1-2 light warm-up sets of 12-15 reps first
*An EZ Curl Bar may also be used to save your wrists. It will also save time changing weights between sets.
*Drop the weight after each set
|8-12 reps||4||*An EZ Curl Bar may also be used to save your wrists.|
-Incline Dumbbell Curls
-Bodyweight Skull Crushers
|-6-8 reps, let hang and twist for 5 seconds
-As many as possible
|3||*After 6-8 reps of incline dumbbell curls, let the dumbbells hang and twist them back and forth for 5 seconds. Then, perform 3-4 more reps.|
|Concentration Curls||6-10 Reps||3-4|
|Straight Bar pushdowns||As many as possible
|3||*Using a reverse grip, perform as many reps as possible. When you reach failure, switch to a normal grip and perform as many reps as possible until you hit muscular failure.
Aim for about 8-12 reps with each grip.
Terms to know:
*Superset: A superset is simply the act of performing 2 exercises back-to-back without rest between
*Mechanical Dropset: Performing an exercise until failure, then change your grip (or mechanics) so that you can perform more reps.
- Standing Barbell Curl: As with any workout routine, you will start with the exercise that allows you to lift the most amount of weight. For most people, the biceps exercise that allows them to lift the most weight is the standing barbell curl. After warming up, we will start heavy performing 4-6 reps. Choose a weight that allows you to curl it at least 4 times, but no more than 6 times. Drop the weight for the next set, and up the reps. Continue this until you reach 12-15 reps. Yeah, I know, your arms hurt. Suck it up, and keep good form! This is only the first exercise. If you want to make some serious gains, this is the price you pay.
- Skullcrushers: For many of us, we can often use the same weight on skullcrushers as we can on barbell curls. If you have one muscle group stronger than the other, no worries. Just grab a second barbell, or change the weight on the EZ bar. Don’t rest yet though! Get after this set, and bust out 4-6 heavy reps, continuing in the same fashion as above and keeping good form throughout the exercise. Rest about 90 seconds between each superset; enough to regain your strength, while keeping that crazy pump (and you metabolism) going. Make sure to keep the movement controlled, lowering the weight to your forehead, and then straightening your arms to raise the weight. Remember, the movement occurs at the elbow, not the shoulder. You got this! Keep it up.
- Preacher curls: One of the most neglected arm exercises, preacher curls work the inner (short) head of the biceps. This exercise will give your biceps a thicker appearance. Don’t be afraid to go a little heavy, and bust out 8-12 reps keeping strict form throughout. Remember, the preacher bench prevents you from incorporating other muscle groups, so you will likely use significantly less weight than you use on a standard barbell curl. If you do not have a preacher bench in your gym, this exercise can be performed on an incline bench with a dumbbell, as pictured below:
- French Press: The French press is another triceps exercise that will allow you to press a heavy weight. The different angle from skullcrushers will work different muscle fibers, giving your triceps a fuller, better-rounded look. This exercise can be performed standing or seated. Hoist a heavy dumbbell up on top of your shoulder, switching your grip so that both palms face upwards. Press the dumbbell above your head, being sure not to flare your elbows out too far when lowering the weight down. You’ve made it through the first (and hardest) half of the workout! By now, your arms should have a pretty crazy pump going. That means it’s working. You’re one step closer to having some alpha arms. Let’s get after it on this next superset.
- Incline Dumbbell Curls: Whereas preacher curls focused on biceps thickness, the incline dumbbell curl focuses on the biceps “peak.” Sit back on an incline bench set to about 45 degrees, and let the dumbbells hang by your sides. The great Arnold Schwarzenegger was a huge fan of curling with both arms at the same time, and who am I to question him? So, curling both dumbbells at the same time, perform 6-8 heavy repetitions. Don’t drop the dumbbells just yet though! Taking a note from Musclepharm President Cory Gregory, let the dumbbells hang and twist your wrists back and forth for about 5 seconds. At this point, you should feel a massive rush of blood to your arms. Now do 3-4 more grueling reps, and enjoy that nasty pump.
- Bodyweight Skullcrushers: Another favorite of Cory Gregory, bodyweight skullcrushers are a great twist on a classic exercise. To perform them this exercise, simply stand behind an incline bench, gripping the top of it with both hands. Dip your head under the bench, and push yourself up using only your triceps. Keep your wrists above the bench and don’t cheat! Do as many reps as possible, leaving your triceps almost completely dead. Be careful though; once your triceps give out, you’ll fall hard so be ready to catch yourself! You’ve made it through the hard part! Just one more finishing movement for each muscle and you can call it a day.
Concentration Curls: A great exercise used by bodybuilders for generations are concentration curls, which are great ways to emphasize the biceps peak. Though the strict for of the exercise will limit the weight you can lift, the overall strain on the bicep will have massive benefits. Simply sit on a bench and brace your elbow against your thigh. This will minimize any cheating that may occur. When doing this curl, don’t just swing the weight wildly. Instead, focus on really squeezing your biceps, and forcing blood to rush into the muscle. Your arms should feel ready to burst by the end of this. Do as many reps as you possibly can, aiming for about 8-12 reps. If you reach failure a little too early, or are able to do a few more reps, don’t worry about it. Just do as many as you can.
Straight Bar Pushdowns: The last exercise. You made it. You’re almost done! Don’t think you have it easy though. Even though we’re using a machine instead of free weights, this will challenge you. Trust me, and choose a weight that isn’t too heavy. Grab the bar with a reverse grip and simply perform as many reps as you possibly can. After you reach failure, flip your wrists to a normal grip and bust out some more reps. Don’t stop now, you’re almost done. Aim for about 8-12 reps each grip, but don’t worry if you don’t reach this number. Just keep going! This is a burnout exercise. The entire goal is to test your willpower leave your triceps with nothing left to give. Don’t quit. If you want a set of huge, alpha arms then this is how you get there. Earn it!
I hope you guys liked the workout. Please let me know if you have any questions, comments or concerns! If there’s a specific article you’d like to see, or something that you’re curious about, let me know in the comments or e-mail me. As always, feel free to share the article if you liked it. Thanks for reading, and good luck.