Superset Arm Workout to Grow Bigger Biceps and Triceps
Have your arms not grown in seemingly forever? Far too often, gym-goers fall back on the same uninspired arm routine, treating their biceps and triceps like an afterthought on chest and back days.
And guess what? Their upper arm development reflects that. It's bizarre to think arm workouts aren't approached with the same intensity as any other muscle group.
However, the biceps and triceps are relatively small muscle groups and don't require tons of training volume to grow. The key is hitting them hard and frequently rather than pounding them into oblivion once a week.
As such, we suggest doing this superset arm workout routine outlined below once a week — on a separate day — and then training your biceps and triceps again after your back and chest workouts, respectively.
As you progress through your arm workouts, focus on quality reps with good form. When in doubt, use a weight that's a little "too" light instead of trying to impress everyone in the gym with overly heavy curls and skull-crushers.
Build Your Upper Arms Fast with These Bicep and Tricep Exercises
Below is a brief description of the bicep and tricep exercises outlined in the arm workout above. Most of these movements have a shallow learning curve, but don't let your form get sloppy. Control the weight and focus on the mind-muscle connection to maximize the pump in your upper arms:
- Standing barbell curls: Grab the bar with an underhand grip. Place your hands just outside of your thighs and keep your elbows tucked at the sides. Curl the barbell slowly without swinging your body, squeeze at the top, and then slowly lower to the start position.
- Hammer curls: Hold a pair of dumbbells at your sides, with your palms facing your body. Keep your elbows tight at your sides and curl each dumbbell up. Squeeze and hold at the top of the movement before returning to the start position. You can alternate each arm or do them together.
- Cable curls: Grab a straight bar cable attachment with an underhand grip. Place your hands just outside of your thighs and keep your elbows tucked at the sides. Curl the cable slowly up to your chest without swinging your body, squeeze at the top, and then slowly lower to the starting position.
- Reverse-grip EZ bar curls: Hold an EZ bar with an overhand grip at about shoulder width. Keeping your upper arms against your sides, curl the bar towards your chest until your arms are fully contracted. Slowly lower the weight back to starting position.
- Tricep pushdowns: Attach a V bar to a high pulley. Next, grab the bar with an overhand grip, making sure your thumbs are slightly higher than your pinky fingers. Keeping your elbows tight at your sides, push the bar down until your arms are straight. Pause before slowly returning to the start position.
- Decline skull crusher: Position yourself in the decline bench and place the barbell on your thighs. You will grab the bar with an overhand grip, keeping your hands approximately 8-12 inches apart. Lie back on the bench as you extend your arms straight up to the ceiling. Make sure to keep your elbows bent slightly, and slowly touch the bar to your forehead before pressing the bar back to the start position.
- Close-grip bench press: Grasp the bar with an overhand grip placing your hands 8-12 inches apart. Unrack the weight and keep your elbows tucked at your sides. Slowly lower the bar to your chest before pushing the bar forcefully back to the start position.
- Tricep dips: Position yourself in the seated position on an upright bench. Extend the dumbbells behind the top of your head, with the dumbells oriented vertically. Flex your elbows and lower your torso (while maintaining a slight forward lean) until weight your until your elbows are bent 90 degrees. Extend the elbows by flexing your triceps and pressing off the bar until your arms are nearly straight and your torso is back to the starting position. That constitutes one rep.
The Ultimate Arm Training Routine for Mass
Perform this arm workout in a superset fashion (A→B) to increase intensity and blood flow to the muscles. Supersets are great for arms training since the biceps antagonize the triceps. Once you've completed three sets of the first superset exercises (i.e. A1 + B1) , move on to the second superset and so forth.
|Triceps Pushdowns (A1)||3||8-12|
|Decline Skullcrushers (A2)||3||8-12|
|Close Grip Bench Press (A3)||3||8-12|
|Tricep Dips (A4)||3||8-12|
|Standing Barbell Curl (B1)||3||8-12|
|Standing DB Hammer Curl (B2)||3||8-12|
|Cable Curl (B3)||3||8-12|
|Reverse-Grip EZ Bar Curl (B4)||3||8-12|
Note: New trainees tend to obsess over their biceps and neglect their triceps, but the triceps are a larger and more powerful muscle group than the biceps. By emphasizing triceps exercises, you can make your biceps/upper arms look bigger!
Arm Workouts FAQ
Q: How many warm-up sets should I do before training arms?
A: Warm-ups are just that, warm-ups; they should not be too taxing. Start off with 2-3 warm-ups sets of 10-15 repetitions for the first biceps and triceps exercises. After that, you will move on to your working sets.
Once you have warmed up sufficiently, there is no need to do warm-ups for each following exercise.
Q: How fast can I grow bigger biceps and triceps?
Q: What's the best rep range for arm growth?
A: You will be working in the hypertrophy-focus range of 8 to 12 reps per set in the arm routine provided above. However, there is no "optimal" rep range for building your arms since training volume and training frequency determine the hypertrophic response to resistance training . The key is consistency in your workouts and striving for progressive overload.
For example, when you can complete 3 sets of 12 reps on an exercise — with good form — increase the weight by a few pounds the following week. No matter what body part you are training, you should aim for progression. Going through the motions with the same weight, sets, and reps every week is sure to lead to stagnation.
Q: How long are the rest periods between exercises and sets?
A: Rest a minimum of 60 seconds between supersets. If you need a little extra time to recover, take it. But keep in mind that the pump will be more intense if you maintain a quick, intense pace throughout the workout.
Don't get in the habit of talking to friends or messing around on your phone between sets. Focus on the workout and stay in the zone until you're done. You can chat it up and text afterward.
Arm Training Tips
- If you don't feel comfortable with the V handle for press-downs, try a different attachment. You could try the straight bar or the rope.
- As you continue to improve and go heavier, it may be beneficial to have a spotter to hand you the bar on the decline skull crusher.
- Try changing your grip on the barbell curl. You could alternate one week to a closer grip and another with a wider grip.
- Take a clinically-dosed pre-workout supplement 30 minutes before training to maximize pumps, endurance, and blood flow.
Implement this superset arm workout into your training routine once per week and watch your biceps and triceps grow! Of course, you have to eat properly to build muscle, so be sure to check out our Guide to Lean Bulking before you hit the gym.