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.
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:
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!
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.
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.
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