ARMS Workout

I don’t often work JUST ARMS at the gym. I prefer to lift HEAVY in my compound movements, which honestly helps to build overall arm strength as well as muscle more so than just working arms by themselves. I also don’t work “arms” by themselves a lot because you don’t burn as many calories or build as much muscle when you focus on smaller muscle groups – so I prefer to do more compound movements and do them heavy so that I kill two birds with one stone, so to speak. I occasionally do biceps after my back day…but lately I have just been focusing on larger muscle groups. Here is a specific arm workout you can try. Sometimes it’s fun to work just arms – I would recommend throwing in some cardiovascular/metabolic conditioning with this though, e.g., rowing sprints/burpees, OH walking lunges, wall-balls, and core work too!

I will go over some of my favorite exercises for biceps and triceps, as well as compound movements to include in your weekly workouts to hit those muscles once again!

BICEPS:

Compound exercises to work biceps as well as back: 

  • Barbell row (I like to do heavy and lower reps – 5×5-6)
  • Pendlay row (again, heavy with lower reps 5×3-5)
  • Dumbbell row (8-10 reps per arm with a dumbbell of challenging weight)

Focused exercises to work biceps only/isolation exercises:

  • DB bicep curls, one arm at a time (3×10, heavier)
  • DB bicep curls, both arms together and lighter weight (3×15)
  • Hammer curls (keep DB vertical as opposed to rotating it) 3×10
  • Cable curls with straight bar – include a dropset (or a burnout set). For example do as many reps as you can with a challenging weight, then immediately drop the weight and do as many reps as you can, and repeat this 3-4 times
  • Curls with 45# bar. As many reps as possible

*you can also do what is called “21s” where you do 7 reps from the bottom/resting position up to just halfway point, then 7 reps of halfway point up to the peak of the curl (in other words, half reps) and then do 7 full curls; all nonstop and do 3 sets total.

TRICEPS:

Compound exercises to work triceps as well as CHEST and SHOULDERS:

  • Barbell presses (any kind of overhead pressing)
  • Bench press (keep heavier weight, fewer reps)
  • DB pressing/military presses
  • DB bench press (you get the idea!)
  • TRICEP push-ups – elbows close to body – toss a 10# bumper plate on your back for extra challenge
  • Decline push-ups (prop feet up on bench or something else that is higher)
  • Handstand pushups

Focused exercises to work the triceps only/isolation exercises:

  • OH tricep extensions with heavy-ish dumbbell
  • DB tricep kickbacks
  • Bodyweight dips/assisted dips
  • Weighted dips using bench with a plate in lap (prop feet up on bench in front of you and perform dips on a separate bench with the plate in your lap)
  • OH tricep rope extensions
  • Cable pushdowns overhand and underhand grips (be sure to use both grips as they utilize different tricep heads)

EXAMPLE ARM WORKOUT:

  • 3×10-12 alternating DB curls (20# DBs)
    • superset 3×10 DB tricep kickbacks (20# DBs) – keep core tight
  • 3×12-15 curls (arms working together – I would use 15# DBs for these)
    • 3×10 OH DB tricep extensions (30-35#)
  • 3×10 cable curls with straight bar + 1 dropset
    • superset 3×10 cable pushdowns with straight bar + 1 dropset
  • 21s for biceps – 3 full sets using 2 10# DBs or 12.5# DBs. Try not to swing or use body weight – focus on the bicep itself
  • 5×5 full body weight dips OR do dips on bench with weight in lap (25#-35# plate for example) and do 4×10-12

So try out that arm workout! I personally am not a fan of skull crushers – I just don’t feel like I get anything out of them. I have tried them and just was not a fan! That is the beauty of working out – there are many variations to work all different muscle groups so you can find what you LOVE and do it! That’s the most important thing!

I like to do the above types of exercises and I am sure to include heavy compound workouts other days of the week to hit my biceps and triceps again! (that would be the barbell row, pendlay row, bench press and OH pressing)

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