For this month’s workout, I’ve decided to go ahead with a biceps and triceps workout.
It’s a pretty straight forward workout that targets the the muscles of the upper arms with key movements designed to stimulate the key muscle fibres.
I suggest you try this workout for a month or so until you see the desired results.
I also suggest you train biceps and triceps together because it seems more natural to train them both in one session.
However, if you are currently training biceps on another training day, try mixing it up and train arms on the same day for a month or so.
You can use this workout with another body parts such as chest or shoulders but if you truly want a pair of big arms, I suggest you train them on a day of they’re own. That is, give them special attention (specialization).
If your not familiar with specialization or prioritization, it simply means to make that particular exercise or body part the number one priority in your weight training routine.
For example, let’s say you want to improve your squat. By prioritizing that exercise, you give it your complete focus and effort.
What you would do is make the squat the number one exericse in your routine that’s trained first in your workout cycle.
More than likely, you would train legs by themselves and with no other body part so you can give it total effort. This is specialization and it’s a technique you should become familiar with.
Anyways, I’ll leave it up to you as to whether or not you want to train them on a different day than your other body parts.
Let’s take a look at the workout
Seated Alternate Dumbbell Curls
Warm up: 1 x 20 repetitions;
Set 1: 1 x 12 repetitions;
Set 2: 1 x 10 repetitions;
Set 3: 1 x 8 repetitions;
Set 4: 1 x 6 – 8 repetitions.
From sets 1 to 4, you should be increasing the weight until you can just get 8 repetitions for the last set. Let’s say, I know that my max curl weight is 70 pounds (dumbbell). My repetitions scheme will be as follows:
Warm up: 20 pound dumbbells for 20 repetitions;
Set 1: 30 pound for 10 reps;
Set 2: 40 pounds for 8 reps;
Set 3: 50 pounds for 8 reps;
Set 4: 60 pounds for 6 – 8 reps;
You should rest about 50 seconds in between each set. Once you’ve finished your last set, head on over to the barbell rack.
Standing Barbell Curls
I’ve put a different spin on the barbell curl. Instead of taking a 40 to 60 second rest in between each set, you’re going to only be resting to the count of 10. This method really boosts the intensity of this exercise and it will cause your biceps to really burn. For the first couple of workouts, your biceps and forearms are going to scream in agony, but after wards, they will start get stronger. Once your arms start to get accustomed to the weight, try increasing the poundage by 10 – Usually every two weeks. Here is the repetitions scheme:
4 x 8 repetitions
What you want to do here is pick a weight that you know you can do 12 reps with. Once you have the weight you wish to use, set it down and get a drink of water. Here’s what I want you to do:
Set 1: Perform 8 repetitions, put the weight down and count to 10. Once you’ve finished counting to 10, go onto set 2.
Set 2: Perform 8 repetitions, put the weight down and count to 10. Once you’ve finished counting to 10, go onto set 3.
Set 3: Perform 8 repetitions, put the weight down and count to 10. Once you’ve finished counting to 10, go onto set 4.
Set 4: Perform 8 repetitions, put the weight down and take a drink of water.
Your arms should be burning and very tight. If they’re not, increase the weight by 5 to 10 pounds. Take a 30 second rest and head on over to the preacher bench.
3 x 10 repetitions
Preacher curls make for a nice finishing move because they really stretch your biceps out. There is nothing fancy about this exercise so it’s a straight 3 sets. Pick a weight that you can do a hard 10 repetitions with. Try resting about 30 seconds in between each set.
After you’ve completed the last set, take a 30 second breather and head on over to the bench press. It’s time to do triceps.
Close Grip Bench Press
Warm up: 1 x 20 repetitions;
Set 1: 1 x 8 repetitions;
Set 2: 1 x 8 repetitions;
Set 3: 1 x 6 repetitions;
Set 4: 1 x 6 repetitions;
Set 5: 1 x 12 repetitions.
The close grip bench press is a compound movement meant to add power and muscle to your triceps. Want you want to do here is add weight with each progressive set. For example, let’s say your max close grip bench press is 200 pounds. For your warm up, your going to use about 45% of your max which would be about 90 – 95 pounds.
You should be able to complete an easy 20 repetitions. For your second set, your going to use about 60% of your max which, in this case, is about 120 pounds. Rest for about 60 seconds and do your second set. For your second set, you should be using about 70% of your max, which in this example is about 140 pounds. Complete 8 repetitions and rest for another 60 seconds.
For your third set, your going to use 80% of your max and complete 6 repetitions. For this example, the weight will be about 160 pounds. Rest for another 60 seconds. For your final set, your going to use about 85% of your max. In this example, the weight will be around 170 pounds. As soon as you’ve completed the set, count to 15 and lighten the weight to about 65% of your max and complete 12 repetitions. These repetitions should be done very, very slowly. Really concentrate on the pushing portion of the exercise during this set.
Since you are using heavier weights with this exercise, you should get a spotter for sets 3 and 4. You don’t want to be stuck on the bench press with a barbell on your chest!
Rest for about 30 seconds and head on over to the cable press down machine (or lat machine).
Cable Press Downs
3 x 12 repetitions
This is a pretty straightforward exercise. You will want to make sure you do this exercise in super strict fashion. Perform the exercises slowly and in a controlled manner. Remember, keep the elbows in and squeeze at the bottom of the movement. Rest for about 30 seconds in between each set and try to increase the weight with each set, as well. That is, pyramid the weight from sets 1 through 3.
Once you’ve completed the cable press downs, head on over to the barbell rack.
Standing (Or Seated) French Presses
I find the standing french barbell press a great finishing movement for the triceps. As you can see in the image above, the exercise is perform sitting down. However, I prefer to stand up to do this exercise. If you are new to this movement, pick a light barbell that you know is light and press it over your head and lower the weight, while keeping your elbows elevated (as in the image above).
The repetitions scheme is as follows:
3 x 12 repetitions
I personally like to pyramid the weight up. However, this exercise is about form and you need to choose a weight that will allow you to perform 12 repetitions in strict manner. I suggest you try and use a light weight for your first set and rest for about 30 seconds. If you feel the weight was pretty light and performed the repetitions in strict form, try using a heavier weight. Rest for about 30 seconds and perform the final set.
If there is one thing that I stongly suggest you do is to eat every two to three hours. Now, you don’t have to eat a full blown meal. The important thing is to eat. Carry a pack sack around with you and have apples, bananas, granola bars, protein drinks and some vegtables. This way your always feeding your body.
To structure your optimal weight lifting diet, please visit Building muscle101’s diet page and nutrition page.
I can’t state enough how important rest and recuperation is. In fact, your success at weight training depends on proper rest. I strongly suggest you take a look at the following page for more information about this important topic. Click here.
For more information on nutrition for building muscle size, see this page.
For supplement information, see this page.
There you have it. This is a pretty straight forward bicep and tricep workout. I think one of the biggest tips that I can give to anyone who wants to build big arms is to watch your diet. If your looking to build big arms, your going to have to add more nutrients to your daily intake.
Good luck and remember, always keep positive!
Blake has been weight lifting for about 28 years now. He's 45 years of age and started seriously training when he was 18 years old.
Blake is the founder of Building-Muscle101.com, a successful fitness website that has been around for more than 15 years.