Sun's Out, Guns Out: 5 Crucial Arm-Training Tips And Workouts!

It's time for a summer gun upgrade. Heed these 5 foolproof tips and try the accompanying workouts to build a set of cut and jacked arms!

With the sizzling summer sun now high in the sky, it's time to rip off your sleeves, soak up some sweet rays, and exercise your right to bare arms! Of course, it's more fun to exercise that right if your armaments are more like glistening cannons than shrimpy pistols, and that's where we come in.

If you still need to add some bulk to your biceps and chisel your triceps, you're in the right place. Heed this expert advice from the BodySpace community and try these killer workouts to win the summertime arms race!

1

Train less for more growth

Depending on your program and fitness level, it's possible that overworking your arms may be causing more harm than good. In fact, training your arms too much can actually lead to similarly underwhelming results as training them too little.


A photo posted by Ed Honn (@mister_physique) on



When it comes to building his arms, physique competitor Ed Honn embraces the axiom "less is more," which implies that working on something with less frequency can actually—in some cases, such as this—benefit you more. Ed explains, "Don't overwork your arms! Remember that they are used as assisting muscle groups in most compound exercises, such as seated rows, for instance, so one dedicated arm day is enough for most seasoned lifters."

To get the most out of his arm workouts, Honn ensures that he works through a variety of different rep ranges. He says, "I am a fan of classic exercises and maintaining athletic body cues—chest up, knees slightly bent, and elbows at my sides. As you see in the workout below, I start with chin-ups and dips because I feel nothing beats the basics for tried-and-true arm growth."

Ed also makes sure to attack his arm workouts like he does all his other muscle groups: First, he signals them to grow through challenging weights and varying rep schemes, and then he finishes off his workout with a monster pump.

Honn's Hulking-Arm Workout
Warm-up superset
1

Bodyweight chin-up

1 set of 15 reps
Bodyweight chin-up Bodyweight chin-up

Bodyweight dip

1 set of 15 reps
Bodyweight dip Bodyweight dip

Superset
2

Weighted chin-up

3 sets of 6-8 reps
Bodyweight chin-up Bodyweight chin-up

Weighted dip

3 sets of 6-8 reps, last set is a dropset
Bodyweight dip Bodyweight dip

Superset
3

Close-grip neutral press

3 sets of 8-10 reps
Close-grip neutral press Close-grip neutral press
Dumbbell alternating hammer curl Dumbbell alternating hammer curl

Triset
4
EZ-bar decline triceps extension EZ-bar decline triceps extension

EZ-bar pull-over

3 sets of 10 reps
EZ-bar pull-over EZ-bar pull-over

Close-grip EZ-bar press

3 sets of 10 reps
Close-grip EZ-bar press Close-grip EZ-bar press

Superset
5

Incline dumbbell curl

3 sets of 10-12 reps
Incline Dumbbell Curl Incline Dumbbell Curl

Dumbbell spider curl

3 sets of 10-12 reps
Dumbbell spider curl Dumbbell spider curl

TRX superset (descending pyramid)
6

TRX biceps curl

1 set of 10/10/9/9/8/8 all the way to 1
TRX biceps curl TRX biceps curl

TRX triceps extension

1 set of 10/10/9/9/8/8 all the way to 1
TRX triceps extension TRX triceps extension



2

Choose good form over heavy weights

Physique competitor and fitness model Jimmy Everett's primary advice for biceps exercises is to pick a weight that's challenging but doable in a specific rep range. Usually, this is a weight that allows you to hit every rep in a slow and controlled manner, not in a herky-jerky way. "Total control ensures you keep good form and control throughout an exercise," Everett explains.


A photo posted by Jimmy Everett (@jeverett14) on



This could mean dropping the weight—and your ego—on dumbbell biceps curls, for example, to ensure quality muscle contraction, but the trade will allow you to target your arms more directly for better results. Everett also advises you to think of consciously squeezing your biceps at the top of each rep in order to really get the blood moving into the biceps peak.

"Be sure that you also stay under control the entire time, never letting the weight just drop back down after the rep. Instead, lower it slowly every time," he says.

Everett's 21-Gun Salute
1

Standing "21" curls

5 sets of 21 reps
Standing '21' curls Standing '21' curls
First 7 reps from waist to chest, second 7 reps from chest to chin, last 7 reps full range, with no rest in between each.

2
Seated dumbbell curls on an incline bench Seated dumbbell curls

3

Preacher curl machine

5 sets of 15, 10, 8, 6, 2-4 reps (raise weight on each set)
Preacher curl machine Preacher curl machine



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3

Turn down the volume, up the frequency

In contrast to Ed Honn's minimalist approach, fitness model Jesse Hobbs trains his arms quite frequently, but he uses relatively low volume to keep himself from burning out. His technique differs from Honn's "less is more" tactic, but it's a nice alternative if you've been following that line of training though for quite a while.

Instead of blowing out his arms one day per week, Hobbs adds arm exercises to his other upper-body days and then blows them out. "This allows me to train my biceps and triceps twice per week each," he says. "On Tuesdays, I train chest with triceps, and on Wednesday, back and biceps. Then on Saturday, I come back and hit biceps and triceps again for an arm day on its own."




Hobbs recommends that you always give your arms as much rest as possible after training them, to maximize recovery and help them grow, which means no extracurricular work like mowing the lawn or playing basketball afterward.

"Another thing I'd recommend is that if you start to feel weaker toward the end of your arm workout, train that lagging muscle with more emphasis to prioritize growth," says Hobbs. "At the end of your sets, if you feel like you could get a few extra reps in there, start pumping them out to get that muscle full of blood."

Hobbs's High-Frequency Arm Workouts

Workout 1: Triceps After Chest
1

Weighted dip

4 sets of 12 reps
Weighted dip Weighted dip

2

Rope pull-down

4 sets of 12 reps
Rope pull-down Rope pull-down

3

Dumbbell kick-back

3 sets of 10 reps
Tricep Dumbbell Kickback Tricep Dumbbell Kickback

Workout 2: Biceps After Back
1

Standing dumbbell curl

3 sets of 10 reps
Standing dumbbell curl Standing dumbbell curl

2

Overhead curl

4 sets of 12 reps
Overhead curl Overhead curl

3

Camber curl

4 sets of 25 reps (for pump)
Camber curl Camber curl

Workout 3: Arm Day
1

Concentration curl

3 sets of 12 reps
Concentration curl Concentration curl

2

EZ-bar preacher curl

4 sets of 10 reps
EZ-bar preacher curl EZ-bar preacher curl

3

Hammer curl

4 sets of 10 reps
Hammer Curls Hammer Curls

4

Straight-bar curl

6 sets of 15 reps
Straight-bar curl Straight-bar curl
Pyramid up for three sets (starting from the bar weight) and then pyramid down for three sets.

5

Rope pull-down

4 sets of 12 reps
Rope pull-down Rope pull-down

6

Skullcrusher

4 sets of 8 reps
Skullcrusher Skullcrusher

7

Overhead extension

3 sets of 10 reps
Overhead extension Overhead extension

Triceps Triset
8
Wide-grip cable bar pull-down Wide-grip cable bar pull-down
Narrow-grip cable bar pull-down Narrow-grip cable bar pull-down
Reverse-grip cable bar pull-down Reverse-grip cable bar pull-down



4

Try the "Gun Run" workout

When she needs to sculpt her summer arms, Danielle Beausoleil likes to do what she refers to as a "gun run," and it's just as much fun and work as it sounds. It entails training her biceps and triceps with dropsets—a technique in which you hit failure, immediately drop to a lighter weight, and then rep to failure again—to create a full, round, and aesthetically pleasing look.

"Try using dropsets to burn out your biceps and triceps, as this will really provide you with a satisfying pump that everyone loves during arm days," she recommends.




Beausoleil also suggests supersetting—hitting exercises back-to-back, without rest—biceps with triceps to reduce the amount of rest between sets, which allows you to do more work in less time and burn a significant number of calories.

Danielle works hard to build her guns. "Don't cheat," she warns. "Make sure that you are completing the full range of motion during your reps."

Beausoleil's Gun-Run Workout
Superset
1

Dumbbell hammer curl

3-4 sets of 10 reps, then do a dropset and do 12 reps per side
Hammer Curls Hammer Curls

Weighted triceps dip

3-4 sets of 8-15 reps
Weighted triceps dip Weighted triceps dip

Superset
2

Barbell biceps curl

3-4 sets of 12 reps
Barbell biceps curl Barbell biceps curl

Cable triceps extension

3-4 sets of 12 reps, then triple dropset of 12 reps
Cable triceps extension Cable triceps extension

Superset
3

Incline dumbbell curl

3-4 sets of 10-15 reps
Incline Dumbbell Curl Incline Dumbbell Curl

Dumbbell skullcrusher

3-4 sets of 10-15 reps
Dumbbell skullcrusher Dumbbell skullcrusher



5

Squeeze out every ounce of effort

According to WBFF Pro Eiren Gauley, the secret sauce to solid guns is to contract your muscles as hard as possible at the peak of every rep. During his workouts, Gauley always fires during the concentric (raising) part of each exercise, squeezes like hell at the top, and then slows down the eccentric (lowering) portion.


A photo posted by Eiren Gauley (@eirengauley) on



In this way, Gauley maximizes control and tension placed on his muscles, squeezing every bit of effort from his muscle fibers out of each rep. Gauley knows that if he simply rushed through the move, he wouldn't reap the full benefits.

Gauley is also a fan of chin-ups and bodyweight dips, as they build a solid foundation for a good arm routine. If you cannot yet perform a chin-up and bodyweight dip perfectly, he recommends that you work on those first before doing any other exercises.

Gauley's Guns Workout
Warm-up
1
Close-grip chin-up Close-grip chin-up
Bodyweight dip Bodyweight dip

Superset
2

Dumbbell curl

3 sets of 10 reps
Dumbbell Bicep Curl Dumbbell Bicep Curl

Dumbbell hammer curl

3 sets of 8-10 reps
Hammer Curls Hammer Curls
Perform with both arms rather than alternating arms.

Superset
3

Triceps rope push-down

3 sets of 12 reps
Triceps rope push-down Triceps rope push-down

Close-grip bench press

3 sets of 8-10 reps
Close-Grip Barbell Bench Press Close-Grip Barbell Bench Press

4

Standing barbell curl

5 sets of 15, 12, 10, 8, 6 reps, triple dropset on last set
Barbell Curl Barbell Curl

5

Incline bench EZ-bar French press

5 sets of 15, 12, 10, 8, 6 reps, triple dropset on last set
Incline bench EZ-bar French press Incline bench EZ-bar French press

6

Spider curl

3 sets of 12 reps
Spider Curl Spider Curl

7

Overhead dumbbell extension

3 sets of 8-10 reps
Overhead dumbbell extension Overhead dumbbell extension

Superset
8

EZ-bar biceps curl

2 sets of 21 reps, 65% maximum working weight
EZ-Bar Curl EZ-Bar Curl

Skullcrusher with press

2 sets using 65% maximum working weight
Skullcrusher with press Skullcrusher with press
Get as many skullcrushers using proper form as possible, and then switch to presses until failure.

9

Close-grip chin-up

1 rep as slow as possible (5-10-sec. count up and down)
Close-grip chin-up Close-grip chin-up

10

Dip

1 rep as slow as possible (5-10-sec. count up and down)
Bodyweight dip Bodyweight dip


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