If you've been following my series of finishing-move articles—like my Iron Brothers technique and Cannonball Sets—you're aware that I like to create an ultra-high-intensity way to complete a body-part workout, usually by combining an exercise with a mad scheme that magnifies the muscle burn by making a set as painful as possible. Don't worry: No one's died yet, but a lot of people who've tried my techniques have grown like crazy!
This new technique comes at the tail end of any arm day, a workout in which you train both biceps and triceps. Since those muscle groups are antagonists—that is, they work around the same pair of joints so that when one flexes, the other stretches—there's already plenty of blood pumping through your veins. So the recipe here is simply to stretch your skin to its outermost limits.
Don't get stuck on the name of this technique—it's called Three Pieces and a Biscuit—because I don't quite get it either. I suppose the three pieces refers to the three triceps heads, and the biscuit, well, that's your baseball biceps when you flex your arm!
What's important to know is that the exercise pairing consists of five segments, and when you put them all together, you get one of those trademark burns Kyle Cavner at Destination Gym in Dallas and I are known for delivering.
Ready to take your arm training to the next level? Here's how to finish it right.
The 5-Part High-Intensity Superset
This exercise pairing consists of skullcrushers and biceps curls, both using the same weighted bar. Choose a weight you can do for about 10-12 reps of skulls. And, of course, you precede this finishing move with your normal biceps and triceps routine.
You'll start off lying on the flat bench with skullcrushers, the single-joint triceps movement. The first 8 reps are done with your upper arms locked in place angled slightly toward your head, which puts a little more stress on the triceps long head, and works the lateral head. The second 8 reps are done with your upper arms positioned more toward your legs so the bar approaches your chin, not your forehead.
You may want to take a slightly wider grip on this second segment. This slight change in elbow position takes a little of the stress off the long head and focuses more on the lateral head. Remember to keep your upper arms locked in place as you do these; only your forearms should move.
The final 8 reps of the triceps portion are a close-grip bench-press. Keep your elbows tight to your sides as you drop your elbows and press the weight. After 16 reps of single-joint skulls, doing a multijoint movement now recruits the pecs. Because the chest musculature is relatively fresh, you'll get some assistance in completing reps 17-24.
But you're still not done! Lower the bar to the bench and stand up; it's time to start curls. Here, you'll simply do 2 sets of 8 reps in two different ways. The first is with your arms tight to your sides. Just bust out 8 strict barbell curls.
The next part is done like a drag curl: Raise the bar directly up close to your torso by pushing your elbows back as far as possible. This puts more emphasis on the biceps long head (peak) but really shortens the range of motion. It will burn, believe me.
Lawrence Ballenger Three Piece and a Biscuit
Watch the video - 2:09
Here are a few more tips to get the most out of this finishing superset.
- Skulls are challenging when you're highly fatigued, so having a partner is a great idea here. Your partner can help you place the bar at the start and end of a set, and can help you complete forced reps, assisting with some of the load, when you can't quite hit your rep target.
- If you can't complete your reps for whatever reason, quickly lighten the weight and continue until you finish your reps.
- Your rest time between sets is only how long it takes your partner to finish his or her sequence, or about 90 seconds.
- Do three sets of this super superset in all, which is enough to blow out your arms. Chances are, you'll want to train legs or take a day off the following day—your arms are going to be really sore!
- Advanced trainers can try this technique with blood-flow restriction (BFR). Make sure you know how to use BFR before trying it. While it super-intensifies the pump, you don't want to tie too tight.