Supersets are a great way to achieve a ferocious pump during your arm workout—and they'll save you some training time for good measure. A superset is two exercises done back to back with no rest in between, and biceps and triceps are the classic body-part pairing for this technique.
MuscleTech-sponsored athlete Abel Albonetti knows a thing or two about building impressive arms. Hell, his entire physique is on point. This professional fitness model and coach has become something of a go-to guru for chest- and arm-thrashing routines, several of which have already been published here on Bodybuilding.com.
Although his workouts are tough, Albonetti acknowledges that building muscle is as much about control as it is about lifting heavy.
"When I was a teenager, I was like any other teen trying to lift as heavy as possible. But I found out quickly it's not about the weight, it's about the form."
In this article, Albonetti shares his three favorite arm supersets. Each is guaranteed to make your biceps and triceps feel like they're ready to pop out of your skin!
Superset 1: Straight-Bar Curl / Straight-bar Skullcrusher
5 sets of 10 reps
Albonetti likes the straight bar here because he can periodically peel off weight as the supersets progress, keeping his reps pegged at 10 per set, a nice number for hypertrophy, aka muscle growth. The five total supersets ensure Abel still does enough volume for a serious arm pump!
Superset 2: Incline bench dumbbell curl / Dumbbell overhead extension
4 sets of 12 reps
This dumbbell combo is another great appetizer to a smorgasbord of arm training.
"I like incorporating this superset at the beginning of my arm workout because my arms are fresh and I'm still able to handle heavier weights," says Albonetti.
Early in the workout, Albonetti rests for 120 seconds between supersets.
"I might start heavy with the biceps, then pre-fatigue my triceps with a lighter exercise," he says. "Later I reverse it and go heavy on the triceps, while maintaining a lighter pump in the biceps."
Dumbbells help isolate each muscle while allowing their user to maintain control. A stickler for strict form in his arm routine, Albonetti insists the key to bigger arms is achieving a full range of motion on every single rep. Bring the dumbbell up from behind your head on the overhead presses to fully stretch the triceps on each rep. With biceps curls, flex your triceps at the bottom of each rep to ensure your biceps are fully extended before bringing the weight back up.
Superset 3: Cable hammer curl with rope / Triceps push-down with rope
4 sets of 15 reps
Hammer curls and rope push-downs are fantastic arm finishers. Albonetti recommends increasing the reps and shortening the rest time to supercharge your pump.
"I use slightly lower weight and do more reps to help pump as much blood into my arms as possible," he explains. "I also don't rest very long between these supersets, only 40 seconds or so. That keeps my arms pumped!"
Building muscle is all about striking a balance between heavy weight to stimulate muscle growth, and maintaining strict form to reap the full benefit of each exercise.
"It's not always about lifting heavy," explains Albonetti. "When you're a bodybuilder or a physique competitor, as opposed to powerlifting, you lift to build muscle."
His current arm routine is focused on building a well-rounded physique.
"To be honest, I think we're all bodybuilders on some level," says Albonetti, "and to build muscle, I learned to use weight I can control."