In most places, the sun is out. You know what that means—your guns should be out too. Whether we wear a tank top or show more skin at the beach, let's all admit that we want our arms in stellar condition.
If you're embarrassed to show off your arms because they look like limp strands of linguini dangling from your shoulders, then you need help. I have the workout that will change those twigs into arms so awesome your girlfriend will want to have them wrapped around her all night long.
I know some of you will be LOLing at this "curls for the girls" bro-ticle. But sometimes, vanity has its place. Why not hit the gym hard and let it show? Make Popeye proud!
Sun's Out Guns Out Workout
For this workout, you'll do three simple yet highly effective exercises for both biceps and triceps—six exercises total.
You'll be in the gym for 45 minutes or so and leave with a pump that would make Bruce Banner envious.
Torching Your Triceps
Exercise 1: Push-Down, 4 Sets Of 12 Reps And 1 Triple Drop Set 12, 12, 12, To Failure
One of my biggest pet peeves is walking into the gym and seeing a guy doing triceps push-downs looking like the hunchback of Notre Dame. Nobody is impressed by your super-heavy stack if you put all your body weight on top and do mini elbow pumps.
Find a weight you think will enable you to hit the target rep range and set the pin in the stack accordingly. I prefer to use a straight bar . Keep your body straight and your core engaged as you press down; squeeze your triceps at the bottom. Allow the bar to return to chin height. Your forearms should be squeezed tight against your biceps. Allowing the elbows to raise a little will further engage the long head of the triceps, which means you recruit more muscle fibers. Stand up tall, especially when you get tired, so you don't allow yourself to start hunching.
Exercise 2: Dumbbell Skullcrusher To Chest Buster, 3 Sets Of 12 Reps
Skullcrushers with dumbbells are highly effective; they allow you to work out the strength imbalances in your arms. I like to infuse my skullcrushers with some pull-over action to make the long head of the triceps the primary mover. Begin with the dumbbells straight up in the air above your face. Lower the weight all the way to the floor behind your head. As you begin to pull back up, straighten your arms until they reach full extension, but keep the angle of your humerus (upper arm bone) 45-60 degrees from the floor. This will keep the tension on your muscles.
I combine skullcrushers with triceps chest busters. After 12 reps of skullcrushers, put the dumbbells flat on your chest with your elbows flared out, your thumbs pointed down, and your palms facing away from your face. Push the dumbbells together and keep tension there. From there, push the dumbbells up with your inner chest and triceps. Keep the dumbbells together as you bring them back down to your chest. Do 12 reps.
Kick the 130-pound kid doing a chest fly out of the way and tell him he needs to start with the bench press. Set the cable at the bottom of the rack and take off any attachments. Assume a staggered stance and lean over at the waist. Raise your elbow so your humerus is parallel to the floor, and don't ever let it drop past this point. This whole motion is done from the elbow: flex, extend, and repeat. If your rear delt tires it means you need to work on your rear delts.
Blasting Your Biceps
Superset Spider Bench Curl And Preacher Curl, 4 Sets Of 8 Reps
I'm not a big fan of standing biceps curls for a few reasons: one, everybody cheats; two, you're all a bunch of cheaters who use your lower back; and three, you're going to hurt your lower back, cheater.
Spider bench curls into preacher bench curls are a great way to change the angle of tension on the muscle to maximize your work quickly. Both curls should be performed standing and leaning onto the preacher bench, not seated. Be careful not to lock out your elbow on the extension phase because it puts a lot of tension on the tendons and joints instead of your muscles.
These exercises can be performed with either barbells or dumbbells—mix it up to keep it interesting. Get your arms warmed up with one easy set then jump into 4 sets of 8 reps on both exercises. All biceps exercises should be done with an emphasis on the negative portion of the rep. This will maximize your time under tension, leading to greater gains.
Exercise 3: Incline Dumbbell Curl, 3 Sets Of 8 Heavy Reps
For this exercise, I get to go a little heavy and allow some cheating. Pick a weight that's going to be challenging to get all 8 reps. Sit back on the bench and curl both arms at the same time, making sure to rotate your wrists on the way up so your palms face your body at the top. On the descent, keep your palms up and make the tempo a 3-count . Remember, biceps exercises are all about the negative —the lowering portion of curls often stimulates new growth. So, slow down!
If the weight isn't pulling your arms down toward the end of each set, you went too light. On your last set, choose a heavier dumbbell and do some cheat reps that require you to sit up and swing the dumbbells a little bit . Then, hold that negative position for as long as possible. You'll feel like your arm is getting torn apart, but it's a biceps builder, that's for sure.
Exercise 4: Lying Cable Curls 1 Set Of 12 Reps, 2 Sets Of 8 Reps To Failure
I prefer using the straight bar attachment for these. I lie face up on bench holding this handle so my palms face up and my hands rest flat on my thighs. Doing the exercise like this completely eliminates any jerking, kipping, or back-flopping action you use when you cheat your 150-pound standing barbell curls.
Keep the reps strict and your back flat against that pad; don't sit up. This is a finisher so leave it all on the table. Two sets should set your biceps on fire.
Superset Barbell Forearm Curls And Behind-The-Back Wrist Curls, 3 Sets Of 15 Reps, Wrist Curls To Failure
Straight-bar forearm curls off the edge of the bench will give you a lot of bang for your buck. You can use any straight bar you like. Just sit at the end of the bench and place your forearms flat on the bench so your wrists are at the end and your hands are off the bench. The key to this exercise is allowing the bar to roll down your hand all the way to your fingertips just before it falls off. Squeeze your hand so the bar rolls back up and the flex the wrist all the way up, and then squeeze some more. Use a weight which allows you to hit about 15 reps.
As soon as you're done with the forearm curls, stand up and grab the bar from behind your body so it rests on your hamstrings. Do standing wrist curls by allowing the bar to roll all the way down your hand and into your fingertips. Squeeze the bar back into your hands and flex your wrists. Do as many reps as possible until it feels like you wouldn't be able to hold a coffee cup.
Superset Dumbbell Hammer Curls And Reverse Barbell Curls, 3 Sets Of 8 Reps
We finish off the workout with 3 sets of dumbbell hammer curls into reverse barbell curls. It's a simple paring but don't start throwing stupid weight around. Use something you can handle without cheating and curl with your thumbs going straight up to the ceiling. These should put the finishing touches on those awesome lower biceps and forearm muscles.
After a few weeks of doing this workout, you should see significant improvement in the details and size of your arms. Remember, always ask your girl what she thinks of your improvements. If she says she can't tell, get a new girlfriend and keep training.