A great, effective workout doesn't have to take all day. In fact, it shouldn't! Make the most of your time in the gym with my all-around arm workout. You'll build strong, toned triceps, biceps, and shoulders in no time!
This workout targets your arms and delts with four giant sets—groups of exercise done one after another with minimal rest. This approach will keep your heart rate elevated and guarantee that you leave the gym tired, sweaty, and knowing you did the most with your valuable time.
If you're already following a program, but want to work more on your arms and shoulders, you can add this workout as an extra day—provided you don't train arms two days in a row, that is. Or, if you're just focusing on arm and shoulder development, you can do this workout twice a week, provided it jives with your other training goals.
Every exercise in this session calls for 15-20 reps. Keep your intensity up for every set. The last 5 reps of each lift are the most difficult, but that's where results are achieved! Make sure you're really pushing yourself and working until failure. After all, in lifting, as in life, you'll only get as much as you put in.
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Giant Set 1
Reverse Biceps Curl Use a barbell for all three exercises in this giant set. It might seem strange, but I like to do reverse curls at the beginning of my workout, because they're more difficult and require you to use all of your strength to lift the bar and get those high reps. The pronated grip will help you hit both your biceps and forearms.
Standing Triceps Extension Take a quick breather if you need to, then head into standing triceps extensions. Place the bar overhead to start, keeping your elbows close to your head. Foot position is up to you; you can stand with your feet together, or step forward with one foot in a slight lunge.
Upright Row After another short breather—only if you need it!—get ready for some rows. I like separating my hands to roughly shoulder-width apart for this movement, which creates more tension in the delts. To get into the proper position, lean forward, and bend your knees slightly. As you bring the bar up, lead with your elbows. Think of it as trying to get them to touch the ceiling as you pull up.
Giant Set 2
Rope Hammer Curl We're kicking off this next giant set with hammer curls. When you do these, make sure your shoulders are back and your arms are glued to your sides. Pull the rope up, but make sure not to relax at the bottom of the movement. You'll get the most out of the movement by keeping tension on your biceps.
Standing Triceps Extension After resetting the cable height, get ready to target your triceps. When you do these extensions, keep your shoulders back and abs tight. Your arms should go through a full range of motion into a strong contraction and deep stretch. Don't go further than 90 degrees, to prevent your triceps from resting too long.
Rope Face Pull Move the pulley down to roughly shoulder height for your cable upright rows. Keeping your abs tight and bending your knees a tad, pull the rope so it's level with your shoulders. You should feel this in your traps, biceps, and shoulders.
Giant Set 3
Alternating Biceps Curl Grab some dumbbells to kick off your third giant set. Before you choose the weight you want to use, remember that everything is between 15-20 reps—for this exercise, that means 15-20 reps on each arm. Let your ego go, and get ready to lift for reps.
Overhead Triceps Extension Grab one heavier dumbbell. The movement in this exercise should reflect the movement you did during standing barbell triceps extensions. Keep your arms and elbows next to your ears, come down, and press up.
Lateral Raise Use a relatively light weight for this movement. Make sure to keep a slight bend in your elbows, and control the movement so you're not resting at the bottom. You don't need to come any higher than shoulder height.
If you want to take a page from my training book, keep tension on your muscles for the entire movement by stopping the rep before the weights come down in front of you. By skipping that resting zone, you'll keep your muscles engaged and exhaust them as much as possible.
Giant Set 4
Plate Hammer Curl For this last giant set, use a weight plate—most likely a 25-pound plate, but feel free to switch weights if you're having trouble with the reps. When performing plate biceps curls, make sure your arms are glued to your sides and your shoulders and elbows stay fixed.
Plate Overhead Triceps Extension Bring your hands overhead, keeping your elbows glued to your ears. Move the weight overhead. Pay close attention to your form on these; your core should be tight to prevent your lower back from arching too far.
Plate Front Raise For front raises, don't bring the plate any higher than shoulder height, and don't rest after bringing the weight down. Maintain a consistent pace. Keep your core tight so you don't swing the weight. At the end of this burner, you'll be struggling, but you'll have earned your rest!