How do you know when you've had a good arm workout? For Bodybuilding.com's 2018 spokesmodel search winner Kyler Jackson, it's when you have to lower your head to put your earbuds in, because you can't lift your arms that high. That's the kind of workout he has lined up for you with this straight-from-the-local-YMCA arm pump.
A major pump like this floods your muscles with blood and nutrients to ensure max hypertrophy, so don't hold back on a routine that will temporarily leave you as slack-armed as the walking dead, but locked and loaded for growth in your guns.
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Close-Grip Barbell Bench Press
Position your hands at about shoulder-width apart, then breathe in as you lower the bar to your chest. Keep your elbows close to your sides at all times to work your triceps the hardest. Pause the bar at the bottom to remove momentum, then breath out and push the bar up slowly. It should take you about twice as long to push the bar up as it does to lower it to your chest. Focus on using your triceps to move the weight more than your chest or shoulders.
Lift the bar up well past 90 degrees to work your biceps through a full range of motion with both a stretch at the bottom and a squeeze at the top. Try not to rock your body at the bottom of the lift. If you need to cheat to start the eccentric portion of this exercise, you should probably back off on the weight. There are times when it makes sense to cheat up a big weight so you can focus on the negative part of the lift. For this workout, though, stick with a weight you can handle without momentum. Use an EZ-bar is you want to give your wrists and forearms a break.
Same thing here as far as momentum. Make all 16 reps in each set examples of top form. Keep your hands in a neutral position, which will help bring in the brachialis and brachioradialis muscles as well as the biceps peak. Perform 16 reps, alternating arms with each rep. For the most complete lift, bring your forearms up until they're as close as possible to touching your biceps.
Incline Barbell Triceps Extension
You can use an EZ-bar on this exercise, too, to reduce stress on your wrists and elbows. Position your hands a little closer together than shoulder-width. Keeping your upper arms stationary, lower the bar until your forearms meet your biceps. Return to the starting position and contract your triceps for a second before starting the next rep.
Lying Cable Curl
Lie flat on an exercise mat in front of the weight stack. Put your feet against the frame of the pulley machine for stability. Keep your elbows close to your body as you curl the bar up slowly toward your chest as you exhale. Hold at the top and contract your biceps for a second before inhaling and returning the bar to the start position. You can use a straight bar, an EZ-bar, or even a rope for this exercise.
Triceps Push-down With Rope Attachment
Stand upright with a slight forward tilt, keeping your upper arms close to your body. As you pull the rope down, spread your hands apart so that the end of the ropes finish near the outside of your thighs. Give your triceps a 1-second squeeze at the bottom of the rep before returning to the starting position. For best results, use explosive force when pushing the rope down, then a slow negative to return it to the starting position.
With most exercises, the most challenging form is to stop the weight completely at the bottom of the range of motion. This momentary pause gets rid of any momentum that would make it easier for you to lift the weight back up—and what's the point of making it easier? Start with the bar at shoulder height, slowly lower the bar as you breathe in, then exhale as you curl the bar up. Once you reach the top, squeeze the biceps hard for 1 second.