KILLER BICEP AND TRICEP WORKOUTS
By Sean Nalewanyj
Building an impressive, muscular set of upper arms is usually at the top of most lifter’s priorities at the gym.
The biceps and triceps are considered a “showy” muscle group and there isn’t a single serious bodybuilder out there who doesn’t want to develop these muscles to their full potential.
In this article I’m going to give you a no-fluff, straight to the point overview of proper arm training along with some highly effective bicep and tricep workouts that you can start using right away.
I won’t be going in-depth on any nitty-gritty details here; the goal is to simply provide you with the basic, bare-bones information you need to start packing some serious size and strength onto your arms as quickly as possible.
Let’s get started…
When structuring your bicep and tricep workouts, always keep in mind that these are relatively small muscle groups and that they are already hit very hard during all of your compound chest and back training.
Any time you perform a pressing movement for your chest or shoulders, your triceps are heavily activated, and any time you perform a pullup/pulldown or rowing movement for your back, your biceps are heavily activated.
For that reason, the biceps and triceps don’t require a very significant amount of direct work in order to see optimal gains.
Your biceps are made up of 2 individual heads: the short head and the long head. The function of the biceps is elbow flexion and forearm supination.
Your triceps are made up of 3 individual heads: the medial head, the long head and the lateral head. The function of the triceps is elbow extension.
In order to fully develop the biceps and triceps to their maximum potential, you’ll need to perform 5 separate exercises in order to target each individual head and specific movement pattern of these muscles…
Exercise #1: A basic palms-up elbow flexion movement to target the short and long head of the biceps. The best choices here are a standing barbell curl or cable curl. (You'll find links to video demonstrations for all of the recommended exercises I'll be outlining at the bottom of the page)
Exercise #2: A supinating dumbbell curl performed either seated or standing. This is also used to target both heads of the biceps. You can curl the weights up at the same time or perform them in an alternating fashion.
Exercise #3: A close-grip bench pressing movement (close grip barbell presses or close grip dumbbell presses) or narrow grip dips to target the medial head of the triceps.
Exercise #4: An overhead extension to target the long head of the triceps. Some great choices here include overhead dumbbell extensions (one arm at a time or both hands holding a single dumbbell), overhead rope extensions or overhead ez-bar extensions.
Exercise #5: A cable pushdown to target the lateral head of the triceps. This can be performed using a straight bar or a rope attachment.
** As a supplemental sixth exercise, I would also recommend including a reverse curl exercise as well. This will target the biceps as well as the brachioriadalis (top of the forearm) and can be performed using a barbell or a cable.
Utilizing these 6 basic exercises in combination with all of your chest and back training is all you’ll need to build the thick, muscular arms you’re after.
Perform 2-4 sets of each movement for 5-7 reps. (The only exception are for your reverse curls, which work better with a slightly higher rep range of about 8-10.)
If you’re training with maximum intensity by taking all sets to concentric muscular failure, stick with 2 sets per exercise. If you’re on a more moderate intensity plan and are training 1-2 reps short of failure, go with the full 3-4 sets.
You can either perform your bicep and tricep workouts together on a dedicated arm day, or you can pair up your chest/triceps and your back/biceps into separate workouts.
Let’s now put it all together…
Click each exercise below for a step by step video demonstration...
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