In this article, we will show you a typical split workout (doesn’t involve supersets) for the biceps, triceps and forearms. The main goal of this workout is gaining mass and strength in the arms department, meaning that you will be gaining pulling and pushing strength, along with the increase in effective weight (muscle mass).The workout’s volume is in accordance to the size of the muscle groups involved.
This arm day workout would be appropriate and applicable for intermediate and advanced fitness enthusiasts.
We should mention that due to its high volume, the workout should not be done more than twice a week (every 3-4 days) and is a nice addition for a 4-day split (3 days on, 1 off).
Which muscle group to start off with?
If you have not gone through our article on “Priority principle” we will brief you shortly- Prioritize your weak spots. If your biceps are lacking, place them first in your arms workout and blast them with weights and volume.
In this particular workout, we start off with the biceps, then we move on to the triceps and finish off with a couple of exercises that prioritize the forearms.
|Exercise||Number of Sets||Number of Repetitions||Muscle Groups Involved|
|Barbell bicep curl||5||Warm up- 15,12
Working- 10, 8, 8
|Primarily biceps, secondarily forearms|
|Dumbbell preacher curls||3||8-10||Primarily biceps, secondarily forearms|
|Close grip bench press||5||8-10||Primarily triceps, secondarily chest and front shoulders.|
|Pulley rope triceps extension||4||10||Triceps|
|Reverse grip barbell curl||2||12||Forearms, biceps|
|Dumbbell hammer curl||2||12||Forearms, biceps|
Rest times in between sets and exercises are no longer than 2 minutes. Take as long as you need to recover and be ready for the next set/exercise, but keep the blood flowing and avoid long rests.
This workout should take about an hour to complete.
More advanced athletes can use the cheat principle to help themselves get beyond failure for the first barbell bicep exercise
Barbell Bicep Curl
The workout starts with the most basic barbell bicep exercise, which is done in 5 sets, with the first two being done with lower weights and higher reps to get the biceps warmed up for the 3 working sets afterwards.
- Grab the barbell with the arms being at shoulder width
- Keep your body straight and the arms extended all the way down
- Curl up, until the biceps is fully contracted
- Hold the contraction for a split second
- Let the weight down slowly, stretching the biceps
Dumbbell Preacher Curl
This second bicep exercise emphasizes on the outer head of the bicep, which is responsible for its “peaky” look.
- Sit down and place your arm on the preacher, holding the dumbbell- Make sure your armpit is tightly placed against the edge of the pad
- Let the dumbbell all the way down, stretching your bicep
- Curl the dumbbell up, contracting the bicep- Once you reach full contraction, hold it for a second and let the weight down again
Close Grip Barbell Bench Press
This compound movement allows you to use significant weights, due to the fact the synergistic muscle groups working here are the chest, shoulders and triceps, with the triceps being primarily involved.
- Load the bar
- Lay down and grab the bar with your arms being at shoulder width
- Un-rack the bar and keep the triceps tensed
- Let the barbell down, so that it reaches the line at the very bottom of your chest musculature
Pulley Rope Triceps Extension
This is your second and last triceps exercise, which will focus more on contraction, rather than heavy weights- Make sure you use light weights and achieve optimal muscle contraction.
- Grab the rope with an overhand grip
- Turn around and step with one of your legs forward for balance, as illustrated
- Keep the upper portion of the arm static
- Extend your arm, contracting the triceps
- Let the weight down, then proceed to the next rep
Reverse Barbell Curl
These last two exercises will emphasize on the forearm musculature, which is often a lacking body part for many trainees.
- Stand up with your body straight
- Grab the barbell with an overhand, reverse grip
- Make sure your arms are completely extended at the bottom of the movement
- Curl up, keeping the tension on the forearms
- Slowly let the barbell down
- Proceed to the next rep
Dumbbell Hammer Curl
- Stand up with the dumbbells by your side (sides of the dumbbells pointing forward as illustrated)
- Keep the upper arm static
- Curl the weight up, without supinating your wrist
- Hold the contraction briefly
- Extend your arm all the way down
Make sure to use appropriate weights and proper execution for each exercise. Cheating is only considered safe for the first bicep exercise, after reaching failure (e.g. 8 strict repetitions until failure, followed by 2-3 more repetitions beyond failure, using inertial movements to support the weight)
Check- Cheating principle