Regan Grimes has arms the size of tree trunks. If yours look more like saplings, it’s time to change your approach to arm training. This high-volume workout consists of 3 supersets for the biceps and triceps that will absolutely crush your arms in less than 45 minutes!
Each exercise is performed for 5 sets, which means you’re annihilating your arms with 30 sets. While this may seem intimidating, your fortitude will be well rewarded. High-volume workouts are great for several things:
• They overload the muscles with tension, one of the primary drivers of hypertrophy.
• They create lots of metabolic stress, another key driver of hypertrophy.
• They flood the muscles with blood, enhancing nutrient delivery.
• They generate a massive muscle pump!
Standing Dumbbell Curl
While the barbell curl is often viewed as the king of biceps exercises, using dumbbells allows you to train each arm independently. This helps to address any muscular imbalances that may have developed as a result of performing only bilateral variations of curls, like barbell or EZ-bar curls. We all have one side of our body that is stronger than the other and tends to take on more of the load. Using dumbbells ensures that each side is working equally.
Many lifters also often experience pain when performing barbell curls due to the torque placed on the wrist from the fixed hand placement on a barbell. Dumbbells give you a greater degree of freedom and let you find a more natural wrist position.
For his first triceps exercise, Grimes favors push-downs, as they’re easy on the elbows and provide an excellent warm-up for the heavy lifting ahead. Start with a weight that allows you to complete 15 reps using a smooth, controlled lifting tempo.
The goals of this exercise are to warm up the elbows, flood the triceps with blood (creating more stability and cushion around the elbow joint), and establish a strong mind-muscle connection. Make sure to keep your arms tight and close to your body. Allowing them to drift out shifts the tension away from the triceps and onto the chest.
The added benefit of using a rope handle is that you can find an arm angle and wrist position that fits your needs. You’re not fixed into one plane of motion as you are with a straight bar. Additionally, you can get a more complete contraction of the triceps. A bar that hits your thighs at the bottom may limit you, but the rope handles let you bring your hands to the sides of your body, extending your arms a few extra inches.
Machine Preacher Curl
Free weights are often viewed as the “best” tools for building muscle and strength, and don’t get me wrong, they certainly can help build an amazing physique. Even so, that doesn’t mean that machines can’t offer some unique advantages over free weights.
When you perform curls on a machine that utilizes a CAM system, there are no “easy” positions. The design places constant and consistent tension on your biceps throughout the entire range of motion, meaning the preacher curl machine gives you incredible muscle-building bang for your exercise buck.
Grimes likes to perform these using the 1.5-rep method for even greater time under tension. The 1.5-rep technique is also great for developing a stronger peak contraction, which helps build a better biceps peak. To perform the 1.5-rep machine preacher curl, curl the weight all the way up, lower halfway down, and then curl the weight up to the top again before slowly lowering under control to the bottom.
The dip is a staple mass-building exercise that strengthens the pecs, delts, and triceps. Bodyweight dips require a great deal of stability and coordination, as well, particularly around the shoulder, and the small stabilizer muscles are often the limiting factor in the exercise as opposed to the chest or triceps.
The machine dip is an appealing alternative to the standard bodyweight dip as it removes the balance and stability components, allowing you to focus entirely on overloading the triceps. Plus, many lifters have been known to experience discomfort in either the shoulders or elbows when performing bodyweight dips.
To avoid possible shoulder and elbow irritation when you do dips, keep your elbows close to your sides and stop the movement when your forearm and upper arm create a 90-degree angle. Going beyond this can place undue stress on the shoulder joint and may also shift tension from the triceps to the chest and shoulders.
If your gym doesn’t have a dip machine, you can substitute regular bodyweight dips on a bench or a close-grip bench press.
The aptly named “Grimey” curl is essentially a hammer curl performed by grasping the handles of a 45-pound plate. Grimey curls are great for adding thickness to the biceps as well as hitting the forearms, as they also stimulate the muscle fibers in the brachialis and brachioradialis.
The brachialis is an oft-forgotten muscle of the upper arm that sits beneath the biceps brachii and assists with elbow flexion. It plays a key role in the overall appearance of your biceps as a well-developed brachialis creates the illusion of a giant “knot” on the outside of your arm that in turn helps create separation and definition between biceps and triceps when your arm is flexed.
You can scale the exercise using 35s, 25s, or even 10s, and work your way up as you grow. Grimes has been known to perform these with up to three 45-pound plates!
Seated Overhead Dumbbell Triceps Extension
There’s no better way to finish off the triceps and a behemoth 30-set arm workout than with some extensions! This exercise is great for blasting the long head of the triceps, which is often shortchanged in other triceps exercises like the kick-back and push-down.
In order for the long head of the triceps to be placed on maximal stretch, your arm has to be up and overhead. That’s important because a muscle is only capable of achieving maximal contraction when it is maximally stretched.
As noted for the other triceps exercises in this workout, you want to focus on keeping your elbows in tight to really smash the target muscle. This can be somewhat challenging for bigger guys to accomplish. If that’s the case with you, consider performing the exercise one arm at a time as opposed to using one heavier dumbbell to hit both arms.