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Armed and Fabulous

Sculpt killer bi’s and tri’s with this six-move regimen.

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Arms don’t always get the attention they need. They tend to be tacked onto the tail end of another bodypart, when you’re already a bit fatigued and not necessarily ready to go at them as intensely as you should. This workout — meant to be done as a stand alone day in your training split — provides three challenging moves each for bi’s and tri’s.

The workout: You’ll pyramid up your weights on the first two exercises for each bodypart, choosing a weight that you fail right around the 10th rep on your last set of the exercise. You’ll finish up with sets to failure of bench dips for triceps, and dumbbell preacher curls for biceps — the former is a bodyweight move, and for the latter, pick one weight that you can only get about 10 or so reps with and use it for all four sets.

Bodypart Exercise Sets Reps
Triceps Lying Dual-Dumbbell French Press 4 10-15
Dumbbell Kickback 4 10-15
Bench Dip 4 To Failure
Biceps Standing Barbell Curls 21s 4 21 (7+7+7)
Alternating Dumbbell or Kettlebell Curl 4 10-15
One-Arm Dumbbell Preacher Curl 4 To Failure

Tip: Each time you do this workout, switch which bodypart you lead off with — so, for example, do triceps and then biceps (as listed) the first day you try the workout, then flip bi’s and tri’s next time.

The Exercises: Your How-To Guide For Each Move


Lying Dual-Dumbbell French Press

Setup: Lie face up on a flat bench with your feet on the floor. Hold a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing inward. Extend your arms straight up over your chest, then angle them back toward your head so they’re at a 45-degree angle.

Action: Squeeze your triceps as you slowly lower the weights on either side of your forehead until your elbows make about a 90-degree angle. Pause for a moment, then strongly extend your arms to return to the start.


Dumbbell Kickback

Setup: Place your hand and same-side knee on a flat bench and grasp a dumbbell with your palm facing inward with the other hand. Raise your upper arm and pin it to your side.

Action: Hold that upper arm in place as you extend your elbow and press the dumbbell up in a smooth arc until it’s straight and parallel to your torso. Don’t allow your elbow to drop as you return your lower arm to the start position.


Bench Dip

Setup: Sit sideways on a flat bench with your hands on either side of your hips, fingers forward. Your knees should be bent and feet flat on the floor about shoulder width apart. Press into your palms and lift your bum off the bench, sliding it forward so you’re supported between your hands and feet.

Action: Bend your elbows to lower yourself straight down as far as you can go, or until your elbows make 90-degree angles. Then press through the heels of your hands and extend your arms to return to the start.


Standing Barbell Curl 21s

Setup: Stand with your feet hip-width apart and hold a barbell with a shoulder-width, underhand grip, arms extended toward the floor.

Action: For the first seven reps, curl the barbell from the bottom and stop at the halfway point of the rep, when your forearms are parallel to the floor. For the second seven reps, start from this midpoint and curl the bar to the topmost position, where the bar approaches your shoulders. For the final seven reps, use full range of motion, starting at the bottom and curling all the way to the top.

Tip: Start with less weight than you can handle for regular standing curls because of the added reps and the challenge of doing partials through the upper half of the ROM.


Alternating Dumbbell or Kettlebell Curl

Setup: Stand with your feet hip-width apart and hold a pair of dumbbells or kettlebells at your sides, arms extended, palms facing forward.

Action: Maintaining ad upright posture, contract your biceps to curl one weight toward your shoulder, keeping your elbow at your side. Hold and squeeze the contraction at the top, then slowly return the dumbbell along the same path. Repeat with the opposite arm.


One-Arm Dumbbell Preacher Curl

Setup: Grasp a dumbbell and place one arm over a standing or seated preacher bench, palm facing away from you.

Action: Keeping your shoulder down and wrist rigid, raise the dumbbell in an arc toward your head, stopping just short of bringing your forearm perpendicular to the floor. Squeeze your biceps to get a maximal contraction, and then return to the start position, making sure to stop just before full lockout elbow extension (to avoid hyperextending your elbow).

Tip: No preacher bench — no problem! An incline bench will work in a pinch. Just adjust the bench to about a 45-degree angle and place your arm over the back of it.