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When’s the last time you checked your upper-body arsenal? Are your arms up to fist-pumping standards? Definition-lacking arms won’t make you dance-floor worthy, so roll your biceps and triceps workouts into one no-nonsense routine. Boost their appearance and strength, and in no time you’ll be giving those Jersey Shore boys a run for their “hard-earned” money.
If you are used to training your bis and tris as part of an overall upper- or total-body workout, listen up: One benefit of setting aside a day to isolate your arm muscles is your ability to push past plateaus by trying out new moves, says Sharon Mann, host of In Shape with Sharon Mann and international fitness presenter. Look at it this way: “If you only have to do one biceps exercise per upper-body workout, you might fall into the habit of doing the same basic curls every time,” says Mann. Sound familiar? When you have to come up with multiple biceps and triceps exercises for one workout, you’re more likely to reach out of your comfort zone and crosstrain your muscles to the max.
That’s where this plan comes in — Oxygen has packed six biceps and triceps exercises into one no-nonsense routine, including a unique stability ball move that is guaranteed to put an extra burn in your arms. The best part? Your arms will be ready to show off in less than month!
Ready to try your hand at this dual-action arm routine? Consult the chart and workout how-to to figure out exactly which of our two plans is right for you. Do your routine two to three times per week on non-consecutive days and be prepared to get a grip on strong, sexy bis and tris in three short weeks.
1. Bodyweight Bench Dip
Target Muscles: triceps brachii (lateral and medial heads)
Set Up: Position two benches parallel to each other and about three feet apart. Sit on one bench, resting both heels on the other. Place your palms on the bench you’re sitting on, fingers pointing to the floor, arms close to your sides.
Action: Lift your glutes off the bench, sliding your body slightly forward until your hips are just in front of the bench. Lower your hips toward the floor until your arms are bent to about 90 degrees; keep your elbows pointing behind you and your body as close to the bench as possible. Straighten your arms, lifting your hips back up without sitting back on the bench, then repeat.
Tip: If you only have one bench, place your heels on the ground.
2. Lying Triceps Extension
Target Muscles: triceps brachii (lateral and long heads)
Set Up: Lie faceup on a bench with your feet flat on the floor, holding a dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing in. Extend your arms toward the ceiling, aligning your hands and dumbbells over your shoulders.
Action: Bend your arms, lowering the dumbbells toward either side of your head without moving your shoulders. Keep your head and back flat against the surface of the bench throughout. Straighten your arms and repeat.
Tip: A slight bend in your elbow means A+ form.
3. One-Arm Triceps Kickback
Target Muscles: triceps brachii (lateral head)
Set Up: Bend your left leg and place your left knee and palm on a bench. Holding a dumbbell in your right hand, bend your elbow until your upper arm is parallel to the floor. Your left elbow should be pointing behind you, palm facing your side.
Action: Straighten your left arm, bringing the dumbbell behind your body until your right arm is straight. Slowly return your arm to the starting position. Complete your set, then switch sides.
Tip: Keep that back flat — no rounding!
1. Alternating Biceps Curl
Target muscles: biceps brachii (long and short heads)
Set Up: Sit up tall on the end of a bench, holding a dumbbell in each hand. Keep your arms extended at the sides of your body, palms facing forward. Maintain a tall torso by retracting your shoulder blades.
Action: Bend your right arm to bring the dumbbell toward your right shoulder. As you lower your right arm, curl your left, lifting the dumbbell toward your left shoulder. Repeat, alternating reps between each side.
Tip: Remember: Exhale up, inhale down.
2. Hammer Biceps Curl
Target muscles: biceps brachii (long head) and brachialis
Set Up: Stand with your feet hip-width apart, holding a dumbbell in each hand. Main-tain a slight bend in your knees with your arms at your sides, palms facing in.
Action: Bend both elbows at the same time, raising the dumbbells toward your shoulders while keeping your palms facing in, elbows close to your sides. Lower your arms back to the starting position and repeat.
Tip: While you can do this move seated, standing helps work your core and leg stabilizers.
3. Dumbbell Preacher Curl With Stability Ball
Target muscles: biceps brachii (short head)
Set Up: Holding a dumbbell in your right hand, kneel behind a stability ball and rest your right upper arm on the top of the ball, arm extended with your palm to the ceiling. Place your left hand on your hip.
Action: Bend your right elbow without lifting your upper arm off the ball. Stop when your hand moves slightly past your elbow. Straighten your arm and complete your set before switching sides.
Tip: If your ball is too big, you won’t get a satisfactory extension.
Save time, boost your calorie burn and fast-track your results. To reap all these benefits, try supersets! Do one set of a triceps exercise followed immediately by one set of a biceps exercise, or vice versa, resting only after you’ve completed both sets.
Training opposing muscles — or even the same muscle — in a superset is challenging, but there’s proof it works. In a study published in the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, supersets were shown to blast more calories and produced more of an after burn postworkout compared to traditional weight training.