Big arms require a big arm workout…
Look no further.
Years of struggling to get my arms to grow finally led me to the pros and what they do. The common denominator for the pros is actually three-fold. It’s form, volume, and constant tension. Since I’ve been incorporating both concepts, my arms have grown a staggering half inch in three months. For those of you that understand the struggle, you know that this is an amazing accomplishment – all due to using the arm workout below.
Watch Gabe “T-Reks” Tuft and Brandon Griffith run through the Body Spartan Arm Workout
Have you got what it takes?
Your arm workout should have proper form and constant tension
I can’t begin to stress the importance of proper form when doing an arm workout – or any workout for that matter. There’s a time and a place for cheating reps and breaking form but if you aren’t focusing on form to begin with, your arms simply aren’t going to grow. The two biggest offenders out there are standing barbell bicep curls and triceps push downs.
For biceps curls, it’s critical that you pin your shoulders back, tuck your glutes under tight, and keep your upper arm LOCKED in place. Too many people use their shoulders to move their arms forward and take the stress off of the biceps. Keep your arm motionless and focus on using JUST the bicep to move the weight. Use the mind-muscle connection to contract the bicep and force the weight to move without breaking form.
For triceps pushdowns, the form should be almost identical. Stand up straight, tuck the glutes under, pin your shoulders back and locked your upper arm in place. The hinge for movement is your elbow and NOTHING else. If you stand as close as possible to the cable pulley, you should be able to effectively contract your triceps and make the weight move.
Once your form is dialed in you’ll want to start focusing on constant tension. This is exactly what it sounds like – keeping tension on the target muscle and not allowing it to release during the exercise. One of our favorite IFBB pros, Jason “Huge” Huh, subscribes to this theory and if you’ve seen him, you’ll know it works. Basically, instead of locking out your arms, keep a slight bend in them. For a triceps pushdown, this means simply not locking the elbows and not going so far up that you feel the tension in the triceps release. You MUST use your mind and connect with your muscle to sense when the tension is releasing.
For curls, this would mean not lowering the bar completely. Rather, stop just short of where your arms completely straighten, still feeling the tension of the weight on your biceps. For the top of the curl, stop as soon as you feel the tension starting to release. Definitely don’t curl so high that it’s a resting point. The goal here is to force the muscles to work harder than they ever have before. If you’ve seen big bodybuilders using lighter weights and wondered why, it’s because the muscles are exhausting faster when they are using constant tension in their exercises.
The other part of the constant tension theory that we’ve been utilizing with massive success during this arm workout, is reducing the range of motion as failure begins to set in. Usually when a person’s muscles begin to fail they will begin to break form or do whatever it takes to force that last rep. With this theory, as you start to reach failure and can’t make the full range of motion, stop the movement at failure, lower the weight back to the starting position and try again, shortening your range of motion until ultimately you are doing a very small movement. By doing this, you’re exhausting every possible muscle fiber. You can see Gabe doing this with the EZ curl barbell skull crushers in the video above.
This whole concept keeps the blood in the muscle cells, recruits more muscle fibers, and ultimately forces your muscles to grow.
Volume for the arm workout
3 sets of 10 for a biceps workout or a triceps workout just ain’t gonna cut it – especially if you want arms like a spartan. Big arms take volume. You have to punish them and keep the blood in them for the entire arm workout. This specific arm workout rotates between biceps and triceps every other exercise and helps keep the entire arm full of blood. Beyond that, we’re incorporating higher reps, more sets, drop sets, and super sets to give you a pump like no other.
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The Body Spartan Arm Workout
Rope triceps pushdowns
Use the single cable pulley to add more tension. Split the rope apart at the bottom for as many reps as you can. When you start to fail, bring your hands together and push straight down and slightly away from your body for the remaining reps.
|1 (warm up)||No||20||50 lbs||1 minute|
|2 (warm up 2)||No||20||70 lbs||1 minute|
|4||No||15||100 lbs||1 minute|
|5||No||15||110 lbs||1 minute|
|6||No||15||120 lbs||1 minute|
|7||No||10||130 lbs||1 minute|
Single arm cable curls, incline bench
We borrowed this from IFBB pro, Jason Huh, and have loved it so much that we incorporate it in almost every arm workout. When you sit in the incline bench, stretch your arm out and turn away from the cable. By opening your chest and turning away from the cable, you are putting much more force on the bicep alone. You are taking the pec muscle out of the equation. Again, use the single pulley cable for more tension. See the photos below for details.
|1 (warm up)||No||20||20 lbs||1 minute|
|2 (warm up 2)||No||20||30 lbs||1 minute|
|4||No||15||50 lbs||1 minute|
Skull crushers with EZ-curl bar
Hands close or hands shoulder width – your call. Lock the upper arm in place and lower the bar to just above your skull. Keep constant tension on the triceps by avoiding the full lockout.
|1||No||20||135 lbs||1 minute|
|2||No||20||155 lbs||1 minutes|
|3||No||15||165 lbs||1 minutes|
|4||No||12||175 lbs||1 minute|
Standing barbell curls super set with seated dumbbell hammer curls
Form and constant tension will force you to use slightly lighter weight on the barbell curls during this arm workout. Immediately after your set, walk over to a flat bench, pin your shoulders back, lock your upper arm in place and do hammer curls. Keep constant tension and don’t lock the elbows out. As you begin to fail, reduce your ROM. Then, when you’re at failure do 2-5 more cheat reps and focus on controlling the negative motion. Use a small cheat JUST to get the weight to the top position of the hammer curl. Watch the video above for details. NO REST between barbell curls and hammer curls.
Here’s some quick tips on how to properly perform this exercise from Brand Ambassador, Brandon Griffith:
|1||Yes||20||95 lbs – barbell curls||None|
|15||35 lbs – hammer curls||1 minutes|
|2||Yes||12||115 lbs – barbell curls||None|
|15||35 lbs- hammer curls||1 minute|
|3||Yes||8-10||135 lbs – barbell curls||None|
|12-15||35 lbs- hammer curls||1 minute|
|4||Yes||8-10||135 lbs – barbell curls||None|
|8-12||35 lbs- hammer curls||1 minute|
Close grip bench press
Keep your elbows tight and avoid the lockout to keep constant tension on the triceps. Close grip bench is an exercise that should be utilized in almost every arm workout you do. It’s a solid mass builder unlike any other.
|1||No||20||225 lbs||2 minutes|
|2||No||15||275 lbs||2 minutes|
|3||No||12||275 lbs||2 minutes|
Reverse cable curl with straight bar
Put your hands close together, about a thumb’s width apart and use the form we’ve discussed previously and the other concepts.
|1||No||20||100 lbs||2 minutes|
|2||No||15||110 lbs||2 minutes|
|3||No||12||135 lbs||2 minutes|
Triceps dumbbell overhead extensions
|1||No||20||120 lbs||2 minutes|
|2||No||15||120 lbs||2 minutes|
|3||No||12-15||120 lbs||2 minutes|
Seated, single arm machine curls
Sit sideways in a machine curl and open your chest just as you did on the seated incline bench curls.
|1||No||20+||60 lbs||1 minute|
|2||No||15+||80 lbs||2 minutes|
|3||No||15+||90 lbs||2 minutes|
Close grip cable triceps pushdowns super set with wide grip reverse triceps cable pulldowns
If you can’t make the reps, drop the weight mid set and finish. Super-setting during an arm workout is one of the best ways to completely engorge the muscle cells in both the biceps and triceps with blood – giving you an amazing pump to finish your arm workout with!
|1||Yes||20||165 lbs – pushdowns||None|
|20||135 lbs – pulldowns||1 minutes|
|2||Yes||20||165 lbs – pushdowns||None|
|20||135 lbs – pulldowns||1 minute|
|3||Yes||20||150 lbs – pushdowns||None|
|20||120 lbs – pulldowns||1 minute|
|4||Yes||20||150 lbs – pushdowns||None|
|20||120 lbs – pulldowns||1 minute|
Arm workout summary
If your arms aren’t fried by now, you’re the fricken Hulk and should probably see a specialist about why your skin is green. Stick with this arm workout for at least 4 weeks and let us know how much your arms grow!
When you’re ready to move on and mix things up, you should try separating your biceps and triceps workouts. You can do the biceps gauntlet workout on one day and the triceps superset workout on another to really shock the muscles!
Need little more arm workout inspiration?
Here’s a few photos to get you motivated and inspired for this intense arm workout: