How often do you wake up in a cold sweat in the middle of the night thinking, “If only I could put on one more inch on my arms,” or “Will my gym crush finally talk to me if I curl 60-pound dumbbells?” Okay, the yearning to impress the cutie in the gym might be exclusive to me, but can you put your hand on your heart and say you’ve never wanted bigger arms?
Unlike legs, arms are one of the most loved muscle groups to train, and yet only a handful of people have guns worth showing off. Most lifters cannot build size in their arms because they tend to oversimplify arm training.
Curling more often and heavier might not always be the most optimal way of beefing up your arms. People usually perform the same training routine for months and still blame the god of gains for their growth stagnation inside the gym. If you have hit a muscle or strength plateau, you need to rejig your training approach to break through the overhead ceiling. Remember, it is easier to avoid hitting a plateau than smashing through it.
Most arm training articles on the internet give you a single workout to perform for 12 weeks, which can get boring and often causes lifters to give up on their python-building goals. This article is different. We have put together eight arm-blasting workouts that will help you take your gains to the next level.
Before getting into the workouts, let’s go over the human arm anatomy. Learning about different arm muscles will help you learn how they work and decide between different exercises to train them optimally. For example, if you have lagging triceps, following a biceps-focused workout program will only widen your muscular imbalance. Additionally, understanding the structure of your arms will help you better utilize different grips and patterns of movement.
Muscle Anatomy — Biceps
To make the most of your arm workouts and ensure overall development, you need to focus on three bicep muscles — the biceps brachii, brachialis, and brachioradialis. Here is the difference between these muscles:
1. Biceps Brachii
Your biceps consists of two heads — the long and short head. The short head originates at the front of your scapula and inserts at top of the radius (the forearm bone that ends near your thumb). On the other hand, the long head also originates at the scapula but takes a longer route to insert into your radius.
The biceps brachii helps create supination and flexion. A supinated grip (palms facing forward) targets the brachii most effectively.
Brachialis lies underneath the brachii and runs from the midpoint of your humerus (upper arm bone) to your ulna (the forearm bone that ends near your pinky finger). It helps flex the elbows and can be targeted using hammer grip exercises.
The brachialis exercises can also make your biceps appear bigger by pushing your brachii up from below.
It is a long forearm muscle that originates on the humerus and attaches at the end of the radial bone. The brachioradialis is best trained using a pronated grip (palms facing your body). A fully pronated grip loses the mechanical advantage of the biceps, giving you a direct line of pull to the brachioradialis.
Muscle Anatomy — Triceps
Although triceps make up the majority of your upper arm, they do not get the same amount of love as their siblings on the other side of the arm. Triceps are made up of three heads — lateral, medial, and long. A fully developed tricep looks like a horse kicked you in the back of your arm.
1. Lateral Head
Lateral Head originates on the upper humerus and attaches to your elbow. Extension movements where your arms are under your shoulder level work all three tricep heads equally.
2. Medial Head
The medial head starts on the backside of the humerus and attaches to your elbow.
3. Long Head
The inner-tricep head runs from your scapula and attaches to your elbow. Overhead tricep extension exercises isolate the long head of your triceps.
Resistance exercises can be categorized into two sections —
- Compound movements: Compound (multi-joint) lifts like barbell bicep curls are effective in building strength, muscle mass, and improving overall functionality. Additionally, these exercises require more balance and coordination compared to isolation lifts.
- Isolation movements: These are single-joint lifts like the cable tricep pressdown that help in improving muscle definition and symmetry.
Eight Arm Workouts For Building Venomous Pythons
In the workouts below, you’ll be using at least one advanced training technique in every training session to ensure your muscles never get used to your training style. You could cycle through the eight arm workouts for the next eight weeks, or bookmark this page and come back to it later when you are looking for a workout that will leave you sore for days.
Now that you know everything there is to know about arm training, let’s dive into the eight workouts that will help you turn your guns into bazookas.
Arm Workout #1
- Barbell Bicep Curl: 4 sets of 10-15 reps, 30-sec rest — last set will be a double-dropset
- Dumbbell Alternate Hammer Curl: 3 sets of 10-15 reps, 30-sec rest
- 21s: 3 sets of 21 reps, 30-sec rest
- Reverse Grip Cable Curls: 4 sets of 10-15 reps, 30-sec rest
- Close-Grip Smith Machine Press: 4 sets of 10-15 reps, 30-sec rest — last set will be a double-dropset
- Cable Pressdown: 3 sets of 15-20 reps, 30-sec rest
- Overhead Tricep Extension: 3 sets of 10-15 reps, 30-sec rest
- Barbell Skull Crusher: 3 sets of 10-15 reps, 30-sec rest
- Wrist Roller (Forearms): 3 sets to failure
Most rookies make the mistake of performing the exercises with a partial range of motion. To ensure optimal muscle fiber recruitment and activation, you should follow a full ROM on every lift mentioned in the arm workout program.
Arm Workout #2
- Dumbbell Curl: 3 sets of 10-12 reps — intraset stretching on the last set
- Preacher Curl: 3 sets of 10-12 reps
- Zottman Curl: 3 sets of 10-12 reps — rest-pause on the last set
- Cable Overhead Bicep Curl: 4 sets of 10-12 reps
- Rope Pressown: 4 sets of 10-12 reps — intraset stretching on the last set
- Floor Skull Crusher: 3 sets to failure
- Dips: 3 sets of 10-12 reps — rest-pause on the last set
- Dumbbell Kickback: 3 sets of 10-12 reps
- Behind-the-Back Barbell Wrist Curl: 4 sets to failure
While performing the exercises, focus on establishing a mind-muscle connection, and squeeze the life out of your muscles with every rep. Visualize your dream physique with every rep, and do not forget to pose between sets.
Arm Workout #3
- Concentration Curl: 4 sets of 12-15 reps
- EZ-Bar Curl: 3 sets of 10-12 reps — every set will be a dropset
- Seated Cable Curl: 3 sets of 10-12 reps
- Underhand Chin-up: 3 sets of 10-12 reps
- Resistance Band Curl: 3 sets of 10-12 reps
- Dumbbell Skull Crusher: 4 sets of 10-12 reps — every set will be a dropset
- Reverse Grip Cable Pressdown: 4 sets of 12-15 reps
- Diamond Push-up: 4 sets to failure
- Bench Dips: 4 sets to failure
- Overhead Weight Plate Extension: 4 sets of 12-15 reps
- Plate Pinch: 25 pounds plates and hold for 20 seconds
Do not be afraid to train volume on your arm days. Hit your guns with everything you have got, and you’ll be amazed at the kind of torture the mean pythons can sustain.
Arm Workout #4
- V-handle Cable Curl: 4 sets of 12-15 reps — forced reps on the last set
- Cable Preacher Curl: 3 sets of 10-12 reps
- Incline Bench Hammer Dumbbell Curl: 3 sets of 10-12 reps
- Barbell Spider Curl: 3 sets of 10-12 reps
- Single Arm Pressdown: 4 sets of 10-12 reps — forced reps on the last set
- Overhead Cable Tricep Extension: 3 sets of 10-12 reps
- Single Arm Reverse Grip Pressdown: 3 sets of 10-12 reps
- Bent-Over Cable Tricep Kickback: 3 sets of 10-12 reps
- Towel Pull-up: 3 sets to failure
In this workout, you’ll only be performing isolation exercises. If you do not experience a muscle-ripping pump during the workout, try dropping down the weights and slowing your rep tempo. In this arm training session, your goal should be to annihilate your guns using slow and deliberate reps.
Arm Workout #5
- Wide-Grip Barbell Curl: 4 sets of 25 reps
- Close-Grip Barbell Curl: 4 sets of 25 reps
- Reverse Barbell Curl: 4 sets of 25 reps
- 21s: 4 sets of 25 reps
- Close-Grip Bench Press: 4 sets of 25 reps
- EZ-Bar Skull Crusher: 4 sets of 25 reps
- Overhead Barbell Extension: 4 sets of 25 reps — double dropset on the final set
- Single-Arm Landmine Press: 4 sets of 25 reps
- Farmer’s Walk: 3 sets of 30-seconds
After the machine-only arm workout, it’s time for a barbell-exclusive session. The 25 reps on each exercise in this training regimen will ensure you do not miss using machines. Use moderate weights in this workout, and focus on squeezing your muscles with every rep.
Arm Workout #6
- EZ-bar Pushdown (overhand): 3-4 sets of 20 reps
- EZ-bar Pushdown (underhand): 3-4 sets of 20 reps
- Cable Tricep Extension: 3-4 sets of 20 reps
- Smith Machine Close-Grip Bench Press: 4 sets of 15-8 reps
- Dip: 3-4 sets of 20 reps
- Standing Alternate Dumbbell Curl: 4 sets of 10-20 reps — the last set will be dropset
- EZ-bar Curl: 3-4 sets of 12-20 reps
- Two-Arm Cable Curl: 3-4 sets of 20 reps
- Hammer Curl: 3-4 sets of 12-20 reps
- Fat Grip Bicep Curl: 3 sets of 12 reps
This workout might look smaller than the previous ones on the list, but it will have you running on fumes by the time you are done with it.
Arm Workout #7
- Decline Barbell Skull Crusher: 4 sets of 12-15 reps
- Single-Arm Overhead Tricep Extension: 3 sets of 12-15 reps
- Band Pushdown: 3 sets of 12-15 reps
- Close-Grip Floor Press: 3 sets of 12-15 reps
- Cable Preacher Curl: 4 sets of 12-15 reps
- Dumbbell Curl: 3 sets of 12-15 reps
- Incline Bench Hammer Curl: 3 sets of 12-15 reps
- Spider Curl: 3 sets of 12-15 reps
- Barbell Curl: 3 sets of 12-15 reps
- Standing Barbell Wrist Curl: 4 sets to failure
After starting the previous workouts with biceps, you’ll be hitting your triceps first in this workout. If you have lagging triceps, you should train them before bis. Feel free to switch the order of every workout on the list and begin your training sessions by hitting the back of your arms.
Arm Workout #8
- Barbell Curl: 4 sets of 12-15 reps
- Close-Grip Bench Press: 4 sets of 12-15 reps
- Cable Curl: 4 sets of 12-15 reps
- Tricep Pressdown: 4 sets of 12-15 reps
- Reverse-Cable Curl: 4 sets of 12-15 reps
- Reverse-Grip Tricep Pressdown: 4 sets of 12-15 reps
- Barbell Skull Crusher: 4 sets of 12-15 reps
- 21s: 4 sets of 21 reps
- Underhand Wrist Curl: 4 sets of 12-15 reps
- Overhand Wrist Curl: 4 sets of 12-15 reps
The eighth workout in the sleeve-ripping arm workout program consists of antagonists supersets — meaning you will be super-setting biceps with triceps. It will ensure that you are putting equal emphasis on both muscle groups.
More Arm Workouts:
- Best Old-School Bicep Workouts
- 4-Week Arm Training Program
- Build Bigger Arms With Biceps 21s
- Targeted Bigger, More Muscular Arm Training
- Back and Biceps Workout
- Simple Old-School Methods To Grow Your Biceps
- 4-Day Upper Lower Split For Hypertrophy and Strength
In this article, we go over the anatomy of the human arm and the roles of different muscles. The eight workouts mentioned above are all you need to turn your twig-like arms into oaks.
If you are a beginner, invest time learning the correct form of performing the exercises. Chasing big weights while using an incorrect form will produce substandard results and can result in injury.
- Gentil P, Soares S, Bottaro M. Single vs. Multi-Joint Resistance Exercises: Effects on Muscle Strength and Hypertrophy. Asian J Sports Med. 2015;6(2):e24057. doi:10.5812/asjsm.24057