The 20-Minute Big Arms Workout!

Add serious size to your biceps and triceps with this time-saving session from New Body Plan’s Joe Warner!

Do you want bigger arms? I thought so, which is why I’ve designed this incredibly quick and simple, yet hugely effective, biceps and triceps workout.

I’ve created it not only to be incredibly time-efficient – if you stick to the session plan below it’ll take you no more than 20 minutes – but to also work your upper arms in a new and challenging way to elicit the maximum muscle-growth response.

What does that actually mean? Well, the order of the moves, the number of sets, the rep ranges used, and the amount of rest, will all combine to work as many muscle fibres as possible while pumping blood and nutrients into the muscle tissue. The result will be a noticeable “pump” in your biceps and triceps and that deep muscle “burn” that proves you’ve worked them hard!

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Win the arms race
The speedy session contains just eight moves, which you’ll perform as four supersets. If you’ll remember a superset is two different exercises (an A move and a B move) done back-to-back with no rest between doing the A and B moves. So you’ll do all the reps of move A then immediately do all the reps of move B and only then rest before repeating this process for a certain number of sets.

To make this workout as quick and effective as possible you’ll use the same equipment and weight for both lifts of each superset, but the reps ranges used are different. That’s because the first move of each superset is harder than the second, so you’ll do fewer reps of the A move and more of the B move. This will not only save time, but has the far greater benefit of working your muscles harder for longer, which is the key to building new muscle mass, and fatigue both your fast-twitch and slow-twitch muscle fibres, which will dramatically increase the muscle-building effect!

Before you begin!
Bear in mind these three tips before you start your bigger-arms session to get the very most from your workout:

Don’t go too heavy! Hitting the target number of reps per set, at a slow and steady tempo, is far more important than trying to lift as heavy as possible. The key is to keep as much tension on the working muscle as possible!

Don’t be afraid to change! You may have to reduce the weight you lift in subsequent sets of the final two supersets – this is fine! It’s easy to change dumbbells or adjust the cable stack and – again – it’s better for your muscles if you do all the reps rather than failing halfway through because the weight is too heavy.

Tempo is tension! Tempo is the speed at which you lift and lower a weight for each rep, and the more controlled your movements the greatest the muscle-building outcome. Lower the weights back down slowly – ideally taking two seconds – pause for a beat at the bottom, then lift them back up quickly and powerful, but without any momentum.

Ready? Then let’s do this!

Superset 1
1A EZ-bar reverse-grip preacher curl
1B EZ-bar preacher curl

Set-up: Select a weight that allows you to do eight reps of the first move, and so that the last couple of reps being quite challenging.
Muscle-up: Do eight reps of the first exercise then go straight into the second move and perform 12-15 reps. Rest for 60 seconds then repeat for a total of 3 sets.

1A EZ-bar reverse-grip preacher curl
   
Sit or stand at a preacher bench, holding an EZ-bar with an underhand grip.
Keeping your upper arms and elbows on the bench, curl the bar up towards your chin until your forearms are vertical.
Pause at this top position for one second, squeezing your biceps hard.
Lower the bar slowly and under complete control, fully straightening your arms at the bottom.

1B EZ-bar preacher curl
   
Sit or stand at a preacher bench, holding an EZ-bar with an overhand grip.
Keeping your upper arms and elbows on the bench, curl the bar up towards your chin until your forearms are vertical.
Pause at this top position for one second, squeezing your biceps hard.
Lower the bar slowly and under complete control, fully straightening your arms at the bottom.

Superset 2
2A EZ-bar lying triceps extension
2B
EZ-bar close-grip bench press
Set-up:
Select a weight that allows you to do eight reps of the first move, and so that the last couple of reps are quite challenging.
Muscle-up: Do eight reps of the first exercise then go straight into the second move and perform 20-30 reps. Rest for 60 seconds then repeat for a total of 3 sets.

2A EZ-bar lying triceps extension
   
Lie on a flat bench, holding an EZ-bar above your chest with straight arms.

Keeping your elbows locked in position, pointing to the ceiling, slowly lower the bar towards the top of your head by bending your elbows.
Without arching your back, slowly return the bar to the start position by straightening your arms.

2B EZ-bar close-grip bench press
   
Lie on a flat bench, holding an EZ-bar above your chest with straight arms.
Slowly lower the bar to your chest, keeping your elbows close to your sides and not allowing them to flare out.
Once the bar touches your chest, press it back up to the start powerfully, without bouncing it back up off your chest.

Superset 3
3A Seated dumbbell biceps curl
3B Seated dumbbell hammer curl
Set-up:
Select a pair of dumbbells that allows you to do 10 reps of the first move, and so that the last couple of reps are quite challenging.
Muscle-up: Do 10 reps of the first exercise then go straight into the second move and perform 12-15 reps. Rest for 60 seconds then repeat for a total of 3 sets.

3A Seated dumbbell biceps curl
   
Stand or sit on an upright bench, holding a dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing forwards.
Keeping your elbows tight to your sides, curl the dumbbells up towards your shoulders.
At the top position, pause and squeeze your biceps hard, then slowly lower the weights.
Fully straighten your arm and flex your triceps at the bottom position.

3B Seated dumbbell hammer curl
   
Stand or sit on an upright bench tall with your chest up, holding a pair of dumbbells with your palms facing your sides.
Keeping your elbows tight to your sides, curl the dumbbells up towards your shoulders.
At the top position pause and squeeze your biceps hard, then slowly lower the weights back to the start under complete control.
Fully straighten your arms and flex your triceps at the bottom of each rep to ensure your biceps muscles move through a full range of motion.

Superset 4
4A Cable rope overhead triceps extension
4B Cable rope triceps pressdown
Set-up: Select a weight that allows you to do eight reps of the first move, and so that the last rep is quite challenging.
Muscle-up: Do eight reps of the first exercise then go straight into the second move and perform 12-15 reps. Rest for 60 seconds then repeat for a total of 3 sets.

4A Cable rope overhead triceps extension
   
Stand tall with your back to a cable machine with your chest up and core engaged, holding a double rope handle in both hands behind your head attached to low pulley.
Lean forwards slightly from your hips, but keep your chest up and your back straight.
Keeping your elbows locked in position either side of your head and pointing straight up, press your hands up and forwards to straighten your arms.
When your arms are fully straight, pause and flex your triceps for one second.
Slowly return your hands back to the start position, then squeeze your biceps hard before starting the next rep.




4B Cable rope triceps pressdown
   
Stand tall in front of a cable machine with your chest up and core engaged, using both hands to hold a double rope handle attached to the high pulley.
Keeping your chest up and your elbows tight to your sides, press your hands down until your arms are fully straight.
Hold this bottom position and flex your triceps to keep the tension on them.
Slowly return to the start position, without letting your elbows move away from your sides at any point.
When you return to the top position, squeeze your biceps.

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