Free Workout: Build Bigger Arms!

Try this eight-move super session to pack on arm size and strength

Hi, NewBodyPlan.co.uk editor Joe Warner here, with the details of a new eight-exercise arms session I’ve been working on that I’ve found massively beneficial in helping me build bigger biceps and triceps. In the next paragraph I’ve explained the theory behind why this session is so effective, but if you just want to get on with the workout then scroll down to get cracking!

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Opposites attract
My new arms workout is based on the principle of “antagonistic supersets”, which are a pairing of two moves in a superset that work opposing, or “antagonistic” muscles.

The biceps and triceps are the classic example of an antagonistic muscle pairing: when the biceps contract to bend the elbow the triceps lengthens; and conversely when the triceps contract to straighten the elbow the biceps lengthens.

Studies show that working opposing muscles groups together is a highly-effective way to train because you can do more lifting in less time (and an increase in training volume forces muscles to grow), and working harder and more intensively burns more calories (so you’ll get a fat-loss result too).

However, you don’t need to get bogged down in the anatomical analysis – you just need to execute the following workout to the letter to start building bigger arms!

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Big arms made easy
The eight moves in this workout are paired into four supersets: the first move (A) of each superset works your triceps and the second move (B) works your biceps. I’ve paired moves together that use the same equipment to reduce the time, energy and hassle it takes to get the job done!

The sets and reps change throughout your workout to challenge your muscles in multiple ways to elicit the maximum muscle-growth response. Simply do three warm-up sets of the first superset (1A and 1B), starting with light dumbbells and increasing them in each warm-up set until you’re ready for your first work set.

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 adjust the cable stack and it’s always 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.

Superset 1
Total Sets: 3
1A Seated dumbbell overhead triceps extension
Reps: 10 Tempo: 2010 Rest: 0sec

• Sit on an upright bench, holding a dumbbell in both hands above your head with straight arms.
• Keeping your elbows locked in place and pointing up to the ceiling, slowly lower the dumbbell back behind your head by bending your elbows.
• Return the weight to the start position by straightening your arms.

1B Seated dumbbell biceps curl
Reps: 10 Tempo: 2011 Rest: 60sec
   
• 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 arms and flex your triceps at the bottom position.

Superset 2
Total Sets: 4
2A EZ-bar overhead triceps extension
Reps: 8 Tempo: 2010 Rest: 0sec
   
• Start tall holding an EZ-bar in both hands above your head with straight arms.
• Keeping your elbows locked in place and pointing up to the ceiling, slowly lower the bar back behind your head by bending your elbows.
• Return the weight to the start position by straightening your arms and flexing your triceps at the top.

2B EZ-bar biceps curl
Reps: 12 Tempo: 2010 Rest: 60sec
   
• Start tall holding an EZ-bar in both hands with an underhand grip.

• Keeping your elbows tight to your sides, curl the bar up towards your shoulders.

• 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 and flexing your triceps.

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Superset 3
Total Sets: 4
3A EZ-bar lying triceps extension
Reps: 8 Tempo: 2010 Rest: 0sec
   
• 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.

3B EZ-bar spider curl
Reps: 12 Tempo: 2011 Rest: 60sec

• Lie chest first on an incline bench, holding an EZ-bar with an underhand grip with arms fully straight.
• Keeping your elbows locked in position, curl the bar up towards your head by bending your elbows.

• Hold and squeeze your biceps for a second in this top position, then slowly lower the bar back to the start position to fully flex your triceps in the bottom position.

Superset 4
Total Sets: 3
4A Cable rope triceps pressdown
Reps: 15 Tempo: 2010 Rest: 0sec
   
• 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.


4B Cable rope hammer curl
Reps: 15 Tempo: 2011 Rest: 60sec
    
• 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 low pulley with straight arms.
• Keeping your chest up and your elbows tight to your sides, curl your hands up until your hands are at chin height.

• Hold this top position and squeeze your biceps 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 bottom position, flex your triceps.


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Got a question?
As always, if you have any questions about the different New Body Plan training programmes and which one is best for you, or have any general exercise or eating questions, you can find me on Twitter and Instagram. I get back to every question, so don’t be a stranger!

Joe Warner,
co-creator New Body Plan

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