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Biceps and Triceps Workout for Ripped Arms

As you know, there’s no single exercise, machine, stretch or free weight which will target every key muscle group and give you a complete workout. In order to work all of your key muscle groups you need to target specific areas as well as your entire body. You already know you’re not going to get 6 pack abs just by doing crunches or sit-ups. You have to target all of your core muscles as well as adjust your diet in order to eventually reveal the ab muscles you’re envying in others. These blog entries will focus on a single area of the body, to help you understand how to link all of these exercises together to create a full body workout schedule.

bodybuilder front double biceps pose on beach Biceps ? are a key muscle group in the upper arms. They work hard all day, even if you’re not aware of it. Even when sitting at a keyboard every day, your biceps stabilize your posture and keep your wrists on the keyboard. They also help you lift everything from your bag, backpack, briefcase, groceries, dishes, children, etc. That, plus it’s one of the first things people look at when you’re wearing a short sleeve shirt or tank top. Having toned biceps keeps you strong and helps you look fit.

Biceps Exercises

There are a number of bicep curl exercises, some are performed while standing, some sitting. Some are done with free weights, some with weighted bars, cable attachments, exercise bands or resistance bands. We’ll start with the standard free weight bicep curl.

For each exercise, you’ll need to determine which weight is appropriate for you. You should choose a weight that will allow you to complete your assigned reps at the following levels of difficulty: First set 60% max effort Second set 80% max effort Third set (and fourth if applicable) 100% max effort

For men, your goal should be 8 to 12 reps for each set. For women, your goal should be 15 – 20 reps. Your muscles should begin to feel fatigued after your first set, but you’ll need to continue for the full three sets. You will usually not perform three sets of 20 reps all in a row, you’ll break the sets up with an alternating exercise for triceps. This is called a superset, which we’ll discuss later.

I know what you are going to ask. “Why do women do more reps than men?” The answer is that most women don’t want to add muscle size, just definition and shape. In addition, the female body has more slow-twitch muscle fiber than males and respond better to more reps and a continual pace. For the female trainee looking to add mass, her rep range is best in the 10-15 range.

Dumbbell Curls

Hold a free weight in each hand. Stand with your feet spread apart and aligned with the width of your hips.  You can also perform it seated. Your arms should hang down at your sides. Your palms should face forward. Pull your abdominals in, stick your chest out, rotate your shoulders backwards, keep your head up and your knees slightly bent. Keep your wrists in line with your arms and curl both arms upward until reach your shoulders. As you curl the weights, exhale deeply. You can curl both arms at the same time or alternate them. Slowly lower the dumbbells back down to a fully extended position, inhaling deeply. Do not rest your arms, but make sure they are fully extended at the end of each rep before starting a new rep. You may notice that one of your biceps/arms is quite a bit stronger than your other one. This is a natural occurrence. When you think about it, if you’re right-handed, you tend to utilize your right side more frequently than your left and vice versa for left-handed people. There’s no reason not to work to equalize strength on both sides of your body. Always start and finish with your weak arm if you have one.

Barbell Curls

Barbell Curls You can also do similar exercises by holding a single, weighted bar with both hands holding the bar. Your posture and form will remain the same for this exercise, but make sure the bar is level, and that both arms are exerting the same level of effort.

Cable V Curls

high pulley curl

cable curls

This is like doing concentration curls with both hands. Hold the pulley handles set high on the cable crossover machine. Curl both hand towards your head like you’re performing a front double biceps pose. Keep your upper arms mostly stationary keep your elbows pointed out. Resist the temptation to pull your elbows together.

Exercise Band Curls

Isabelle Fuhrman elastic band curls Additionally, if you have a resistance band, you can also do a bicep curl by placing the band under both feet, keeping your feet aligned with your hips, and holding the band with both hands, palms facing forward. Follow the steps above, paying extra attention to keeping your movements very smooth and even. Don’t allow the band to jerk your arms back down to your sides as you’re completing each rep. This is usually for the ladies, you can’t build muscle bulk with resistance bands (sorry soloflex).

Triceps Exercises

side triceps poseOne of the biggest questions I get is “How do I get sexy/buff arms?” When people think about what they want their arms to look like, they usually show me pictures of the hottest male and female celebrities and ask me to focus on toning their upper arm areas.

Most people believe that by building up bicep muscles, your arms will look great, with well-defined musculature. But the look you want won’t happen without some serious triceps work as well. If you have elbow or lower back pains or problems, check with your doctor before attempting any of these exercises.

Let’s walk through a serious triceps workout, to show you how to put these muscles through their paces. For each exercise, you’ll need to determine which weight is appropriate for you. You should be able to perform at least 6 to 8 reps fairly comfortably with this weight.

If you’re a guy, aim for 10 to 12 reps per exercise, completing three sets.

linda hamilton armsIf you’re a woman, aim for 15 – 20 reps per exercise, completing three sets. Do a superset of bicep exercises alternating with tricep exercises for a well-rounded upper arm workout.

Check out my bicep blog post for a bicep workout.
Your muscles will begin to feel fatigued after your set, but you’ll need to continue for the full three sets.

You can alternate biceps and triceps exercises to work the whole arm on the same day.  Some people work biceps and triceps together, and some train them separately with a larger muscle like Chest / Triceps and Back / Biceps.

Triceps Kickbacks

There are a number of triceps extension exercises, some are performed while standing, some while lying down. Some are done with free weights, some with weighted bars, exercise bands or resistance bands. We’ll start with the standard free weight triceps kickback.

Hold a dumbbell in each hand.
Bend your knees, lean forward at your hips until your bent at a 90 degree angle to the floor. This may take some getting used to, so be sure to do this in front of a mirror to ensure proper form.
Stick your chest out and keep your back flat.
Bend your elbows so your upper arms are parallel to the floor, your forearms are perpendicular to the floor, and your palms face in.
Keep your elbows close to your waist. Pull your abdominals in and relax your knees.
Keeping your upper arms tight against the sides of your chest, straighten your arms behind you until the end of the dumbbells are pointing down.
Slowly bend your arms to lower the weight, making sure not to swing your arms. Repeat.

Reverse Grip Triceps Extensions

Look for one of the adjustable height cable tower machines with the stacking weights. Adjust the pulley on the highest setting and attach a “curl” handle bar.
reverse grip triceps extensions
Grasping the handle with both hands in an underhand position, stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Your upper arms should be at your sides, with your forearms bent 90 degrees. You may have to step a foot or two away from the cable tower to be in a comfortable position.
While keeping your upper arms at your sides, extend your forearms all the down until your arms are straight. Exhale slowly. You should feel your triceps contracting.
Slowly allow your arms to return to their 90 degree position. Do not release your arms too quickly or the weights will try to snap your arms back. Repeat.

Triceps Pushdowns


This is one of the basics, that I’m sure you’ve done before. Stand facing the stack on the overhead pulley on the triceps station. You can also use the lat pulldown station. To stimulate the inner head of the triceps more, use the V-shaped handle. To work the outer head more use the straight handle with a narrow to medium grip. You can also use a longer handle with a wider grip to target the inner head of the triceps. Start with your upper arms at a 90 degree angle at the elbow. Extend the handle til your arms are straight. If size is your goal, use a solid handle. The rope handle limits your weight and is not the best for mass.

Triceps Dip Machine


I like to finish with this one. This is a great mass and strength builder. Select your weight and seat height. Start with your arms locked and site down with the weight. If you use more than your bodyweight most of these machine will come with a seat belt. Fasten yourself down and then press the handles down.

Looking for a personal trainer near me? Contact me today to create an individual workout plan that’s right for you.

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Posted in Workout by Jason Kozma | Comments Off on Biceps and Triceps Workout for Ripped Arms

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