Photography by Binais Begovic
Who doesn’t love training arms? If daily workouts were elementary school, then arm day is definitely recess. There is a very satisfying feeling from getting an awesome pump in your bi’s and tri’s and flexing in the nearest mirror to admire the results of your effort. There’s no shame in that either. As Arnold once said, “An unflexed muscle is like an unpolished jewel.”
When it comes to arm training, straight sets work. I’m not knocking them, but supersets are often the better choice. The extra intensity and volume they bring help you pump as much nutrient-rich blood into the arms as possible and will eventually result in those muscle fibers recovering and growing so they can better handle the onslaught of volume you give them next time. This, my friends, is how you go from small to swole.
Lives: Compton, CA
Profession: Pro WBFF competitor, fitness model
Likes: Movies, go-karts, bowling, skating rinks, the beach, eating
Dislikes: Closed gyms, not getting gains
Favorite clean food: Tilapia
Favorite cheat food: Doughnuts
wants to drive: Maserati or Bentley coupe
listens to: R&B
last book read: If You Give A Mouse A Cookie
favorite movie: The Wolf Of Wall Street
BMR Sports Nutrition
For those of you who are new to Iron Man and fitness in general, supersets are two exercises performed back-to-back without any rest in between. The brief rest comes after you finish the second exercise. A key to making them both more intense and effective is having the two exercises within close proximity of where you’re training so you don’t have to move much when transitioning from one to the other. This saves time, gives you less of a break between exercises, and decreases the chances of someone taking a station you want to use. We use supersets for free weights and machines in this routine, so the transitions will be a matter of seconds.
You can perform supersets two ways: with two exercises that hit the same muscle group or with two that target different areas. This program utilizes both. You might have to use less weight than you would if you were performing traditional straight sets, but the sacrifice in weight will be rewarded in terms of results. Try this arm superset program twice a week for eight weeks and you’ll see what I mean. IM
Exercise Sets Reps Rest
Wide-Grip EZ-Bar Curl 3 10-12 N/A*
Close-Grip EZ-Bar Curl 3 10-12 60 seconds
Reverse-Grip Bench Press 3 10-12 N/A
Close-Grip Bench Press 3 10-12 60 seconds
EZ-Bar Spider Curl 3 15 N/A
Incline Dumbbell Triceps Extension 3 15 60 seconds
Standing Rope Hammer Curl 3 15 N/A
Overhead Rope Triceps Extension 3 15 60 seconds
* There is no rest between exercises of a superset. Rest only between each completed superset.
Wide-Grip EZ-Bar Curl / Close-Grip EZ-Bar Curl
Take a wide, underhand grip on an EZ-bar and stand upright. Hold the bar at arms’ length with your elbows close to your sides. Using force from your biceps and bending at the elbow, curl the bar up to shoulder height. Keep your upper arms to your sides, and don’t allow your elbows to flare out. After you curl the weight up, squeeze your biceps. Lower the weight back to the starting position and repeat for reps. Once you finish your set with the wide grip, change your hands so they are two to four inches apart. This will be your close grip. Perform a set with this grip in exactly the same manner as you did with the wide grip.
Reverse-Grip Bench Press / Close-Grip Bench Press
Lie on a flat bench with a bar in the rack. Keep your feet flat on the floor and bring your shoulder blades together so your chest sticks out farther. Take an underhand grip of the bar that is wider than your shoulders. With the help of a spotter, unrack the weight and hold it at arms’ length over your chest. Take a deep breath in and lower the weight until it touches your chest around your nipple line. Once the bar touches your chest, generate force from your triceps to explode and press the bar back to the starting position as quickly as possible. Squeeze the triceps at the top of the press. Once you finish this set, rack the weight and change your grip so it’s an overhand grip that is shoulder width or slightly narrower. Again, have the spotter help you unrack the weight and hold it over your chest. Keeping your elbows in, perform a set with this grip as you did the reverse grip.
EZ-Bar Spider Curl/Incline Dumbbell Triceps Extension
Lie chest down on an incline bench with the EZ-bar in your hands. Keep your feet flat on the floor and spread out so you can support yourself. Let your arms hang with the weight in front of you. Using force from your biceps, curl the weight up. At the top of the lift, squeeze your biceps before lowering the weight back down.
After you finish your set, reposition yourself on the incline bench so you’re lying on your back and your feet are flat on the floor. Hold a pair of dumbbells overhead and at arms’ length with your palms facing each other. Bend at the elbows and lower the weights until your hands are by your ears. Keep your upper arms stationary. Once the weights are lowered, reverse the motion and use force from your triceps to press the weight back to the starting position. Squeeze the triceps at the top of the press.
Standing Rope Hammer Curl/Overhead Cable Rope Tricep Extension
Stand facing a cable station with a low pulley. Place a rope on the low attachment. Grab the rope with a neutral grip. Your palms should be facing each other. Stand back so the weight comes off the stack. Keep your feet shoulder-width apart and a soft bend in the knees. Your arms should be straight and down in front of you. This is your starting position. Using force from your biceps, curl the weight up by lifting the rope. Bend at the elbows but don’t let them flare out. Your upper arms should be stationary. Once you’ve lifted the weight up, spread the rope apart and turn your wrists so your palms are facing up. Squeeze the biceps before lowering the weight to the starting position.
After completing all your reps, hold the rope and turn around so you’re facing away from the stack. Press the rope up so it’s over your head. Then, slowly lower the rope behind your head. Your hands should still be facing each other. This is your starting position for the overhead extensions. Keeping your upper arms pinned to the sides of your head, straighten your elbows and press the rope until your arms are fully extended. Spread the rope apart and squeeze your triceps before lowering the rope back to the starting position behind your head.