So you’re back for more, huh? You accepted “The 500-Rep Chest Challenge” (IRON MAN, November ’12), you finished first in “The Back Blast 500” (July ’13), and now you want a 500-rep arm assault? Well, who am I to say no?
So take your preworkout drink of choice, crank up your tunes, and let’s do this!
Many of you know how this works by now. For the uninitiated, we are going to do a compound exercise for power; a 10-set, 300-rep marathon of an isolation exercise; and, finally, a 10-rep drop set to finish off the target muscle. That’s the formula we used for chest and back. For biceps and triceps, however, we’re going to do things a little differently.
These are smaller muscle groups, so we will split up the 500 reps; each group will experiences 250 reps of pure, intense pleasure—or torture, depending on your mind-set. Alternate between bi’s and tri’s to keep the routine from getting boring. The result will be a pump that you will admire in the mirror long after the workout is over. This session should take no longer than 40 minutes if you do it right. Ready? Good. Let’s hit it.
Barbell curls, 4 x 20, 15, 10, 5 (50 reps). Start with a set of 20. Now increase the weight on each successive set so the reps decrease. Rest for one minute between sets—and for goodness sake, don’t do the curls in the squat rack. That is just disrespectful.
Close-grip bench presses, 4 x 20, 15, 10, 5 (50 reps). Do not place your hands closer than shoulder width apart. That can stress the wrists and elbows. When you lower the bar, stop about one inch short of touching your chest to keep constant tension on the triceps and to resist bouncing the bar off your chest. Also, don’t lock out your arms when pressing. Rest for one minute between sets.
Cable curls, 5 x 50, 40, 30, 20, 10 (150 reps). This is where we will tweak the Dramatic Transformation Principle slightly. It’s usually 10 sets of one exercise—50, 40, 30, 20, 10, 10, 20, 30, 40, 50—but this time you do the first half of the sequence for biceps and the second half for triceps. For the cable curls increase the weight so your reps decrease. Rest for 45 seconds between sets. Make sure you take your time with the reps. Swinging and momentum help no one here.
Rope pressdowns. 5 x 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 (150 reps). Rest only 45 seconds between your last set of curls and your first set of pressdowns. Although you’re changing from a biceps to a triceps exercise, DTP rules still apply. Reduce the weight on each successive set so you can increase the reps, and spread that rope handles as far apart as you can to squeeze those triceps right. Do not let your elbows come up too high as you let the rope return to the top. Control the weight; don’t let it control you.
Dumbbell hammer curls, 50 reps (drop set). Time to toast the brachialis and hit the forearms a bit to finish off your biceps. Start with a weight that allows you to get no more than eight reps. As you reach failure, change to lighter dumbbells and keep going. Repeat until you get 50 reps total. Squeeze those weights with everything you’ve got to activate every muscle fiber possible.
Overhead dumbbell extensions, 50 reps (drop set). Use a heavy weight that will give you no more than eight reps. Be safe here, and don’t use a weight so heavy that you might drop it on your head. As I said above, you control the weight—not the other way around. Upon hitting failure, go to a lighter weight and keep going. Once you get your 50 reps total here, you’re done.
The 500-Rep Arm Assault
Barbell curls* 4 x 20, 15, 10, 5
presses* 4 x 20, 15, 10, 5
5 x 50, 40, 30, 20, 10
5 x 10, 20, 30, 40, 50
DB hammer curls****
(drop set) 1 x 50 total reps
Overhead DB extensions****
(drop set) 1 x 50 total reps
Rest one minute between sets, except on cable curls and rope pressdowns—take 45-seconds on those.
*Add weight on each successive set.
**Add weight on each successive set until you reach 10 reps.
***Reduce weight to add 10 reps to each set.
****Start with a weight that gives you eight reps, and then reduce the weight and continue repping out. Continue with drop sets until you reach a total of 50 reps.
At the end of this arm assault you will have a mega pump, guaranteed. Feel free to show it off to the world or at least admire it in the mirror with a few arm poses—that is, if you can even flex your arms.
Editor’s note: Roger Lockridge has been featured at Bodybuilding.com and written for Labrada Nutrition. He was named the 2009 Bodybuilding.com Male Writer of the Year. To contact him, send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. IM