Killer Biceps and Triceps Workout

Is your gym always packed? You can still squeeze in a fast, intensive biceps and triceps workout on the fly.
Author:
Publish date:
biceps and triceps workout

Circuit-style training is popular, and for good reason — doing movements back-to-back with little rest between reps ups the intensity while delivering muscle-growth-inducing benefits.

However, the problem with trying to piece a number of exercises into a circuit can be explained with a simple visual: Picture your gym at 5 p.m.

It’s a madhouse, isn’t it? The place is packed. Everything is being used except the weird old dusty neck machine in the corner (which is a shame, but that’s another article for another day). And some coach wants me to monopolize an assortment of machines and equipment? A fistfight is more likely to occur than a good workout.

That said, you can manage a circuit in a crowd with the right routine. Here, we’ve created a killer biceps and triceps workout tailor-made for the bustling club. These supersets not only attack the various sections of those muscle groups but also limit your exercise selection to one small area of the gym at a time.

Here’s the walk-through:

Warm-Up

ExerciseSetsReps

Standing Curl

1-2

15-25

Standing Overhead Extension

1-2

15-25

You may want to also start off with five to 10 minutes of a cardio activity and then go into the warm-up exercises (can be done at the pre-loaded barbell or EZ-bar rack, back-to-back with minimal rest). Just be sure to choose a light weight and not rep to exhaustion.

Tri-Set 1: Triceps

ExerciseSetsReps

Close-Grip Bench Press   

3

12, 10, 8

Seated Two-Hand Overhead Extension 

3

12, 10, 8

Bench Dip  

3

15, 15, to failure

For the first two movements, pyramid up the weight set to set so that you’re at or near failure on the eighth rep of the last go-round. You can do the two-hand extension seated with your back on the barbell for support, and the dip can be completed on the same bench, with your feet on the floor and hands cupping the edge alongside each side of your hips.

Tri-Set 2: Biceps

ExerciseSetsReps

Standing Barbell Curl   

3

12, 10, 8   

Alternating Cross-Body Dumbbell Hammer Curl 

3

12, 10, 8   

Dumbbell Concentration Curl   

3

12, 10, 8   

Again, you’ll pyramid up the weight from set to set, hitting a weight that elicits failure around eight reps on the final set. For the sake of efficiency, you can use a pre-loaded barbell and do the concentration curl standing with your free hand on a sturdy object instead of sitting down. In this case, you’re bent over and your elbow free-floats instead of being pressed against the inside of your thigh.

Tri-Set 3: Triceps

ExerciseSetsReps

Cable Straight-Bar Pressdown   

3

10, 12, 15

Rope Pressdown   

3

10, 12, 15

Diamond Push-Up   

3

15, 15, to failure 

Now that your arms are really warmed up, you can do reverse pyramids, starting at your heaviest weight and then dropping from set to set. When you get to the final set of diamond push-ups, go until you can’t manage another. If you’re doing this workout every week, keep track of your final tally so you can strive to beat it next time.

Tri-Set 4: Biceps

ExerciseSetsReps

Straight-Bar Cable Curl   

3

10, 12, 15   

Reverse-Grip Cable Curl   

3

10, 12, 15   

Close-Hammer-Grip Pull-Up 

3

10, 10, to failure

This combination assumes your cable station has a pull-up bar built into the center. If not, you could still do this tri-set depending if the pull-up bar is nearby and free. In a pinch, you can replace the pull-ups for rope curls. (The pull-up is a better, more impactful exercise, but a little compromise for a busy gym is better than no workout at all!) As with the preceding triceps tri-set, you’ll reverse-pyramid the weighted moves from set to set.

If you find your grip is failing too soon on the pull-ups, consider using straps; you also can put the pull-up first in the tri-set instead of last.