There are no two ways about that. How do you get bigger guns? IFBB Pro Shawn Smith will tell you because very few have bigger biceps than him.
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Big arms = Big paychecks. That’s how the old adage goes. While one’s level of financial status is not directly correlated with the size of one’s biceps, having big arms is a status symbol in the bodybuilding world.
1. Triceps Pushdowns: 3 warm-up sets, 15-20 reps / top set, to failure
2. Close-Grip Bench Press: 3 warm-up sets, 10-15 reps / top set, to failure
3. Dumbbell Overhead Extension: 2 warm-up sets, 15-20 reps/ top set, dropset to failure
4. Alternating Bicep Curls: 2 warm-up sets, 15-20 reps / top set, to failure
5. Standing Barbell Curl: 2 warm-up sets, 10-15 reps / top set, to failure
6. High Cable curls: 2 warm-up sets, 15-20 reps / top set, to failure
| Cable Triceps Push-Down |
For many lifters, this is the quintessential triceps burnout move, and for good reason. It effectively targets the lateral head, is easy to perform—just don’t let your arms drift from your sides!—and lends itself easily to dropsets.
| Close-Grip Bench Press |
To really torch the back of your arms, use a close grip, but keep your hands around 8-10 inches apart. Tuck your arms in to decrease the amount of stress on your pecs and shoulders while increasing the demand on your triceps.
| Dumbbell Overhead Triceps Extension |
Once your arms go overhead, the long head of the triceps gets prioritized. This head is difficult to target otherwise, which is why it’s always a good idea to include some kind of overhead exercise in your triceps workout.
Luckily, you have options! You can go one arm or two, seated or standing, and if you have a partner, you can go heavy and do some forced reps.
| Dumbbell Curl |
Is this really any different than a barbell curl? That’s up to you. Sure, you can do the moves in basically the same way in the same workout, but we don’t recommend it. The real value of dumbbell curls is that they can be done a number of ways: standing or seated, with both arms or alternating, rotating your wrists into Zottman curls to work on your fearsome forearms, or twisting that pinky up to focus purely on the bis. In short, you have options.
| Barbell Curl |
The standard shoulder-width curl engages the short and long heads of the biceps equally, you can alter grip width to slightly change the emphasis (wide to target the short head, narrow for the long head), you can really pile on the weight, and you don’t have to sit there endlessly working one arm at a time.
How many more reasons do you need? If you’re only going to do one biceps exercise, make it this one.
Want to use a straight bar instead of a cambered EZ-bar? Have at it, if your wrists don’t mind. A 2018 study found that while both variants produced greater activity than dumbbell curls, “The small difference between [barbell] and EZ variants… makes the choice between these two exercises a matter of subjective comfort.”
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00:00 – Intro
00:45 – Triceps Pushdowns
03:38 – Close-Grip Bench Press
05:58 – Dumbbell Overhead Extension
09:02 – Alternating Bicep Curls
11:38 – Standing Barbell Curls
13:40 – High Cable Curls
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