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Jim's Bodybuilding Guide - Intro
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Jim's Weight Lifting Guide - 1
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Routines & Programs Guide

Home Gym Exercise Equipment

Choosing a Home Gym Guide - 1
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Total Gym Review
Total Gym Models Compared
Power Rack Review
Power Rack Exercises

Workout Routine for Building Big Arms - Part 9

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Weight Lifting& Workout
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Weight Lifting Workout for Biceps & Triceps

The Biceps Muscle

The biceps brachii is the front part of your arm, and gets its name from its two heads - the short head and the long head. The bicep muscle makes up about 1/3 of your upper arm size. Its main function is to bend the forearm toward the shoulder, and its secondary function is to supinate the forearm, or to turn your hand from palms up position to a palms down position.

The Triceps Muscle

The triceps brachii has three heads and is the back of your arm. These 3 heads make up about 2/3 of your arm size, and are called the lateral, medial, and long heads. The lateral head is located outward giving you the horse shoe shape. The medial head is located toward the middle, and the long head is the largest of the 3 heads. The main function of your tricep is to straighten out your arm, and the secondary function is to bring your arm down towards the body.

Friday Bicep Workout and Tricep Exercises

For my arm workouts, I alternate a bicep exercise with a tricep exercise, instead of doing all biceps first and then triceps second. Now, don't confuse this with superset, because its not. Superset is where you perform one exercise, and immediately perform another exercise. Here, I perform one set on the biceps, take a rest, and then do a set on triceps.

You can't really tell from the workout charts below, but this is how my typical arm day looks after warmup:

  • Set 1: Barbell curl
  • Set 2: Close grip bench press
  • Set 3: Barbell curl
  • Set 4: Close grip bench press
  • Set 5: Barbell curl
  • Set 6: Close grip bench press

And the same goes for the following exercises for both biceps and triceps. Again, this is not a superset, because I take a rest in between each set. One main reason why I setup my arm workout like this is so that my biceps and triceps get an equal amount of attention. Should you workout one muscle completely before another, you will have less energy to work on your 2nd muscle, be it triceps or biceps. By alternating like this, you get an even distribution of "energy" to work both muscles - so to speak. Besides, you'll get a killer pump in your arms throughout the entire workout.

Week 1, 3, 5

Exercise Week 1 Week 5
Barbell curls
3 X 6, 6, 5 (100lbs) 3 X 5, 5, 4 (110)
Close grip bench press
3 X 6 (185) 3 X 5 (195)
Dumbbell curls

3 X 5, 5, 4
(45's, 45, 40))

3 X 6, 6, 5 (45's)
Triceps press downs
3 X 8 (140) 3 X 6 (150)
Cable curls
2 X 6 (100) 2 X 6 (120)
Rope press downs
2 X 6 (100) 3 X 6 (90)


Week 2, 4, 6

Exercise Week 2 Week 6
Barbell curls
3 X 5 (105lbs) 3 X 4 (115)
Close grip bench press
3 X 6 (195) 3 X 6 (195)
Seated dumbbell curls

3 X 4 (40)

3 X 5 (45's)
Triceps press downs
3 X 6 (150) 3 X 6 (150)
Hammer curls
2 X 6 (40) 3 X 6 (40)
Kick backs
2 X 6 (30) 2 X 6 (30)


Bicep Exercise and workout

I start off my bicep training with barbell curls, here's how I warmup to the regular sets:

  1. Perform 1 set of 12 reps of barbell curls with just the bar (45lbs)
  2. Add a 10lb plate (each side), and perform 8 reps
  3. Add another 10lb plate, and perform 6 reps
  4. Remove the plates, and add a 35lb plate, and perform 3 sets (115lbs)

Keep in mind that I alternate between bicep exercise and tricep exercise.

Biceps are then finished off with either dumbbell curls or seated dumbbell curls, and then cable curls or hammer curls - for a total of 3 exercises.

Tricep Exercise and workout

In between my biceps exercises, I will work in my tricep exercises, and here's how I warmup:

  1. Perform 12 reps of close grip bench press with just the bar
  2. Add a 25lb plate and do 8 reps
  3. Remove the 25lb plate, add a 45lb plate, and do 6 reps
  4. Add the remaining weight (to 195) and perform the regular 3 sets

So, in general, I do 3 sets of warmups with progressively heavier weights before doing the heavy sets. Your goal for warming up is not to exhaust your muscles, but get enough blood pumping through that area.

After close grip bench press, triceps are then finished off with press downs, and kick backs or rope press downs.

The two bicep and tricep exercises mentioned above (barbell curls, and close grip bench press), are two of the best mass builders, so do them. Besides these two, dumbbell curls, and tricep press are also good mass builders. You may be wondering why I don't do lying tricep extensions as part of my workout. The main reason why I don't use lying tricep extensions is because I have "questionable" elbows - my guess is from poor form from my earlier days. ;-)

My elbows tend to "pop" allot, and experience great pain when I perform lying extensions. I stopped doing them about 2 years ago, when it got to a point where I could no longer stand the pain even after a thorough warmup.

Arnold Schwarzenegger 's Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding

I thought I would just mention this fantastic book in conclusion to this weight lilting and training guide section. If you already have this book, then you'll know what I'm talking about, and if you don't have this book, then I got a question for you: "why don't you have it??"

It's absolutely a fantastic bodybuilding book - its more than a book actually, its an Encyclopedia, like the name suggests. I got mine awhile back as a gift, and although I've read every page in it, I still flip back to it all the time. It covers everything you will ever need in bodybuilding - just a fantastic book anyone serious about bodybuilding must have.

It's a HUGE 800 page book that covers everything from anatomy, to weight lifting routine, to diet and nutrition and more - not to mention the loads and loads of pictures in there of all the greatest bodybuilders!

To give you a good idea of what this huge Encyclopedia covers, below are just some highlights - in order of the book:

  • History of bodybuilding and then some basic introductions to bodybuilding
  • Public gyms and training at home, and making a choice that fits for you
  • Getting started in bodybuilding - various bodybuilding accessories such as belts, gloves, straps and more is covered
  • Training programs and routines - covers things such as progressive resistance, reps, train to failure, warmups, resting, stretching etc...
  • Body types - learn about body types and what type your are, and also training specifics for different body types
  • Arnold includes his basic and advanced training programs - about the only thing I'm not big on in this entire book. (I'm not sure if anyone can actually follow these programs - especially the advanced - without grossly over training) - just my 2 cents.
  • Mind over matter, and finding your motivation
  • Hundreds of specific exercises described in detail to target each of your muscle groups (all illustrated with photos of famous bodybuilders)
  • Competition section covers areas such as posing, preparations, and competition strategies
  • In depth information on health, nutrition, and dieting - learning about all the key essential nutrients, and sample meal plans
  • The book finishes off with weight loss and dieting strategies, and also contest dieting strategies, and finally dealing with injuries and preventing injuries

What I listed above is barely scratching the surface of even the table of contents. It's just such a massive and fantastic bodybuilding book, that everyone should have one.


Regular Supplements:

>> Click for Optimum Nutrition 100% Whey 5lb
>> Click here for Prolab Creatine, or Micronized Creatine
>> Click here for Prolab N-Large 3
>> Click here for Tribulus Terrestris
>> Click here Optimum ZMA

Workout Spreadsheet Download

I had neglected to post my spreadsheet for download to track workouts etc. and had received a email from a reader (Avi Bhatt) who took the time to make the excel spreadsheets for each of the weeks to track your workout progress. It was better than what I had, so I am posting it here for download instead of my own. I just made some minor changes to it.

Download workout spreadsheets (Excel Files Zipped).
(Right click link and save target as).