T Nation

Are 6 Sets Enough for Biceps/Triceps?


Hey all, recently changed things around a little in my routine going from 9 sets for biceps and 12 for triceps to 6 for both.

My biceps and triceps day looks like this:
2-4 sets of close grip push-ups to warm-up the elbows.
2 sets of PJR ,reverse grip.Reverse grip is eaiser on the elbow and gets some blood into the joints before i move on to the other less elbow friendly triceps exercises.

2 sets of one at a time standing db extension

2 sets of PJR pullover with ezbar

2 sets of pinwheel curls
2 sets of incline curls
2 sets of ez bar curls

I do around 8-10 reps on the first set then i ram up so that i get to 5-7 reps in the 2nd set.Doing a pyramid.

The reason i lowered the volume is to progress faster in weights as doing 9-12 sets before didn't let me move up as fast and i figured if curling and doing extensions with this weight will never get me big arms.

My question is 6 sets for each biceps and triceps enough? or was the past approach better?


I'm sure the lower volume will allow greater recovery and strength gains if each set is done with adequate intensity.


The goal is size/hyperthrophy


I dont know. you'll have to try it out and see if it works.

How did the past approach work out for you? Did you get really big arms?


6 sets, how often?

Per week? Per month? Every 5th day?


Thx for the reply,i was thinking per week.But if it is to little i can do it twice a week.My past approach didn't get me the results i wanted(which was bigger arms and moving more weight to get bigger arms)


so you were doing 9 and 12 sets before and think that by cutting your sets in half that your arms are going to grow more?

Your arms arent growing because you, more than likely, arent eating enough.


I was thinking by cutting the volume i can lift heavier since there is no need to save energy for another exercise. Do you guys thinks 6 sets is too little for optimal growth?.
Also note that all the triceps work is for the long head as i figured i already do alot of pressing on delt/chest day.


I dont think you should be "saving energy for another exercise." You should lift hard on every exercise. You're going to cumulatively gain fatigue as you go but you shouldn't be holding back so you're fresh at the end of your workout.


Of course i go hard in both approaches but the cumalative fatigue caused lower weights and also not being able to progress as fast in weights. Basically volume for load drop off.


What's your diet?


THIS! As long as it's not a completely retarded idea, there's no reason not to try it and find out for yourself.


agreed 100% If there was an exercise that gets better results than one that precedes it, I don't see the value in doing the first exercise.


6 sets per week isnt much.

Waiting 6 days between training your arms is a long time. I doubt it takes more than a day or two to recover from 6 sets. You should train a muscle when it's recovered, waiting longer is asking for stagnation or even regression.

It shouldnt take more than 10 minutes to do 6 sets of anything for the arm muscles. 6 sets, 3 times per week is worth trying.

not that I think my workout is appropriate for you or not but as a point of reference I do 4 sets of biceps after my back workout. 4-6 sets for triceps after my chest workout. And then about 13-14 sets for biceps and about 15 sets for triceps on a separate day. I always ramp my weight though, so not all my sets are 'working' sets, per se.


that sounds pretty cool i was thinking of something similar when my elbow heals up to 100%

would you mine throwing down your weekly split/number of sets per group?


Thx for the reply guys.
My split currently looks like this:
Day 1:running for 10 min outside
Day 2:Chest
Day 3:runnnig for 10min
Day 4:Back/Traps
Day 5:Legs
Day 6:Delt/Abs
Day 7:Arms

On the running days i have both alot of univeristy studies and a part time job which prevents me from working out as i am to tired to workout when i get home and also don't want to push myself to brain fog since i want to study.

Currently I have gone to a more Max-OT style training, with doing 9 sets for the big parts and 6 sets for the small ones.
I will try bones appraoch and add a 4 sets of triceps extensions at the end of the otherdays(Chest,Back/traps, delt).

I always thought i was a high volume guy but i thought of trying low volume approach for more weight progression


just some thoughts..

1/bis&tris are small muscles,they recover a lot faster than legs and back,why to train them just once a week? you lose one session per week that on long period does a noticeable size difference imo.

2/ more than volume ,very IMO, intensity and frequence of training does the difference.
in plain words; destroy the muscles and train them as soon your recovery is ready,how much recovery? it is up to you,trial and error...start with 2xweek,eat,sleep,until loads gos up and you become larger its ok,if you have troubles to sleep and feel really tired a/o not hungry re-think intensity and frequence...



Arms has always been one of the hardest parts for me to bring up which is why i decided to give them their own day. I tried doing what you are describing before but it didn't give me optimal arm size when i paried them with some other body part since i go all out on the first bodypart and then there isn't so much energy left for the arms to go with heavy weights and also progress in weights.Although i think Bonez has a point,i should do do a few extra sets at the end of chest day and maybe back and delts day too.


I say try doing straight triceps for 45-60 min every 5 days and super set on every last set...and by super setting I mean go as heavy and as long as you can for each set and then drop down after you can't do anymore. Repeat the same for biceps, the next day. That is what worked for me.


Personally I would suggest getting rid of the delt/ab day and combining them with your chest day. Then you can get in another chest day on day 6. Day 7 could be a back day. Then do your bis on back days and your tris on chest days. Then you get more training in.