3 Fast Workouts for Biceps & Triceps
These quick finishers use giant sets and mechanical drop sets to trigger the maximum amount of arm growth possible in minimal time.
You don’t need an “arm day.” And you probably don’t need to be spending 30 minutes of your workout just training your biceps and triceps. Instead, you need to get smart, get brutal, and do these finisher routines at the end of your regular workouts.
By doing more work in less time with giant sets and mechanical-advantage drop sets, you’ll big bigger arms in less time.
What Are Giant Sets & Mechanical Drop Sets?
- A giant set contains three or more exercises with little to no rest between each. By increasing training density, you’ll challenge your muscles to adapt and create more muscle-building stress.
- A mechanical advantage drop set is a series of exercises performed in succession from the most biomechanically difficult position to the most biomechanically efficient. In non-coach language, you start with the hardest variation, then move to easier variations as fatigue sets in.
By increasing training density – doing more work in less time – you’ll maximize metabolic stress at the end of your workout, triggering a skin-splitting pump and boosting muscle growth.
1. Cable Triceps Pushdown + Overhead Triceps Extension + Incline Push-Up
This giant set will obliterate your triceps, specifically the long and lateral heads.
The cable pushdown primarily targets the lateral head of the triceps, making your arms look bigger from the front. Keeping your torso tall and your elbows tight is crucial. Too many lifters get sloppy in both areas and de-emphasize their triceps.
The overhead triceps extension allows for a greater stretch and range of motion while targeting all three heads of the triceps: lateral, medial, and long.
Push-ups will train all three heads as well. Because your triceps have already been under assault from the pushdowns and overhead extensions, they’ll be smoked by the time you start doing push-ups. Do incline push-ups if needed since they’re slightly easier. They’ll still add a ton of muscle-building metabolic stress.
|A1.||Cable Pushdown||3||8-10||0-30 sec.|
|A2.||Cable Overhead Extension||3||8-10||0-30 sec.|
|A3.||Incline Push-Up||3||Failure||90 sec.|
2. Three-Way Push-Up to Failure
This is a mechanical advantage drop set. You’ll start with the toughest variation of the push-up, then move to easier variations to compensate for fatigue. To emphasize your triceps more, use a closer grip position, about shoulder width or slightly inside.
- Start by elevating your feet on a bench press, shifting more of your body weight to challenge your chest, shoulders, and arms.
- As fatigue sets in, pivot to a traditional push-up.
- Once you’re near muscular failure, elevate your hands on a bench and continue performing reps until complete failure.
This allows you to recruit and fatigue more muscle fibers and, as a result, create a bigger training stimulus.
Do 3 total sets with 90 seconds of rest between sets. Do these twice weekly for one month at the end of a regular workout.
3. Crazy Eights
This one combines four exercises, two for your biceps and two for your triceps, into a giant set. For eight minutes, you’re going to do 8 reps of each exercise. Choose a weight that you could normally use for 12 to 15 reps. (Don’t worry if you overestimate the weight and only get 6 reps. “Crazy Sixes” doesn’t sound as cool, but it works fine.)
A1. Seated Dumbbell Curl X 8
This primarily trains the short head of the biceps. For a harder contraction, move your hand inside of the dumbbell, creating an offset grip.
- Sit on a bench with your back straight and feet flat on the floor.
- Hold a dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing forward and your arms extended. Keep your elbows tight as you curl up.
- Pause and flex at the top of each rep. Take about 3 seconds to lower the weight under control.
A2. Skull Crusher X 8
- Lower the weights slowly toward the top of your head, keeping your elbows stationary and aligned with your shoulders. A “slight” drifting of your elbows and lowering the weight behind your head is okay and may be more comfortable for your elbows.
- Take 2-3 seconds to lower the dumbbells. They should come close to your skull so you feel a massive triceps stretch.
- Push the weights back up to the starting position, using your triceps to extend your arms.
A3. Dumbbell Hammer Curl X 8
Hammer curls target the brachialis, which lives underneath your biceps. When it grows, it creates a thicker upper arm.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart with your palms facing your thighs.
- Keep your upper arms tight to your torso, bend your elbows, and curl up.
- Pause for one second to hold the peak contraction and lower under control.
Some body language will sneak in as fatigue accumulates during the giant set. This is okay; just control the eccentric/negative tempo.
A4. Feet-Elevated Push-Up X 8
The higher your feet are elevated, the more challenging the push-up.
- Start by placing your feet on a raised surface like a bench. Get into a push-up position with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
- Lower your body, tuck your elbows at 45 degrees, and keep your core tight – no sagging crotch allowed.
- Stop when your chest is just above the ground, then push your body back to the starting position.
If you can’t complete 8 full reps, drop your feet to the ground and do standard push-ups. Elevate your hands on the bench if you can’t complete 8 standard push-ups.
After completing each giant set (one round through all four exercises), you’ll take eight breaths and continue. Perform as many sets as you can in eight minutes.
Four exercises. Eight minutes. Eight reps reach. Eight breaths after each set. Let it rip.