We are creatures of habit. We eat the same foods, watch the same shows and do many of the same things at the same time…
Quite often these habits are very positive, such as your pre-determined gym time, meal prep, etc…
However, when it comes to truly creating workout variety, some of us fall in that same old, same old – doing the same exercises in the same order far too often than we care to admit.
It’s understandable. We have busy lives. Sometimes trying to figure out what exercises to do on arms day is just not at the top of the list. Sure, we want bigger arms, but work and family rightfully take priority…
After all, crushing some standing biceps curls, running the dumbbell rack with hammers and blasting out some triceps press downs are going to give a solid pump almost every time.
With that said, we know you'd like some plug-and-play arm exercises that you can learn quickly and incorporate into your workouts in order to take your arm training to the next level.
That’s the goal of this article – we’ve put together 4 little-used yet highly effective arm exercises – 2 each for biceps and triceps – that you can use today without much thought and WITH much gain!
We are going to focus on the preacher bench. This is a great piece of equipment however most folks do the same exact exercise with it every single time they use it. Seriously, when is the last time you saw someone do something besides a seated EZ bar curl on the preacher bench?
Well, these simple preacher hacks will explode your gains to the next level as they absolutely demolish the biceps muscles while injecting some much needed variety to your arm routine.
#1 – Standing Reverse Preacher Curl
This really cool exercise absolutely destroys your biceps – in a good way!
Why is this so effective? It removes any “help” from the deltoids that is so common with standard preacher curls. This is the true meaning of an isolation curl if your goal is really target those bi’s and create a true mind-muscle connection.
There really is no better exercise for true biceps isolation than this bad boy.
In the video above, 1 and 1/2 repetitions are being performed. This is an additional variation that forces you to spend more time in the most difficult portion of the exercise, furthering the biceps time under tension and relevant stimulus.
You certainly don't have to incorporate 1 and 1/2 reps, but feel free to add them to this or any other biceps exercise for an additional challenge.
#2 – Cable Preacher Curl
Due to the cable’s distinct ability to create constant tension throughout the entire duration of an exercise, this is a fantastic version of the preacher curl that you simply must incorporate into your training as soon as possible.
Depending upon your gym’s set up, this may be a bit of a hassle to set up, however it’s more than worth it.
If you are thinking to yourself “Can I combine the positioning of the Standing Reverse Preacher Curl with the cable curl?”, the answer is Yes!
Get creative and blast through the monotony.
While biceps get all the glory, triceps make up about 2/3rd's of the size of your arms.
If you want bigger arms, then triceps development needs to be a priority.
What percentage of your arm training is comprised of triceps exercises? Are you doing much more biceps volume than you are triceps volume?
Of course, the base of any triceps training is heavy pressing movements. Nothing is going to replace that for triceps development.
With that said, here are a couple of triceps exercises you’ve either never done or most likely haven’t done in a while that are tremendous additions to your pressing exercises.
Note: It’s important for any triceps exercise to have thoroughly warmed up your elbows as direct triceps exercises are notoriously hard on the elbow joint. This is usually due to using too much weight and/or improper form, however not warming up such a delicate joint that gets a great deal of direct and indirect stress in other areas of life is a major mistake that will most likely result in an injury at some point. You must train hard, but you also must train smart.
#1 – Reverse Skull Crusher
This is an amazing bodyweight exercise that requires a certain level of strength throughout your entire body to even perform one rep properly. Don't mistaken bodyweight for being wimpy!
What is so unique about this triceps exercise is your lower arm is fixed and the rest of your body is moving by bending the elbow joint. Typically, for the majority of triceps exercises, it is the exact opposite and your upper body and arms are fixed while your lower arm goes through a range of motion by bending at the elbow.
Just be sure not to turn this into some sort of weird pushup. If you struggle to do this initially, perform sets of 6-8 negatives only with a 3 second negative tempo on each rep.
#2 – California Barbell Press
This is a very nifty movement that allows you to utilize heavy weight on the eccentric portion of the exercise, yet not subject your elbow to the concentric portion of the skull crusher – which is the portion of the exercise that can cause issues in some.
Plus, it's well established that the eccentric portion of an exercise is critical to muscle gain.
The EZ-bar is the most common barbell to use for the California Press, however a straight barbell, dumbbells or even cables are all great options and should be rotated in for variety.
There you go, 4 arm exercises to incorporate into your workouts today or during your next arm workout.
Do you want results? Prove it! Bigger arms aren't going to magically appear. Proper and consistent training is key.
The views and opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of USPlabs or any employee thereof. Examples used within this article are only examples. USPlabs is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the authors of this article. Authors may have been remunerated by USPlabs.
The information provided in this article, as well as this web-site blog is intended for informational and educational purposes only and should not be interpreted as medical advice for any condition. Always consult a qualified medical professional before beginning any nutritional program or exercise program. By reading this disclaimer, you hereby agree and understand that the information provided in this column is not medical advice and relying upon it shall be done at your sole risk.