Armed and dangerous…

Most people that work out will split their body into several parts and train them over a period of days over the course of the week.   When training arms, most of them will split it up into two separate workouts incorporating bicep exercises with back exercises since it is a pulling muscle and doing triceps when performing shoulders or chest because it is a pushing muscle.

I like to train arms, both biceps and triceps on the same day.  The majority  of people that do it this way will first train biceps by performing several exercises and sets in a row then train triceps or vice versa.

Alternating the body part exercises…

I like to train them by performing alternating exercises.  So lets say I start off the workout with triceps first.  I perform four sets of whatever rep combination I plan on doing for the tricep, then for my next exercise I perform a bicep exercise rather than another tricep exercise.

Following this alternating sequence allows you to train the biceps and triceps much harder than performing several exercises consecutively for the same body part.  This is especially true for arms since they are such a small muscle group.


One you alternate between bicep and tricep, one muscle is resting for 10 minutes while you are exercising the other muscle group.  Remember, biceps is a pulling muscle and tricep is a pushing muscle so when doing one, the other is in complete rest no matter how hard you are pushing the other.

So imagine if your arm workout consists of three exercises for each part (bicep and tricep)for four sets each exercise for a grand total of 12 sets of biceps and 12 sets of triceps.  Performing the routine consecutively for each body part meaning 12 straight sets of biceps spread over three exercises or vice versa, by the time you get to your sixth set (your second set of your second exercise) that body part is totally shot.  The remaining six sets will be using much lighter weights because the body part has not had time to recover.

Whereas if you perform them in an alternating sequence, each exercise for each body part is performed with much greater intensity. Much greater intensity means your muscles are working that much harder resulting in better gains.

Sample Workout

So for example, a typical arm workout for me would go something like this with each exercise being performed for 4 sets:

Tricep Pushdowns

Barbell Curl

Overhead Tricep Extensions

Single arm barbell curls

Tricep Extension, elbows point out

Preacher Curls

One little trick in picking your tricep exercises is to remember that the tri’s have three heads, thus its name.  To insure that you are hitting all three heads just remember that the position of your elbow determines which head you are training. So for the exercises cited above, all three heads are hit as follows:

Tricep pushdown, elbows to your side or basically pointing down

Overhead tricep extension, elbows above your head or basically pointing up

Tricep extensions (one exercise is known as skull crushers) elbows point out

So there you have it, you have hit all three heads, just remember, elbows down, out and up. The sequence of which one you do first does not matter.

Nice arms on a male or female is one way to look….Fit Forlife!

This entry was posted in Training and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *