Photo: Fouad Abiad
It was recently pointed out to me that there’s a disparity in content on my site—specifically, a client said, “Hey, for a guy with huge muscles, you really don’t talk much about… um, getting huge muscles, you know?”
Which, I suppose, is unfair. Or, at least, unbalanced.
But, as great as articles about stuff like complexes can be, not everyone is focused on fat loss all the time. Sometimes, we’d like to know how to build a bit of mass, or just improve the look of a body part without increasing size—even if we don’t have a lot of time.
And this is never more true than when it comes to arms.
Guys, have you ever looked at a guy with really big biceps and thought, “Wow, he must have great genetics; probably doesn’t train arms” ?
Ladies, have you ever looked a woman with toned arms and thought, “Oh, that’s completely natural, I bet she doesn’t work out” ?
I’m guessing no.
That’s because, unlike many other body parts, arms aren’t something that people view as natural: They’re something we consider the product of hard work and time under the iron. And unlike more genetically influenced body parts (calves, for instance), arms aren’t born, they’re made. I believe anyone can have a really great set of guns, and, thankfully, it’s really not hard to do.
That’s true even if you have less than 20 minutes to hit the gym, especially if you have the right plan. This plan. Because with this 15-minute workout, you’ll be able to get in, train your arms, and get out in less time than it probably takes you to drive to the gym.
If you’re looking to make the most of your week, this is a great workout to throw in at the end of a leg session, or sprints, or even on a planned off day.
The workout consists of three supersets for your arms; each intended to hit the muscles differently, recruiting different muscle fibers and prioritizing different functional aspects of each of the muscles. By alternating exercises for biceps and triceps, you manage time and rest periods more efficiently.
Superset 1 – Big, Heavy Compound Movements.
These exercises involve multiple joints and muscles, so you’ll be strongest here. The heavy weight forces you to recruit fast twitch muscle fibers; these recover quickly, so rest is kept brief.
Perform 5 sets of 5 reps using heavy weight, resting 30-45 seconds between exercises. After your last superset, rest 30 seconds and move to superset 2.
A1) Neutral Grip Chin-Up
A2) Neutral Grip Floor Press
Superset 2 – “Moderate” Compound Movements. These exercises are more isolation based, but still recruit other muscles. In this case, in addition to hitting your bis and tris, both of these will hit your shoulders and traps, helping you to beef those up as well.
Perform 4 sets of 8 reps for each exercise, alternating with only 10 seconds of rest in between. After your last superset, proceed immediately to superset C.
B1) Barbell Drag Curl
Superset 3 – High-rep isolation movements. This last superset is going to be as close to isolation as you can get while still providing maximum muscle building variety. Both movements work the target muscles intensely; however, they also put a lot of mechanical stress on the muscles of the forearms. This superset will help complete the look of you arms by developing the lower arm and strengthening the grip.
Perform 2 sets of 15 reps for each exercise, alternating with 20-30 seconds of rest in between. After your last superset, proceed to the mirror and flex for 2-3 minutes.
C1) Zottman Curls (dumbbell)
C2) Reverse Grip Overhead Triceps Extensions (barbell or cable)
A nice set of arms looks good on anyone. It helps the guys look stronger and the girls look sexier. And, of course, the other way around.
But great guns come with a price: time and energy. Thankfully, with the right set up, you can minimize your investment, and still see maximum results.