Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Favorite Biceps & Triceps Exercises

Arnold Schwarzenegger training biceps with dumbbell curl
"The resistance that you fight physically in the gym and the resistance that you fight in life can only build a strong character."

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Arnold Schwarzenegger trained his arms hard, heavy and intense. If you also want to build big arms, then stick these basic time-tested arm exercises.

Arnold Schwarzenegger training biceps with barbell curl
“The last three or four reps is what makes the muscle grow. This area of pain divides the champion from someone else who is not a champion. That’s what most people lack, having the guts to go on and just say they’ll go through the pain no matter what happens.”

Here is a list of eight of Arnold’s favorite biceps and triceps exercises that work for building overall arm size and strength.

BICEPS EXERCISES:

1. BARBELL BICEPS CURL

The barbell biceps curl is the king of biceps mass building exercises. It’s a highly effective biceps exercise that targets both heads of the biceps. You can perform the exercise with a straight bar or an EZ bar.

The barbell biceps curl allows your biceps muscles to curl the heaviest weights, providing a high amount of tension on your biceps muscles for maximum stimulation. While the barbell biceps curl is an isolation movement, performing the movement also stimulates the abdominal and lower back core muscles.

The key with this exercises is to perform it with proper form. You want to maintain tension on the biceps muscles at all times. If you cheat on the movement then you won’t get the most out of it. Perform 3 sets of 6-10 reps.

STANDING BARBELL BICEPS CURL
STANDING BARBELL BICEPS CURL

2. INCLINE DUMBELL CURL

The incline dumbbell curl is a highly effective yet underutilized exercise. The advantage of curling on an incline bench is that it heavily targets the largest head of the biceps muscle – the long head. The long head is responsible for most of the mass of the biceps muscle. Perform 3 sets of 6-10 reps on the incline dumbbell curls.

DUMBBELL INCLINE BICEPS CURL
DUMBBELL INCLINE BICEPS CURL

3. REVERSE BARBELL CURL

The reverse barbell curl is a great exercise to build both the biceps and forearms. Go all the way up, contract and slowly bring the bar back down. Perform 3 sets of 6-10 reps of the exercise.

REVERSE BARBELL CURLS
REVERSE BARBELL CURLS

4. PREACHER CURLS

The preacher curl is a great exercise to build biceps peaks. The preacher curl primarily stimulates the short head of the biceps. The short head is what gives your biceps the peak. Perform 3 sets of 6-12 reps of the preacher curl.

PREACHER CURLS
PREACHER CURLS

TRICEPS EXERCISES:

5. CLOSE GRIP BENCH PRESS

When it comes to the triceps, the close grip bench press is the best mass builder in the gym. When done with proper form, the close grip bench press allows you to load and stress all three heads of the triceps muscle with heavy weights. Perform 3 sets of 6-10 reps of this exercise.

CLOSE GRIP BENCH PRESS
CLOSE GRIP BENCH PRESS

6. PARALLEL BAR DIP

The parallel bar dip is another excellent compound exercise for the triceps. The dip will target the lateral head of your triceps more and the long head less. Stay more upright to target the triceps versus the chest muscles. Perform 3 sets of 6-10 reps of the exercise.

PARALLEL BAR DIPS
PARALLEL BAR DIPS

7. OVERHEAD TRICEPS EXTENSION

The overhead triceps extension can be performed using dumbbells, barbells or cables. This is an important exercise for complete triceps development. Training your triceps from the overhead position builds the long head of the triceps, which is responsible for most of the triceps mass. Perform 3 sets of 6-10 reps of the exercise.

CABLE OVERHEAD ROPE EXTENSIONS
CABLE OVERHEAD ROPE EXTENSIONS

8. CABLE TRICEPS PUSHDOWN

The cable triceps pushdown is an exercise almost everyone does to train the triceps. It’s a great exercise to target the lateral head of the triceps muscle. You can do this exercise with either the rope attachment or the handle bars. Perform 3 sets of 6-10 reps of this exercise.

CABLE TRICEPS PUSHDOWN
CABLE TRICEPS PUSHDOWN

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