This routine from Cre8 Fitness’ Simon King will graft bulging bis onto skinny arms. “This workout hits the muscle fibres responsible for not only strength, but also growth and lean muscle gains,” says King. “You’re working in the realms of strength, hypertrophy and muscle endurance in one routine.” If those painful trisets don’t get you, the 5-minute finisher will.
Back & Biceps
Back and biceps are a classic combination, one that not only works harmoniously but also very fun to train as you get an insane biceps ‘pump’ as they are constantly overloaded from start to finish.
This workout is going to consist of two ‘tri-sets’ and a ‘finisher’. Tri-sets are the next level up from supersets and another way to grind through training plateaus once the body has adapted to a chosen training protocol. Tri-Sets are a great way to increase your training intensity in minimal time while at the same time creating a continuous burn and tension on the chosen muscles.
The reps for the workout are – 6, 12 and 25 to hit all the 3 primary muscle fibres responsible for not only strength but also growth and lean muscle gains. In this workout you are working in the realms of strength, hypertrophy and muscle endurance.
At the end of the workout there will be a 5 minute timed finisher to ensure the muscles have been blasted resulting in an increase in strength and mass. The reason the finisher is timed instead of reps is to provoke a different training stimulus by way the body works for time instead of reps and sets.
Weight Selection – Use light enough weights to perform each exercise with strict form in a controlled tempo i.e. leave your ego at the gym door.
Intensity – Wear a watch or a stop watch – a sure fire way to increase workout productivity and intensity.
Tri Set 1 – Complete exercises back to back with 120s rest in between (3 rounds)
A1: Weighted Chin Up – 6 reps
Chin ups or pull ups done under control with strict form in any gym turns heads but to take it to the next level add some weight via a belt or weighted vest. Consider moving up to this level once you can complete 12 chin ups or pulls ups with strict form. Adding some weight is a sure fire way to stimulate new muscle growth and keep your workouts interesting.
Whilst wearing a weighted belt, grab the pull-up bar with your palms facing towards you and a grip that is narrower than shoulder width. Pull yourself up until your head is above the bar. Slowly lower back to the start position.
A2: Kettle Bell Renegade Row – 12 reps each arm
Renegade rows done with kettlebells are a multifunctional strength tool that will also place huge demands on the core while torching body fat. Although great for upper back development this exercise really does work the entire body hitting the stabilising muscles across the body. Don’t just think of this a pull exercise but also think of it as a push exercise pushing your stabilising arm into the floor and engaging the core and pecs.
Get into push-up position, with both hands holding a kettlebell underneath your shoulders. You may need to widen your legs for more support. Then drive one arm up, retracting your shoulder blade, and so the kettlebell is drawn to your side. Lower it back down to the ground and repeat on the other side.
A3: Standing DB Biceps Curl – 25 Reps
Palms supinated curls are great for adding size to the ‘peak’ of the biceps as they isolate the biceps alone more than any other grip curl. While hitting the 25 reps make sure the tempo of lowering the weight is always under control.
Stand holding two dumbbells at your sides, palms facing forwards. Move only your forearms to curl the weights up to your shoulders. Return under control to the start position.
Tri Set 2 – Complete exercises back to back with 120s rest in between (3 sets)
B1: One Arm T-bar Row – 6 reps each side
The angle of the one arm t-bar row is perfect for adding thickness in the mid back area as the bar can travel through an increased range of motion. Try pausing at the bottom of the movement to briefly recover therefore giving you maximum pulling power while challenging the grip to recruit even more muscle fibres.
Add weight to one end of a barbell. Bend forward until your torso is almost parallel to the floor and keep your knees slightly bent. Grab the bar with one arm just behind the plates. Pull the bar straight up with your elbow in until the plates touch your chest and squeeze your back muscles at the top of the move. Slowly lower to the starting position and repeat without letting the plates touch the floor.
B2: Feet Raise Inverted Row – 12 reps
Increasing the feet on an inverted row is a superb progression from the inverted row; feet elevated will enable an increased range of motion while placing more stress on the upper back. Many jump straight to chins and pull ups but an inverted row is ideal for really ‘greasing the groove’ as it allows you to really engage and kinaesthetically (feel) the supporting scapular muscles responsible for stabilising the body, at the same time keeping the body bullet proof and free of injury.
Set up a bar in a rack at waist height. Grab it with a wider than shoulder-width overhand grip and hang underneath. Position yourself with heels out in front of you on a raised platform and arms fully extended. Your body should be straight from shoulders to ankles. Flex at the elbows to pull your chest up to the bar. Lower yourself back to the start position under control.
B3: Reverse Grip EZ Bar Curls – 25 reps
Reverse grip curls are often over looked as many feel the forearms muscles give up first but when executed correctly with the right load are great for adding overall thickness and fullness to the biceps as it works the ‘longer’ head. You are only as strong as your weakest link so if your forearms are not in balance with your arms throw in some reverse grip arm work.
It’s also important to mention grip strength and hand muscles as training your forearms without training your grip is practically impossible. The stronger your grip is, the more weight you can control, and this leads to more growth.
Hold the EZ bar in front of your thighs with an overhand, shoulder-width grip. As you breathe in, curl the bar until your hands are at your shoulders. Squeeze your biceps, and then lower under control.
Finisher – Perform the next two exercises as timed finisher for maximum pump.
Complete the finisher in a superset format that doesn’t stop for 5 minutes hitting a minimum of 8 reps before moving onto the next exercise and moving between the bent over row and hammer curls until the your 5 minutes of pain is up. For purposes of the finisher dumbbells have been chosen so they can be swiftly put down and picked up once the reps have been completed.
5minutes – 8-10 reps each
C1: Dumbbell Bent over Row
For purposes of the finisher the DB bent over row is ideal as the weights can be picked up and put down quickly once the reps have been completed. With the back structure being so large and complex the DB bent over covers the whole lat, upper back and trap muscles.
Holding a dumbbell in each hand bend your knees slightly and hinge at the hip so your upper body is almost parallel to the floor. Keep your core tight and your back straight as you row the weights up to your chest. Lower and repeat.
C2: Dumbbell Hammer Curl
One of the best ways to improve the look of your biceps is to focus on the brachioradialis and that’s where the hammer curl comes into its own. The hammer curl with its neutral grip is great for keeping an increased time under tension stress on the muscles. Slow the tempo of the exercise down to ensure maximum recruitment of the biceps and forearm.
Hold a dumbbell in each hand at your sides, palms facing your hips. Curl the weights up until your thumbs are near your shoulders, and then lower.