Dad Bod

The Best Triceps And Biceps Workouts For Busy Men

This complete arm workout gives you the definition you’re looking for in 10 easy moves.

Originally Published: 
A man doing pull-ups on a playground outdoors.

There are many exercises that can get your bicep and triceps muscles exhausted that might surprise you. Because, as it turns out, getting bigger arms and stronger, more defined biceps and triceps is all about the details, and less about doing a million bicep curls and triceps extensions. So, there are definitely ways to get a good bicep and triceps workout at home for men that aren’t the usual boring routine you would think of.

Getting big arms from bicep and triceps workouts comes from consistent lifting of dumbbells and weights. But that sculpted upper body comes from working each muscle group from multiple angles, not just lifting heavy weights and burning out your biceps and triceps through one million triceps curls and nothing else. That’s why it matters that your triceps workouts and bicep workouts are dynamic, different, and detail-focused.

Joining biceps and triceps together in a workout makes sense because one muscle’s flex is the other’s extension. This means that neither group totally rests for the duration of this workout, making it a brutal burn worth fighting for. Switching back and forth between biceps and triceps exercises also allows you to keep your heart rate up while providing active rest for each muscle, for a more complete weight session.

To figure out how much weight to use for the following 10 exercises, choose a set of weights that allows you to perform 8-10 reps before exhaustion. Then get at it.

Bicep Exercise: Barbell Curl

Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Using an underhand grip, place hands hip-width apart on a barbell and hold it with arms straight in front of your thighs. Bend elbows and raise the bar to your chest. Lower. 10 reps, 2 sets.

Triceps Exercise: Overhead Extension

Holding a dumbbell in each hand, lie back on a bench, knees bent, feet flat on the floor. Raise weight directly above your chest, arms straight, palms facing in. Bend elbows and lower weights back and over your head. Straighten arms and raise them above your chest again. 8-10 reps, 3 sets.

Bicep Exercise: Pull-Up

This move might be best known for building stronger pecs, back, and core (and you’ll do that, too). But the underhand (palms facing you) pull-up is also great way to build power in your biceps. Start by hanging from the bar, hands shoulder-width apart (tip: close hands = greater biceps load; wider hands = more back muscle). Bend elbows and raise chin above the bar. Return to hanging. 6-8 reps, 3 sets.

Triceps Exercise: Dumbbells Kickback

Stand with feet hip-width apart, knee bent slightly. Hinge forward at the waist 45 degrees, keeping your back straight. Holding a dumbbell in each hand, bend elbows and bring the weight to your chest, palms facing in. Keeping elbows close to your sides, straighten arms and extend the weights behind you. Bend elbows to return to start position. 10 reps, 2 sets.

Bicep and Triceps Exercise: Front and Side Dumbbell Curls

This move works both heads of your biceps by subtly shifting the angle of lift. Start with a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing forward, arms by your sides. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Bend elbows and raise weights to your chest. Release. Keeping arms straight, pull shoulders back and rotate arms so that your palms face out to the side. From this position, bend elbows and raise weights to chest height. Release. Rotate palms forward again. 10 reps, 2 sets.

Triceps Exercise: Close Hands Pushup

You’ll give your pecs, shoulders, and abs a workout with this move, but the real winners here are your triceps, which get double the burn with a simple hand adjustment. Get into an extended pushups position, and place your hands below your chest, close enough so that your thumbs touch. Bend elbows, keeping them back and close by your sides as you lower your chest to the ground. Straighten arms back to start position. 20 reps, 2 sets.

Triceps and Bicep Exercise: Cable Curls

Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, about three feet away from the cable machine, pulley set to chest height. Hold the handle in your right hand, palm facing up, right arm extended in front of you. Bend your right elbow and perform a curl, keeping your upper arm steady and parallel to the floor while your lower arms moves the cable handle close to your chest. Release and straighten arm. 8 reps on each side, 2 sets.

Bicep and Triceps Exercise: Hammer Curls

This move works your biceps as well as the brachialis, a muscle that sits next to your biceps and adds definition and shape to your arm. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Hold a dumbbell in each hand, orienting the weight north/south so that your hands are in a neutral position, palms facing in toward each other. Bend elbows and raise weights to your chest. Release. 10 reps, 2 sets.

Triceps Exercise: Elbows-Out Extension

Sit back on an incline bench at about 30 degrees, knees bent, feet flat on floor. Holding a dumbbell in each hand, raise weights above your chest, arms straight, palms facing away from you. Keeping your upper arms stationary, bend elbows and lower weights to your chest. Raise them again. 10 reps, 3 sets.

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