Barbell Arm Exercises to Build Muscle and Unstoppable Strength

These Bicep and tricep workouts will help you build muscle and develop stronger, bigger arms – As a rough rule, arms are split in 2/3 triceps and 1/3 biceps. Both need to be trained to achieve balanced and strong arms that are effective for performance. Check these 10 exercises out and add them into your bicep and tricep workouts.

Using the word ‘Biceps’ refers to the muscle group more accurately termed the “forearm flexors”. This is made up of  include the biceps, the brachialis, and several other muscles and supporting muscles.

If you generally don’t train biceps directly, yet still make gains in size and strength then no direct biceps work is really needed to keep your gains, so long as you’re doing plenty of pulling work (such as rows and deadlifts).

If you are accustomed to focusing on your biceps directly then 4-6 direct sets per week is a good number to keep in mind when you want to maintain your gains.

If you are an intermediate-advanced lifter then you will probably need at least 8 sets of direct biceps work per week to make gains. Experiment with this number is your program contains a higher focus on pulling work for the back (for strength, technique or speed) as you may be able to gain mass with lower numbers of sets per week.

The vast majority of people respond best between 14 and 20 weekly sets. Biceps play a role in shoulder flexion (they can get a great pump from from chest flys for example), and can be taxed significantly through close grip pulling during back training, but if you want to target your biceps precisely, add in a variety of curls.


This is also known as a Yates Row or Reverse Grip Bent Over Row. This is a great way to add a twist to a traditional and highly effective exercise. 

Stand erect while holding a barbell with a supinated grip (palms facing up). Bend your knees slightly and bring your torso forward, by bending at the waist, while keeping the back straight until it is almost parallel to the floor. Tip: Make sure that you keep the head up.

You can also perform this with a wide grip for a different stimulus. 


Bring the barbell to your lower-pec/upper-ab region while keeping your elbows in tight to the torso. Hit the close-grip bench press early in your triceps routine when your muscles are freshest. Doing so will allow your triceps to endure as much stress as possible, safely. If you don’t have a spotter, try this in a Smith machine or power rack.

  1. Lie back on a flat bench. Using a close grip (around shoulder width), lift the bar from the rack and hold it straight over you with your arms locked. This will be your starting position.
  2. As you breathe in, come down slowly until you feel the bar on your middle chest. Tip: Make sure that – as opposed to a regular bench press – you keep the elbows close to the torso at all times in order to maximize triceps involvement.
  3. After a second pause, bring the bar back to the starting position as you breathe out and push the bar using your triceps muscles. Lock your arms in the contracted position, hold for a second and then start coming down slowly again. Tip: It should take at least twice as long to go down than to come up.

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