Heavy-Light Weight Combo Arm Workout

Apparently I lied about having more time – between work, one never-ending cough, and preparing for a move to a new apartment next week, I haven’t had much time to post.  🙂

This past month’s workouts have combined heavier weight/lower rep sets and lighter weight/higher rep sets.  I alternate between the two types of sets to really hit the muscles in different ways.  Read: total fatigue by the end of the workout!  For arms, I kept my normal supersets for bi’s and tri’s — but next month I’ll be mixing things up because I’ve been sticking with this routine for way too long.  Arms are my least favorite body part to train, so I sometimes get a little complacent — but I’m challenging myself to try new things to keep getting stronger.

Here’s the workout I’ve done for the past four arm workouts:

(1) Heavy-Weight Superset #1: (a) Wide Grip Barbell Curls + (b) Narrow Rows [heavy – 5 x5-7 reps @50lbs / 90lbs, 45-60 sec rest between sets]:

(a) Curls:  Grip the bar wider than shoulder width, but keep your elbows glued to your sides.  The steadier your elbows, the more work you put into your biceps and the less you are able to use momentum/your back to lift the weight.

IMG_9564 IMG_9565(b) Narrow Rows:  Keep your hands together near the center of the bar.  Start in a bent-over position, with the bar near your knees and your back flat.  Bring your elbows up and back until your hands reach belly button.  Keep the elbows tight to your body to focus on the triceps instead of the back.


IMG_9570 IMG_9576


(2) Light Weight Superset 1: (a) Outer Curls + (b) Straight Arm Raises (3×20 @ 17.5lbs, 45-60sec rest between sets)

(a) Outer Curls: Start with the dumbbells at your shoulders with your palms facing inward.  IMG_9579

Raise the weights out to your sides, keeping the elbows stable near your waist.  Again, don’t let the elbows move to control the movement and keep the work in the biceps.IMG_9578


Let the weights come all the way down to the sides of your mid-thighs.


(b) Straight Arm Raises: Start with your knees bent and your arms straight down by your sides.  Your palms should face behind you.




Lift the weight behind you about 6-12 inches, until you feel it in your triceps.  Keep the arms straight (and close to your body).




(3) Heavy Superset #2: (a) Skull Crushers + (b) Narrow Barbell Curls (5×5-7 reps @50lbs, with 45-60 sec rest between sets)

(a) Skull Crushers: There are two variations you can do for skull crushers – the beginner version is still tough though!  For an easier variation, hold the weight over your chest, just below your chin.  Keep your elbows as narrow as possible to work the triceps harder.


Bend your elbows and lower the weight toward your forehead.




For the advanced variation, start with the weight farther back, above your forehead.


Lower the weight behind your head.


(b) Narrow Curls: Just like with wide curls, start with barbell at the top of your thighs.  Adjust your grip to bring your hands in narrower than shoulder width.  Curl the weight up to your collarbone, hold for one second, and repeat.

IMG_9608 (4) Light Superset #2: (a) Hammer Curls and (b) Kickbacks (3×10 reps @ 17.5 lbs, 45-60 sec rest between sets)

(a)  Hammer curls: start with the weight near your thighs, with your palms facing inward.  Curl the weight up to your shoulders, with the palms still inward and your pinky fingers facing in front of you.  As always, keep your elbows steady and near your waist to work the biceps harder.


(b) Tricep Kickbacks: Start in a bent over position with your elbows bent and the weights at your shoulders.


Push the weight straight back until your arms are straight:


(5) Heavy Superset #3: (a) concentration curls + (b) overhead tricep extensions (5×5 reps @27.5lbs / 40 lbs, with 45-60 sec rest)

(2) Concentration Curls: In a seated position, start with your elbow against your inner thigh, with your arm extended straight down. 


Curl the weight up to your shoulder.

IMG_9638Hold for one count before lowering.


(b) Overhead Tricep Extension: You can do these seated or standing.  Start with the weight directly overhead.


Bend your elbows and bring the weight toward the base of your neck.


(6) Light Superset #3: (a) Cable Rows + (b) Cable Narrow Curls (3×20 reps)

So technically, these rows are more of a back exercise than a tricep move – but I am working on opening through the chest and strengthening my back to recover from some neck pain (way too many hours at a computer this summer!!), so I am relying on back moves that secondarily work the triceps these days.  (I also am genetically blessed with arms that build muscle faster than the rest of my body, so I’m ok with a little less tricep building!  Feel free to substitute in rope pulldowns or pushouts if your focus is on building your tri’s)




IMG_9674 IMG_9676   Finish out this superset with narrow cable rows:

IMG_9687 IMG_9688

Kill-it Move Bonus Round: We finished it out with sets of 100 curls and kickbacks/overhead extensions — 50 of which were two-count slow reps.  I used 5 lb weights — but start super light because these can be brutal!

And because Ery’day is leg day (or at least, in my world it is!), I finished out the day with a second round of cardio – 20 min on the stairs and 10 min worth of 30 sec sprints/30 sec recovery @12.5mph/6.5mph.

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