If your dumbbell arm workout isn’t putting additional meat inside your sleeves, maybe it’s time to get a Mission Jacked perspective on things. While everyone loves to train arms, not many know how to train them correctly. With just a few minor tweaks and a couple of new movements added to your training arsenal, and of course application on your part, I’m sure we can get your arms popping in the right direction.
You don’t need every piece of arm equipment ever invented to grow your guns. In fact, you can grow them with good old fashion dumbbells and some outside the box thinking. But first, you need to understand and adhere to a few golden rules that make the process of building arms with minimal equipment much easier and much more rewarding.
I’m Psymon H., workout motivator and creator of the BIG-UP Training System. In this exposé, I’m going to share two huge tips for training arms and then I’m going to show you one Bicep and one Tricep exercise you may never have done before.
Last but by no means least, if you are an intermediate or an advanced lifter, I will also give you an intensity technique you can attempt on your next dumbbell arm workout to take your training to a whole new level. If you want some more underground exercises for both Biceps and Triceps that can be done with dumbbells or minimum equipment, check out our other arm building articles at the end of this read.
Dumbbell Arm Workout Tip One: It doesn’t matter if you’re training Biceps or Triceps, doing a dumbbell arm workout or training with a machine, your objective should be to create the greatest amount of tension in the muscle being worked.
Most may say that add more weight is creating more tension, but before that even matters, you’ve got to be able to create a stable environment for the muscle to be able to fully contract.
If you’re performing a dumbbell Bicep Curl with lots of movement at the shoulder, you are robbing the Bicep of much of the work and losing tension in the process. You must have a solid anchor by locking your shoulders into place. This can be done by pulling down on your Lat to secure the Scapula and Humorous so that that any movement only happens at the Elbow.
The same principle works for the Triceps; if there’s lots of movement at the shoulder when extending the Elbow, less work is being done and less tension generated by the Triceps.
Creating a good amount of tension before moving the load is central to really challenging the muscle. To do this I always imagine I’m moving an immoveable object and naturally my muscles tense significantly before I actually move the weight. The load just adds resistance against the contraction through the entire rep to further challenge the muscle.
Dumbbell Arm Workout Tip Two: It’s essential to find good length when training the Triceps and Biceps. If it’s the Biceps we’re referencing to, being fully extended at the bottom of a curl is where you’ll find length. As the Triceps are antagonistic muscles of the Biceps, Bending your Elbow for example in an overhead position is where you will lengthen the Triceps.
Your Biceps and Triceps would benefit hugely if all you did on your next dumbbell arm workout was adhere to these two Mission Jacked Tips. Now we’ve got the boring but really important stuff out of the way, let’s go ahead and get a blood-thirsty pump action with these two exceptional exercise movements.
Bicep Exercise Under The Spotlight
Incline Curls, The Baddest Sit-Down Exercises In The Whole of The Bicep Kingdom - Check Out The Variations.
This short Bicep head exercise is a variation of the incline dumbbell curl, and a movement, if done correctly, will have you wanting to drop the dumbbells long before the set is over. if you're looking for an exercise to add to your dumbbell arm workout for mass, the Incline Jam Curl should be near the top of the list.
The significant two major differences between the incline dumbbell curl and the Incline Jam Curl is the setup and the angle at which you curl the dumbbells.
Target Muscle: Short Bicep Head
Items Needed: Incline Bench set up about 60 degrees and a pair of dumbbells.
Cue 1: Sit back on an incline bench with dumbbells in hand. Pin back your shoulders so your elbows are jammed into your sides. You should feel your Lats tense as you lift your Chest up and tighten your core.
Cue 2: Keeping your elbows tucked in and dumbbells out to each side, tense your Biceps before curling the dumbbells so they come up in line with your mid-Deltoids instead of in front of you. As you get to the top of the movement, gently rotate the dumbbells so your pinky finger is higher than the rest of your hand.
Cue 3: Briefly squeeze each dumbbell before
slowly returning to the start position. Repeat for the desired amount of
No doubt you’ve done your fair share of the standard skull Crushers, so I thought I’d add in a variation that really goes to work on all three Tricep Heads. The Reverse and Twist Skull Crusher isn’t an explosive high thrill movement, but more of the silent and deadly type that can heap lots of misery on the Triceps if engaged correctly. When it comes to a dumbbell arm workout bodybuilding style, this exercise needs to be part of the routine.
Target Muscle Group: All Three Tricep heads
Items Needed: Flat bench and a pair of dumbbells.
Cue 1: Lay back on a flat bench with the dumbbells in a reverse grip position behind the crown of your head and elbows in the air.
Cue 2: As you bring the dumbbells out and not too far over your head, twist them so that at the top of the movement, your palms are facing away from you. Do not flare your elbows out to the side or swing the bells during the movement, which can incorporate momentum.
If you are performing a full body workout, both exercises can be completed in one workout once per week. If you are performing a push/pull split, you can implement the exercises in the appropriate workout.
For reps and reps in reserve (RIR), you could use anything from 8 – 20 repetitions per set, leaving 2 repetitions in reserve on all working sets. This will ensure that you are achieving maximum motor unit recruitment. Over a four week muscle building cycle, you could change the reps performed…Example, on week one you could use 8 repetitions per set, week 2 = 10 reps, week 3 = 12 reps and week 4 = 15 reps per set.
Sets will depend on your training structure, recovery, and fatigue levels, but 3 – 4 sets per exercise should be a good starting point.
If you want to up the training ante and increase the intensity, try Rep Targeting on your next workout. For this muscle-building technique, you simply set a rep target and obtain that repetition goal no matter how many sets it takes to achieve. Remember, with the above exercises, you’ll repeat the movement on both sides.
• Our target is 50 repetitions with a weight that may allow you 15 reps to failure. On set one, you achieved 15 reps.
• Rest up to 30 seconds
• You perform 10 more reps to failure
• Rest up to 30 seconds
• Achieve 8 reps to failure
• Rest up to 30 seconds
• Complete 7 reps to failure
• Rest up 30 seconds
• Perform 5 repetitions to failure
• Rest 30 seconds
• Perform 5 reps to failure
Don’t just read this article, put thought into action and attempt the above exercises on your next Dumbbell Leg Workout. Try not to swap exercises around but instead use these three exercises once per week for four weeks and see how your legs react to the stimulus.
Remember that battles are won within – so give everything and leave nothing.