Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Bicep and Tricep Workout

Here are some of Arnold’s best arm-training tips, culled from the many articles he wrote and interviews he gave over the years.

Arnold ranked the standing barbell curl as the top mass builder, but often did the incline bench dumbbell curl as well, which emphasizes the long head a bit better.

For Arnold, a mass-building movement meant three things: He could push heavy weights; he’d ensure the movement was taken from full extension to full contraction; and he’d use a weight at which he could barely do 6-8 good reps.

Definition-building movements, on the other hand, were done with lighter weights for sets of 8-12 reps.

Here the focus was on squeezing and contracting the muscle, and holding the peak contraction for a long count. Concentration curls, preacher curls, and alternating dumbbell curls were among his favorites here.

Arnold wrote that he always included at least one dumbbell movement in his routine. Supinating his hand (turning it upward as he curled) created a greater peaking effect because the brachialis was recruited into the motion.

While “The Oak” took his curls to failure, he didn’t stop there. Once he reached a sticking point, he’d use just enough momentum to keep the set going. Such cheat curls allowed him to complete an extra couple of reps.

Arnold’s approach to triceps was a bit different. Because his chest was always a strong point, his triceps were already at an advantage. More often than with biceps, he allowed his rep range to drift up to 20 per set in an effort to hyperpump the muscle.

Arnold once suggested a tip he learned from legendary trainer Vince Gironda: To determine which area a particular exercise targets, do 20 sets of that movement—and nothing else for that body part. See where the soreness is the following day. “It’s silly doing a triceps movement and not knowing which part of the triceps you’re hitting,” he wrote.

With triceps, Arnold’s advanced technique of choice was partial reps. After doing a set of full-range push-downs, for example, he’d extend the set with 5-6 partials, over either the top or bottom half of the movement.

Arnold frequently supersetted biceps and triceps movements, which meant that an enormous amount of blood was flooding the muscle. Blood carries oxygen and nutrients critical for growth, and enabled him to achieve his ultimate training goal: the pump. And you’ve no doubt heard about Arnold’s insatiable thirst for a good training pump.


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Workout Description:

Try to perform as many reps as possible per set.

When you can perform the target rep goal for all sets of a given exercise, increase the resistance.

You will need to allow between 30 and 60 seconds rest between each set and exercise. This will be to allow enough time to preform the next set or exercise.

Use these tips:

  • Warm up 5 mins on the treadmill or 1 – 2 warm up sets of the first exercise to save injury.
  • Use the correct form! Watch the video above to learn each exercise or click on each exercise below! 
  • After 6 weeks move on to another intermediate Arm workout program.


Biceps and Triceps Workout:
Arm Workout
Barbell Bicep Curl410 – 12
Lying Tricep Extension410 – 12
SUPERSETDumbbell Alternating Bicep Curl + Tricep Pushdown410 – 12
SUPERSETIncline Dumbbell Curl + Cable Rope Overhead Tricep Extension410 – 12
SUPERSETConcentration Curls + Dumbbell One-arm Triceps Extension410 – 12
Bench Dips110

NOTE: If you cannot see the full workout turn your phone or tablet to the side.

Article Information from

Beginner Leg workout