The 6/12/25 method is a bodybuilding training method that was popularized by the strength coach Charles Poliquin. It is one of the fastest ways to build big, strong arms. If your arms haven’t grown sense “gangnam style” was a thing then you have to try a 6/12/25 arm workout!
- Part 1: What Are Tri-Sets?
- Part 2: The 6/12/25 Training Method
- Part 3: The Science Of 6/12/25
- Part 4: Sample Training Routines
In this comprehensive guide I will teach you exactly how to use the 6/12/25 method to blow up your arms and build slabs of new muscle tissue on your biceps and triceps.
The 6/12/25 method is actually a special type of tri-set. A tri-set is a training method where you perform 3 exercises in a row for a muscle group with only 10 seconds rest in between each exercise. For example:
Tri-Set Training Protocol
- Perform exercise #1, rest 10 seconds
- Perform exercise #2, rest 10 seconds
- Perform exercise #3, rest 2-4 minutes, repeat!
Tri-sets are so effective because they make your muscles work three times longer than your normal sets. Just think about it: if a regular set takes 20 seconds to complete then a tri-set will force your muscles to work for 60 straight seconds. That is a ton of time under tension!
Now let’s talk about the 6/12/25 method. The 6/12/25 method is a special type of tri-set where you perform 6 reps on the first exercise, 12 reps on the second exercise and 25 reps on the third exercise. For example:
The 6/12/25 Training Protocol
- Exercise #1: 6 reps, rest 10 seconds
- Exercise #2: 12 reps, rest 10 seconds
- Exercise #3: 25 reps, rest 2-4 minutes, repeat!
Here is the bodybuilding coach Josh Bryant taking his client through a brutal 6/12/25 arm workout:
The 6/12/25 method is so effective for building big, strong arms because it overloads all of the different fast-twitch and slow-twitch muscles in your arms in one brutal tri-set.
It also does a great job of maximizing the three biological triggers of hypertrophy:
- Mechanical tension
- Muscle damage
- Metabolic fatigue
The first exercise does a great job of maximizing mechanical tension because you are performing a heavy set of 6 reps. Then the second and third exercises maximize muscle damage and metabolic fatigue within the target muscle.
The 6/12/25 method is just an incredibly effective way to train! In my experience there are two really effective ways to design a 6/12/25 method arm workout: you can use three exercises that are very similar to each other or three exercises that are completely different from each other. The first method is called “uni-angular tri-sets” because each exercise overloads the muscle with a similar angle.
Here is a great uni-angular 6/12/25 biceps workout that you may want to try. Check it out:
Uni-Angular Tri-Set Biceps Routine
- A1: Preacher ez-bar curl (narrow / supinated grip), 4 x 6, 4/0/X/0, 10 seconds rest
- A2: Bilateral preacher zottman curl (offset grip), 4 x 12, 3/0/X/0, 10 seconds rest
- A3: Preacher ez-bar curl (wide / supinated grip), 4 x 25, 2/0/X/0, 3 minutes rest
This workout is great for overloading the short head of the biceps and the brachialis. If you wanted to overload the long head of the biceps then you could perform 3 different types of incline dumbbell curls or incline cable curls.
Now let’s look at a great uni-angular 6/12/25 triceps workout. Check it out:
Uni-Angular Tri-Set Triceps Routine
- A1: Lying ez-bar extension (to forehead), 4 x 6, 4/0/X/0, 10 seconds rest
- A2: Bench press (shoulder-width grip), 4 x 12, 3/0/X/0, 10 seconds rest
- A3: Lying DB extension, 4 x 25, 2/0/X/0, 3 minutes rest
This workout uses three different types of lying extensions or flat pressing exercises to overload the long head and the lateral head of your triceps. This is a great way to design a triceps workout if you have a hard time feeling your triceps work during compound pressing exercises.
Of course you can also design a 6/12/25 method arm workout where you use three completely different exercises to target three completely different parts of the muscle. In my experience this method works even better than the uni-angular method.
For example you could pick one exercise that overloads the long head of your biceps, one exercise that overloads the short head of your biceps and one exercise that overloads the brachialis / brachioradialis. This is a great way to fully develop all of the muscles in your upper arm.
Here is a sample routine you may want to try. Check it out:
6/12/25 Biceps Routine
- A1: 45 degree incline DB curl (supinating grip), 4 x 6, 4/0/X/0, 10 seconds rest
- A2: Standing ez-bar curl (wide / pronated grip), 4 x 12, 3/0/X/0, 10 seconds rest
- A3: 90 degree preacher barbell curl (narrow / supinated grip), 4 x 25, 2/0/X/0, 3 minutes rest
For this routine the 45 degree incline dumbbell curls targets the long head of your biceps, the standing ez-bar curl targets the brachialis / brachioradialis and the 90 degree preacher curls targets the short head of the biceps.
These three exercises also do a great job of targeting different points in the strength curve. In other words these exercises overload your biceps in the bottom, middle and top of the range of motion.
Here is a great 6/12/25 method workout for your triceps featuring three completely different exercises. Check it out:
6/12/25 Triceps Routine
- A1: V-bar dips (upright torso), 4 x 6, 4/0/X/0, 10 seconds rest
- A2: Dead stop skull crusher, 4 x 12, 3/0/X/0, 10 seconds rest
- A3: Standing overhead rope cable extension, 4 x 25, 2/0/X/0, 3 minutes rest
If you are going to use this workout then it is very important that you follow the correct tempos for each exercise. The first exercise is performed with a 4-second negative phase, the second exercise is performed with a 2-second negative phase and the third exercise is performed with a 2-second negative phase.
The 6/12/25 method is easily one of the best training methods you can use for building big, strong arms. If your arms haven’t grown since Jim Carrey kicked his own ass then you have to give this training method a shot. You won’t be disappointed!
“The last three or four reps is what makes the muscle grow. This area of pain divides the champion from someone else who is not a champion. That’s what most people lack, having the guts to go on and just say they’ll go through the pain no matter what happens.”
Thank you for reading and I wish you the best of luck on your strength training journey!
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