The 5 Greatest Arm Superset Workouts!


Every bodybuilder wants a bigger pair of arms! The truth is there are many different ways to train for a bigger pair of biceps and triceps.

Some bodybuilders like Dorian Yates focus on progressive overload and getting stronger on a handful of arm exercises over time. Other bodybuilders like Milos Sarcev train for a huge pump and use many different exercises to fatigue as many muscle fibers as possible.

If your current arm routine isn’t working for you then you need to do something different. In my experience supersets are one of the best plateau busters for building big, muscular arms.

A superset is a series of two exercises performed back-to-back for the same muscle group. For example you could superset preacher curls and incline cable curls for your biceps or close grip bench presses and skull crushers for your triceps.

Here is the exact procedure for a superset:

  • Perform exercise #1 just shy of failure, then rest 10 seconds
  • Perform exercise #2 just shy of failure, then rest 1-4 minutes and repeat!

Here is a video of Al Davis supersetting dips and overhead triceps extensions. Check it out:

Talk about a pair of big, strong triceps! Supersets are so effective for building muscular arms because they prolong the time under tension of your set and force your muscles to work twice as long as normal.

Supersets create a ton of muscular damage and metabolic fatigue in your arms and give you a huge pump which is great for stimulating growth.

In this comprehensive guide I am going to teach you 5 of the most effective ways to organize superset workouts for your biceps and triceps. Here is an outline for the rest of this article:

  • Arm Workout #1: Origin-Insertion Supersets
  • Arm Workout #2: Heavy, Then Superset
  • Arm Workout #3: Superset, Then Eccentric Training
  • Arm Workout #4: Triple Threat Supersets
  • Arm Workout #5: John Meadows’ Mega Pump Routine

I learned these routines from some of the world’s best muscle-building experts like Charles Poliquin and John Meadows. Throughout this guide I am also going to teach you the functional anatomy of the upper arms.

Among other things you will learn how to design supersets to isolate the long head and short head of your biceps, as well as the long / lateral / medial heads of your triceps. You are about to get a world-class lesson on how to build big, muscular arms!

Note: if you have any trouble reading the routines presented here then check out this article on how to read a training program. Now let’s get down to business…

Arm Workout #1: Origin-Insertion Supersets

Origin-insertion supersets are an incredibly effective way to build bigger arms.

To perform an origin-insertion superset you would perform a compound exercise and an isolation exercise back-to-back with only 10 seconds rest between exercises. For example you could superset chin ups and incline curls or bench presses and overhead triceps extensions.

Origin-insertion supersets are so effective because they overload different parts of your arms. The compound exercise overloads your arm muscles near your shoulder joint while the isolation exercise overloads your arm muscles near the elbow joint. This creates a nasty amount of micro-trauma in the biceps and triceps which stimulates more muscle growth.

Here is a simple origin-insertion arm superset routine that you may want to try. Check it out:

Origin-Insertion Arm Superset Routine

  • A1: Chin ups (narrow / supinated grip), 5 x 6-8, 3/0/X/0, 10 seconds rest
  • A2: 45 degree incline DB curls (supinated grip), 5 x 12-15, 2/0/1/0, 180 seconds rest
  • B1: Bench press (shoulder-width grip), 5 x 6-8, 3/1/X/0, 10 seconds rest
  • B2: Seated ez-bar french press, 5 x 15-20, 2/0/1/0, 180 seconds rest

Here are the exercise videos: exercise A1, exercise A2, exercise B1, exercise B2

This routine is far more difficult than it looks. You are going to perform 5 total supersets for your biceps and 5 total supersets for your triceps. Here is what this workout looks like in the real world:

  • Perform one set of chin ups, then rest 10 seconds
  • Perform one set of incline curls, then rest 3 minutes
  • Perform your second set of chin ups, then rest 10 seconds
  • Perform your second set of incline curls, then rest 3 minutes

And so on. After you have completed 5 of these chin up / incline curl supersets for your biceps you would move onto your tricep supersets. It is very important that you feel your arms working when you perform this routine.

For the compound exercises I want you to focus on exploding on the concentric phase. This will help you to recruit as many fast-twitch muscle fibers as possible. However, on the isolation exercise I want you to use a more controlled concentric phase and really focus on feeling the target muscle doing the work.

Charles Poliquin used to joke that if you perform this workout correctly you will have a hard time combing your hair for the next 5 days!

If your brachialis muscle is underdeveloped then you may want to perform an origin-insertion for your brachialis instead of your biceps. Here is what a brachialis origin-insertion superset would look like:

Brachialis Origin-Insertion Routine

  • A1: Pull up (narrow / pronated grip), 5 x 4-6, 3/0/X/0, 10 seconds rest
  • A2: Standing ez-bar curl (wide / pronated grip), 5 x 6-8, 2/0/1/0**, 180 seconds rest

**Pause for 2 seconds on the concentric range at 40 degrees elbow flexion

Here are the exercise videos: exercise A1, exercise A2

If your goal is to increase the size of your brachialis muscle then any type of pronated-grip curls will get the job done. You can check out my article on the 5 best brachialis exercises for more ideas on how to train this upper arm muscle.

Arm Workout #2: Heavy, Then Superset

I’m really excited to teach you this workout. The heavy, then superset training method works great for every muscle group but it is especially effective for building bigger arms. This workout is broken down into two parts:

  • Part 1: Train heavy to target the fast-twitch muscle fibers
  • Part 2: Train with supersets to fatigue the muscle and get a huge pump!

The heavy, then superset method is like the best of both worlds. First you train reasonably heavy on one bicep and tricep exercises to target the fast-twitch muscle fibers. Then you perform a higher-rep superset for your biceps and triceps to blow your arms up and create a ton of muscular damage and metabolic stress. By the end of this routine your arms are going to be begging for mercy!

Here is the workout:

Heavy, Then Superset Arm Routine

  • A1: Decline ez-bar extension (to forehead), 4 x 7-9, 3/0/1/0, 90 seconds rest
  • A2: Unilateral preacher zottman curl (offset grip), 4 x 7-9, 5/0/1/0, 90 seconds rest
  • B1: Bench press with chains (shoulder-width grip), 3 x 10-12, 4/0/X/0, 10 seconds rest
  • B2: Standing cable overhead rope extension, 3 x 10-12, 3/2/1/0, 120 seconds rest
  • B3: 60 degree incline DB curl (supinating grip), 3 x 10-12, 2/0/2/0, 10 seconds rest
  • B4: 30 degree incline DB curl (hammer grip), 3 x 10-12, 2/0/2/0, 120 seconds rest

Here are the exercise videos: exercise A1, exercise A2, exercise B1, exercise B2, exercise B3, exercise B4.

If this routine looks confusing then check out my helpful guide on how to read a training program. This type of superset routine is unbelievably effective for adding size to your arms. Let’s talk about why these exercises are so effective.

Your triceps routine starts out with the decline ez-bar extension. All forms of decline extensions are ideal for targeting the lateral and medial heads of the triceps. Then you perform an origin-insertion superset for your triceps.

Bench presses and overhead triceps extensions are ideal for overloading the long head of your triceps. This means that every head of your triceps will be absolutely thrashed!

The same is true for your biceps. The first exercise (preacher zottman curl) is fantastic for overloading your brachialis, brachioradialis and even the short head of your biceps. On the other hand the 60 and 30 degree incline curls are perfect for isolating the long head of your biceps.

By the end of this routine every muscle fiber in your upper arms will be begging for mercy!

Arm Workout #3: Superset, Then Eccentric Training

This is a very demanding arm routine. You are going to perform supersets for your biceps and triceps early in the workout. After your arms are already pre-fatigued you are going to perform some eccentric-only exercises to further overload your arms. This is one nasty combination!

Let’s take a look at the routine before I ramble on into oblivion. Check it out:

Superset, Then Eccentric Training Arm Routine

  • A1: 30 degree incline DB curl (offset grip), 5 x 4-6, 2/0/X/0, 10 seconds rest
  • A2: Preacher ez-bar curl (wide / supinated grip), 5 x 4-6, 2/0/X/0, 120 seconds rest
  • A3: V-bar dips (upright torso), 5 x 4-6, 2/0/X/0, 10 seconds rest
  • A4: 30 degree incline DB extension, 5 x 6-8, 2/0/X/0, 120 seconds rest
  • B1: Eccentric-only preacher 1-arm barbell curl (supinated grip), 3 x 3, 10/0/1/0, 120 seconds rest
  • B2: Eccentric-only unilateral DB french press**, 3 x 5, 8/0/1/0, 120 seconds rest

**Press the dumbbell up as if you are performing a seated DB overhead press. Then lower the weight back down as if you are performing an overhead triceps extension. In the bottom position you roll your elbow forward before pressing the weight up again. See the “exercise B2” video for more details.

Here are the exercise videos: exercise A1, exercise A2, exercise A3, exercise A4, exercise B1, exercise B2.

This workout is ideal if you respond well to low reps and have a lot of fast-twitch muscle fibers. First you perform several low-rep supersets for your biceps and triceps. Then you are going to perform some brutal eccentric-only reps on two of the best bicep exercises ever invented.

The 1-arm barbell preacher curl is probably the best exercise you can perform for the short head of your biceps. The short head will contract isometrically to balance the barbell as you perform the exercise.

On the other hand the eccentric dumbbell french press is one of the best exercises you can perform for the long head of the triceps. Your elbow is directly over your head during this exercise which places the long head under an enormous stretch. You can expect some of the “deepest” muscle soreness of your life from this routine!

If you want to learn more about eccentric training then check out the following articles:

Eccentric training is one of the most powerful tools you can use to build muscle mass. Start using it on your arm workouts and watch your gains shoot through the roof!

Arm Workout #4: Triple Threat Supersets

It’s time to bust out the big guns! One of the tricky things about training the arms is there are so many different muscles and muscle heads that you have to target. Here are some of the best exercises for training all of the different muscles in the arms:

Arm Muscle #1: Long Head Of The Biceps

  • All types of incline curls, narrow-grip curls, drag curls

Arm Muscle #2: Short Head Of The Biceps

  • All types of preacher curls, wide-grip curls, chin ups

Arm Muscle #3: Brachialis And Brachioradialis

  • All types of zottman curls, pronated grip curls, hammer grip curls

Arm Muscle #4: Long Head Of The Triceps:

  • V-Bar Dips, bench presses, flat and overhead triceps extensions

Arm Muscle #5: Lateral Head Of The Triceps

  • V-bar Dips, decline and flat bench presses, decline and flat triceps extensions

Arm Muscle #6: Medial Head Of The Triceps

  • V-bar Dips, decline triceps extensions, cable pushdowns

As you can see the arms are a very complex muscle group. There are so many different muscle groups that you have to train and so many different exercises that you can use to train them! If you feel like the Universe smited you by making arm training too complicated then let Triple Threat Supersets lead you back into the light!

For this routine you are going to perform 3 supersets for your biceps and 3 supersets for your triceps. Each of these supersets is specifically designed to overload one of the 6 arm muscles identified above.

First let’s take a look at the Triple Threat Superset bicep workout. Check it out:

Biceps Triple Threat Superset Workout

  • A1: Seated zottman curl, 3 x 10-12, 4/0/1/0, 10 seconds rest
  • A2: Standing ez-bar curl (wide / pronated grip), 3 x 10-12, 2/0/2/0, 120 seconds rest
  • B1: Preacher ez-bar curl (wide / supinated grip), 3 x 10-12, 3/0/1/0, 10 seconds rest
  • B2: Preacher ez-bar curl (narrow / supinated grip), 3 x 10-12, 2/0/2/0, 120 seconds rest
  • C1: 45 degree incline DB curl (supinated grip), 3 x 10-12, 3/0/1/0, 10 seconds rest
  • C2: 60 degree incline cable curl, 3 x 10-12, 2/0/2/0, 120 seconds rest

Here are the exercise videos: exercise A1, exercise A2, exercise B1, exercise B2, exercise C1, exercise C2.

This workout features three different supersets. You are going to perform 3 supersets for the “A” exercises, then 3 supersets for the “B” exercises, then 3 supersets for the “C” exercises.

The first superset features zottman curls and pronated-grip ez-bar curls to overload your brachialis muscle. The second superset features two types of preacher curls to overload the short head of your biceps. Finally the third superset features two types of incline curls to overload the long head of your biceps.

This bicep workout includes 18 agonizing sets. By the end of this routine your biceps will be ready to explode!

After your 18 sets of biceps you may want to perform the following Triple Threat Supersets triceps routine. Check it out:

Triceps Triple Threat Supersets Workout

  • A1: Rolling DB triceps extensions, 3 x 10-12, 3/0/1/0, 10 seconds rest
  • A2: Dead stop skull crushers, 3 x 10-12, 2/1/2/0, 120 seconds rest
  • B1: Hammer strength dip machine, 3 x 10-12, 3/0/1/0, 10 seconds rest
  • B2: Decline DB extension, 3 x 10-12, 2/0/2/0, 120 seconds rest
  • C1: Standing cable overhead rope extension, 3 x 10-12, 3/0/1/0, 10 seconds rest
  • C2: Standing ez-bar french press, 3 x 10-12, 2/0/2/0, 120 seconds rest

Here are the exercise videos: exercise A1, exercise A2, exercise B1, exercise B2, exercise C1, exercise C2.

Once again you are performing 3 separate supersets for your triceps. The first superset features two different types of lying triceps extensions to overload the lateral and long heads of your triceps.

The second superset uses dips and decline extensions to really hammer the lateral and medial heads of your triceps.

Finally the third superset uses two different types of overhead extensions to really stretch out the long head of your triceps and give you a nasty arm pump.

If you can survive these Triple Threat Supersets arm workouts then you will be rewarded with some explosive arm growth. Speaking of explosive arm growth: John Meadows has an arm superset routine that I want to share with you…

Arm Workout #5: John Meadows’ Mega Pump Routine

John Meadows calls this arm workout his “mega pump routine.” It is designed to do one thing and one thing only: give you the most ridiculous arm pump of your entire life! Of course this workout will also build slabs of muscle on your biceps and triceps.

For this workout you are going to perform 4 different supersets for your biceps and triceps. In between the supersets you are going to perform “extreme stretches” for your arms to stimulate even more growth.

Here is the general format for the routine:

  • First bicep / tricep supersets x 3 sets each, then your extreme stretches
  • Second bicep / tricep supersets x 3 sets each, then your extreme stretches
  • Third bicep / tricep supersets x 3 sets each, then your extreme stretches
  • Fourth bicep / tricep supersets x 3 sets each, then your extreme stretches

I hope that makes sense. Now here is the marathon arm workout:

John Meadows’ Mega Pump Arm Routine

  • A1 Standing DB curl (supinated grip), 3 x 10, 1/0/1/0, no rest
  • A2 Standing DB curl (hammer grip) 3 x AMRAP**, 1/0/1/0, 30 seconds rest
  • A3 Standing cable pushdown (pronated grip / D-handles), 3 x 10, 1/0/X/1, no rest
  • A4 Standing overhead cable extension (D-handles), 3 x AMRAP**, 1/0/1/0, 30 seconds rest
  • B1: Unilateral bicep stretch (arm abducted), 1 x 30 seconds, no rest
  • B2: Unilateral tricep stretch (arm overhead), 1 x 30 seconds, 30 seconds rest
  • C1: Dual rope cable pushdown (elbows at sides), 3 x 10, 1/0/1/0, no rest
  • C2: Dual rope cable pushdown (elbows in front), 3 x AMRAP**, 1/0/1/0, 30 seconds rest
  • C3: Preacher ez-bar curl (wide / supinated grip), 3 x 10, 1/0/1/0, 30 seconds rest
  • D1: Unilateral bicep stretch (arm abducted), 1 x 45 seconds, no rest
  • D2: Unilateral tricep stretch (arm overhead), 1 x 45 seconds, 30 seconds rest
  • E1: Standing barbell curl, 3 x 10-12, 1/0/1/0, 30 seconds rest
  • E2: Lying dead-stop kettlebell extension, 3 x 15-20, 1/0/1/0, 30 seconds rest
  • F1: Unilateral bicep stretch (arm abducted), 1 x 60 seconds, no rest
  • F2: Unilateral tricep stretch (arm overhead), 1 x 60 seconds, 30 seconds rest
  • G1: Pinwheel spider DB curl, 2 x 10-15, 1/0/1/0, 30 seconds rest
  • G2: Incline diamond push up, 2 x 10-15, 1/0/1/0, 30 seconds rest

**Perform as many reps as possible.

Here is the training video:

Talk about a high-volume workout! I don’t want to talk about this routine too much because John Meadows does such a great job of explaining everything in the video. If you are at all interested in this arm workout then you have to click on the video and watch John Meadows himself perform this workout.

If you want to learn more about John’s unique training style then check out the following article:

This article is worth reading even if you do not use John’s exact training program. John is a genius when it comes to bodybuilding program design.

Conclusion

Supersets are one of the simplest and most effective training methods you can use to build bigger arms. There are many different ways that you can organize a superset workout. In this guide I showed you how to use 5 of the most effective superset routines ever invented:

  • Origin-Insertion Supersets
  • Heavy, Then Superset
  • Superset, Then Eccentric Training
  • Triple Threat Supersets
  • John Meadows’ Mega Pump Routine

If your arms have not grown sense Arnold Schwarzenegger was more than a little distracted by his housemaid then you have to give these arm superset workouts a shot. You won’t be disappointed!

“All I know is that the first step is to create a vision, because when you see the vision, the beautiful vision, that creates the want power.”

Thank you for reading and I wish you the best of luck on your strength training journey!

Dr. Mike Jansen

I am the creator and owner of Revolutionary Program Design. I help advanced athletes take their training to the next level and achieve results they never imagined possible.

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