The John Meadows Bicep Workout | The Ultimate Guide!


John Meadows is an IFBB professional bodybuilder and one of the best bodybuilding coaches in the world. John believes the fastest way to build huge biceps is to use his Mountain Dog arm workouts.

If you want to learn how John Meadows designs his bicep workouts then this article is for you!

Introduction

  • Part 1: Biceps Only Workouts
  • Part 2: Biceps / Triceps Workouts

In this comprehensive guide I will show you how to build a massive chest using John Meadows’ Mountain Dog chest workouts.

John Meadows says that his Mountain Dog Training program is all about building as much muscle mass as possible while staying healthy and avoiding injuries. John says there are several things you must do if you want to build massive biceps. Check it out:

John Meadows’ Bicep Training Rules

  • Rule #1: Train the brachialis!
  • Rule #2: Use perfect form on every exercise!
  • Rule #3: Sequence your exercises correctly!
  • Rule #4: Train to failure!

First of all John says that if you want big arms then you MUST train the brachialis muscle. John performs 3-4 bicep exercises per workout and at least 1 of these is for the brachialis. Some of John’s favorite brachialis exercises include hammer curls and reverse curls.

Here is John demonstrating his new favorite biceps exercise, the incline supported dumbbell hammer curl:

The next rule is to use perfect form on every exercise. John focuses on squeezing the dumbbell or barbell as hard as he can on all of his reps. This limits the amount of weight he can use but it gives him a much better contraction in his biceps.

John also says that you must sequence your biceps exercises correctly. He likes to perform exercises that stretch the biceps like preacher curls and incline dumbbell curls at the end of his workout after his biceps are pre-fatigued.

For example here is John demonstrating the preacher curl at the end of his bicep workout:

He says basic exercises like standing barbell curls and standing dumbbell curls work better at the start of your workout.

Finally John says that you should perform most of your working sets to failure for biceps. He thinks the biceps are a smaller muscle and require more sets taken to failure for optimal results.

I hope you found this overview helpful. Now let’s take a closer look at some of John’s Meadows’ favorite bicep workouts…

Part 1: Biceps Only Workouts

John Meadows likes to train his biceps and triceps together on the same training day.

One of his favorite training strategies is to perform 3-4 exercises for his biceps and then 3-4 exercises for his triceps.

Here is a simple John Meadows biceps workout that you can try. Check it out:

Bicep Workout #1 

  • Exercise #1: Standing DB curl (hammer grip), 3-4 sets of 10 reps
  • Exercise #2: Preacher DB curl (supinated grip), 3-4 sets of 8 reps
  • Exercise #3: Incline cable curl (supinated grip), 3-4 sets of 12 reps

Here is the training video:

This workout is about as simple as it gets. John uses three different exercises to target his brachialis, the short head of his biceps and the long head of his biceps.

This workout does a great job of showing how John likes to sequence his biceps exercises. John starts with the standing dumbbell hammer curl.

This exercise overloads the middle portion of the exercise when your forearms are parallel to the ground. John likes to start his biceps workouts with this kind of exercise because they are very safe and easy on the elbows.

Next John performs 2 exercises that really put the biceps under a good stretch: preacher curls and incline curls.

John’s training parter @HypertrophyCoach gives some great insights into this exercise:

“Incline dumbbell curls can be a great option but for some people the incline cable curl will fit their joints a little better.

With the incline cable curl the elbows are behind the body.

This is a fully stretched bicep and both John and I like to finish our workout with exercises that load the biceps in that fully stretched position.”

Here is a slightly more complicated 4-exercise bicep routine that you can try. Check it out:

Bicep Workout #2

  • Exercise #1: Elbows supported incline DB curl (hammer grip), 4 sets of 10 reps
  • Exercise #2: One-arm T-bar curl (reverse grip), 4 sets of 6-10 reps
  • Exercise #3: Preacher DB curl (supinated grip), 3 sets of 8-10 reps
  • Exercise #4: Ez-bar drag curl (wide / supinated grip), 3 sets of 8-10 reps

Here is the training video:

John starts this workout with two basic brachialis exercises that overload the mid-range position of the strength curve.

John says that most people have an underdeveloped brachialis muscle and this is one of the fastest ways to bring it up. Check it out:

“One of my favorite ways to start a biceps workout is by training the brachialis.

The brachialis is the most underrated muscle that I think people just don’t pay enough attention to.”

After the brachialis exercises John performs preacher curls and drag curls to target the short and long heads of the biceps.

Here is John describing his technique on the drag curl:

“You’re going to draw your elbows back and drag the bar right up your body. It’s not, it doesn’t look like a huge range of motion but you get a great contraction.

I just let my hands hang down. I don’t grip the bar hard on these. I know on a lot of biceps exercises I tell you to grip the bar hard but this exercise is an exception.”

As usual John performs all of his sets to failure. That is 14 sets to failure for the biceps – talk about a high-volume workout!

Sometimes John likes to perform ultra high reps for his biceps. He does because they are effective for stimulating biceps growth and to give his elbows a break from the lower rep sets. Check it out:

Bicep Workout #3

  • Exercise #1: Standing DB curl (supinated grip), 2 sets of 25 reps
  • Exercise #2: Preacher ez-bar curl (narrow / supinated grip), 2 sets of 25 reps
  • Exercise #3: Seated DB curl (hammer grip / elbows supported), 2 sets of 25 reps
  • Exercise #4: Ez-bar drag curl, 2 sets of 25 reps

Here is the training video:

John says that when you train with 20+ reps per set for biceps, you absolutely have to train to failure to really fatigue the muscle fibers.

If you cut your sets short then you won’t achieve maximum muscle fiber stimulation and you won’t get the results you want.

“When you’re training with lighter weights and higher reps, you do have to train to failure.

When you train all the way to failure, you’re activating all the muscle fibers, you’re activating them, you’re fatiguing them, you’re doing what you need to do.

When you do 25 reps, the key is to train all the way to failure on the 25th set.”

Here is John giving some more insights into the benefits of these higher rep sets:

“I’m used to working in the 8-12 rep range. One of the things I found over the years is when you go over that rep range, you just burn like fire! It gives you an intense burn.

The weight might feel really light at first, but once you get out of that rep range that you’re used to working in, it becomes pain tolerance until you get to failure.”

John normally performs 3-4 exercises for his biceps. However, he sometimes likes to break this rule if he is training with a very advanced bodybuilder who needs to bring up his biceps.

Here is a brutal biceps workout that John performed with @Luke_The_Hulk. Check it out:

Bicep Workout #4

  • Exercise #1: Barbell curl with bands (supinated grip), 2 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Exercise #2: Dumbbell pinwheel curls, 2 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Exercise #3: Standing DB curls (hammer grip), 2 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Exercise #4: 45 degree incline DB curls (supinating grip), 2 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Exercise #5: 90 degree preacher ez-bar curls (wide / supinated grip), 2 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Exercise #6: Standing ez-bar curl (reverse grip), 2 sets of 8-12 reps

Here is the training video:

For this workout John performed 2 sets to failure on 6 different exercises. As usual he sticks with his normal way of sequencing biceps exercises.

John starts with 3 exercises that overload the mid-range position of the strength curve: standing barbell curls, pinwheel curls and hammer curls. After that he moves onto different exercises that stretch out the biceps like incline dumbbell curls and preacher curls.

As usual John performs every working set to failure.

Here is one more of John’s biceps-only workouts that you can try. Check it out:

Bicep Workout #5

  • Exercise A1: 90 degree preacher ez-bar curl (wide / supinated grip), 5 sets of 8 reps, 10 seconds rest
  • Exercise A2: Standing DB curl (hammer grip), 5 sets of 8 reps, 10 seconds rest
  • Exercise A3: Preacher ez-bar curl (narrow / supinated grip), 5 sets of 8 reps, 1 minute rest

Here is the training video:

John calls this a “short on time” biceps workout. The whole routine should take you less than 20 minutes to complete.

Here is John describing this tri-set biceps routine:

“We’re going to do a tri-set. So we’re going to do exercise #1, go directly into exercise #2 and then go directly into exercise #3.

We’re going to take a 1 minute break after that and repeat the circuit 5 times.

So once your elbows are warmed up you’re going to start and do 5 rounds or 15 total sets.”

John uses tri-sets and giant sets every 5th or 6th arm workout. He says the advantage of this kind of routine is you can fatigue more muscle fibers and get a better pump than you can with regular straight sets.

Part 2: Biceps / Triceps Workouts

Now let’s look at some full arm workouts where John Meadows trains his biceps and triceps together at the same time.

One of John’s favorite arm training strategies is to alternate back and forth between one exercise for his biceps and one for his triceps.

John likes to perform some of his arm workouts this way because it gives you a tremendous pump and it helps you to use more weight on your 2nd, 3rd or 4th exercises for each muscle group.

Here is a simple John Meadows arm workout that you can try. Check it out:

Arm Routine #1

  • Exercise #1: Standing ez-bar curl (wide / supinated grip), 4 sets of 21 reps**
  • Exercise #2: Assisted pull up machine tricep pushdowns, 4 sets of 8 reps
  • Exercise #3: Preacher zottman curl, 4 sets of 8-9 reps
  • Exercise #4: Dual rope tricep cable kickbacks, 4 sets of 8 reps
  • Exercise #5: Dual rope cable curls, 4 sets of 8 reps
  • Exercise #6: Lying kettlebell extension, 4 sets to failure
  • Exercise #7: Lat pulldown bicep curl (pull behind head), 4 sets to failure

**Perform 7 partial reps in the top position, 7 full range of motion reps and 7 partial reps in the bottom position

Here is the training video:

This is a brutal arm workout. John is performing 16 sets to failure for his biceps and 12 sets to failure for his triceps. That is a lot of volume for the arms!

One really cool exercise that John uses in this workout is the one-arm preacher zottman curl. The basic idea is to curl the weight up with an underhand grip, then rotate your wrist and lower the weight down with an overhand grip.

In my opinion the one-arm preacher zottman curl is THE best exercise you can do for your brachialis muscle. It is also very effective for building the biceps and the brachioradialis.

The zottman curl eccentrically overloads your brachialis muscle because you are raising the weight with a grip where you are stronger and lowering the weight with a grip where you are weaker.

You can check out my article “The 5 Best Brachialis Exercises!” for more information.

Another one of John’s favorite arm training strategies is called antagonistic supersets. The basic idea is to alternate between sets for your biceps and triceps.

For example John could perform 1 set for your biceps, rest 30 seconds, perform 1 set for the triceps, rest 30 seconds and then another set for his biceps.

Here is one of John’s favorite antagonistic superset routines. Check it out:

Arm Routine #2

  • Exercise A1: Dual rope cable pushdown, 3 sets of 8-12 reps, 30 seconds rest
  • Exercise A2: Standing ez-bar curl (narrow / supinated grip), 3 sets of 8-12 reps, 30 seconds rest
  • Exercise B1: Cable overhead rope extension (mid-pulley), 3 sets of 8-12 reps**, 30 seconds rest
  • Exercise B2: Seated DB curl (neutral grip / elbows supported), 3 sets of 8-12 reps**, 30 seconds rest
  • Exercise C1: 30 degree incline DB extension, 3 sets of 8-12 reps, 30 seconds rest
  • Exercise C2: 30 degree prone spider DB curl (supinated grip), 3 sets of 8-12 reps, 30 seconds rest

**Perform a double drop set on the last set

Here is the training video:

John Meadows performed this brutal arm workout with the one-and-only Jujimufu.

John is performing 3 different supersets with the A exercises, the B exercises and the C exercises. If you are having any trouble reading this routine then check out my article “How To Read A Training Program!

John even throws in a double drop set on the last set of the B exercises for good measure.

Another one of John’s favorite ways to design an arm workout is to perform giant sets where he is alternating back and forth between bicep and tricep exercises. I like to call this “antagonistic giant sets” but the truth is this training method doesn’t have a name. Check it out:

Arm Routine #3

Giant Set #1

  • Exercise A1: Standing dual rope cable pushdown, 4 sets of 8-12 reps, 10 seconds rest
  • Exercise A2: Standing 2-arm DB curl (supinating grip), 4 sets of 8-12 reps, 10 seconds rest
  • Exercise A3: High-pulley rope triceps extension (leaning forward at torso), 4 sets of 8-12 reps, 10 seconds rest
  • Exercise A4: Seated DB curls (supinating grip), 4 sets of 8-12 reps, 1 minutes rest

Giant Set #2

  • Exercise B1: Preacher ez-bar curl (wide / supinated grip), 4 sets of 8-12 reps, 10 seconds rest
  • Exercise B2: Kettlebell lying extension, 4 sets of 8-12 reps, 10 seconds rest
  • Exercise B3: Reverse cable curl, 4 sets of 8-12 reps, 10 seconds rest
  • Exercise B4: 30 degree incline DB extension, 4 sets of 8-12 reps, 2 minutes rest

Here is the training video for this workout:

This workout is no joke! As usual John follows his normal exercise sequences.

He starts with more mid-range biceps exercises like standing and seated dumbbell curls. Then in the second giant set he performs exercises like the preacher curl that really stretch out the biceps muscle belly.

Even though this is a high-volume workout John is still taking all of his sets to failure. Check it out:

“I’d like to see failure on all of these. We’re not doing anything that’s going to destroy your joints so don’t be afraid to train to failure.”

During the workout John gives some great advice on the importance of training the forearms:

“You don’t want to have big bi’s and tri’s but have no forearms. That’s one of the things I struggled with through the years is I really had to focus on my hammer curls and reverse curls.

As long as I did those my forearms looked good but when I got away from those exercises my forearms started to lack. I think basic exercises like hammer curls and reverse curls will really, really help your forearms.”

If you are an advanced bodybuilder then you have to give this John Meadows arm workout a shot. It is guaranteed to give you one of the biggest bicep pumps of your life.

Conclusion

John Meadows is one of the world’s best bodybuilding coaches and it’s easy to see why. He designs his workouts so that you can build muscle mass very quickly while staying healthy and avoiding injuries.

John says the key to building your back or any other muscle group is to sequence your exercises correctly and to find safe ways to increase the intensity of your workouts.

If you enjoyed this content then make sure you check out the following articles:

If you are looking for a new way to train your back then you have to give John Meadows’ chest workouts a shot. They may be just what you need to take your training to the next level.

“I looked up to the guys who could really take their training to another level. They would not leave the gym until they won. And that’s the mentality I’ve always had – I would not leave the gym until I put everything I had into it.”

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

 

Dr. Mike Jansen, PT, DPT

What's going on! My name is Dr. Mike Jansen, I'm the creator of Revolutionary Program Design. If you want to take your training to the next level, then you've come to the right place... My goal is to make RPD the #1 strength training resource available anywhere in the world!

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