Supersize Your Biceps and Triceps with Just an Empty Barbell

If you’re looking to gain muscle mass, then heavy pressing, pulling and squatting should make up the majority of your training plan. After all, big, compound movements are your bread and butter when it comes to adding size to your shoulders, back, chest and legs.

But, unless you’re blessed with Schwarzenegger-tier genetics, those pipe cleaners hanging out of your sleeves may take a little extra work.

This empty barbell finisher is the perfect antidote to small-arm syndrome, especially if you’re time crunched. Simply strip the bar after your final 'big' movement and get straight to work on pumping up your biceps and triceps.

Work back and forth between the two movements, beginning with 30 curls straight into 30 extensions, followed by 25 of each, then 20 of each etc. Remove five reps each round until you’ve completed all 210 skin-splitting reps. Drop the bar and rest as necessary to keep your form tight and avoid excessive assistance from the rest of your body, but get through all six rounds as quickly as possible.

Repeat once or twice per week, aiming to drop the bar progressively fewer times on each outing. If the load starts to feel a little too light, take that as your cue to add a small amount of weight, but by this point those sleeves should be feeling suspiciously snug.

barbell curl
Phil Haynes - Hearst Owned

1. Barbell Curl x 30/ 25/ 20/ 15/ 10/ 5

Stand tall with an empty barbell hanging at your waist, hands shoulder-width apart and thumbs facing away from each other (A). Keep your torso still and upper arms pinned to your sides as you curl the bar upwards towards your chin (B). Squeeze here and lower the bar under control taking a three count to bring it down. Repeat.

barbell tri extension
- - Hearst Owned

2. Tricep Extensions x 30/ 25/ 20/ 15/ 10/ 5

After your final curl, turn your hands over, switching your grip and press your barbell overhead (A). Bend at the elbows, slowly lowering the bar toward the back of your neck, while keeping your upper arms locked in place. Lower until you feel a deep stretch in the back of your arms (B) before pressing back up explosively. Repeat.

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