how to dominate your next arm day tricep kickback

How To Dominate Your Next Arm Day

Everyone knows Friday is International Arm Day. Unfortunately though, that means everyone else celebrates the swoliest day of the week.

That means EZ bars and dumbbells from 20-35 pounds are going to be more valuable than Bitcoin before the bubble burst.

The 3×10 workout you’ve been doing for years isn’t going to cut it anymore.  

You need a workout that will:

Give you the pump of your life.

Give you jacked arms.

Make it damn near impossible to scratch the back of your head afterwards.

To stand out from the crowd, you’re going to have to bring it. The typical run-of-the-mill workout isn’t going to cut it here. And to take from the masterpiece that is Not Another Teen Movie, I’ma show you how to broughten it.  

To do that, you’ll need a sleeve splitting workout that dominates all other workouts.   

The key to a dominant arm day workout is hitting all three ways to build muscle. I’m talking about muscle tension, muscular stress and muscular damage.   

I’ll show you how to use each of these methods for hypertrophy, give you a workout that will give your arms no choice but to grow and I’ll top it off with some advanced sleeve splitting techniques.  

It’s going to be impossible not to flex in front of a mirror when you’re done.

Also, you might want to cut the inside of your sleeves prior to starting this workout.

Muscular Tension

Muscle Tension is just increasing how much of the muscle is required to lift a weight. You can think about it like the difference between pulling something heavy and light with a string. You can use the string to pull a dollar bill away from someone but there’s not going to be a lot of tension needed to move the dollar. If you want pull something with more weight, that string is going to be tight.

To increase tension on the muscle you need to lift some heavy ass weight. You want to aim for 3-6 slow, controlled reps per set. The more you can increase the time under tension, the better for gainz.

If you want to get technical, 80-90% of your 1RM is usually the sweet spot for muscle tension. This is where the amount of muscle recruited is at its highest. Using more than 90% of your 1RM will distribute more of the weight to your joints and bones.

Muscular tension is also increased by throwing in pauses. This will increase the time under tension. For example, two to three seconds at the bottom part of a dip. That would look like one second to lower your body so your upper arm is parallel to the dip bars, hold for two to three seconds, then another second to straighten out your arms.

how to dominate your next arm day tricep pushdown

Muscular Stress

One of the most widely used and abused ways to gain muscle is through “Da Pump” or muscular stress. This is where blood rushes to the muscle you just annihilated. You can tell you’ve hit Da Pump, by the increase in vascularity and the feeling like the biggest dude in the gym. It’s addicting AF. Like gym heroin.

Getting Da Pump requires minimal rest periods (<60 seconds) and hitting it with 12-20+ reps per set. Go with a weight you can lift for 15 reps or so. Stop the set when you hit muscle failure.

The trick here is to keep the muscle constantly working. To do that I like to use a 1/3 rep. Don’t go all the way down and don’t go all the way to lockout.  Stay right in the middle ground of the movement. This will ensure your muscles don’t get a rest and the blood pools up in the muscle to make you swole AF.

For a bicep curl, that would mean stopping the weight before your arm is completely straight and right before full contraction at the top.

Muscular Damage

The final way to make massive gainz is through muscular damage. This can be done by slowing the lowering part of the movement. Think of lowering the dumbbell on a bicep curl.

The trick is to control the lowering part for a few seconds. Writing this is a lot easier than than in actual practice.

This can be done with any weight but it’s more beneficial with weights you can lift for 12 reps or less. Word of advice, if you use your 12RM, go for 10 rep sets. Always aim for a few reps less than what you would normally do with a certain weight.  This method is extremely taxing and a good way to humble yourself.

Now that we have touched upon all the ways to build muscle, all you have left to do is combine these three muscle building ways into one glorious balloon arm workout to dominate your next arm day and make your Swol-iday one you won’t forget.

I’m not responsible for you any sleeves that might be split during or after this workout.


Rope Pushdown 2×20


Hammer Curls 2×20

Weighted Dips 5×4

Weighted Chin Ups 5×4

Incline Curl 4×8,10,10,12

Skullcrushers 4x 6,8,8,10

Machine Preacher Curls 3×8,12,15

Reverse Grip Pulldown 3×10,12,15

how to dominate your next arm day curls

Workout Breakdown

The workout is broken out into a few sections. The first section is to warm up the muscles. Grab a light weight and superset the Rope Pushdown and Hammer Curls. Once you finish the first set of Rope Pushdowns go right into the Hammer Curls. Rest for 45-60 seconds then run through the superset once more.

Don’t blow your load here by trying to go to failure. The goal of this section is a warm up before the you get into the good stuff.

The first section is the only time you are supersetting, everything else is straight sets.

The second portion, Dips and Chin Ups, you are working with muscular tension.  After each set, rest 2-3 minutes. Control the raising and lowering of your body to increase time under tension. Don’t go flailing around on me.

Aim for a 1-2 seconds on the lowering portion. This will increase the time under tension.

The third portion, Incline Curls and Skullcrushers, is focused around muscular damage. The goal here is to elongate the lowering part of the movement. For the Incline Curls, take 2-3 seconds to lower the weight until your arm is straight down, then explode up. Likewise, for Skullcrushers, take 2-3 seconds to lower the weight until it almost touching your forehead then explode up so your elbows are almost straight.

If that means you have to use less weight than you would normally, so be it. Don’t lift with your ego. For example, using a weight that you can usually lift for 12 reps for your 10 rep set. Keep rest periods to 60-90 seconds.

You’ll also notice that the reps increase as the sets progress.  As the rep count goes up the weight should drop by 5 pounds. So if you’re using 45 pounds for 8 reps, at 10 reps drop the weight to 40, at 12 reps drop the weight to 35 and so on.

The fourth and final portion, Machine Preacher Curls and the Reverse Grip Pulldown, are all about Da Pump and making it damn near impossible to scratch your shoulders after. Remember to use a ⅓ rep to keep the muscle from relaxing. Keep rest periods short here, a 30-45 second break to change the weights is all you need.

Advanced Techniques

After doing this workout a few times, there’s always a point you ask “What do I do next?” Building muscle, in general, is all about progressively overloading the muscles so they have no choice but to grow. Sometimes that means completely switching up rep schemes, like going from 3×10 to 5×3, and other times that means throwing in some bro-tastic advanced techniques.

The easiest way to add more arm gainz to this workout is to incorporate the two advanced techniques below. Try them at your own risk.


For the Machine Preacher Curls and the Reverse Grip Pulldown add the 2:1 method on all reps.  

Take a weight that’s just too much for one arm. Lift the weight with both hands but then lower the weights with one.

If you’re using a machine with plates drop the pin one plate. If you’re using free weights, add a 5 pound plate to the stack.

In the case of the Reverse Grip Pulldown, take the weight to full extension with both hands and use one to slowly let the cable go back up. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, here’s the video demonstrating how it should look:

And here is the Preacher Machine Curls in action:

Iso holds

On the dumbbell exercises, hold one of your arms at 90 degrees while curling the other. Switch arms. Keep switching arms until you hit the total reps.  

Try keeping your arms at roughly 90 degrees. You’re going to want to drop your arms a little but try your best to fight that urge. 

Here’s it in action:

For the machine or bar exercises, hold the weights so the muscle is contracted for 10 seconds before starting the reps. This is basically flexing with weight.

Bringin’ It Home

Well, there you have it – the arm workout to dominate your next arm day. Be the envy of all the dudes trying to celebrate the Swol-iday.  

Run through the basic workout for 2-3 weeks before you start adding the advanced techniques. And then add one at a time. Adding both would leave you a hot mess and it will take too long to recover.

The real key to the workout is controlling the weight. If you can control the weight, especially on the lowering portion, the sweet arm gainz will come. Swinging around a weight that’s too heavy only makes you look like a giant d-bag. Don’t be a giant d-bag. Slow controlled reps trump heavier weights with crappy form when it comes to building muscle.

Building huge arms all comes down to mastering muscle tension, muscular stress and muscular damage. If you can do that consistently you’re arms will have no choice but to grow.

About the Author

When not hating on the New England Patriots, Dave Bonollo is a fitness writer and Online Coach at When he’s not drowning himself in Americanos he’s enjoys beer pong, his deadlifts heavy, and his shirts one size too small. Dave has created a weekend survival guide to help you enjoy fat loss while enjoying the finer things in life like beer and wings. Click here to grab your FREE Weekend Survival Guide.