How To Build Big Arms In Eight Moves

Inverted row
(Image credit: Unkown)

Looking for a effective arms-building workout to do during your lunch break? Try this superset session. It works opposing muscle groups in turn to minimise the amount rest you need during the workout and thereby maximise the reps.

How to do this workout

Perform all reps of 1A then 1B without rest. After 1B rest for 90sec, then repeat until all sets are repeated. Rest for two minutes then move on to the next superset and continue until all supersets are completed.


The tempo of each move is expressed as a four-digit figure. The first digit indicates how long in seconds it should take to lower the weight, the second how long you should pause at the bottom, the third how long you should take to lift, and the fourth how long you should pause at the top.

1A Biceps curl

Sets 4 Reps 8 Tempo 2010 Rest 0sec

Stand tall with your shoulders back and feet close together, holding a barbell with an underhand grip with your hands just outside your hips. Keeping your elbows tucked in to your sides, curl the bar up towards your chest, stopping just before your forearms reach vertical. Slowly lower the bar back to the start. Avoid rocking back and forth to generate momentum, which takes the emphasis away from the biceps.

1B Inverted row

Sets 4 Reps 8 Tempo 2010 Rest 90sec

Set a Smith machine bar at about chest height. Lie underneath the bar and hold it with an overhand grip, with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Keeping your hips in line with your torso, pull your body up towards the bar until you touch it with your sternum. Slowly lower yourself back to the start.

2A Underhand lat pull-down

Sets Reps 8 Tempo 2010 Rest 0sec

Sit on the seat and take an underhand, shoulder-width grip on the bar. Look forwards, retract your shoulder blades and keep your torso upright. Pull the bar down in front of you until it reaches your upper chest. Don’t lean back to aid the movement. At the bottom of the move, squeeze your lats, then return the bar slowly to the start.

2B Seated cable row

Sets 4 Reps 8 Tempo 2010 Rest 90sec

Sit on the bench with a slight bend in your knees. Hold a double-D handle with a neutral grip attached to the lower pulley of a cable machine. Ensure there’s tension in the cable before you begin. Pull the handle in to your sternum, keeping upper-body movement to a minimum, and squeeze your shoulder blades together. Return slowly to the start.

3A Cable standing biceps curl

Sets Reps 8 Tempo 2010 Rest 0sec

Stand tall, holding a double-rope cable handle attached to the low pulley of a cable machine with your palms facing upwards. Keeping your elbows close to your body, curl your hands up to raise the handles towards your chin. At the top of the move squeeze your biceps then return to the start, squeezing your triceps at the very bottom of the move.

3B Cable standing reverse flye

Sets 4 Reps 8 Tempo 2010 Rest 90sec

Stand in the middle of a cable machine with your arms crossed, holding a D-handle attachment attached to the high pulley in each hand. Extend your arms away from your body until both arms are straight. Return to the start, maintaining control of the weight throughout.

4A Incline dumbbell biceps curl

Sets 4 Reps: 8 Tempo 2010 Rest 0sec

Sit on an upright bench holding a dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing forwards. Keeping your elbows close to your sides, slowly raise the dumbbells to shoulder height, squeezing your biceps at the top of the move. Slowly return the weights to the start.

4B Incline dumbbell hammer curl

Sets 4 Reps 8 Tempo 2010 Rest 2min

Sit on an upright bench holding a dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing each other. Keeping your elbows close to your sides, raise the dumbbells to shoulder height, squeezing your biceps at the top of the move. Return the weights slowly to the start.

Nick Hutchings worked for Men’s Fitness UK, which predated, and then shared a website with, Coach. Nick worked as digital editor from 2008 to 2011, head of content until 2014, and finally editor-in-chief until 2015.