Barbell Arm Workout For Pumping Up Your Biceps And Triceps

If you’re looking to build muscle and strength in your upper arm, barbell arm workouts and exercises are a great way to do so. They activate more than one muscle group at a time, which helps you build muscle mass and develop strength.

Having stronger, bigger arms can give you a feeling of confidence. Muscular arms can also imply athleticism and strength. To build an impressive set of biceps and triceps, you need to target the muscles from every angle.

All the muscles that make up what most guys consider their biceps—the biceps brachii (long and short heads), Brachialis and brachioradialis (forearm) as well as the all head of tricep (lateral, Medial, and Long)—must all receive some tough and exhausting love to achieve attention-grabbing guns.

How to Build Arms With Barbell

Not everyone enjoys arm exercises with dumbbells and cable others may have an injury that limits their range of motion, or they may simply find free weights to be cumbersome. You can still get a bigger and stronger arm by working out with the barbell.

Using the barbell, you will be able to target all areas of the biceps and triceps from different angles and through a range of motions. The Barbell arm workout will provide good tension on your muscles, which leads to more potential for muscle growth.

Barbell arm exercises are versatile and can help you strengthen virtually every muscle in the arms with a wider range of resistance.

You can also change body positioning, weight load and attachments used, which can alter your grip thus targeting your muscles differently.

Muscles of The Arm (Bicep and Tricep)

There are four muscles on the arm that are parallel to the long axis of the humerus, the biceps brachii, the brachialis, brachioradialis and the triceps brachii.

The biceps brachii muscle (biceps) is a large, thick muscle of the upper arm. The Biceps Brachii is attached to the forearm bone called the radius and originates at the scapula in two heads (short and Long Head).

The brachialis muscle is one of the primary muscles in the upper arm. It is responsible for flexing the arm at the elbow joint.

The brachioradialis is the primary muscle involved in forearm rotation and wrist control while bending or extending the elbow joint. 

Brachialis Muscles of the upper arm

Triceps brachii, or simply Triceps, is a three-headed muscle opposite of the biceps and is responsible for 2/3 of upper arm mass. It consists of 3 parts: the medial, the lateral, and the long head.

The Best Barbell Arm Exercises For Bigger Arms and Massive Peak

If you want to build bigger arms using a barbell, then you are going to need to work out your biceps, triceps, and forearms. That is why we have selected exercises that hit all of these muscle groups.

If you want to see greater benefits, you should consider incorporating barbell arm exercises into your routine that work your biceps and triceps.

Here are 10 of the best barbell bicep and tricep exercises to build muscle mass.

1. Barbell Curl

If you’re looking for straightforward barbell arm exercises to add to your routine, barbell curls are a great staple exercise to get you started.

The barbell curl is a well-recognized biceps exercise that builds biceps muscle mass. It’s a great exercise for seeing results in strength and definition.

A barbell curl is a pull-type, isolation exercise that primarily targets your biceps and also strengthens the muscles in your forearms.

Barbell Curl
Barbell Curl

Execution Technique

  1. Hold a barbell at arm’s length, using a shoulder-width underhand grip.
  2. Curl the bar up to shoulder level by bending your elbows.
  3. Lower the bar back down to the arms’ extended position.
  4. Repeat for desired reps.

Tips

  • Your body should remain fixed. Only your biceps should be used to move the weight.
  • Pause at the top of the movement and squeeze your biceps.
  • The motion should occur at the elbow to isolate the biceps, not on the shoulders.

2. Lying Barbell Triceps Extension

The lying barbell tricep extension is another great exercise for building strength in your arms. It is one of the best tricep-building exercises.

The lying triceps extension is an overhead extension performed while lying on a flat bench and either using a flat barbell, EZ bar, dumbbell.

Lying Triceps Extension
Lying Barbell Triceps Extension

Execution Technique

  1. Lie on a flat bench with your feet on the floor.
  2. Hold a barbell at full arm extension over your chest.
  3. Keeping your upper arms stationary, slowly lower your lower arms to bring the bar down to your forehead, then push it back up.
  4. Do not lock your elbows out, and repeat for desired reps.

Tips

  • Keep the movement in your shoulders to a minimum. Most of the movement should be in your elbows.
  • This exercise should be done slowly and carefully under good control.

3. Barbell Preacher Curl

The barbell preacher curl is another great exercise for your barbell arm workout. It is the best exercise to build a long head of biceps. You can get fullness in this crucial area by giving your arms a complete look.

If you have a long tendon, then barbell preacher curl is the best barbell exercise to build a longer biceps lower head and get a full biceps pump.

Preacher curl
Barbell Preacher Curl

Execution Technique

  1. Get seated on the preacher bench with your chest against the support and hold the barbell with a should width apart grip.
  2. Curl the bar as in standard barbell curl and get maximum contraction at the top.
  3. Lowering the bar slowly gives constant stress throughout the movement. Lowers the bar to get the maximum extension.
  4. Repeats the desired number of sets.

Tips

  • Keep the motion slow and controlled throughout the set.
  • Squeeze the biceps as hard as possible as you get the weight to the top.

4. Overhead Barbell Triceps Extension

The overhead triceps extension is another great triceps exercise that you can be done with barbell during your arm workout.

It is a simple yet effective exercise for the development of the triceps. It works all three parts of the muscle, especially the long part of the triceps.

Overhead Barbell Triceps Extension
Overhead Barbell Triceps Extension

Execution Technique

  1. Sit on a low-back bench and extend a barbell overhead, holding it with a shoulder-width grip.
  2. Keep your upper arms right beside your head.
  3. Slowly lower the bar behind your head until your elbows form 90-degree angles, then lift it back to full arm extension.
  4. Repeat for as many reps and sets as desired.

Tips

  • Keep your body and upper arms still. Only your forearms should move.
  • Using the EZ bar instead of a standard barbell can be easier on your wrists.

5. Barbell Spider Curl

If you’re looking for a way to spice up your barbell arm workout, you could try Barbell Spider Curl.

Barbell spider curls train your biceps in a shortened (which is to say a maximally contracted) muscle position. This results in a powerful muscle pump which can make your arms appear more vascular, and which can also lead to significant hypertrophy.

Barbell spider curl
Barbell Spider Curl

Execution Technique

  1. Adjust the bench to an incline, level to a 45-degree angle. Lean against the bench so that your chest is supported.
  2. Stand on the balls of your feet and keep them about shoulder width apart for stability.
  3. Let your arms hang in front of your torso. From here, have a barbell ready, or have it set-up in front of you.
  4. Slowly curl the barbell toward your shoulders and squeeze your biceps forcefully.
  5. Hold the contraction for a moment, and then slowly lower the bar under control until your elbows are fully extended.
  6. Repeat for desired number of reps.

6. Close-Grip Bench Press

The close grip bench press is another great exercise that you can add to your arsenal of barbell arm exercises.

The close-grip bench press is a compound exercise that targets the chest, shoulder, and triceps. This position places emphasis on building strength and size of the triceps muscles, as well as the chest.

When talking about barbell exercises for the arms, the close grip bench press is a superior movement for building mass into your triceps.

Close-Grip Bench Press
Close-Grip Bench Press

Execution Technique

  1. Lie flat on a bench-press bench with your feet flat on the floor. With your hands shoulder-width apart, grasp the barbell with an overhand grip.
  2. Unrack the bar and slowly lower it to your lower chest, keeping your elbows as close to your sides as possible.
  3. At the bottom of the movement, your elbows should be a little lower than your shoulders.
  4. Press the bar back up to the starting position.

Tips

  • Using anything closer than a shoulder-width grip increase triceps involvement, but can increase stress on the wrists.
  • If you’re new to weight lifting and this exercise, use a spotter.
  • Inhale slowly as you lower the bar to your chest, and exhale during the push upward.
  • Perform the exercise using a slow and controlled movement.

7. EZ Bar Curl

This exercise is another great option for targeting the biceps and building arm muscle. Here, you can focus on the long head of the biceps, as your hands are close to each other during the movement.

The straight bar version of this exercise is also excellent. However, it can cause wrist and forearm discomfort for many lifters due to the need to use a fully supinated grip.

Close Grip Ez Bar
EZ Bar Curl

Execution Technique

  1. Stand holding an EZ-curl bar using a close supinated grip (hands closer than shoulder width apart and palms facing upward). Let the bar rest on your thighs.
  2. Keeping your elbows fixed to your sides, exhale as you curl the EZ-curl bar up toward your shoulders.
  3. Hold for a count of two and squeeze your biceps.
  4. Inhale as you lower the EZ-curl bar to the starting position.
  5. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Tips

  • Keep your elbows locked to your sides and your body still. Only your forearms should move.
  • The motion should occur at the elbow to isolate the biceps, not on the shoulders.

8. Incline Barbell Tricep Extension

The incline barbell tricep extension help to build muscle and strength in all three tricep heads.

The benefit of doing these movements is that you can achieve a deeper stretch in the muscle, which may help activate more muscle fibers.

Incline Skull Crusher
Incline Barbell Tricep Extension

Execution Technique

  1. Grab a barbell and lie against an incline bench, face up, with your feet firmly planted on the floor.
  2. Extend your arms over your shoulders with your palms facing up, and then slowly lower the barbell behind your head by bending your elbows.
  3. Hold this position for a count and then with a controlled motion raise your arms back up to the starting position.
  4. Repeat for as many reps and sets as desired.

Tips

  • Keep your upper arms fixed, with your elbows close to your head.
  • Do not use excessively heavyweight as this is dangerous for your elbows.

9. Barbell Reverse Curl

Finally, If you are looking for one more effective barbell arm exercise, you could try the single-arm barbell reverse curl.

The barbell reverse curl is a non-negotiable component of barbell arm workouts. Yes, a standard barbell curl will still work the same muscles, but a reverse curl variation hits certain muscles (brachialis & brachioradialis) a little better.

The pronated grip that you are using will activate the brachialis muscles in order for you to be able to move the weight during exercises.

Barbell Reverse Curl
Barbell Reverse Curl

Execution Technique

  1. Grab the bar with a shoulder width grip with your hands on top of the bar (pronated grip)
  2. Curl the bar up to shoulder level by bending your elbows.
  3. Lower the bar back down to the arms’ extended position.
  4. Repeat for desired reps.

Tips

  • Your body should remain fixed. Only your biceps should be used to move the weight.
  • The motion should occur at the elbow.
  • Ensure that your elbows are kept close to your sides with your knees slightly bent, and your hands gripped tightly to the bar.

10. Reverse Grip Barbell Press

The reverse grip barbell press is a simple and effective shoulder-friendly pressing variation that helps to build mass and strength in your triceps.

It is generally done to improve lockout strength and to hone in on tricep development. The reverse grip simply allows you to change how the triceps are hit. You must add this barbell arm workout to your routine.

Reverse Grip Barbell Press
Reverse Grip Barbell Press

Execution Technique

  1. Lie flat on a bench-press bench with your feet flat on the floor. With your hands shoulder-width apart, grasp the barbell with an overhand grip.
  2. Unpack the bar and slowly lower it to your lower chest, keeping your elbows as close to your sides as possible.
  3. At the bottom of the movement, your elbows should be a little lower than your shoulders.
  4. Press the bar back up to the starting position.

Tips

  • Using anything closer than a shoulder-width grip increase triceps involvement, but can increase stress on the wrists.
  • Inhale slowly as you lower the bar to your chest, and exhale during the push upward.
  • Perform the exercise using a slow and controlled movement.

Arm Training Volume (Sets and Reps)

Obviously, the number of sets and reps will be determined based on your fitness level, but here is a great starting point.

When progress starts to stall, and you reach a certain volume threshold, you can add sets to increase volume and use that as a driver of renewed progress.

Sets:

Working sets per week

  • Beginners: ~10 sets per week.
  • Intermediate: ~15 sets per week.
  • Advanced: ~20 sets per week.

Reps:

The best rep ranges and loads to work with to grow your arm.

  • 6-8 reps with heavy load
  • 8-15 reps with moderate load
  • 15-20+ with light load

Techniques: Supersets and drop sets for both biceps and triceps.

The load should bring you to or near failure within the given rep ranges to be effective. 

The exercises listed will be performed with moderate loads and repetitions to emphasize both muscular hypertrophy (muscle growth) and muscular endurance. Load and volume (sets, reps) can be increased as your fitness and strength improve.

Barbell ARM Exercises & Workout Samples

It will be important to perform each set to muscular fatigue. In other words, the last few repetitions should be difficult to perform, but you should be able to keep ideal form, posture, and technique throughout the entire set.

Barbell Arms Workout Plan #1

  1. Lying Barbell Triceps Extension: 4 sets of 8-12 reps.
  2. Barbell Curl: 4 sets of 8-12 reps.
  3. Overhead Barbell Triceps Extension: 3 sets of 15-20 reps.

Barbell Arm Workout Plan #2

  1. Barbell Spider Curl: 4 sets of 8-12 reps.
    • Incline Barbell Tricep Extension: 3 sets of 8-12 reps.
  2. Barbell Reverse Curl: 3 sets of 8-10 reps.
    • Reverse Grip Barbell Press: 3 sets of 8-10 reps.

Arm Barbell Workout Plan #3:

  1. Lying Barbell Triceps Extension: 4 sets of 8-10 reps.
  2. Barbell Curl: 4 sets of 6-8 reps.
  3. Reverse-Grip Triceps Push down: 3 sets of 10-12 reps.
  4. Close-Grip Bench Press: 3 sets of 8-12 reps.

*On your last set, (Plan 3) do 2 drop sets after reaching failure with the starting weight.

Note: The Barbell arm exercises provided are examples. Please don’t hesitate to substitute with your favorite moves and modalities such as machines, dumbbells, cables, kettlebell, elastic tubing, or body weight suspension trainers.

Hit this routine two times a week if possible, with at least 48 hours of rest between workouts, switching out exercises for the ones listed as desired.

Takeaways

For anyone, who is interested in building arm muscles and gaining strength, these barbell arm workout are highly recommended.

It not only allows bicep and tricep muscle development, but also provides overall arm development. It is easy to do and requires no more scientific details. If done consistently, the results will speak by themselves.

Frequently Asked Question

Are barbells good for arms?

Yes, doing arm workouts with a barbell is a good option for training the arms (biceps brachii, the brachialis, and the triceps brachii). With regular practice, barbell arm exercises can help you achieve greater development of the arms. Barbell workouts typically allow you to lift heavier weight than dumbbell workouts.

Can you build Arm muscle with just a barbell?

Yes, barbells can help you build arm muscles with every rep, which will speed up and simplify your arm workouts. Barbells allow us to progressively load heavier weights, and they are the standard piece of equipment for strength training.

What’s better dumbbells or barbells?

Training your arm with dumbbells and barbells each have their own benefits. While you are training your arm with a barbell, it is allowed to lift heavier weights, which will help you strengthen the biceps muscles and other stabilizer muscle groups.

Using dumbbells gives you a little more flexibility in terms of choosing the angles that you train at. This can be great for anyone who struggles with joint mobility, as you can maintain a more neutral grip.

Dumbbells are much quicker to change than loading and unloading a barbell. So, in terms of getting in more reps, dumbbells can be really advantageous.  

Can You Get Bigger Arm Just With Barbell?

Barbell exercises are effective at recruiting your arm, which can be used to build size, as long as they are completed at an appropriate frequency and volume. But for greater gain, It is crucial to progressively increase the stress placed on the muscles and train a wide variety of muscle fibers with different exercises.

Know More About Arm Training

Best Biceps and Tricep Exercises Video

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