This Brutal Arm Pump Takes Just 15 Minutes

Arm day can often mean that you’re performing one isolation move after another, with a slew of exercises that focus on working one single muscle at a time. That can make your swole session stretch on for hours if you’re not careful—so if you don’t have a ton of time to spare, you’ll potentially be leaving some gains at the gym.

Make your short arm day workouts smarter and more effective by stacking exercises on top of each other without taking long periods to rest. Men’s Health fitness director Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S. uses the novel rep structures and supersets like this Total Arm Countdown Finisher to crush a major pump in short time windows.

“The workout is going to smoke every part of your arms and get you out of the gym to wherever you need to go in just 15 minutes,” Samuel says. “On each set here, you wind up piling up 24 reps of biceps work and 24 reps of triceps work, and your forearms never stop gripping the dumbbells.”

To perform the finisher, all you need is a bench and a set of light dumbbells because, as Samuel warns, the reps will pile up quickly. If you need a set of dumbbells to try this at home, check out this adjustable pair from Bowflex.

Men’s Health/Eric Rosati

  • Grab the weights and lay back on the bench. Start by performing 2 skullcrusher reps followed immediately by 2 JM press reps.
  • Repeat that series with no rest for a total of 3 rounds.
  • Sit up on the bench, then perform 2 reps of standard bicep curls (hold the weights with an underhand grip, squeeze the bicep to lift) followed immediately by 2 reps of hammer curls (hold the weights with your palms facing each other, squeeze the bicep to lift).
  • Repeat that series with no rest for a total of 3 rounds.
  • Lay back down on the bench to perform the double skullcrusher to JM series for 2 rounds, immediately followed by 2 rounds of the sitting double bicep curl to hammer curl.
  • Finish with 1 round of each series.
  • That’s 1 set.

    You’re doing a ton of volume here, but the rest periods (or lack thereof) are what makes this finisher really effective. You’re constantly working, but splitting the series between triceps and biceps allows you to have some R&R. “We’re using a near 1:1 work-to-rest ratio here, although that gradually shrinks as you go on,” says Samuel. “The shrinking work-to-rest ratio is accompanied by a gradual decrease in rep load (starting the countdown with 3 clusters of each move, then 2, then 1), which balances out the challenge while also confusing your arms.”

    You can use the Total Arm Countdown Finisher as a standalone workout when you’re short on time or as a brutal end to your toughest arm days. Perform 3 total sets of the series, resting for 2 minutes between each.

    For more tips and routines from Samuel, check out our full slate of Eb and Swole workouts. If you want to try an even more dedicated routine, consider Eb’s New Rules of Muscle program.

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