William Bonac’s simple recipe for building bigger, more chiseled biceps and triceps:
PREFERRED REP RANGE: 12 to 16 reps.
TRAINING FREQUENCY: Biceps and triceps each trained once a week in the off-season (triceps trained with back, biceps paired with chest) and typically twice weekly pre-contest.
TRAINING VOLUME: Eight to 12 working sets per workout each for biceps and triceps.
FAVORITE INTENSITY TECHNIQUES: Supersets and dropsets for both biceps and triceps; peak contractions for triceps. “I tend to feel the muscle connection more [with peak contractions],” Bonac says, “and it’s better for my elbows as well.”
TRAINING VARIETY: “I change up my routine about once every three months,” he says. “But each week I do different exercises. For example, one week I’ll do more barbells and some machine, and the next week I’ll do more dumbbells.”
CARDIO REGIMEN: “I don’t do cardio in the off-season. During my prep, it depends on my body weight—that will tell me how much cardio I need to do. My average cardio session takes about 30 minutes, and I do this five to six days a week leading up to a show.”
If curls with a straight bar attachment put too much strain on your wrists, use an EZ-curl bar attachment instead, where the wrists are angled slightly inward.
For variety, alternate between straight bar, V-bar, and rope attachments from workout to workout. Keep your elbows pinned to your sides (not flared out) the entire set.
ONE-ARM CABLE CURL
For the best line of pull, position yourself so that your working arm (not the midline of your body) is directly in front of the cable pulley. Turn your pinkie out at the top of each rep for full contraction.
ONE-ARM ROPE PRESSDOWN
Make sure to reach full elbow lockout on every rep and squeeze hard at the bottom. If you’re not able to reach full extension for all reps, lighten the weight.
QUICK AND DIRTY CABLE ARM WORKOUT
Perhaps you don’t have as much time to devote to the gym as a professional bodybuilder. And with crowded gyms early in the new year, leaving your training station could mean losing it for the rest of the workout. No problem. If you can secure a cable machine, here’s a quick-hitting biceps and triceps routine utilizing Bonac’s aforementioned training principles. Hit this routine two times a week if possible, with at least 48 hours between workouts, switching out exercises for the ones listed as desired.
- Cable Curl | SETS: 3 | REPS: 12*
- superset with Straight-Bar Pressdown** | SETS: 3 | REPS: 12*
- One-Arm Cable Curl | SETS: 3 | REPS: 16*
- superset with One-Arm Rope Pressdown** | SETS: 3 | REPS: 16*
*On your last set, do 2 dropsets after reaching failure with the starting weight.
**Squeeze the contraction in the triceps for 1 to 2 counts at the bottom of each rep.