A Top Trainer Shares How Skinny Guys Can Build Their Arms Jeff Cavaliere demonstrates six bicep and tricep exercises to include in your next arm day workout. By Philip Ellis Oct 12, 2021
Strength coach and Athlean-X founder Jeff Cavaliere C.S.C.S. frequently shares tips on how skinny guys and hardgainers can boost their gains. In a new video, he focuses on the skinny arm problem, and breaks down an arm day workout that can help you to build muscle.
The first bicep exercise is the strict curl. Cavaliere recommends choosing a weight that will be challenging and put you in the 5 to 6 rep range, and performing the move with your back against the wall, so as to eradicate momentum. “The wall serves as the feedback to prevent extra momentum,” he says. “You have to keep the back of your head, your upper back and your butt in contact with the wall throughout the entire set.” Cavaliere then supersets this with the cheat curl, and utilizes the momentum he was previously avoiding to churn out an additional 5 or 6 reps, performing each exercise for a total of 3 sets.
Next up is an incline version of the waiter curl. “We get to take the forearms out of it, which sometimes dominate the curl, especially as we get fatigued,” Cavaliere explains. “All we’re focusing on is getting the top of that dumbbell lifted straight up towards the ceiling.” He advises performing 3 sets of 8 to 12 reps.
Cavaliere’s final bicep-builder is the cross-body hammer curl, performed for 2 or 3 sets of 10 to 12 reps. If your goal is solely size and aesthetic-based, as opposed to strength, this is a nice move for filling out the width of your shirtsleeves.
When it comes to working the triceps, Cavaliere recommends the lying extension on an EZ bar, but done to place more of a stretch on the long head of the tricep in order to aid recruitment of that muscle and to help power the bar up to the top of the movement. In the second half of that movement, he goes straight into a JM press variation. “Yes, I’m getting some assistance from the shoulders and the chest,” he says, “but because of the tight positioning of my elbows, most of the work here is being done by the triceps.”
Next up, he suggests a “rocking” variation of the triceps pushdown . “The main goal here is to keep that rope perpendicular to the the forearm for the entire duration of the pushdown.. placing as much tension as I can on the triceps,” says Cavaliere.
Finally, Cavaliere demonstrates the tricep kickback as a way of developing size in this area, performed at an incline in order to once again remove any momentum or rocking motion from the equation. “The key here is keeping those elbows as far back behind my body as I can, because what I want to do is put that long head in its peak contracted state,” he says. “In order to get that, the arm has to be back into extension behind the body.”
Want to really torch your triceps and get as much arm extension as possible? Cavaliere likes to superset the kickback with a cobra pushup.