Workout: biceps, triceps, and abs + the importance of activation exercises

October 21, 2016

Hey there. How was your week? I am more than ready for the weekend!


I have a fun Fitness Friday inspired post for you today. I tested it earlier this week with Matt and my arms are still feeling the aftermath. I also just got the flu shot which has made it nearly impossible for me to lift my arm. Ouch!


I took the day off from work on Tuesday to get some errands done. The girls had school so I planned to drop them off and then head to the gym for a workout. Matt texted me early in the morning and asked me if I wanted to workout at the studio. I immediately said, “Yes!” It’s been years since I’ve worked out with him. While he does occasionally write programs for me, I always do them on my own. Needless-to-say, I was excited to have an opportunity to workout with him in person!


Since I had just worked my back and chest the day before I told him I wanted to focus on my biceps and triceps. He worked up a program for me and we got down to business as soon as I arrived. Because it was so good I wanted to share my workout with you guys. If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram then you know I was a bit intimidated when I walked in to see this…

A Fit Mess

Since I haven’t worked with Matt in quite some time we started with some upper body activation exercises. I don’t usually do activation exercises before my workouts, but I was really glad we included these because it got me ready for the movements.


Simply put: activation exercises turn on the right muscles so you fire them properly during your workout. By including a few movements at the start of your workout you can essentially “turn on” your muscles in order to strengthen and stabilize your movements. These simple movements can be extremely effective at improving muscle activation and enhancing performance.


Our activation exercises for this workout included a few repetitions and isometric holds focused on the triceps and biceps. We incorporated two movements with various holds: TRX curls and cross cable tricep push downs.


Workout: Biceps, Triceps, and Abs


4 Rounds:

1.  Close grip chin ups (4-6 reps)* you can use a band under your feet if needed

2.  Incline hammer curls (8-10 reps)

rest 90 seconds and begin again


Training tips:

  • For the chin ups, your hands should be 4-6 inches apart.
  • The chin ups should be strict. Straighten your arms completely before pulling yourself back up to the top. Try to bring your chest right to the bar before lowering down
  • For the hammer curls, keep your shoulders down and your elbows back.
  • Before you curl up, focus on squeezing the dumbbells as hard as possible (as if you are trying to crush them).



4 Rounds:

1. Close grip bench presses (4-6 reps) Matt added chains to mine which made it more challenging (pressing the bar away adds weight), but you can just add more weight to the bar if needed.

2.  French press with rope/overhead tricep extension (6-10 reps)

rest 90 seconds and begin again

Training tips:

  • For the bench presses, the downward movement should be slow (3 count), hold at your chest for 2 seconds and then immediately press up. Weight should be challenging since you are only doing a few reps.
  • Hands should be rather close together, provided you don’t have any wrist pain.
  • Here’s a good video demoing the overhead tricep extension, but if you don’t have access to cables or a rope, you could just do regular overhead tricep extensions with dumbbells.



3 Rounds (no rest between exercises):

1.  Accentuated bench crunch (6-8 reps)

2.  Farmer’s walks (approximately 50 yards) *I used 65 lbs. in each arm which was challenging for me


Training tips:

  • The bench crunches are challenging. The key is to slow down the movement back to the bench. If you do not have access to cables or bands, try subbing some other type of core movement, like weighted v-ups or crunches on the floor.
  • For the farmer’s walks, you can use heavy dumbbells. Make sure they are challenging! If you have issues with grip, try adding chalk to your hands. This definitely helped me hold on to the bars better.


Please let me know what you think!


Tell me something goof about your week. Have any fun/challenging workouts?

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