Better bi's & tri's

Well-armed Serbian fitness competitor Jelena Abbou provides her bare-bones approach for stronger-looking arms

October 23, 2008
Better bi's & tri's
You don't need to get too creative in the gym for fantastic results. Jelena Abbou lives by the basics - a few basic moves is all she uses when attacking her biceps and triceps. This sample workout, as you'll notice, is very simplistic in nature but it has served her well. Try this 20-set routine to start building your own "sleeveless-only" set of arms.

THE ROUTINE
Exercise Sets Reps
Close-Grip Bench Press 4 8-10 Barbell Curl 3 6-8 Hammer Curl 4 8-10 Incline Dumbbell Curl 3 10-12 Decline Lying Triceps Extension 3 8-10 Triceps Pressdown 3 10-12

TRAINING SPLIT
Day Bodypart Trained
1 Quads, shoulders 2 Cardio* 3 Arms 4 Hamstrings 5 Back, cardio 6 Shoulders^ 7 Off
* Jelena does cardio on Tuesdays and Fridays. When she's preparing for a show, she gauges how much cardio to do based on the look of her body. ^ The bodypart Jelena trains on this day rotates depending on which area she feels needs extra work.

THE EXERCISES

CLOSE-GRIP BENCH PRESS
Target: Triceps

Start: Lie faceup on a flat bench with your feet flat on the floor or on the bench. Grasp the barbell with a narrow (inside shoulder-width), overhand grip. Press the bar up to unrack it, then steady it above your chest with your arms extended.

Execution: Lower the bar to your lower chest, keeping your elbows close to your body. When the bar is an inch or so from your pecs, pause and press the bar back to the starting position. Squeeze your triceps and chest at the top. Repeat for reps.

Jelena says: "I prefer to keep my feet on the bench when doing this move because it helps keep my back flat. Otherwise, it curves a lot."

BARBELL CURL
Target: Biceps

Start: Stand holding a barbell with an underhand grip, arms extended. Keep your abs tight, chest up and head straight.

Execution: Contract your biceps to curl the bar toward your chest, keeping your elbows at your sides. Hold and squeeze at the top, then slowly return the bar along the same path. Repeat for reps.

Jelena says: "Don't swing the bar, or you'll use your shoulders and take away from the biceps work."

HAMMER CURL
Targets: Biceps, brachialis, brachioradialis Start: Stand upright holding a dumbbell in each hand with a neutral grip (palms facing in). Your head should be in a neutral position and your knees slightly bent. Keep your core tight.

Execution: Contract your biceps to raise the dumbbells toward your shoulders. Keep your elbows next to your body, and don't rotate your hands as you bring the weights up. Return under control to the start position.

Jelena says: "Keep your knees slightly bent, and don't use motion to help with the curl. Your shoulders shouldn't be moving."

INCLINE DUMBBELL CURL
Target: Biceps (emphasis on the long, outer head)

Start: Adjust a bench so it inclines at 30-45 degrees. Sit on the bench with your feet flat on the floor. With your arms hanging at your sides, hold a dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing forward. Keep your head off the bench in an upright position.

Execution: Contract your biceps and raise the weights toward your shoulders. Squeeze at the top of the movement, then return the dumbbells to the start under control. Do not swing your arms. Repeat for reps.

Jelena says: "When doing curls with both arms simultaneously becomes too difficult, you can alternate arms and rep to failure for increased intensity."

DECLINE LYING TRICEPS EXTENSION
Target: Triceps

Start: Lie faceup on a decline bench with your feet on the floor, have a partner hand you a barbell (or EZ-bar) and grasp it with an overhand grip. With your arms extended, hold the bar above your face and slightly back toward your spotter.

Execution: Squeeze your triceps as you slowly lower the bar toward the top of your head. When your elbows reach 90-degree angles, pause for a moment, then forcefully extend your arms and press the bar back to the start position. Repeat for reps.

Jelena says: "Use a slow, controlled motion. I like my head almost hanging off the bench, and I bring the bar behind my head because I feel it more that way."

>> For more on Jelena Abbou, click here.

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