Closing out an arm workout with a good pump is one of the most satisfying feelings in all of strength training-but not all paths to the pump are created equal.
To really get the blood flowing to those biceps for maximum muscle growth, consider this multifaceted finisher from Men's Health Fitness Director Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S.
You'll hit multiple muscles in your arm during the four-minute routine, and it'll be totally clear that you probably wouldn't be able to keep going for much longer once you're through.
The variety of movement makes the routine especially effective. "First off, there's the hammer curl rep, which means we're attacking our brachialis muscle, which is a underrated key to really growing your arms," Samuel says. "Then you have that more standard biceps curl rep, which gives you a chance to really squeeze the ball of the muscle."
Set up an incline bench at about a 30-degree angle. Sit on the bench facing forward, with your chest resting on the support. Flex your abs and keep your upper back muscles tight. Hold one dumbbell in an overhand grip, keeping your arm perpendicular to the ground. Squeeze your bicep and keep your hand holding the weight facing your chest to perform one hammer curl. Shift your arm position slightly so the hand holding the weight is facing out. Squeeze you bicep to perform one standard bicep curl. As you lower the weight down from the bicep curl, pause when your forearm is parallel to the ground and hold for 1 second. Continue the series for 1 minute, then repeat with the other arm.
That pause on the eccentric (lowering) portion of the bicep curl will help you to do two things, according to Samuel. "First off, it's going to tighten your form throughout this entire set," he says. That'll help keep you from swinging and force you to focus that much more on your arms. "Secondly, we're getting more time in the most mechanically challenging portion of the biceps curl."
Samuel also stresses to focus on squeezing your biceps and maintaining proper posture on the bench. Even though the sets are just a minute long, it will be tough to keep perfect form. To add this finisher to your arm day repertoire, perform 2 sets for 1 minute each.