Want arms that command attention? Ditch your straight-set routine and gain a sexy upper body with drop sets.

By Lara McGlashan MFA CTP May 29, 2013

1. EZ-bar Skull Crusher

Target Muscles: Triceps brachii (lateral and long heads)

Set Up: Lie face up on a bench with your feet flat on the floor, shoulder-width apart. Extend a loaded EZ bar above your chest, palms facing your feet [A].

Action: Bend your elbows to bring the bar toward your forehead, stopping when it is an inch or two from touching [B]. Pause, then extend your arms back to the starting position without locking your elbows.




2. Overhead Cable Rope Extension

Target Muscles: triceps brachii (long head)

Set Up: Set up a cable machine so that the rope attachment is sitting at rib cage level. Turn your back to the machine, feet hip-width apart, and grab the handle behind you. Step one foot away from the machine and position your upper arms directly beside your ears with your forearms parallel to the ground, palms facing each other [A].

Action: Straighten your arms above your head without locking them by extending from your elbows [B]. Hold for one count, then slowly return to the starting position.



3. Triceps Cable Pressdowns

Target Muscles: Triceps brachii (lateral head)

Set Up: Stand in front of a cable machine with a cambered or straight bar attachment set high. Position your feet hip-width apart and hold the bar with an overhand grip [A].

Action: Keeping your upper arms stationary and tight to your sides, push down on the bar to extend your arms [B]. Pause, then slowly reverse the move to return to the starting position.



4. EZ-bar Curls

Target Muscles: biceps brachii (long and short heads)

Set Up: Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Grasp a barbell or EZ-bar in both hands with a shoulder-width grip, palms facing forward [A].

Action: Bend your elbows to raise the bar toward your chest, keeping your upper arms stationary beside your torso at all times [B]. Contract your biceps and hold for one count at the top, then slowly lower back to the start.



5. Hammer Curls with Rope

Target Muscles: brachioradialis, biceps brachii (long head)

Set Up: Set up a cable machine in its lowest position with a rope attachment. Stand with feet hip-width apart and hold one end of the rope in each hand, palms facing each other [A].

Action: Without moving your upper arms from the sides of your torso, curl the rope toward your shoulders [B]. Hold for one count before lowering back to the start position in a controlled motion.


6. Wide-grip Cable Curl

Target Muscles: biceps brachii (short head)

Set Up: Stand at a cable machine with a long straight bar attached to a low pulley, feet hip-width apart. Hold the bar with a wider than shoulder-width grip, palms facing away from you [A].

Action: Bend at your elbows, keeping your upper arms tight to your sides, to bring the bar toward your shoulders in a controlled motion [B]. Pause and contract your biceps, then slowly lower back toward the floor without locking your elbows at the bottom.