Are you curious about the Athlean X arm workout?
Do you want to know exactly how Jeff Cavaliere trains for bigger, stronger arms?
Then you’ve come to the right place.
In this comprehensive guide, I will teach you exactly how Jeff Cavaliere designs his Athlean X arm workouts to build his world-famous 18-inch arms.
- Part 1: The Athlean X Arm Workouts
- Part 2: The Athlean X Bicep Workouts
- Part 3: The Athlean X Tricep Workouts
Jeff Cavaliere is one of the biggest fitness influencers in the world.
He is best known for his incredibly popular YouTube channel, and of course, his massive biceps and triceps! Jeff’s arms are so big they almost have their own gravitational field around them!
But how did Jeff build his massive arms?
Is it a secret Athlean X arm workout, or is he just genetically gifted to build massive biceps and triceps?
Jeff Cavaliere says the best way to build big arms is to “train like an athlete.”
In other words, he believes the fastest way to build bigger, stronger arms is to use functional exercises that overload your arms from many different angles.
He also likes to train for balance between different parts of the arm muscles, such as the short and long head of the biceps, or the lateral and long heads of the triceps.
Jeff has two main ways he likes to organize his arm workouts:
- Option #1: Train biceps and triceps together
- Option #2: Train biceps and triceps separately
Both of these options work well for building big, strong arms.
Jeff sometimes uses a separate arm day where he trains the biceps and triceps together. Other times he uses a push / pull / legs split where he trains the biceps and triceps on separate training days.
Both of these options are Athlean X approved, so we will look at workouts using both strategies.
Here is a simple Athlean X arm workout that includes exercises for the biceps and the triceps. Check it out:
Athlean X Arm Workout #1
- Exercise #1: Standing ez-bar curl (wide / supinated grip), 3 sets of 5-6 reps**
- Exercise #2: 30 degree dumbbell spider curl****, 3 sets of 8-10 reps
- Exercise #3: Cross body hammer curl, 2-3 sets of 10-12 reps
- Exercise #4: Lying ez-bar extension, 4 sets of 6-8 reps******
- Exercise #5: Rocking pushdown, 3 sets of 10-12 reps
- Exercise #6: Incline tricep kickbacks, 3 sets of 10-12 reps********
**Train to failure with your back against a wall, rest 10 seconds, then perform several “cheat” reps to further overload the muscle. Repeat for all 3 sets.
****Hold the inside of the dumbbell with two hands
******Lower the bar behind your head on each rep. After your first 6-8 reps, immediately perform a JM press or close grip bench press with the same weight. Do this on all 4 sets.
********Train to failure, then perform cobra pushups to failure. Do this on all 3 sets.
Here is the training video:
This is a very simple but challenging Athlean X arm workout. Jeff uses 6 total exercises to train his arms: 3 for the biceps and 3 for the triceps.
This workout is unique because Jeff uses many different rep ranges. He performs the first exercise for the biceps and triceps in the 5-6 rep range.
Jeff Cavaliere says these lower rep ranges are ideal for building functional muscle mass and building your strength base.
Then later in the workout he uses higher reps to create more muscle fatigue and train for the pump.
“What we do is, we focus on picking up a weight that’s going to be challenging, that’s going to put us in the 5-6 rep range or so.
What we want to focus on is making sure, in the strict curl, that you’re not relying on momentum.
So what’s nice about this is that the wall serves as the feedback to prevent the extra momentum.”
After 3 exercises his biceps are thrashed, and Jeff moves onto his tricep movements. Jeff Cavaliere starts this Athlean X tricep workout with some heavy skull crushers.
Jeff has a different way of performing this exercise: he wants you to lower the bar behind your head, instead of to your forehead.
He says this puts more emphasis on the long head of your triceps, and reduces the pressure on your elbows.
“We do our lying tricep extension with a little bit of an extra stretch.
So, as I get down to the bottom of every repetition here, I’m allowing the arms to sink just a little bit, to apply a little bit more of that stretch on the long head, to help with that recruitment, and to power the bar back up to the top.”
This workout featured some lower rep ranges. However, Jeff knows that higher rep ranges can also be very effective for building big, strong arms.
Here is a higher-rep Athlean X arm workout that uses many novel exercises to attack your arms from every possible angle. Check it out:
Athlean X Arm Workout #2
- Exercise #1: Dumbbell drag curl (supinated grip), 3 sets of 8-10 reps
- Exercise #2: Standing alternating dumbbell curl (supinating grip), 3 sets of 8-10 reps
- Exercise #3: Standing cross-body hammer curl, 3 sets of 8-10 reps
- Exercise #4: Lying dumbbell floor extension, 3 sets of 8-10 reps
- Exercise #5: Two-arm dumbbell overhead extension, 3 sets of 8-10 reps
- Exercise #6: Bent over tricep dumbbell kickbacks, 3 sets of 8-10 reps
Here is the training video:
Talk about an intense arm workout!
The thing that really stands out in this workout is the exercise selection. Jeff uses three completely different exercises to train his biceps and triceps.
For example, for his biceps, Jeff uses exercises that target the long head of his biceps, the short head of his biceps, and the brachialis / brachioradialis.
Here is Jeff talking about the standing dumbbell curl:
“I like the alternating version of the standing dumbbell curl because I can focus more of my effort on the weight that I’m handling.
I can lift more weight here and get more stress to make me fail in that 8-10 rep range.”
For his triceps Jeff uses exercises that place the elbows in completely different positions: over his head, in front of his body, and by his sides. This is a great strategy to make sure you are overloading the 3 different heads of the tricep muscles.
Here is Jeff talking about his form on the lying dumbbell extension:
“You never want to let the dumbbell to fully extend over your chest.
Keep those arms angled slightly back at all times to continue to place some of that tension directly on the long head of the tricep.”
In other words, Jeff wants you to “kick” the dumbbells behind your head to keep constant time under tension on the tricep muscles.
This is something the bodybuilding coach John Meadows always talks about when he demonstrates this exercise.
Now let’s look at some workouts where Jeff only trains the biceps or triceps. Of course, when you are only training one of these muscles, you can use a lot more volume.
Here is a 6-exercise Athlean X biceps workout that you can try. Check it out:
Athlean X Biceps Workout
- Exercise A1: Barbell cheat curl, 3 sets to failure, rest 10 seconds
- Exercise A2: Barbell drag curl, 3 sets to failure, rest 2-3 minutes
- Exercise B1: Weight chin ups, 3 sets to failure, rest 10 seconds
- Exercise B2: Peak contraction chin curls, 3 sets to failure
- Exercise C1: Banded dumbbell curls, 3 sets to failure
- Exercise D1: 60 degree incline dumbbell curl, 2 sets to failure
- Exercise E1: Dumbbell curl trifecta, 2 sets (8 reps in each hand position)
Here is the training video:
This workout is absolutely brutal!
Jeff Caveliere starts the workout with two different supersets. This is a high-intensity technique where you perform 1 exercise, rest less than 10 seconds, and then immediately perform a second exercise. To start this workout, Jeff supersets “cheat curls” and regular barbell curls.
Here is Jeff Cavaliere describing this strategy:
“When we start with the cheat curl, we’re giving ourselves the opportunity to create a great overload.
That’s why these big exercises work so well. And not just a big overload – a great eccentric overload as well.”
After the heavy barbell curls, Jeff does a superset of chin ups and banded dumbbell curls.
This is called an “origin-insertion” superset, because you are supersetting two exercises that overload the origin and insertion of the muscle group.
This is a strategy that Charles Poliquin and Josh Bryant popularized, although there are many bodybuilding coaches who use origin-insertion supersets nowadays.
They are absolutely brutal!
“I love big compound exercise that let us overload the biceps with a heavy load.
One of my favorite exercises of all time is the weighted chin up. It’s hitting all three functions of the biceps.
We’re flexing the elbow, we have a supinated forearm, and we also get shoulder flexion.”
If you have above-average recovery ability, then this high-volume Athlean X biceps workout may be just what you need to take your arms to the next level.
Now let’s look at a high-volume Athlean X triceps workout that you can try. Check it out:
Athlean X Triceps Workout
- Exercise A1: Close grip pin press, 3 sets of 10, 6, 4 reps to failure
- Exercise B1: Weighted dip tri-set, 3 sets to failure**
- Exercise C1: Rope push-aways, 3 sets of 10-12 reps to failure, rest 10 seconds
- Exercise C2: Drag pushdowns, 3 sets to failure, rest 2-3 minutes
- Exercise D1: Rocking tricep pushdown, 2 sets of 12 reps to failure
- Exercise E1: Banded lying tricep extension, 2 sets of 15 reps to failure
**On each set train to failure with extra weight, then just your bodyweight, then with your body weight and extra band assistance. See the video below for more details.
Here is the training video:
You could call this an “omni” triceps workout, because Jeff uses just about every trick in the book to thrash his triceps!
He uses high reps, low reps, compound movements, isolation movements, barbells, dumbbells, cables, and even bands!
OK, let’s get serious. Jeff starts this Athlean X triceps workout with some close grip pin presses. This is basically a partial range of motion bench press. Many bodybuilding coaches like John Meadows love this movement because it really isolates the lateral head of the triceps.
Here is Jeff Caveliere describing this movement:
“The majority of the work being done by the triceps is from the mid-point and on. It’s towards the lockout portion of the press.
If we train all the way down off of our chest, albeit a good exercise, we’re actually working more the delts to get the bar off of our chest.”
As the workout progresses Jeff uses a variety of exercises including cable and band movements.
Here is Jeff describing an exercise I had never even heard of: the banded lying triceps extension. Check it out:
“One of my favorite exercises is the lying tricep extension with bands.
What we do is keep the dumbbells angled back a little bit, but beyond that we add the bands, so we have additional resistance and stretch as we pull into that final contraction.”
Using the bands is a very interesting way to overload your triceps. The bands have a completely different feel from free weights or cables, and add a ton of eccentric stress to the movement.
Louie Simmons and the Westside Barbell powerlifting team are famous for adding bands to many accessory exercises, and they get fantastic results with them.
Of course, Dr. Mike Jansen has also found some novel ways to incorporate bands into many of his exercises! You can check out his YouTube channel for more information.
Conclusion | The Athlean X Arm Workout!
Jeff Cavaliere has an incredible pair of arms. His biceps and triceps look like they belong on a professional bodybuilder twice his size!
So what’s his secret?
Is Jeff genetically gifted for building big arms, or does he have a secret Athlean X arm training program that you don’t know about?
Jeff Cavaliere believes the best way to build big arms is to “train like an athlete.”
He overloads his biceps and triceps using a wide variety of compound and isolation exercises, and he is always looking for ways to modify arm movements to put more tension on the target muscle.
If you are unhappy with the size of your arms, then you may want to give these Athlean X arm workouts a shot.
They may be just what you need to take your arm development to the next level!
Before you go, check out my other world-class articles on Athlean X:
- The Athlean X Training Program!
- The Athlean X Push Pull Legs Split!
- The Athlean X Chest Workouts!
- The Athlean X Back Workouts!
- The Athlean X Leg Workouts!
Trust me – you won’t find this cutting edge information available anywhere else!
“If you want to look like an athlete then you’ve got to train like one!”
Thank you for reading and I wish you the best of luck on your strength training journey!