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Photos by Charles Lowthian

We've compiled Jose Raymond’s five favorite arm exercises (two for triceps, three for biceps) plus a sample workout for bigger pipes, straight out of his physique-building playbook. Hit these moves along with those for chest and you’ll be on your way to having a knockout upper body of your own.

 HAMMER CURL 

START | Stand holding a dumbbell in one hand at your side with your wrist in a neutral position (palms facing in).

ACTION | Flex your elbow to curl one dumbbell without turning your palm up—keep it in the neutral position. Squeeze your biceps and forearms at the top, then lower the weight to the start position. Perform 12 to 15 reps, then repeat with the opposite arm.

RAYMOND SAYS | “I use different angles on hammer curls. On the first five reps I may come across my body, then on the next five reps I’ll curl the dumbbell straight up, and then after that I’ll just pump out as many as I can to finish.”

 

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 EZ-BAR CURL 

START | Stand holding an EZ-bar in front of your thighs with your arms extended and hands shoulder-width apart on the bar, palms facing forward. Maintain a slight bend in the knees.

ACTION | Keeping your elbows pinned to your sides (don’t let them flare out or shift forward or back), contract your biceps to curl the weight up as high as possible. Squeeze the contraction in the biceps, then slowly lower the bar back to the arms extended position.

RAYMOND SAYS | “The EZ-bar curl is the meat and potatoes of the biceps workout. It puts a lot less stress on the wrists than the straight bar, but it also allows you to use more weight."

 

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 DUMBBELL CURL 

START | Stand holding a dumbbell in one hand at your side. Start with your palms facing in and keep a slight bend in the knees.

ACTION | Curl the dumbbell up toward your shoulder while turning your pinkie up (wrist supination) to contract the biceps fully. Squeeze the contraction at the top, then lower back to the start position. Perform 10 to 12 reps, then repeat with the opposite arm.

RAYMOND SAYS | “The first exercise is always going to act as a warmup, so that by the time I get to the second exercise I can really go all out. A lot of guys, especially young guys, go in the gym and jump right into their biggest exercise. I can’t do that anymore.”

 

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 CLOSE-GRIP BENCH PRESS 

START | Lie back on a flat bench with rack and grab the bar with a narrow, overhand grip; hands should be somewhere around shoulder-width apart. Lift the bar off the rack and begin with it straight over your upper chest, your elbows extended.

ACTION | Bend your elbows to lower the bar down to your lower pecs. When it touches, forcefully press the weight back up to the start position, focusing on contracting your triceps and not letting your elbows flare out to the sides too much.

RAYMOND SAYS | “I like to go as narrow as I can on the grip without stressing my wrists. So if my wrists are feeling the majority of the pressure, I’ll slide my hands out a little bit. Also, with each set, you might want to sneak your hands in a centimeter more as you get warmed up and your wrists stretch out.”

 

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 ONE-ARM OVERHEAD CABLE TRICEPS EXTENSION 

START | Attach a rope to a low pulley cable. Face away from the stack and hold the rope in one hand behind your head with your elbow bent.

ACTION | Keeping your elbow in toward your body, contract your triceps to extend your arm straight up overhead. Squeeze the contraction hard.

RAYMOND SAYS | “With any cable exercise, I utilize pause reps. If I’m doing 15 reps, the first five will be rapid, the next five will be pauses, and the last five will be rapid. Also, I advocate a lot of stretching in between sets. I stretch not only the triceps between sets but also the lats. This will allow more range of motion in the shoulder.” 

 

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 RAYMOND’S BICEPS WORKOUT 

Dumbbell Curl | SETS: 4–5 | REPS: 10–12 (after warmup set)

EZ-bar Curl | SETS: 4 | REPS: 10–12*

Hammer Curl | SETS: 4 | REPS: 12–15

*Dropset on the last set of the exercise, dropping the weight two to three times after reaching initial failure.

 RAYMOND’S TRICEPS WORKOUT 

Two-arm Cable Rope Extension | SETS: 4–5 | REPS: 15–20

Seated Two-arm Machine Overhead Extension | SETS: 4 | REPS: 15–20

Close-grip Bench Press | SETS: 4 | REPS: 10–12

One-arm Overhead Cable Triceps Extension | SETS: 4 | REPS: 12–15

 

5 Exercises to Grow Your Guns

 RAYMOND'S TRAINING SPLIT 

MONDAY | Legs

TUESDAY | Shoulders

WEDNESDAY | Back

THURSDAY | Chest

FRIDAY | Arms

Cycle repeats with one day of rest during the weekend.