Kevin English’s Off-Season Arm Routine

The 3X Olympia 202 champ shares the details of his intense arm training



English trains biceps and triceps together, always starting with the biceps exercises. The one consistent principle is that he trains heavy. Always. “I know a lot of guys will lighten weights before a contest. I keep my weights heavy, but I also add high-rep sets or dropsets at the end as I get closer to a contest,” he says.


This is one of his key exercises because it targets three muscles: the biceps (brachii), the brachialis, and the brachioradialis, with the last (the forearm) doing much of the work. However, English likes these for developing his outer biceps. His tip for doing these properly is that you need to pull your shoulders back. “Don’t hunch forward or relax your shoulders, or you’ll end up using the front delts to assist,” he says.


He warms up with two sets of barbell curls then works his way up to three to four working sets. English is one of the only bodybuilders I’ve met who uses the straight bar for heavy curls. “I like the straight bar. I notice it shapes my biceps better than using the EZ-curl bar.” He does sets of 8–10 reps, but some weeks will do only 5–6 reps, then drop the weight and finish of with another 10–12 reps until the biceps are fatigued.


Even on this isolation exercise, English goes heavy—up to 75 pounds. However, he never locks out or bounces on the bottom. “I go only three-quarters of the way down due to the stress it places on the brachialis,” he tells me. He likes this exercise for building the biceps peak.

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