Being a former Golden Gloves-contending boxer, Manhattan-based trainer Clay Burwell knows a thing or two about training arms. When it comes to biceps, you can’t really stray from doing some sort of curl, but that doesn’t mean you can’t vary your workouts with any number of curling offshoots. In the below Burwell-designed routine, two bodybuilding staples (incline dumbbell curls and cable curls) are grouped with TRX curls, where you lift your bodyweight up using only your biceps.

This combination of free weight training, the constant tension provided by cables and a gymnastics-like strength move will provide a spark to help bring up even the most stubborn of biceps peaks. And because no good pair of arms is complete without adequate forearm and grip strength, Burwell threw in a grueling farmer’s walk with four dangling kettlebells. Expect some next-day arm soreness after this one.


Exercise Sets Reps
Unilateral Cable Curl 3 8
Incline Dumbbell Curl 4 10
TRX Curl 3 8
Figure-8 4-Kettlebell Farmer’s Walk 2 10 laps

Burwell’s Tip for Unilateral Cable Curl: “For variety, try using no attachment handle. Grip it by the rubber stopper and step back about five feet from the stack. The cable angle will add resistance at the top of the movement and the hammer grip offers more emphasis on the brachioradialis muscle.”

Burwell’s Tip for Dumbbell Curl: “Make sure you maintain a dead hang in your arms with your elbows pointed at the ground throughout. At the top, hold the contraction for two seconds.”

Burwell’s Tip for TRX Curl: “Your upper arm should be perpendicular to your torso, and there should be a 90-degree angle at your armpit.”


Place two five-pound plates on the floor about 15 feet apart. Select two heavy kettlebells (32-50 kg) and two lighter ones (8 kg is ideal). Hold one light and one heavy kettlebell in each hand and walk in a figure-8 pattern around the five-pound plates. Do 10 laps total. If you can do more than 10 laps with relative ease, use heavier kettlebells.