The 15-minute Arm Workout

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Have you ever looked at a guy with skinny arms and thought, “He must just be too busy to work out?” Of course not. That’s because no matter how short on time you are, you can train hard and build muscle—even if you’re the guy with skinny arms we’re referring to. The following no-excuses routine alternates biceps and triceps exercises, and manages rest periods so you can load your guns in only 15 minutes.


Perform the pairs (“a” and “b”) as alternating sets—do the “a” exercise, rest as prescribed, perform the “b” exercise, rest, and repeat until all sets are completed.

1a) Neutral-grip chinup Sets: 5 Reps: 5 Rest: 5–10 seconds. Perform chinups on parallel handles with your palms facing each other.

1b) Neutral-grip floor press Sets: 5 Reps: 5 Rest: 5–10 seconds. Lie on the floor and lower dumbbells as in a bench press until your triceps touch the floor. Pause a moment and then press. Keep palms facing each other.

2a) Drag curl Sets: 4 Reps: 8 Rest: 10 seconds. Instead of curling the barbell normally, pinch your shoulder blades together and pull your elbows back so the bar drags up your legs and abdomen. It should remain in contact with your body throughout.

2b) Dip Sets: 4 Reps: 8 Rest: 10 seconds. After your last set of dips, move on to the Zottman curl immediately.

3a) Zottman curl Sets: 2 Reps: 12–15 Rest: 20–30 seconds. Curl dumbbells up and then turn your palms over so they face the floor. Lower the weights back down slowly, then turn your palms back up at bottom of rep.

3b) Reverse-grip overhead triceps extension Sets: 2 Reps: 12–15 Rest: 20–30 seconds. Hold a barbell with palms facing up and raise it behind your head with your elbows fully flexed. Extend your elbows to raise the weight overhead.

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