Hello, fitness enthusiasts!
If you’ve come to this post wondering if you should train your biceps and triceps on the same day, let me tell you that you’re in the right place! If these two are your prominent target at this point, then you’re in luck, since unlike a few muscles that can be a pain to train, both biceps and triceps can be trained with either weights or calisthenic workouts.
Even with a simple cardio exercise, say on a stationary bike or an elliptical machine for instance, which allows you to work both legs and arms, you can target these muscles and still tone them some. You do realize, however that if you want arms that look like tree trunks, then you’ll need more than such basic workouts for your biceps and triceps.
Unfortunately, there’s a lot of conflicting opinions on the internet about getting bigger guns, but we’re here to help you out! Keep reading to find out how to maximize your gains the right way.
A Little Anatomy of the Biceps & Triceps
To benefit from the targeted exercises, you need to understand a bit about the functional anatomy of these two muscle groups.
The triceps is the muscle located on the back of your upper arm. It has three heads (hence “tri”-ceps) that originate from your shoulder blade, and insert somewhere near your elbow. Triceps work to extend your elbow. In flexing the shoulder or lifting overhead, we recruit the long head of triceps.
The biceps is the muscle located on the front of your upper arm. It has, you guessed it – two heads. Incline curl variants or extension of your shoulder focuses on the long head of the biceps (there are a lot of different exercises that focus on the long head bicep) and moving your elbows in front of your body (preacher curl variants) focus on the short head.
Biceps and Triceps are called agonists and antagonists because their functions are essentially opposites of one other. The biceps flexes, whereas the triceps extends your arm.
Should You Train Biceps & Triceps on the Same Day?
Is it okay if I work these two muscles on the same day?
In one word – yes.
Most professional weightlifters and fitness coaches prefer “supersets” which means doing a set for biceps, immediately followed by a set for triceps. For example, hitting a set of heavy barbell curls and then super-setting with the seated tricep press, or a military press would be a great alternating workout for the bi’s and tri’s.
While this yields good results, you have to keep in mind that they essentially work opposite to each other.
Training them together would be like driving a car forward, and then backwards, over and over.. This is supported by “Reciprocal Inhibition” which means that when one group of muscles is activated, the opposing set of muscles are shut off. And this applies not just with weight exercises like dumbbell-only workouts, but also during bodyweight workouts like planks and push-ups as well.
If I train them on the same day:
- What muscle should I work on first?
If you’ve decided to work these two on the same day, doing Triceps before the Biceps is a better idea.
- How many sets should I perform?
12 to 15 sets for each muscle group are enough if you are training them on the same day.
- How many rest days should I take between each workout?
Depending on how many days you can go to the gym, you should aim to keep at least 48 hours between each workout if you’re doing triceps and biceps on the same day.
- Measure your fitness level and track your progress
What Should I Do to Get Maximum Muscle Growth from My Biceps & Triceps?
Do you think your triceps are not growing? or at least not anymore and you still feel there is some room for improvement? To get maximum muscle growth, you have two options. The first is to couple biceps with your back, and triceps with your chest and shoulders.
Why? Because the biceps are recruited in the “pulling” movements of the back exercises, and it makes sense to train it on the same day. A similar logic works for the triceps and pushing exercises for the chest and shoulder.
You can also train biceps with your pushing muscles, i.e. chest and shoulders, and triceps with your pulling muscles, i.e. back. The logic here is that by the time you are done with the pulling exercises, your biceps have already finished training during these pulling movements, and will be pre-exhausted. So now, if you want to focus on your triceps, they would still be fresh.
The same logic applies for training your chest and shoulder muscles. There has been a long debate over whether fitness fanatics should train these both on the same day. However, unlike biceps and triceps, the approach to training shoulders and chest is a whole different story.
You also need to make sure you are keeping your eating habits in check, more so by stopping eating sugar and getting enough nutrition and protein in to fuel your recovery. You can supplement with a meal replacement shake like my favorite one – Kachava (you can read more about this shake on this kachava review) or some other protein powder to increase your protein intake.
The use of proteins not only works for building beefy muscles, I used 2 protein shakes a day in a bid to lose weight. Turns out, you can count on protein shakes for both cutting fat and building muscles in the long run, it all boils down to how you use it.