As of the time we went to press, there were still doomsayers forecasting the end of the world for December 2012. On the off chance that they were right but you’re still holding this issue, you can get a great arm workout despite the end of life as we know it. And if they weren’t right but you find yourself in a sparsely stocked gym or someplace with little equipment (or a crowd that occupies it), here’s our plan for building arms anyway.


Perform the first group of exercises (marked “a,” “b,” and “c”) as a triset. Complete one set of each without rest. Afterward, rest 60 seconds and then repeat twice more (three total trisets). Go on to the second triset and do it the same way.

Tip: Gather your gear before starting.


1A. Plank Triceps Extension

Get into pushup position. Bend your elbows 90 degrees so your forearms are flat on the floor. Keeping your core tight and body straight, extend your elbows to raise your body. Lower to the floor with control.

1B. Dumbbell Overhead Triceps Extension

Hold one dumbbell overhead. Bend your elbow, lowering the weight behind your head, and then extend it.

1C. Bench Dip 

Place your palms on a bench, step, or rock behind you and extend your legs in front of you. Your body should be bent nearly 90 degrees, torso suspended. Bend your elbows, lowering your body until your upper arms are parallel to the floor.

* Don't lower your body too quickly. Dips can be hard on the shoulders if rushed.

* Exercise demonstration located at the top of the page.

2A. Close-Grip Chinup

Grasp a chinup bar or other sturdy overhead object with palms facing you and hands just a few inches apart. Allow your body to hang. Pull yourself up until your chin is over the bar.

2B. One-Arm Barbell Curl

Hold a barbell or other long bar in the center with one hand and pin your elbow to your ribs. Squeeze the bar tight and curl it. If the bar starts to dip to one side, squeeze harder to balance it.

2C. Concentration Curl

Hold a dumbbell with one hand and sit on a bench or box. Brace the back of your arm against the inside of your thigh and curl. your leg is used to make the movement strict. Do not move your arm away from your leg.


66% of upper-arm mass is located in your triceps.