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LL Cool J's Favorite Workout

He can still knock you out with those chiseled arms-even after a quarter-century as one of the world's most successful entertainers. Trainer Jimmy Pena outlines the finer points of LL's rigorous regimen.


LL knows the importance of adding variety into his routine, and for that reason, no two weeks are typically the same. But here are some ideas or examples of his bodypart work.



Sets: 4 Reps: 6-8 Rest: 1 min

The barbell curl is probably one of his most important exercises for biceps. He likes to hit them first when he's the most fresh and it's usually the heaviest of all his biceps moves. More importantly, he manipulates his grip-width on the bar. Here's why:

  • Wide-grip version: Taking a wide-grip on the barbell for curls hits the short, inner head of the biceps, by reducing the amount of stress on the long, outer head.
  • Close-grip version: Contrary to the wide-grip version, the close-grip curl places a greater emphasis on the long outer head. (The long, outer head is the muscle most responsible for the 'peak' of LL's great arms)


Sets: 4 Reps: 8-10 Rest: 1 min

He moves to incline curls because not only does changing your grip alter the involvement of either head, so too does the angle of the arm to the body. The incline curl places great emphasis on the long, outer head (peak)


Sets: 3 Reps: 12-15 Rest: 1 min

The preacher curl conversely lessens the tension on the long, outer head and places the most focus upon the short, inner head (the muscle most visible during, say, a front double biceps pose).


Sets: 3 Reps: 15-20 Rest: 1 min

The reverse curl is a great finisher on biceps day, hitting the brachialis and brachioradialis muscles while also finishing off the biceps brachii.



It's impossible to completely isolate any one muscle of the triceps but you can involve one over another depending on 1) angle of your arm to the body and 2) grip.


Sets: 3 Reps: 12-15 Rest: 1 min

The pressdown hits primarily the lateral head of the triceps and it also serves as a great warm-up exercise for LL prior to the compound move to follow, which in this case is the close-grip bench press.


Sets: 3 Reps: 8-10 Rest: 1 min

The close-grip bench press is a great exercise that hits all three heads (with focus on the lateral head) but because he's able to load up the weight on this move, it's an excellent mass builder.


Sets: 3 Reps: 8-10 Rest: 1 min

Anytime you raise your arms overhead, you automatically target the meaty, long head of the triceps. This is one of LL's specialties, which is why his triceps are so pronounced.


Sets: 3 Reps: 12-15 Rest: 1 min

Finally, to fully exhaust each head of the triceps, LL flips his grip. By flipping your grip to underhand (and that rule applies to all triceps moves) you can increase the stress upon the medial head of the triceps.




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