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Should you work your biceps and triceps together on the same day?

Find out if you should train your biceps and triceps together or separately.
Written By  James Jackson
Last Updated on 2nd May 2022
A man working his biceps and triceps together on the same day

Performing a biceps and triceps workout on the same day is a great idea for many lifters because such a setup gives you a massive arm pump and saves you time in the gym.

But as you'll soon learn, working your biceps and triceps together isn't as simple as it seems; you need to consider the finer details if you want to get the fastest and best results.

Related: Big biceps and small triceps

Should you work biceps and triceps on the same day?

A man showing that you should train your biceps and triceps together

Should you work your biceps and triceps together on the same day? Yes, working out your biceps and triceps together on the same day is a proven and highly convenient way to grow your arm muscles.

Since bicep and tricep exercises don't interfere with each other, you can train your bis and tris together without sacrificing your strength in the slightest.

Similarly, you can save time by doing your bi and tri exercises in a superset fashion, a training technique that will result in a huge arm pump.

Also, if your arms need work, then training your triceps and biceps together can really help you to focus on your weak body parts and improve their development.

What are the benefits of training bis and tris on the same day?

There are three big benefits of working your bis and tris on the same day. Make sure to take full advantage of them by checking out the training tips below.

Massive muscle pump

A man training his biceps and triceps on the same day

Working your biceps and triceps together gives you a huge arm pump because it shuttles massive amounts of metabolites into your upper arms. This pump lets you know that your training is working and will even make your arms look temporarily bigger and more vascular (which can help motivate you to keep training). [1]

Of course, high rep training is most conducive to getting a good pump and should ideally be performed toward the end of the session. Make sure to work your biceps and triceps with a variety of rep ranges so that you can stimulate the broadest possible range of muscle fibers.

Getting a great pump shouldn't be the goal of your training. Rather, it should remain a pleasant side effect of training your triceps and biceps together. In other words, don't neglect the proven basis—such as progressive overload and full range of motion training—in pursuit of a temporary aesthetic boost.

Efficient arm workouts

A man working his triceps and biceps on the same day

Can I work my biceps and triceps together on the same day? Yes, but you better do supersets! If you're going to work your biceps and triceps together, it just makes sense to do the exercises in a superset fashion since they have no interference or overlap.

For example, doing a bicep curl doesn't work your triceps in any real sense of the term. Sure, when your biceps get stretched, your triceps become contracted, but they're not under any direct tension.

For this reason, you're able to save a ton of time by working your biceps and triceps together in a superset fashion, something that will also increase your pump.

No interference

A man demonstrating that you can do biceps and triceps on the same day

Since there's a big difference between biceps and triceps, the exercises don't interfere with each other on a muscular level, meaning that you don't have to sacrifice your strength in any way in order to train these two muscles together.

Also, if your arms are one of your weaker body parts, training your bis and tris together affords you an opportunity to work on your weak points without needing to do any heavy (and tiring) compound exercises.

What are the downsides of working biceps and triceps together?

Although doing a bicep and tricep workout on the same day makes sense for most people, there are a couple of potential downsides that you need to be aware of before you start doing an arm day.

Potential cardiovascular interference

A tired weight lifter sat on a bench

Many bodybuilders have poor cardiovascular fitness, meaning that a set of curls or tricep extensions can often leave them gasping for breath.

So although there's no interference between bicep and tricep exercises on a muscular level, poor cardiovascular fitness could still cause you to gas out well before your muscles reach failure.

Obviously, few lifters have bad fitness to the point where they can't even do a curl and a tricep extension in a superset fashion.

Still, I recommend pairing bi and tri exercises together that use the same equipment so that you don't have to waste time and energy walking to the other side of the gym or altering the weight.

For example, you could do pushdowns and cable curls or dumbbell curls and lying tricep extensions.

Junk volume

A man performing a biceps and triceps workout on the same day of the week

The biceps and triceps are small compared to the likes of your quads and hamstrings. And yet, some lifters seem to think that they need to do every biceps and triceps exercise under the sun to get a good arm workout.

News Flash: Your 40 set workouts are a waste of time.

While some elite lifters with an incredibly high volume tolerance may thrive off extremely high volume arm training, most people don't need to do that many sets for their biceps and triceps. [2]

I recommend picking 2-3 exercises per muscle and doing 3-4 sets of each movement. This way, you can focus on doing quality sets that actually stimulate hypertrophy rather than loads of junk sets that get you a good pump and nothing else.

Who should and shouldn't work their triceps and biceps on the same day?

A man working out his bis and tris on the same day

While pretty much anyone can work their triceps and biceps on the same day and get good results, an arm day is more suited to certain types of lifters.

If you're a beginner, you might not need to train your triceps and biceps together because you can get great gains from doing a few sets of curls and extensions once or twice a week. In other words, novice lifters don't need a separate arm day because their session would last about 20 minutes.

On the other hand, if you've been lifting for a while and your arms are clearly weaker than your other body parts, then it definitely makes sense to train your biceps and triceps together on the same day because it affords you greater focus on your lagging body part.

Just don't make your arm routine all tricep no bicep (or vice versa) because you definitely want to build balanced arm proportional arm muscles if you're aiming for an aesthetic physique.

The verdict: Should you work your biceps and triceps together?

A man showing that you can do biceps and triceps together on the same day

In many cases, yes, it definitely makes good sense to work your biceps and triceps together on the same day. That said, there are a few pitfalls that you need to watch out for.

Don't train your biceps and triceps together with the sole aim of getting a pump. Your training needs to be progressive in the sense that you're increasing the weight over time. The pump will come naturally, so don't worry about it.

Also, don't do too many sets because if you train too hard, then you might not recover in time for your next workouts (remember, back and chest workouts train your bis and tris, respectively).

Additionally, if you're new to the gym, focus on compound exercises so that you can build a solid foundation of mass. Beginners can definitely do bicep and tricep isolation exercises, but they don't need a separate arm day where they train their biceps and triceps together.

References

  1. Legge, A. (2021, December 8). How Important Is Getting a Pump for Building Muscle? Legion Athletics. https://legionathletics.com/muscle-pump/
  2. Landsverk, G. (2022, February 23). Exercise ‘junk volume’ can waste your time and energy while stalling your muscle gains, experts say. Insider. https://www.insider.com/muscle-building-cut-junk-volume-less-exercise-more-gains-expert-2022-2
James Jackson
James Jackson is a personal trainer who uses his expertise in strength and conditioning to create helpful workout tutorials that show fitness enthusiasts how to build muscle while staying safe in the gym. He draws on the latest sports science data as well as tried and tested training techniques to get the best results for his clients without them having to live in the gym.
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