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When it comes to small isolation lifts for our biceps and triceps, since we are limited to the amount of weight we can increase, adding reps would be our best bet.

But if you’ve been training for long enough, you know that it’s easier said than done. Especially as we get further into our lifting career and closer to our genetic ceiling.

I mean seriously, when’s the last time you saw someone performing concentration curls with 75 pound dumbbells, using strict form?

This is why we’ve got to get a bit more strategic and where I recommend implementing finishers that’ll not only increase workload—without adding weight to the bar—but improve work capacity and allow you to push beyond your normal limits.

And if that wasn’t enough, they make for an amazing pump!

5 Arm Workout Finishers That Will Test Your Limits

1. The Rest-Pause Pyramid

Start with a weight that you would consider moderate. If you can perform this exercise for more than 15 reps, increase the weight. If you fail at fewer than 8 reps, decrease the weight.

You’ll perform the rest-pause pyramid finisher with cable curls for your biceps and rope pushdowns for your triceps.

Start off by performing one set to failure (or until you cannot manage to complete another rep). Rest 5 seconds and—using the same weight—pump out as many reps as you can.

Now lower the weight by 25% and perform another set to failure. Rest 5 seconds. Hit another set for as many reps as possible. Lower the weight by another 25% and perform as many reps as you can. Rest another 5 seconds and crank out the last set to failure.

2. The Antagonist Paired Set from Hell

This arm finisher is easiest performed at—but not limited to—the cable station. It can be performed with the EZ bar, straight bar, or rope.

One side will have the EZ bar at the bottom pulley and the other side will have a rope at the top. Set the pin to a moderate weight on each side.

Start by cranking out 10 reps of cable curls on the EZ bar (biceps). Immediately following this set, grab the rope and bang out 10 push downs (triceps). Now go back to the EZ bar and hit 9 reps of cable curls. Without resting, switch back to the rope and crank out 9 more pushdowns. Run back over to the bottom pulley and curl another 8 reps and then right back to the rope for another 8 on the pushdowns.

Are your arms on fire yet?

I am sure you can guess what next—that’s right!

7 reps on each. Continue to drop 1 rep each time you complete a round. In total you will have done 55 reps on biceps and 55 on triceps—a total of 110 reps!

Only have one cable pulley? No problem! Instead of running back and forth between pulleys, choose a handle (EZ bar, straight bar, or rope) and simply move the pulley up and down as you alternate from curls to pushdowns. (Read This: Antagonist Paired Sets: A Powerful Tool for Muscle Growth)

3. Run the Rack

Choose a weight you can get a strict 8 reps of DB hammer curls with to start.

Perform 8 reps on each arm. Once complete, use the same weight and perform as many reps of overhead triceps extension as possible.

After that, take a quick 15-30 seconds to rest before proceeding to the next set.

Drop the weight by 5-10 lbs and repeat. Do this until you’ve run out dumbbells to use.


Hammer curls: 35 lbs x 8 Reps
Overhead Triceps Extension: 35 lbs x AMRAP
Rest: 15-30 Seconds
Hammer curls: 25 lbs x 8 Reps
Overhead Triceps Extension: 25 lbs x AMRAP
Rest: 15-30 Seconds
Hammer curls: 15 lbs x 8 Reps
Overhead Triceps Extension: 15 lbs x AMRAP
Rest: 15-30 Seconds
Hammer curls: 5 lbs x 8 Reps
Overhead Triceps Extension: 5 lbs x AMRAP

And you’re done!

4. Triceps Ladder

This triceps finisher is set up as a descending ladder utilizing dips and pushups.

Start with 10 reps of bodyweight dips immediately followed by 10 push-ups. Rest (as needed). Perform 9 reps of dips, followed by 9 push-ups. Rest as little as possible. Now knock out another 8 dips, followed by 8 push-ups. Repeat this pattern until you’ve reached 0.

What It Looks Like:

Dips x 10
Push-Ups x 10
Dips x 9
Push-Ups x 9
Dips x 8
Push-Ups x 8
Dips x 7
Push-Ups x 7
Dips x 6
Push-Ups x 6

And so on.

5. The 100 Rep Challenge

This arm workout finisher will be performed with a barbell for biceps or a cable for triceps.

The weight should be light enough for you to perform at least 20 reps and you may need a spotter, too.

Start off by curling 20 reps with the barbell. Rest for 1 minute, pick up the barbell and hit another 20 reps. You may find that, after a certain point, your muscles will start to fatigue and you will need assistance from a spotter in order to complete your 20 reps. Continue this for 5 sets and you will have reached 100 total reps.

Use this finisher regularly and challenge yourself to eventually perform all 100 reps without the help of a spotter.


Barbell Curl x 20
1 Minute Rest
Barbell Curl x 20
1 Minute Rest
Barbell Curl x 20
1 Minute Rest
Barbell Curl x 20
1 Minute Rest
Barbell Curl x 20

Voila! 100 reps completed.

Final Words

Do you ever walk out of the gym and feel as if maybe, just maybe, you could have done a bit more? Adding any of these finishers to the end of your arm workout will remove that doubt.

Next time you’re in the gym, training arms, give one of these a try!

How’d it go!? I want to know.

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