Men’s Health/Eric Rosati
If you want to make sure that you’re getting the most out of your arm day workout, just slow down.
While you’ll build plenty of size and strength by progressively ramping up the weight you use when you work out, you can also adjust the speed of your movements to create more time under tension to challenge your muscles. This is a smart method to ratchet up the difficulty and effectiveness of your routines if you’re stuck traveling without a full gym, or you only have one set of small dumbbells at home.
Trainer Charlee Atkins, C.S.C.S. uses tempo to give her clients an extra challenge—and to make them think a little more about their workouts to keep them from just going through the motions.
“Before you go getting crazy and implementing workouts, you find off Instagram, try this small change: time,” Atkins says. “By changing the tempo of your exercises, you’re effectively changing the amount of time under tension. You can vary your time in workouts by moving slower in the eccentric or ‘lowering’ phases or merely holding an exercise isometrically for a few breaths before releasing the position.”
Whatever you decide to do, the trainer believes the best workouts are the most simple, like this straightforward dumbbell routine that gives your biceps, back, and shoulders some work. All you need is a set of weights to take on the workout—check out this adjustable set from Bowflex if you want to do it at home.
Perform each exercise for 6 to 12 reps. Progress through each movement slowly, and pause for a count at the sticking point of each rep.
Run through the circuit 3 times to complete the workout. Remember, timing is key here—you lose out if you try to rush. Want to learn more moves from Atkins? Check out our series full of her workout tips, Try Her Move.
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