6 Best Bicep and Tricep Exercises for Preacher Bench
A preacher bench invites a realm of possibilities. It conjures moments of prayer, contemplation and mass gaining exploits that the macronutrient protein fiends to be digested to increase the savior of small arms around the world. The preacher bench is a place of worship at the altar of the almighty of gainz.
In addition to all the metaphorical word play, the preacher bench is an apparatus that invites creativity in exercise selection to flourish. All of us at Garage Strength love getting creative with exercise selection, especially when it comes to the realm of increasing arm size when it comes to showcasing the biceps and triceps as peacock feathers for display.
We have all been to a commercial gym and have seen the rows of preacher benches and everyone is there performing the same exercise: EZ bar curls. Great exercise, nothing against it. We perform the movement ourselves. However, there is a complete lack of creativity, limiting the anabolic growth that can occur through the bicep and triceps.
This limitation in creativity is bad news. By performing the same over and over again the body adapts and ceases to grow. It doesn’t get stimulated for further growth. That’s why we need to use the preacher bench in new and exciting ways to grow those arms from 15-16” into the realm of 19-20” just by using slightly different stimuli for some straight up physical growth.
Let’s take a look at six exercises, three for the biceps and three for the triceps, we use creatively on the apparatus of the preacher bench to bring upon the rapture of gainz.
6. Plate Curls
One of the reasons why we like utilizing plate curls is to train the grip. When trying to build thicker arms, like thicker forearms, targeting the brachialis and brachioradialis will force more high threshold motor unit recruitment in the short and long head of the bicep. So when focusing on the plate curls, it will make it a little bit more difficult to flex the elbows because of having an open grip. This creates serious bicep growth.
5. Banded Tricep Extensions
Plate curls are great. However, we like to make them even better by pairing them with banded tricep extensions when using the preacher bench. Now by utilizing the preacher bench when performing banded tricep extensions is that it forces stability in specific joints which increase the isolation of those joints. So when utilizing the preacher bench with banded tricep extensions, if we want to focus a little bit more on the lateral head of the tricep, we can keep our head higher and, if we want to focus a little bit more on the long head of the tricep, we can dig our head down a little bit deeper to put our hands in overhead position to force more long head recruitment of the tricep--based on specific needs can then dictate which position is most appropriate for some serious arm growth.
4. Kissing/Crush Grip Curls
Kissing (rounded dumbbells), or crush grip (hexagon dumbbells), means to push the dumbbells together while performing the movement. Kissing dumbbells is a little bit more difficult. The kissing/crush grip puts more stress on the forearm flexors and brachioradialis, the more size and strength gainz will occur in the elbow flexors, out of the biceps. This is a key concept.
3. Seated EZ Curl Extension
We pair the seated EZ curl extension with the kissing/crush grip curl. Know this, that when going overhead with a barbell, typically anything above the head the long head of the tricep is going to help stabilize the shoulder, so going overhead a ton of stress will be put on the long head and medial head (back part) of the tricep. One of the big factors here is that when a lot of stress is put on the medial head, it will help the health of the tricep. Since the long head is the biggest part of the tricep, to get big time growth in the triceps, we typically need to be performing movements in an overhead position.
The seated EZ curl extension will increase the lock out in the bench, the size of the tricep and carryover really well to the athletic realm.
2. Dinner Curls
This is a unique exercise. Start by thinking of, with open palms, holding a plate containing all the savory foods that are packed with flavor and dense with nutrients. With dinner curls on the preacher bench, we want an open palm to help target the forearm flexors. The forearm flexors will be responsible for the fingers and wrist flexion.
So while holding wrist flexion, and the fingers are grabbing nice and tight, that then puts a lot of pressure on the short and long head of the bicep to continuously stabilize the entire elbow joint. That is when big time growth occurs. With a long period of time under tension with the dinner curls, a whole bunch of blood will rush to the forearms and biceps.
Now go ahead and take a thirty to sixty second break before heading to our next movement.
1. Two way Dumbbell Rolling Tricep
With this movement, when overhead, the medial head of the tricep will initially trigger. Then the lateral head will trigger as the elbows are lowered down. From there, the long head will be seriously stimulated with the press. It will be a cascading effect.
But this is where things get better. After performing the movement in one direction for a multitude of reps, say ten to twelve, we want to reverse the movement. Now we will have an eccentric load on the long head, a concentric tension on the lateral, finishing with a concentric movement on the medial. This will stimulate a ton of growth.
So this movement is done in two different ways.
No one does these movements. We promise that almost no one else does these exercises on the preacher bench. But when all these movements--plate curls/banded tricep extensions, kissing (or crush) grip curls/seated EZ curl extensions and dinner curls/two way dumbbell rolling triceps--are put into one workout the pump of a lifetime will occur and create some serious sarcoplasmic hypertrophy throughout the bi’s and tri’s.
Dane Miller is the owner and founder of Garage Strength Sports Performance. He works with a select handful of clients on building comprehensive programs for fitness and nutrition. Several times a year he leads a workshop for coaches, trainers, and fitness enthusiasts.