If you’re the kind of man to do legs on Friday night just because it’s on your schedule, we admire your dedication. But when you’re stood at the bar that night, no one’s checking out your lower half.
To get big where it counts, you want to hit your upper body and arms. But you need to work the right areas. “The muscles that fill out a T-shirt aren’t the pecs, which everyone obsesses about,” says Luke Worthington, head of training at luxury London gyms Third Space. “They’re actually the lats on the back.”
As any bodybuilder knows, when you work a muscle repetitively it fills with blood, which creates a temporary ‘pump’ that makes you look bigger, stronger and more defined. By pairing heavy back training with a light weight, high rep session on your arms, you’ll look like you’ve spent a lot more time in the gym than you actually have.
Friday Night Muscle Workout: Back
Perform this workout before you head out. Ideally, you’ll go straight from the gym, to ensure your pumped-up muscles don’t deflate before you hit the bar. You’ll work your back in two planes – horizontal and vertical – with one heavy and one light, finisher move for each. Take 60 seconds rest between each set.
“For the biceps and triceps we just go for pure volume and ‘pump’,” says Worthington. “No need for developing strength, just look to get as much blood into the muscle as possible.”
Single-Arm Dumbbell Row
4 sets of 5 reps (each arm)
Grab a heavy dumbbell and place it on the floor next to a bench. Position yourself with your left palm and knee on the bench, right foot on the floor and back flat. Grab the dumbbell with your right hand and row it up to your hip, keeping your torso locked and shoulders down. Slowly lower.
After all your reps, repeat with your left arm.
Seated Cable Row
4 sets of 15 reps
Sit in front of a cable machine and grab the handles. With your arms extended and shoulders down – no shrugging – drive your elbows back until the handles reach your stomach. Squeeze your shoulder blades together as if you’ve got a golf ball trapped between them. Pause, then return.
4 sets of 5 reps
Grab the handles of a pull-up station, hands more than shoulder-width apart and palms facing away from you. Squeeze your lats to lift yourself up until your chest meets the bar. Pause, then slowly lower to a dead hang – your elbows should be straight – before repeating.
Add weight if you’re not struggling by the fifth rep.
4 sets of 15 reps
Sit in the lat pull-down machine and grab the handles with your palms facing away. Tense your lats and drive your elbows down to your hips to lift the weight. Pause at the bottom, then slowly lower the weight.
The Friday Night Muscle Workout: Arms
For the arms circuit, complete one set of each exercise then move straight onto the next, without rest. After the curls, rest for two minutes then repeat the entire circuit, for five rounds total.
Hold yourself in a dip station, arms straight and knees bent so your shins are parallel to the floor. Lean forward slightly and bend your arms to lower your body, until your elbow is at 90 degrees. Then drive yourself back to the start position. Repeat until you fail.
Lie on a bench with a dumbbell in each hand. Your arms should be straight, with your palms facing your feet and the ends of the weights touching. Push your elbows out to the side, so you ends of the weights come down to your chest. Let them touch, then straighten your arms to drive the weight back up.
Bicep Curl With Isometric Hold
10 reps (each arm)
Grab two dumbbells and hold them by your side. Curl your right arm up to 90 degrees, then hold that position while you perform all your reps with your left arm. Swap, so the left weight is held and you perform reps with your right.