EBENEZER SAMUEL / MEN’S HEALTH
We like to get creative when it comes time to smash your biceps and triceps to finish off your arm day. Dumbbell curls and standing triceps extensions are solid, reliable pump-givers—but why not have some fun and introduce another challenging element to your workout while pushing your mirror muscles to the brink?
Men’s Health fitness director Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S. uses series like this crucifix flex finisher (which is intense in more than just the name) to challenge his typical arm day and create some additional value using the always-useful tall kneeling position.
“The beauty of the move is two-fold,” says Samuel. “First, it’s delivering a new stabilization pattern. The tall kneeling position always challenges your core and forces you to guard against rocking forward, but here you stabilize laterally, battling to keep hips and shoulders square.”
To take on the finisher, you’ll need a strong set of resistance bands and a sturdy anchor like a squat rack to affix them.
- Attach a resistance band to the squat rack. Get in the tall kneeling position facing away from the anchor and grab the end of the band with an underhand grip with your hand close to the platform, making sure to squeeze your glutes and core throughout to establish proper posture.
- Squeeze your biceps to perform 10 crucifix curls, engaging your back muscles to keep your upper arm still to isolate the biceps. Point your elbow to the ground and never let it rise above shoulder level.
- Flip around to the opposite side and grab the band in your palm with your outside hand (it’s the same arm as your curl). Perform 10 triceps extensions, keeping your elbow below shoulder level.
- Repeat the series again for 8 reps, then for 6 reps. Switch arms to hit both sides.
The kneeling position doesn’t just work your abs—it also keeps you honest. “Because you’re working from an unfamiliar stabilization pattern, your body won’t really be able to help you “cheat” as it does on many standard biceps and triceps moves,” Samuel says. “You won’t be able to rock into your curl, and momentum and body lean won’t help the triceps extension. As a result, your bis and tris won’t get much body lean assistance. They operate in almost complete isolation, so you should get to really squeeze on every rep.”
Add the crucifix flex finisher to cap off a full-fledged arm-day, or use the series for solid one-stop shopping if you need a quick arm pump. Do 2 sets per arm if you’re using it as a finisher, 3 sets as a standalone session.
By Brett Williams and Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S.