Optimal Bicep Training Utilizing Stretchers, Activators, and Pumpers
Stretchers: Place maximum tension when the muscle is at full stretch. Examples of this are standing barbell curls, hammer curls, skullcrushers, and dips. A close grip bench press could also be considered a good stretcher for the triceps. These exercises place a great stress on the muscle which is key for it to grow bigger+stronger. These should be done every 3-4 days.
Activators: Maximum tension on the muscle happens when the muscle is fully shortened/contracted. Examples of this are tricep pushdowns, standing cable curls with elbow at shoulder height, tricep kickbacks, and preacher curls. These a great movements as well but they don’t damage the muscle quite as much as stretchers do. Thus, these should be done every 2-3 days.
Pumpers: Show low levels of muscular damage with high metabolic stress which leads to a great pump, but not much actual muscle damage. These exercises are best performed for higher reps (15+). Examples of this for the arms are close grip pushups, suspension curls and tricep extensions, as well as a behind the back cable curl. These can be done up to 5-6 days per week because of the low amount of damage they cause to the muscle.
You want to have a mix of all three categories in your training on a weekly basis. For example, you could structure your training like this:
Monday: 2 Stretchers, 2 Activators, 1 Pumper.
Tuesday: 2 Pumpers
Wednesday: 3 Activators and 2 Pumpers.
Friday: 2 Stretchers, 1 Activator, and 3 Pumpers.
Saturday and Sunday off