Haskell Isolates

Haskell Isolates

England and Wasps rugby player James Haskell is a maestro of modern gym methods…

#1: Biceps and triceps – Great resistance for sports/adventure: swimming, climbing, kayaking, kitesurfing, martial arts, boxing, running and, of course, rugby


Despite being hated by much of the gym fraternity because after only about three reps you are in a horrible place, I love chin-ups. They are great for building your upper body and can really hit the biceps. Try to execute an under or neutral grip.

Three sets of 10 reps with full body weight for pros out there and three sets of five if you’re starting out. You can add weight on a harness if you feel it’s too easy. Remember to fully extend down – no half measures.


Another great exercise often overlooked for the arms. You can do this either off a bench or on special dip bars. Most gyms have them, but a park bench or chair is good enough. Again, make sure you get full extension down. Aim to move your body straight down to really hit your triceps.

Pro: three sets of 10 reps, full bodyweight. Entry: three sets of five. Again, as with the chin-ups, you can hang some additional weight to experience that maximum effort.

Bicep curls

The first port of call for any gym bunny. Try these either seated or standing. Have one foot in front of the other, to make sure you don’t rock forwards or back when doing them. Extend all the way down and finish with the dumb-bell high. Remember, the lowering phase is as important as the curling-up motion.

You can alternate or double, depending on your mood. Three sets of 10-12 double or 10 each arm if you opt to alternate.

Hammer curls

The same as the bicep curl, but turn the dumb-bells round so they are end-on. Just like you are holding Thor’s hammer or, indeed, any old hammer. Full extension down and touch the end of the dumb-bell on to the front of your shoulder – so you are getting the maximum curl up.

Alternate or double, it’s your choice. Two sets of 10 reps. Use a good weight and keep upping it if it feels too easy. Remember, the last two reps should always be hard.

Triceps pushdowns

You can do this with the rope grip or small straight bar; in fact, any attachment you fancy in the gym. Stand one foot in front of the other, facing a cable machine or syncro – anything that has a cable to pull down on. Keep your arms tucked into your sides, push the weight fully down so that you feel it in your triceps. Then keeping the bar close to you, let it come back up as far as you can without your elbows coming up, then push down again.

Three sets of 10 reps. As with the hammer curls, keep upping the weight as you work.


This is a killer and a good finisher. Find a Z bar. This is the weird-shaped, shorter bar they have in most gyms. Put a good weight on it so that you could do 10 or 12 reps. Stand one foot in front of the other or, better still, with your back flat against a wall, your feet a little out from you and your knees slightly bent so that you are using just your arms.

This is a three-part process: start to bicep curl but only to halfway point (seven reps); without rest, bicep curl from the top of your extension down to the middle point (seven reps); to finish, complete full curls from bottom to top (seven reps). You need to do this only once through as your arms should now be cooked.

Once finished, make sure to get nutrition on board.


James Haskell@jameshaskell, is subject to regular testing by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) so anything he eats has to be pure and clean. His pre-trainer supplement Hades is made with a formulation of natural ingredients and is the only pre-trainer on the market both WADA and Informed Sports approved.

Article also available: http://vigour.fusionmediaserver1.co.uk/james-haskell-on-body-parts/

– Entry was posted on February 6th, 2015 by James Haskell

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