8-Minute Bis & Tris

This pandemic has changed the way we do a lot of things- certainly the way we workout! At this time last year, we had no problem paying monthly dues, spending gasoline and time to get to the gym, and sharing equipment that someone else had just sweat all over it. Fast-forward to now, that just sounds… unnecessary. With very little equipment, you can get spectacular workouts at home. In this “8-Minute Workout” series, I’m letting you in to my own, personal, at-home workouts that target every major muscle group. The first edition is Biceps and Triceps.


Using just one set of medium-weight dumbbells, you can expect 6 challenging moves for the fronts of the arms (biceps) before switching to 6 challenging moves for the backs of the arms (triceps). Each move lasts 40-seconds. To get the most out of 8 little minutes, I plugged one cardio move among bis and another among tris. Heart-pumping moves are beneficial from a metabolic standpoint, so even if they aren’t your favorite part of the workout (they won’t be), if these jive with your body and current strength, trek through them with me. If not, opt for a modification given!


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Exercise 1: Biceps “Milking the Cow”

Stand Straight and tall. Hold a dumbbell in each hand with palms turned in (often referred to as hammer curls). Flex one elbow up as you extend the other down- also known as “reciprocal motion.” Switch. Continue to alternate, meeting in the middle.



Exercise 2: Left Isometric, Right Isotonic Curls

Hold your left arm at 90-degrees steady, with palm facing up (often referred to as supinate). Flex and extend through full-range bicep curls on the right.



Exercise 3: Right Isometric, Left Isotonic Curls

Hold your right arm at 90-degrees steady, with palm facing up. Flex and extend through full-range bicep curls on the left.



Exercise 4: Low-to-Mid Range Curls

Stand straight and tall with arms hanging straight by your sides. Curl both elbows to 90-degrees with palms facing up. Hold momentarily. Lower back down to starting position.


Exercise 5: Mid-to-High Range Curls

Stand straight with elbows flexed to 90-degrees with palms facing up. Lift the palms toward your shoulders. Return to 90-degree flexion.


Exercise 6: Iso Biceps with Plyo Lunges *Cardio + Strength

Hold your arms at 90-degrees. Stagger you’re legs into lunge position. Jump to switch legs. Continue to alternate, holding your arms steady. (Modification: replace the “jump” to switch with a step back into a reverse lunge).


Exercise 7: Triceps Push-Up

Assume plank position with hands slightly behind the shoulders, bodywidth apart. Bend your elbows, directing them straight back, and drop your body to hover above the ground. Hold momentarily, then extend the elbows, raising your body back up to plank position. (Modification: drop the knees to the ground).


Exercise 8: Triceps Kickback

Tip your torso slightly forward at the hips. Lift your elbows just higher than your torso. Bend and extend your elbows (kicking back) while keeping your shoulders completely stationary. Be sure to tighten your core to keep your back flat while flexed forward in this position.


Exercise 9: Overhead Triceps Extension (AKA Triceps French Press)

Stand straight and tall. Squeeze both dumbbells together, and lift overhead. Bend and extend your elbows (like a French Press coffee maker) while keeping your shoulders stationary.


Exercise 10: Triceps Kickback to Overhead Triceps Extension

Perform 1 repetition of Exercise 8, followed by 1 repetition of Exercise 9. Continue to alternate between the two.


Exercise 11: Stiff-Armed Reach Backs

Tip your torso slightly forward at the hips. With straight arms, turn your palms to face the back wall. Lift your straight arms back behind your hips. Hold momentarily, then bring your arms back in to hang beneath the shoulders. Repeat. (This works your back as well as your triceps).


Exercise 12: Iso Hover Hold with Peg Leg *Cardio + Strength

Assume plank position with hands slightly behind the shoulders, body width apart. Bend your elbows, directing them straight back, and drop your body to hover above the ground. Hold. Hyperextend one hip, lifting that leg in the air. Hop to switch to the other leg. Continue alternating leg lift hops while keeping your upper body still in the isometric hover position. (Modification: replace the hop to switch with slow and controlled alternating leg lifts).

This is an advanced exercise- I recommend that you place a pillow underneath your torso, so that you have a soft place to land if things go awry.



This is the first of eight 8-minute workouts in this series. Do them, alone, or bundle multiple muscle groups in successive 8-minute videos. (Next up: 8-Minute Shoulders!) Either way, you’ll have an incredible at-home, fun, safe, and effective workout in less time than it would have taken to even get to the gym!



About Brook Benten

Brook Benten, M. Ed., is a Texas girl with over two decades of experience in the field. She has been an executive director, fitness journalist, and star of over a dozen workout DVDs. She now primarily answers to “MOM” and works from her home studio to bring you live & prerecorded workouts and Train with the Trainers LiveStream Classes. She is an avid cyclist, trained by Johnny G, kettlebell enthusiast (RKC, SFG II) trained by Pavel Tsatsouline. Brook has been a presenter at SCW MANIA® for many years and has trained countless fitness professionals.


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