Bodybuilder Brett Wilkin Debuts On YouTube With a Crushing Arm Workout

"The Butcher" placed second at the 2021 Chicago Pro and is looking to make a splash in the Men's Open division in 2022.

Brett Wilkin’s #glowup is real. And with the launch of his new YouTube channel, six weeks before his Arnold Classic debut, the budding Men’s Open bodybuilder is working on accumulating a fanbase beyond hardcore bodybuilding enthusiasts.

If you don’t know who Wilkin is, here’s a quick career primer: The Colorado resident snagged his IFBB Pro League card in 2018 by winning the 2018 NPC Junior Nationals as a Classic Physique competitor. He competed in two shows in 2019 — the Toronto Pro and Puerto Rico Pro — as a 212 competitor before taking a year off to size up even more. After his bulking hiatus, Wilkin had the best pro placing of his career at the 2021 Chicago Pro, coming in second to Hunter Labrada.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Brett “The Butcher” Wilkin (@brett_wilkin)

Up next for Wilkin is the 2022 Arnold Classic, set to occur on the weekend of Mar. 4-5, 2022 in Columbus, OH. He’ll compete alongside 13 other athletes — including three former AC champions — for bodybuilding’s second-biggest title.

The competition is stiff, but fans and bodybuilding experts think Wilkin is a viable contender in elite Men’s Open bodybuilding. With a new YouTube channel, a growing fanbase, and the biggest show of his career around the corner, everyone may be right. 

Wilkin’s Arm Workout

Wilkin launched his YouTube channel on Feb. 3, 2022, and, on it, he shared an arm workout filmed six weeks before the Arnold Classic. “The Butcher” walked his subscribers through every movement, demonstrating proper form and providing pro-level insight into his technique. The workout begins at the 10:49 mark in the video below.

Triceps Pushdown

Wilkin likes to start his arm training with a cable movement to warm his elbows before moving on to heavier free weight exercises. He began this arm workout with a variation of a triceps pushdown, utilizing a unique attachment that allows him to move the handles where to where they’re most comfortable for him.

“The hands are vertical,” Wilkin says. “You’re almost karate-chopping through with the triceps and then pinning at the bottom.”

Two standard sets were shown in the video. Then, Wilkin performed a drop set with three-second negatives on each rep to finish this particular exercise. He performed roughly 10-15 reps for each set. For the drop set, he did 10 reps followed by eight more on the drop set.

Cross Cable Triceps Extension

“I typically go by feel,” Wilkin says of his approach to arm training. “I follow what I feel like doing that day on my arms. Some days, I’ll go triceps, biceps, triceps, biceps. Some days I go triceps, triceps, biceps, biceps. Some days I’ll do triceps all together followed by biceps.”

His second exercise on this day was cross-cable triceps extensions. Wilkin claims that this particular exercise allows him to bring out more “definition and detail.”

Notably, Wilkin holds onto the cable itself instead of an attachment to achieve a more extended range of motion and, therefore, more muscle-building tension. In the video, Wilkin completes two sets and then moves on.

Single-Arm Cable Pushdown

Wilkin then focuses on each arm one at a time with a single-arm cable pushdown. He stands in a way that allows him to move the cable across his body instead of straight down. Wilkin says this will enable him to achieve a more significant stretch in the muscles.

“What I have noticed is that, like this prep, my arms have stayed much fuller throughout. What I noticed last year is that they came down a lot closer to the show [the Chicago Pro]. So, my focus has been more on volume, volume in this prep.”

Wilkin did two sets in the video and seemed to stay within the 12-15 rep range.

Incline Cable Curl

After three triceps movements in a row, Wilkin focuses on the biceps. He started with an incline cable curl, but he didn’t use traditional single handles.

“What I am using is the Kaz handles…what I like about them is that they’re very, very thick, and you can focus on not so much the grip, but it’s more about the movement and the motion as well as the supination.”

Wilkin performed three sets on camera, with the final set being a drop set like the one he performed for the first exercise of the day.

Smith Machine Barbell Curl + Dumbbell Preacher Curl

The next section of the workout involves two exercises — a barbell curl performed with a Smith machine that goes front to back and the classic dumbbell preacher curl. Wilkin performs the machine curl first and then goes right into dumbbell preacher curls.

“We’re going to put the dumbbells together, and think in your head here, the butts of the dumbbells come together, and you keep them there. You’re applying inward pressure the entire time.”


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Brett “The Butcher” Wilkin (@brett_wilkin)

He feels that this helps him focus on the peaks of the biceps, which can help him when he stands on stage with the likes of Brandon Curry, William Bonac, and the rest of the field in Columbus. Wilkin performs this superset twice before switching back to triceps.

Smith Machine Skull Crusher

Wilkin used a traditional Smith machine for the next triceps exercise, but with s different spin. Instead of holding onto the bar, he applied lifting straps and held the bar by those.

“You’re going through the range of motion of a skull crusher, but it’s just going to stay on the vertical plane of the Smith machine,” he says. “I feel these more than regular skull crushers.”

Wilkin loaded the bar with a 45- and a 25-pound weight plate on each side of the bar for this movement at one point. Two sets are shown, and he stays in the 12-15 rep range.

Dip Machine

The final triceps exercise Wilkin performs is dips on a machine, and he says that he likes to stay in the 15-20 rep range to burn out the back of his arms.

“We already have plenty of blood in there, pretty broken down. So, it’s all about finishing strong here and finishing it out.”

High Cable Curl

After he completed his triceps work, it was time to finish the biceps. Wilkin called this movement Hercules curls, but he explained a greater purpose for him to use them.

“I am mimicking that I’m doing a front double biceps pose,” he tells the camera. “You want to do exercises that connect you to your muscles that you’re also going to use in certain poses.”

After reaching the point of failure on his own, his training partner was helping him by pushing at Wilkin’s forearms to finish the remaining reps. He also did it seated to keep the lower body from generating momentum.

Wilkin further commented that he keeps his rest periods short because it helps him keep his heart rate up and improves his endurance when preparing for contests.

Brett Wilkin’s 2022 Arnold Classic Arm Workout

Below you’ll find Wilkin’s arm workout in full. Note: The sets and reps are based on what was shown in Wilkin’s YouTube video. 

  • Triceps Pushdowns: 3 x 10-15, drop set to failure on the final set
  • Cross Cable Triceps Extension: 2 x 15
  • Single-Arm Cable Pushdown: 2 x 12-15
  • Incline Cable Curl: 3 x 10-15, drop set to failure on the final set
  • Superset: Jones Machine Curl + Dumbbell Preacher Curl: 2 x 10-12
  • Smith Machine Skull Crusher: 2 x 12-15
  • Dip Machine: 2 15-20
  • Two-Arm High Cable Curl: 2 15-20

Wilkin says there are more workouts to come. Along with the rest of the Arnold Classic lineup, he will be onstage for prejudging on Friday, Mar. 4, 2022, at the Battelle Grand ballroom in the Greater Columbus Convention Center in Columbus, OH. Tickets and information on the pay-per-view are available at

Featured Image: Brett “TheButcher” Wilkin on YouTube