If you’ve ever wanted arms like the former 212 Olympia champion “The Giant Killer” Shaun Clarida, a video posted to his YouTube channel on Sept. 19, 2022, might draw your attention. During an intense, high-volume arm pump session following a Better Bodies Photo Shoot at Destination Dallas Gym in Dallas, TX, Clarida walks through what it takes to have Olympia-level guns.
With 18 weeks until the 2022 Olympia in Las Vegas, NV, scheduled for Dec. 16-18, 2022, Clarida aims to reclaim his success from 2020 when he took home the 212 Olympia title. Clarida focuses on the quality and control of each movement and adjusts in the moment if necessary to maximize workouts, which include drop sets, delaying compound until properly warm for heavier weights, and more. Check out Clarida’s arm workout in the video below:
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Shaun Clarida’s Arm Workout
If you want to follow along with Clarida’s arm workout, here are the exercises, followed by a breakdown of each one:
- Rope Pushdowns
- Straight Bar Cable Curls
- Straight Bar Pushdowns
- Alternating Dumbbell Hammer Curls
- Single-Arm Overhead Dumbbell Extensions
- Single-Arm Machine Preacher Curls
- Cable Cross Triceps Pushdowns
- Standing Incline Barbell Curls
Rope Pushdowns & Low Cable Curls
Clarida began his workout with a few warm-up sets on the rope pushdowns, so his triceps were prepped for the compound movements ahead. He finished the warm-up with a double drop set. Clarida believes that no matter how many sets it takes, you should feel warm before attempting heavy compound movements — it’s all about injury prevention. Clarida credits his no-nonsense training style for his success over his seventeen years in the gym; warming up properly is essential.
Warming the elbows up, warming the joints up, moving some blood around. Kicking things up as far as intensity goes, just trying to be the best me.
After warming his triceps, Clarida moved to a low cable curl with a cambered bar to get his biceps and forearms warmed up. Clarida is moving into his contest prep training and diet protocol but plans to keep his training intensity high, if not higher, to bring in his best package yet to the 2022 Olympia.
Straight Bar Pushdowns
Moving onto another triceps movement, not yet satisfied with his warm-up, Clarida performs straight bar pushdowns with a cambered bar. Clarida does not hold back on intensity, increasing the weight of each set. Clarida stripped down to a tank top to show his massive physique that gained him the alias “Giant Killer” to pump out one more heavy set on the pushdowns before practicing some poses for the camera.
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Standing Alternating Dumbbell Hammer Curls
Clarida opened with standing alternating dumbbell hammer curls for the biceps and forearms. Clarida performed these curling across his chest for some added brachialis stimulation.
One of my favorite movements for really thickening up the sides of the biceps, brachialis.
Standing Single Arm Overhead Dumbbell Extensions & Single Arm Machine Preacher Curls
Moving onto another triceps movement — a standing single-arm variation of the overhead triceps dumbbell extension. Unilateral movements work each side equally and aid in improving any muscular imbalances. Frequently athletes tend to favor their stronger side in two-handed movements. A study published in PLOS ONE in 2018 suggested that muscular size increased more efficiently in groups that utilized both unilateral and bilateral movements than those that solely utilized bilateral movements (1).
Clarida worked his way up to 60-pound dumbbells on each side. Continuing with the unilateral methodology, Clarida utilized a preacher curl machine for some single-arm preacher curls. He maintained the same intensity from set to set with just 18 from another potential 212 Olympia victory.
Cable Cross Triceps Pushdowns
Clarida finished off his triceps with a dual cable cross for some triceps pushdowns. While not a unilateral movement, it does bias each triceps head throughout the movement to help Clarida chisel away at his 2022 masterpiece.
Utilizing the cables to keep constant tension on the triceps throughout the full range of motion with a tight squeeze at peak contraction offer more time under tension for more significant muscular growth opportunity. Clarida enjoys this specific movement as a triceps finisher with a rep range of 15-20.
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Close Grip Standing Incline Barbell Curls
Finishing the day strong, Clarida performed a close grip cambered bar curls while leaning against an incline bench added stability. Clarida uses this exercise to bias the brachialis. He proceeded to perform progressively heavier sets.
I treat arm day the same way I treat leg day, hard, heavy, and intense!
We’ll see if that comes to fruition for him in December 2022, when he will attempt to reclaim the 212 Olympia crown. Clarida is qualified for the Men’s Open Olympia contest and could try to topple two-time Mr. Olympia Mamdouh “Big Ramy” Elssbiay as his rival from 2021, Derek Lunsford, will do. Regardless of which division Clarida competes in, he will be a contender for the podium finish and potentially another Sandow trophy.
Núñez, F. J., Santalla, A., Carrasquila, I., Asian, J. A., Reina, J. I., & Suarez-Arrones, L. J. (2018). The effects of unilateral and bilateral eccentric overload training on hypertrophy, muscle power, and COD performance, and its determinants, in team sport players. PloS one, 13(3), e0193841. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0193841
Featured image: @shaunclarida on Instagram