Rhea Ripley (real name Demi Bennett) is one of World Wrestling Entertainment‘s (WWE) top Superstars. She’s won multiple titles and appeared in countless main events since signing with the company in 2017. The powerhouse from Adelaide, Australia, has already achieved the type of career that most pro wrestlers dream about, and she hasn’t even hit her prime yet.
Part of her appeal comes from her impressive physique and jaw-dropping strength, which she puts on display during every match she’s part of. To give fans a glimpse into the hard work she puts into her craft, Ripley joined fellow WWE star Sheamus on his Celtic Warrior Workouts YouTube channel on Dec. 2, 2022, to walk him through a grueling arm workout that illustrates why she’s a force to be reckoned with. Check it out below:
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Rhea Ripley’s “Nightmare” Arms Workout
The duo took to Winks Iron Lot in Peoria, IL, for the workout. Check out the moves below, followed by a full breakdown.
- Seated Biceps Curls + Triceps Pushdowns + Overhead Cable Triceps Extensions: 5 x 15, 15, 12, 12, 10
- EZ Curl Bar Skull Crushers + Horizontal Dumbbell Triceps Presses + Rope Hammer Curls: 3 x 15
- Reverse Cable Triceps Pulldown + Reverse Cable Biceps Curls: 3 x 15, 12, 12
- Hammer Curls + Bodyweight Triceps Dips + Cable Preacher Curls: 3 x 30
This workout utilizes supersets pyramid style — descending reps and ascending weights throughout. This style of pyramid training has been shown to be beneficial for improving the strength, size, and endurance of the targeted muscle group. (1)
You could also try a reverse pyramid, where the reps go up and the weights go down every set — an efficient way to add variety to routines and test muscles in different ways. Here’s a full breakdown of Ripley’s arm workout.
Warm-Up: Seated Biceps Curls, Triceps Pushdowns, Overhead Cable Triceps Extensions
Ripley stresses strict form for the seated dumbbell biceps curls and gives a major tip to cut down on intentional cheating: “We’re not gonna move the top part of our arm; we’re just gonna bend and squeeze,” Ripley explains. “You wanna be controlled.” In short, don’t swing your arms.
Ripley again advises viewers not to move the top of their arms or rock back and forth when the pair moves to the triceps pushdowns. Instead, she stands firm and activates her core to keep her shoulders locked in place. “Don’t want to use your body; use your triceps,” Ripley says.
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Once on the overhead cable triceps extensions, Ripley suggested taller lifters put their foot on the back of the machine for added stability. For Sheamus, who stands over six feet tall, such modifications can help him get comfortable under the cable.
These first three exercises are performed as five supersets, totaling 15 sets. There are 15 reps in the first two rounds, 12 reps with higher weight for rounds three and four, and a final round of 10 with even heavier weight.
Skull Crushers, Horizontal Dumbbell Triceps Press, Biceps Hammer Curls
“So, next is two different triceps exercises, with another biceps [exercise],” Ripley explains. Skull crushers are the first move, and Ripley demonstrates proper form. She bends at the elbow, not relying too much on her forearms, to bias the triceps.
Moving on to the horizontal triceps presses, Ripley keeps the dumbbells close together for a super stable lift. Finally, the multi-time women’s champ demonstrates the biceps hammer curls and aims for a nice “pinch” or flex at the top of the lift. There’s no ego lifting here — the ring warriors are happy to adjust the weight as needed.
“Just do as many as you can,” Ripley says. They complete the first set of each exercise and repeat, working loosely as pyramid sets.
Reverse Cable Triceps Pulldown and Reverse Cable Biceps Curls
With these cable pulldowns, Ripley says it’s important to hold the upper arms still while keeping the core activated. “Try and keep your wrists straight,” she says. Sheamus observes that these are great isolation exercises because you must follow the strict path of the cable.
“You can feel it right away,” Sheamus says. Rhea decides to increase up to 12 reps for a third set, once again illustrating that it’s all about adjusting on the fly to do as much as she can.
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The Finisher: Hammer Curls, Bodyweight Triceps Dips, Cable Preacher Curls
The WWE icons attack a superset of hammer curls, bodyweight triceps dips (using a bench), and cable preacher curls, totaling 90 reps. With arms like jelly, Ripley gave Austin Theories’ arm workout a run for its money.
“Bro, my arms are so pumped,” Ripley exclaims. “I can’t feel my arms,” Sheamus responds before collapsing into a heap on the floor for a well-deserved rest.
“Stay determined,” Ripley advises viewers performing their own workout programs. “Don’t give up. I know, as generic as it sounds, but if you put your mind and body into it, you could do anything you want.”
From a little girl in Adelaide, South Australia, to one of the biggest stars in WWE, Ripley is proof positive that hard work pays off — just look at those arms.
- Cattan GH. Pyramidal Systems in Resistance Training. Encyclopedia. 2021; 1(2):423-432. https://doi.org/10.3390/encyclopedia1020035
Featured Image: @wwesheamus on Instagram