When Shaun Clarida steps onstage at the 2023 Olympia Weekend in Orlando, FL on Nov. 2-5, 2023, he will look to win his second consecutive, and third overall, 212 Olympia title. If he does, he will join Kevin English and Flex Lewis as the only men to have won three titles since the division began in 2008 as the 202-pound division. The New Jersey native has had a busy year that included becoming a father and relocating to Texas, but now his sights are set on the task at hand.
On Aug. 14, 2023, Clarida shared an arm training video he did at Destination in Dallas, TX, that gave fans a glimpse at how he’s preparing to defend his world championship in Orlando.
This workout featured nine total exercises and he performed the workout by alternating movements for the triceps and biceps. Many lifters have trained their arms using supersets, with exercises alternated back-to-back without rest. Clarida opts to train them individually, training multiple sets of one exercise before working the other body part, so one muscle group could partially recover while the other was working.
Rope Triceps Pushdown
Clarida started with rope triceps pushdowns, which both worked the triceps and prepared his elbows for the work to come. After warming up, he did sets of 12 to 15 reps while keeping his upper arms braced to his sides and performing slow eccentric movements (negatives) for the reps. The final set was a double drop set, where he reduced the weight to keep performing extra reps.
Cable Biceps Curl
He then switched to biceps with the EZ-curl attachment and did cable curls with a relatively wide grip. Clarida shared that he wanted to get three or four sets of 12-15 reps at this point in the workout. The goal for this specific exercise was to begin his biceps work the same way he used extensions to begin his triceps training.
“Just like triceps: do a good warm-up, do a feeder [set] where it feels comfortable, feels good. Now I’m going to start adding a little bit more weight to get some more challenging reps.”
He added weight for each set, but it wasn’t clear about exactly how much he was lifting on the stack.
Close-Grip Triceps Pushdown
Clarida went back to triceps for his third exercise of the day. He used the EZ-curl attachment for this version of pushdowns, choosing a closer grip than his previous curls. He shared that he did a feeder set (a transition between a warm-up and a working weight) with 140 pounds (63.5 kilograms) before moving up to 170 pounds (77 kilograms) for 12 reps.
His third set was with 190 pounds (86.2 kilograms), but he acknowledged that was still “too light,” so we would take on the entire stack for his fourth set. He said he was getting stronger, which he is pleased with.
“I shouldn’t be getting stronger during prep. That’s a good thing. That’s called prep done right.”
After getting eight reps with the stack, he did one more set with a lighter weight.
Dumbbell Hammer Curl
The second biceps movement was a cross-body hammer curl. Clarida started with 60-pound (27.2-kilogram) dumbbells, alternating arms with each rep. His goal rep range was eight to 10 reps, but he felt that weight wasn’t challenging enough. So, he went to the 70s (31.8 kilogram) for his next set, and he got eight reps for each arm.
Single-Arm Overhead Triceps Extension
He stayed in the dumbbell rack area for overhead extensions with a dumbbell. Not all sets were shown in their entirety, but you could tell he felt confident in the work he put in. Three sets for each arm were completed before he switched back to biceps.
Single-Arm Machine Preacher Curl
Clarida called this exercise one of his favorites for biceps. He performed the exercise on a machine that allowed him to use one arm at a time. He emphasized the importance of both the stretch and contraction with this movement. He maintained a rep range of 10 to 12 reps for all three sets. He gave himself time to rest between both arms so he could give max effort to each one.
Single-Arm Triceps Pushdown and Overhead Cable Curls
The next triceps exercise was another pushdown variation, putting his wrist through a leg cuff attachment. Going across his body for these extensions allowed Clarida to get a greater stretch at the top of the rep. Only one set was shown before Clarida said what he would do next for his biceps finisher.
The overhead cable curls were performed similar to performing a front double biceps pose. Clarida said that, even though he used to believe that you could change the peak of a bicep, he now knows that you can only make the most out of what you already have.
“If you were born with flat biceps, meaning there’s no peak, you really can’t develop that,” he said. “If you have a flat biceps, you have a flat biceps.”
Once he reached failure with both arms simultaneously, he switched to doing each side one at a time to finish the biceps off.
Triceps Machine Dips
He had five triceps movements in this workout because the triceps are typically bigger than the biceps, in terms of their anatomical location on the body. The final movement for this workout was machine dips. He once again emphasized the importance of the stretch at the top as well as the contraction on the bottom of each rep. After three sets of this exercise, he was finished for the day.
If you want to perform a workout like this for yourself, you can follow the sample workout below.
Giant Killer-Style Giant Arm Workout
- Rope Triceps Extension — 3 x 12-15
- Cable Biceps Curl — 3 x 12-15
- Cable Triceps Pushdown — 3 x 8-10
- Alternating Dumbbell Hammer Curl — 3 x 8-10 per arm
- Single-Arm Overhead Triceps Extension — 3 x 10 per arm
- Machine Single-Arm Preacher Curl — 3 x 10 per arm
- Cross-Body Triceps Extension — 3 x 12 per arm
- Overhead Cable Curl — 3 x 12-15 (reach total muscular failure on last set)
- Triceps Machine Dip — 3 x 12-15
Clarida hopes to be the first Olympia 212 champion to successfully defend his title since Lewis’ last win in 2018. Kamal Elgargni won in 2019, Clarida claimed his first in 2020, and Derek Lunsford was champion in 2021. Lunsford moved to the Men’s Open division in 2022, and Clarida managed to reclaim the title.
Featured Image: @shaunclarida on Instagram