Breon Ansley’s Flexibility Practices for Enhanced Muscle Growth

Two-time Classic Physique Olympia champion Breon Ansley is amidst his 2024 off-season, though he is slated to compete at the 2024 Arnold Classic on March 1-3, 2024, in Columbus, OH. On Jan. 2, 2024, Ansley shared that his priority was flexibility through the use of free weight training.

Moving the muscles through a larger range of motion might have hidden hypertrophy gains Ansley aims to tap into. A 2023 study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research suggested that “full range of motion…elicited greater muscle hypertrophy of the rectus femoris, vastus lateralis, biceps brachii, and brachialis distal sites.” (1)

Ansley performed the following arm workout in a recorded session on his YouTube channel comprised of the following:

Breon Ansley’s Flexible Arm Workout

Below is a breakdown of Ansley’s biceps and triceps workout: 

Dumbbell Triceps Kickbacks

EZ-Bar Curls

Superset — Dumbbell Skull Crushers & Bench Dips

Seated Dumbbell Curls

Superset — Overhead Single-Arm Dumbbell Triceps Extensions & Diamond Push-ups

Superset — Dumbbell Hammer Curls & Reverse Grip EZ-Bar Curls

Take a look at how those exercises are performed below:

[Related: Sadik Hadzovic’s Arm Day Reps and Sets Recommendations]

Ansley Recommends Unstable Stimulation for Maximum Muscle Growth

Ansley described his dumbbell arm training as “unstable stimulation.” “Machines and cables are great, but…ultimate stimulation for anything [is] best combined with instability. The best way to do that is with dumbbells and free weights.” 

Dumbbells and other methods of lifting that don’t have strict planes of motion compel the lifter to stabilize the weight throughout the exercise. This three-dimensional style can improve stability but often comes at the cost of how heavy one can lift. In other words, it is easier to lift heavier on a machine than it is via free weights because the need for the lifter to stabilize the weights is absent with machines.

Training to muscular failure via light or heavy weights has both been shown to be effective for hypertrophy. Training with heavy weight is, however, more advantageous for increasing strength. (2)

Dumbbell Triceps Kickbacks

Leaning over a weight bench, Ansley hinged a singular dumbbell at his elbow until his entire arm nearly parallelled the floor. He extended his arm by engaging only his triceps — the rest of his body remained fixed.

He worked up to 70-pound dumbbells, claiming that a small amount of momentum at a heavy weight is okay “so long as you stay in control with the muscle that you’re utilizing.” Ansley performed equal reps with both arms.

EZ-Bar Curls

Ansley modified this curl variation via a closer grip and lifting the bar close to his face. Since the stability requirements with free weights can be fatiguing, Ansley rests more in between exercises, though training biceps and triceps antagonistically still allows for efficacy.

Superset — Skull Crushers & Bench Dips

Ansley is mindful that skull crushers and dips can be “elbow jerker” movements but feels both deep in the short head of his triceps. Both exercises emphasize the load in the negative portion of a movement (i.e., the eccentric), which helps train his triceps in their lengthened positions.

Seated Dumbbell Curls

Ansley incorporated a supinated grip and twist at the top of his biceps curls performed unilaterally. He performed an uneven number of sets — adding an extra set for his right arm — because the size differential between it and his left arm is an area he feels he needs to correct.

Ansley biceps curls also featured sets with one arm performing a static hold with a 35-pound dumbbell while the other curls through its full range of motion.

Superset — Overhead Single Arm Dumbbell Triceps Extensions & Diamond Push-ups

Attempting to increase his shoulder flexibility, Ansley loads a singular dumbbell behind his head, allowing for a deep stretch in his triceps. While tough, Ansley highlighted the importance of loaded flexibility training. He burned out his triceps with bench-inclined diamond push-ups.

Superset — Dumbbell Hammer Curls & Reverse Grip EZ-Bar Curls

Ansley performed hammer curls — neutral grip curls with palms facing each other — to close out his arm training. He kept the 50-pound dumbbells close together and lifted them towards his chest. He superset them with 60-pound reverse-grip EZ-bar curls to hit his brachialis. 

Ansley still has room to grow within the adjusted weight cap in the Classic Physique division. We’ll see if his loaded flexibility training provides him with additional muscle tissue when he steps on stage in March 2024.


Kassiano, W., Costa, B., Nunes, J. P., Ribeiro, A. S., Schoenfeld, B. J., & Cyrino, E. S. (2023). Which ROMs Lead to Rome? A Systematic Review of the Effects of Range of Motion on Muscle Hypertrophy. Journal of strength and conditioning research37(5), 1135–1144.

Schoenfeld, B. J., Peterson, M. D., Ogborn, D., Contreras, B., & Sonmez, G. T. (2015). Effects of Low- vs. High-Load Resistance Training on Muscle Strength and Hypertrophy in Well-Trained Men. Journal of strength and conditioning research29(10), 2954–2963.

Featured image: @breonma_ on Instagram

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