Exercises to Build Arm Muscles: Surprising Tips for Bigger Arms
Having exercises to build arm muscles gives you the satisfaction of being comfortable in t-shirts and tank tops. If you’ve already thought about training the rest of your body, your arms are equally as important.
By using our easy-to-follow exercises, you can begin to improve your upper body strength and tone your arms. The best part is that these exercises are things you can do both at home and at the gym!
Five Tips for Arm Workouts
To get the most out of your workouts, you’ll want to make sure you achieve proper form and avoid injury. With these tips, you can boost your progress to get closer to your ideal physique.
1. Plan Arm Training
The first, and likely most important tip, is to give your arms their very own time to be trained. You’ve probably heard people say that it’s “arm day” before, which means it’s their planned day to work out the upper half of their body.
Many gym enthusiasts find it beneficial to train the arms, back, and chest all at the same time, though over time, your arms won’t get as much attention as they need. Instead of trying group workouts for multiple body parts, designate a specific day where you’ll do arms-only exercises.
This process gives you the ability to put all of your energy and effort into your arms. That is, instead of dividing your time between four separate places. Also, you’ll love how you’ll be able to lift much heavier weights to help get you closer to your goal.
2. Have Rest Days
Even though you might be tempted to work out your arms two or three days in a row once you get into a routine, this could lead to injury. This theory is because if you don’t give your muscles enough time to repair themselves, they’re more likely to get damaged. Instead of pushing yourself beyond your limits, make sure you give your arms a rest.
Typically, you’ll find it’s recommended to give yourself at least a day to fully recover. Make sure you consume a lot of protein to help improve the strength of your muscles and to assist them with healing after being broken down. In the long run, it will be well worth the wait.
3. Focus on Angles
One thing you’ll notice in the below exercises is that when you’re working on your arms, you’re going to want to keep them at certain angles. This point is especially true when it comes to curling exercises.
When your arms are at an angle, they are more likely to contract stronger, which is the movement that occurs when your muscles start bulking. Also, focusing on angles is a huge part of having proper form to avoid injury. You won’t want to overextend yourself, but you’ll also want to make sure your arms are engaged accurately for the most development possible.
4. Take It Slow
It’s easy enough to do multiple reps, especially if you’re working out quickly. The slower you go, though, the more engaged your muscles will be, and the harder they’ll work. With each rep, do slow and controlled movements as it will help you to maximize your range of motion. Also, your negative movements will be equally as effective as your positive movements.
Another advantage to taking it slow is that you’ll find you have more time for rest in between sets, which should allow you to get a couple more reps in. Over time, an extra two or three reps add up to even more muscle.
5. Don’t Forget the Forearms
You’ll always remember to work on your triceps and biceps, but will you remember to also focus on your forearms? Although there aren’t many exercises that will bulk out the lower half of your arms, using a thicker bar can help.
When you look at professional bodybuilders, you’ll notice that the entirety of their arms is impressive, rather than just one part. Thicker forearms also help to balance out the rest of your torso, which adds to the overall appeal of looking muscular and toned. Always opt for dumbbells and barbells with thicker handles.
Exercises to Build Arm Muscles
Now that you have an idea of all of the top-rated tips to follow for the most effective arm workout, it’s time to discuss the best sets you can do. We’ve created a list of top-tier workouts that you can either do at home or at the gym.
Workouts for Biceps
1. Bicep Curl
Likely the most popular exercise on this list, bicep curls is a common way to pump your upper arms by following these steps:
- Sitting on an incline bench, hold one dumbbell in each of your hands. Make sure you extend your hands to arm’s length.
- Use the muscles in your bicep to begin curling the weight towards your shoulder. You can then lower the dumbbells back to your side and repeat this motion.
- The main thing to remember with a bicep curl is that it’s an isolated exercise, meaning it will work on your biceps only. If you want to allow other areas of your arm to share in the training, try turning your wrists by keeping your elbows pointed at the floor.
2. Performance Curl
Also referred to as concentration curls, these performance skills are an absolute necessity for your biceps. Each movement will isolate the flexors in your arms and the lateral part of your biceps.
- Sitting on a bench or a chair, rest your right arm along the inside of your thigh. The weight should be hanging down towards the floor.
- Using your biceps, curl the weight upwards and hold this position for a few seconds, followed by lowering the dumbbell to its original position.
- Repeat this process with your left arm for your preferred amount of reps.
3. Javelin Press
When you’re feeling courageous and want to try something a little different, we highly recommend the javelin press. You can easily do this with just a bar or with weights added, depending on your strength level.
- Holding the bar in your right hand, keep your hand just above your shoulder.
- Reach upwards and drive the bar into the ceiling, lowering it back down to its original position near your shoulder.
- Repeat this movement for both arms.
4. Twisted Curl
You’ve likely seen people at the gym doing this exercise more than once because it not only works your biceps but your forearms as well. It’s also one of the more beginner-friendly workouts on this list and is the perfect addition to a quick workout.
- Take a dumbbell in each of your hands and lower them to your sides with your palms facing inwards.
- Using your bicep, bring the dumbbells to your shoulders, alternating between both arms. As you curl, twist your palms, so they face closer to your chest.
- After the upwards motion, lower the dumbbells to your side and repeat the movement.
5. Side Raise
We especially love this workout when you feel like you need to put a little more pressure on both your biceps and triceps. As long as you have access to weights or something substantial, such as laundry detergent, this can quickly be done at home.
- Stand with your knees slightly bent and your legs shoulder-width apart.
- Take a dumbbell in each of your hands and hang your arms by your sides. Keep your palms facing each other.
- Keeping a bend in your elbows, bring your arms out to the side so that the dumbbells become level with your shoulders. During this movement, make sure your palms face the floor.
- Lower your arms to their original position and repeat the movement.
6. Dumbbell Curl and Press
By combining two fantastic exercises, the dumbbell curl and press should be a staple in your arm workout. It’s an excellent exercise for your biceps, and it will also work your shoulders.
- Take a dumbbell in each of your hands and hold them next to your hips.
- Adjust your stance so that you are standing with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Face your palms towards yourself and curl your arms up slowly until they reach your shoulders.
- Continue to press the dumbbells toward the ceiling and hold the fully extended position.
- Return to your starting position and repeat the movement.
Workouts for Triceps
Moving onto the triceps, there are far more exercises for you to take advantage of. You’ll also find that with most of these activities, you’ll work on more than one muscle group at a time.
1. Diamond Push-up
There are a lot of people who avoid push-ups because of how difficult they may seem. However, they are some of the most useful and practical exercises you can do for your triceps, shoulders, and back. The diamond push-up variation is by far one of our favorites for maximum extension and muscle production.
- While on the floor, start in a high plank and keep your palms flat. Adjust your hands so that they are shoulder-width apart, and your shoulders are right above your wrist. Extend your hands behind you while keeping your glutes and core engaged.
- Create a triangle shape with your thumbs and forefingers then bend your elbows to bring your chest to the floor.
- Straighten your arms and push your body upwards, keeping your core and glutes engaged.
To make these movements slightly more comfortable, you can keep your knees on the floor. You will want to make sure you keep your hips tucked in if this is the case. All the work should be flowing through your arms.
2. Dumbbell Kickback
Even though it might have “kick” in its name, we can guarantee that during this exercise, you’ll want to keep both feet on the ground. It’s a great way to improve your triceps by maximizing their range of motion. Again, this is a workout you can easily do at home with something substantial.
- To start, you’ll need a dumbbell in each of your hands and to bend forward, keeping your spine straight. Gaze at the floor ahead of you, ensuring your neck is in line with your spine.
- Bend your elbows while keeping your upper arms in line with the rest of your body.
- Focusing on one arm at a time, extend your arms backward and contract your triceps for a moment before returning to the starting position.
3. Triceps Dip
If you’re searching for an exercise that doesn’t isolate a specific muscle group, this is another great one to consider. Triceps dips allow you to work on your shoulders, biceps, and triceps.
- Using a bench or a sturdy chair, sit on the edge with your knees at a 90-degree angle.
- Grip onto the bench, keeping your hands placed on either side of your hips.
- Using your arms, push your glutes off the bench and lower your body a few inches down, keeping your elbows bent.
- Push your body upwards to return to the starting position and repeat the movement.
To make this workout even more useful, you can consider adding a single leg extension as well. To do this, you’ll want to enter the same position, but instead of keeping both feet on the ground, you’ll extend your left leg outwards while you move up and down.
4. Overhead Extension
The overhead extension is arguably one of the most effective workouts to do for your triceps. What we love about it is that it’s easy and accessible, even if it’s your first day training your arms.
- Stand so that your feet are hip-width apart and then slightly bend your knees.
- Take a dumbbell in both of your hands and reach your arms over your head. You’ll want to hold the dumbbell vertically behind your head.
- Keep your upper arms close to your head with your elbows pointing upwards and slowly straighten your arms toward the ceiling.
- Repeat this movement for as many reps as you desire.
5. Tate Press
This movement is unique in that it works the longest side of your triceps. It’s ideal for creating separation at the back of your arm muscles for more definition.
- While lying on a bench, hold two dumbbells right above your shoulders.
- Bend your elbows so that you can bring the dumbbells toward your chest and keep your palms facing outwards.
- Point the dumbbells towards the ceiling while raising them and returning them to their starting position.
- Repeat this movement for as many reps as necessary.
There are numerous exercises to build arm muscle, which makes it easy to start training as soon as possible. People of all experience levels can quickly master all of the movements on this list, and they can be done at home. With a little bit of dedication and safe lifting practices, you can finally have the chiseled arms you’ve been looking for in a long time.