Best Exercises for Arms

We have asked around amongst bodybuilders and have put together the bicep and tricep exercises which most have found to be the most effective. In this post we try to give general information about form, but on the whole just try to be conscious of if you are straining wrists or elbows. So, with disclaimers aside, onto the best exercises for arms…

Rope push down warm-up

This is especially good for warming up the elbows. Stand in front of the pulley and grasp the rope attachment with your hands side by side and your palms facing down. Position your elbows to your sides. Extend your arms all the way down and allow your palms to turn downward at the end. In other words, at the end point your knuckles to the floor. Bend wrists up again and allow your arms to go up until they are at chest height. Stay close to the cable and allow your elbows to travel up slightly when you move to starting position.

Straight bar bicep curl warm-up

Do a full range of movement, lean your body forward slightly without bending your back. Grab the barbell with both hands and palms facing up. Lift the barbell, stretching straight through the bicep head. Avoid rocking and using your lower back. The hands should be shoulder width and the elbows should be in-line with hands and shoulders. Your feet should be shoulder-width apart. A narrow grip forces your biceps to work harder, so you can tray this variation on a few sets. You can also do this exercise using an EZ bar to reduce wrist strain.

Hammer curl warm-up

For this you will be using dumbbells. Lean forward slightly, just with your bodyweight and not with your back. For warm-up purposes you can do both arms at the same time. Grip the dumbbells so that that your palms are facing towards your body. Lift them up and back down. A variation of this is to bring your arms to your chest so that your knuckles are facing each other and then back down. This is more similar to a curl. Avoid swinging your body together with the arm movements.

Alternate curls

Alternate curls are like the hammer curls, only alternating and with the palm facing up instead of facing the side of your body. Twist your arms out towards your thumbs as you get to the top of the movement to better accommodate the direction in which the muscle fibers run. Keep your elbows tucked into your sides as much as possible and always keep full tension directly on your biceps. You can do 3 sets of 8-12 reps.

Preacher curl

You can start off with a full range of movement on the first sets then increase weights and shorten movement on other sets. Adjust your seat so that your armpits rest near the top of the pad of the preacher curl bench. Get someone to pass you the barbell. Breathe in as you lower the barbell and keep going until your biceps are full stretched. Exhale and curl the barbell back up. Hold the position for 2 seconds and then repeat. Going for different ranges of movement will thicken your arms better than keeping the full range always. You can use an EZ bar for wrist ease.

Curls on inclined bench and hammer

Lie on an inclined bench and do your curls allowing your arms to drop down in a controlled way. They will stretch because of the weight. Then set the bench incline to a 60 degree angle and rest your chest on it. Do hammer curls from this hanging position.

Barbell overheads

For the triceps you can do barbell overheads with a slight decline on the bench. Overhead bench pressing get your arms properly trained whilst avoiding strain on the shoulders. Lying down, have the barbell up and your arms at a right angle to your body. Slowly bring the barbell to your forehead and then bring it back to starting position. You can do a few sites with a decline on the bench and then a few sets with a flat bench.

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