If the gun show is a regular day in your gym workout routine, you had better know the top 10 arm exercises to help get the job done.
Arm exercises are a favorite for many guys because:
- They’re far less psychologically draining than heavy compound lifts for the chest, back, or lower body.
- They help you get a killer pump, which has you leaving the gym feeling like you’re on top of the world.
If you always look forward to your arm day, you should read on to ensure you’re using the most effective exercises to get the job done.
Supinated Dumbbell Bicep Curls
Designed to really dial in on the long head of your biceps, otherwise known as your bicep peak, this exercise is great for getting every muscle fiber firing.
- Grab a pair of dumbbells
- Keep them next to your torso with palms open (wrists supinated)
- Curl the left dumbbell up, further rotating the wrist outwards
- Contract the biceps up top and go back down slowly, stretching the biceps
- Repeat on the opposite side, then alternate between sides
Most guys will perform this exercise standing, and sometimes even using an alternating arm set-up, but you can also do it sitting if you prefer.
If done sitting, especially on a flat bench, you’ll help ensure you aren’t letting momentum take over the exercise.
To get the most out of this exercise, focus on squeezing your pinky finger around the bar and turn the wrist out as you reach the top of the exercise.
This helps to position the bicep for better overall stimulation.
Wall Lean Curls
An often overlooked muscle exercise but one that’s very effective is wall lean curls.
This exercise is great because it’s going to give you more stretch on the bicep muscle, forcing it to move through a greater range of motion which will in turn, evoke higher overall stimulation.
- Grab a pair of dumbbells and lean against a wall on your upper back
- Keep the dumbbell by your sides with palms open
- Place the back of the arms on the wall
- Curl both dumbbells up simultaneously, contracting the biceps up top
- Go down slowly, maintaining tension on the biceps
- Repeat the movement pattern
When doing this exercise, be sure to think of pressing the shoulders back and into the wall.
This will help to keep the arms and elbows in proper position to maximize the forces being placed on the muscle.
Dumbbell Overhead Triceps
Many guys think that to really build impressive and large arms, they should be hitting their biceps hard.
And while the biceps do of course plan an important role, the triceps actually take up more real estate when it comes to arm muscle size.
Build bigger triceps and that’s something you’ll notice.
- Grab a dumbbell and sit down on the bench
- Hold the dumbbell with both hands overhead
- Let the dumbbell go behind your head slowly, without flaring your elbows
- Push up explosively, contracting the triceps up top with a careful elbow lockout
The dumbbell overhead tricep extension is a great place to start as it’ll help to target the long head of the triceps, which is the largest and most prone to growing.
Any exercise that calls for shoulder flexion is going to hit this long head, so that’s how you know what you’re working when doing any given exercise.
A well-rounded tricep-building program will hit all three heads – the long head, short head, and lateral head, but the long head is the one you really want to focus on.
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French Press Tricep Skullcrushers
Of all the tricep exercises you could be doing, this one might just be the best.
This one will hit the long head of the triceps while also being a powerful activator of the other two tricep heads as well.
Because it effectively hits all three heads, you’ll get the most bang for your buck while in the gym.
If you need to maximize your time spent, it should be a go-to.
- Grab an E-Z bar and lie down on the horizontal bench
- Hold the bar at shoulder width and keep it directly over your forehead
- LEt the bar go down and behind your head slowly
- Push up and contract the triceps at the top
When doing this one, focus on the mind-muscle connection.
Those who are prone to elbow pain or tendonitis may notice this one bothering them more than other exercises, but often this is because they’re transferring force using their elbow.
Instead, you want to make sure that the tricep muscle is going to guide you along the way.
Pronated Dumbbell Curls
Moving back to the biceps, pronated dumbbell curls will hit the inner bicep head as well as the brachialis, a muscle that must not be forgotten about.
Having a strong brachialis will help bring out maximum muscle definition, while giving you a great bicep-delt tie in effect.
- Grab a pair of dumbbells and keep them by your sides with palms down in a pronated position
- Lean over slightly and let the arms hang
- Curl both arms up simultaneously, without rotating the wrists
Whenever you move your bicep through a pronation movement pattern, you’ll be working to help thicken and widen your arms, so this is an important concept to keep in mind.
It’s not just training arms that matters, it’s how you train them that determines the shape in which your muscles will begin to take on.
Barbell Bicep Curls
The gold classic for hitting arms, you can’t beat the barbell bicep curl to help build strength and give you the foundation for your arm workout routine.
Since this one is a primary mass builder, focus on performing it early on in your workout session when you’re at your freshest point and can handle more weight loads.
- Grab a dumbbell at shoulder width
- Stand up straight and stable on your feet
- Keep torso straight and look forward
- Curl the barbell up, without raising the elbow
- Contract the biceps up top
- Go back down slowly, keeping biceps tension
If you want to hit your inner bicep head, you’ll want to use a wider grip while if you want to hit your outer bicep head, use an inside grip.
It’s best to alternate between these as you go about your workout session because doing so can help to prevent progress plateaus from setting in and wake up your bicep muscles.
Close Grip Preacher Curls
The next exercise that also earns top marks for hitting your inner bicep head is the close grip preacher curls.
This move is going to be great to do as a pump-builder exercise and can be done with higher reps while incorporating drop sets to really get you feeling it.
- Grab a straight bar closer than shoulder width
- Sit on the preacher machine and place the arms on the pads
- Let the bar go down slowly, stretching the biceps on the eccentric portion of the movement
- Curl up explosively, contracting the biceps up top
- Repeat the pattern
You’ll want to go slowly down the eccentric portion of the exercise to maximize the muscle fiber recruitment and create the micro-tears that’ll help your muscles grow back bigger and stronger than ever before.
Furthermore, avoid curling all the way up as at one point, tension will go off the biceps.
An all-around-tricep builder, floor crushers are great for something a little more unique.
To get the most from this move, you’ll want to angle your arms back and take three seconds on each rep to lower down through the eccentric movement.
- Lie down and place a barbell behind your head
- Reach back and grab the barbell at about shoulder width
- Without flaring the elbows too much, press the barbell up, contracting the triceps
- Return back down and rest the barbell on the floor
- Repeat the movement pattern
This places more total tension on the muscle fibers with each rep you do, which is what will then jumpstart the growth process.
DB Hammer Curls
The dumbbell hammer curl is one of the incredibly popular arm exercises that’s great for hitting the inner bicep head as well as the brachialis.
The key point to remember when doing this exercise is to ensure that you lock the elbows into the sides while you perform the exercise, which will help prevent you from swinging the weight upwards, using momentum to guide the force.
- Grab a pair of dumbbells
- Keep the dumbbells by your sides with the palms facing the torso
- Hammer the left dumbbell up without rotating the wrist
- Contract the upper arm up top
- Go back down slowly
- Repeat on the opposite side
- Alternate between sides]
It’s also wise to think of squeezing the pinky around the bar while performing each rep, which will help you hit maximum muscle activation as well.
Dumbbell hammer curls can be done with both hands at the same time, or each hand individually in an alternating fashion if preferred.
Close Grip EZ Bar Curls
Finally, the last bicep builder to consider of the top 10 arm exercises to add to your workout routine is the close grip EZ bar curl.
This is another bicep peak building exercise as it’ll primarily stimulate the long head of the biceps and is great for finishing off your workout routine.
- Grab an EZ-Bar closer than shoulder width
- Stand up straight and comfortably
- Keep the torso upright and arms tucked to it
- Curl the bar up
- Contract the biceps powerfully up top
- Go back down slowly, maintaining biceps tension
If you’re in the mood to change it up a little, simply switch to a wider grip and you’ll now target the inner bicep head to a larger degree, stimulating greater growth in terms of overall bicep width.
I’m Troy and I’m the creator of SuperHuman You and Co-Founder of Alpha Lion.
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