5 exercises for big arms
Is there anything cooler than arms the size of tree trunks? Big arms are right at the top of the average gym attendee's wish list. You will likely see good progress in growing your arms by just starting to train. But that's just as likely to diminish if you don't give your arms the attention they deserve.
When it comes to training arms, we are specifically talking about training the biceps and triceps muscles. The biceps flexes the arm, while the triceps straightens the arm again. Contrary to what you may think, the triceps is the largest muscle group in the arm and thus has the most potential to make your arms look impressive.
You train the biceps and triceps indirectly through the most push and pull exercises, such as the shoulder press or a dumbbell row. If you really want arms that make people turn their heads, then you will have to give them some extra attention.
We have prepared 5 exercises for you that are perfect for doing just that. Make sure to perform them with good form. Good form is very important if you want to get the most out of yourself. Don't go too heavy, but use a weight that you can control and that you can do full reps with.
Climb onto a shoulder-width dip bar with your arm extended and your shoulders directly above your hands. Make sure you keep your body upright. Then lower your body by bending your elbow until you feel a stretch in your shoulder. Your torso will move forward as you perform this exercise. Pause briefly at the bottom of the movement before pushing yourself back up until your arms are extended again. This is one repetition.
Dips are a great exercise for the overall development of your triceps, but do require quite a bit of strength. If the exercise is too difficult, try doing it between two benches with your feet resting on the floor. If you want to make the exercise more difficult, you can hold a dumbbell between your feet or use a dipping belt.
Make sure you use good form: don't stretch your back by bending your head back. Also, be careful not to put too much stress on your shoulders by losing tension at the bottom of the movement.
Grab a barbel with a shoulder-width underhand grip. Bend forward slightly so that your arms can fully extend without your body getting in the way. Curl the barbell up without using momentum. Then let the bar come back down in a controlled manner. This is one repetition.
Nothing beats the barbell curl when it comes to adding inches to your biceps. If a standard barbell is a bit too heavy or an underhand grip hurts your wrists, try an EZ bar or dumbbells. Make progress by adding more weight to the bar or by doing more reps.
Make sure you don't swing the weight up with momentum when your goal is to grow your biceps. Keep your back straight throughout the movement. It's tempting to lean back at the end of the movement to swing the weight up - don't do this.
Close Grip Bench Press
Lie on the bench and place your hands on the bar shoulder width apart. Your hands should be a little closer than how you normally do the bench press. Remove the barbell from the rack and lower it to your chest. Make sure to keep your elbows close to your body. Push the weight back up until your arms are fully extended. This is one repetition.
The close grip bench press is not only a great triceps exercise, it is also a good supportive movement to do if you want to get stronger on the normal bench press. Because you will be going quite heavy, your triceps will get enough stimuli to grow. Make progress by putting more weight on the bar or by doing more reps.
This exercise is sometimes incorrectly performed with hands so close together that they almost touch each other. However, be careful not to put your hands closer than shoulder width to the bar. By putting your hands too close together, you place a lot of stress on your wrist and elbow joints, which can cause nasty injuries.
Single-arm Cable Curl
Stand in a staggered position with your back to the pulley with one hand grabbing the bottom cable. Holding the handle in an underhand grip, extend your arm until your upper arm reaches behind your body and push your shoulder down. Keep your upper arm back as you then perform the curl and pause briefly in the top position. Lower the weight in a controlled manner. This is one repetition
With the single arm cable curl you use less weight, but you will see good results. With proper execution, this exercise is great for highlighting and attacking the biceps. Make progress by adding more weight or more repetitions.
As with all curls, try to resist the temptation to swing the weight up with momentum. You will see better results and less chance of injury if you perform the exercise with proper technique.
Overhead triceps extension
You can do this exercise with one arm or with both arms at the same time. Hook a rope on to the low cable pulley or use a dumbbell. Hold the weight with a neutral grip and bend your arms to lower the weight. Extend your arms above your head and pause briefly at the top of the movement. If you are using the rope, try pulling the ends away from each other. Then lower the weight in a controlled manner. This is one repetition.
The overhead triceps extension is great finisher for your triceps. If you do a set of these with the correct weight it will feel like your triceps are on fire! Make progress by adding more weight or repetitions.
Just make sure to keep your torso tight while performing this exercise. Especially when the weight you move is getting heavier. And make sure not to let your upper arms move back too far in the bottom position of the exercise.