Are you looking to add definition to your arms to match the rest of the body but haven’t got the results you want? Or are you a beginner looking for the right exercises? Look no further, this article is for you! In this article we go through the anatomy of the arms and how to train every muscle in it. We’ll go through different exercises and how you perform them in order to construct the perfect arm workout.
When most people think of the arms the thoughts go straight to the biceps, and while the biceps is important for good looking arms the triceps are actually 60% of the arm and have more different muscles and ways to train it.
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If you look at your arm, the biceps is the front side of your upper arm. The ”bi” in biceps stand for two and gives away that the biceps consists of two muscles, the long head and the short head.
The short head is placed on the inside of the arm closest to the body and the long head on the outside. When you bend your arm at the elbow it is the biceps muscles working and it is the main function of the muscle and bending at the elbow is also how we train it. Below are 3 different exercises you can use to train your biceps.
Grab a barbell, it can be straight or an ez-bar. Choose the one you like the most. Stand tall with the bar hanging in front of you by the waist with the palms of your hands facing away from you. Stabilize your body and start lifting the bar up though only bending at the elbows without using your body to create any momentum. Lift the bar until your elbows can bend any more and squeeze the biceps hard and hold that position for a second before starting the lowering of the bar. Do the lowering part slow as more muscle fibers are recruited during the lowering part. About three seconds is perfect during the lowering part. This exercise you can do for as many reps as you like. For strength 5-8 is good and for size 8 to 12 i perfect.
Alternating Dumbbell Curls
This one you can do both standing and seated. Try both and do the one you like the most. Grab a dumbbell in each hand. Sit or stand with the dumbells hanging by your sides with the palms of your hands facing your body. Start by lifting one dumbbell up bending at the elbow. When the dumbell has traveled in front of you rotate it so your palms face the ceiling while the dumbbell moves up. Lift the barbell as high as your elbow allows without moving and squeeze hard at the top for a second and lower it slowly. Repeat with the other side. Do as many reps as you like, but dumbbells are suited for a little higher than barbell curls so go for at least eight reps per arm.
Hammer curls incorporates the forearms a bit more, and are also said to create more width to your biceps. You can perform them seated or standing. Start the lift with a dumbbell in each hand hanging by your side with palms facing your body. Like the other versions you should do the lift bending only at the elbow. The difference here is that you keep the dumbbell vertical during the whole lift without rotating it. Lift them as high as you can or until the dumbell reaches your body, squeeze at the top and lower slowly.
Remember to keep the reps slow, especially on the way down! This is very important whichever biceps exercise you choose as time under tension is great to build your biceps.
The triceps is the muscle located on the back side of the arm. As the name suggests it is composed of three heads that attach to different bones in the body but is one muscle. The long, lateral and medial heads. The triceps is the antagonist of the biceps and the main function is to straighten the arm after the biceps has bent it. All triceps exercises build the whole triceps but below we have listed 3 exercises that target the different heads of the triceps more.
This exercise targets the long head of the triceps the most. The long head is the biggest part of the triceps. You can do this lift either on a bench or the floor. Grab a ez-bar and lie down on your back. The starting position of the lift is with your arms straight with the bar over your shoulders. Now bend at the elbows bringing the bar down slow towards your forehead, go just below 90 degree bend in the elbows with your palms facing the ceiling. Lift it back up moving only your forearms. Repeat for desired number of reps. Start this exercise light to get used to it as you handle weight over your face. The triceps like quite low reps so keep them below 10 on this exercise.
This one gives the lateral head of the triceps a little extra love. Go to a cable station and put a rope handle on the cable. Grab one rope in each hand, take a step back, bend over slightly, put your elbows by the side of your body and bend them until your forearms are parallel to the floor. This is the starting position. Start pushing the weight down straightening the elbows keeping the upper arms still. If you start moving other parts of the body, lower the weight. When your arms are straight you should feel your triceps contracting as your hands are slightly apart, hold that position for a second and start bringing your hands up again to the starting position. Repeat for desired amount of reps. Focus on doing the reps perfect instead of doing too many or go too heavy. 8 to 12 reps is perfect.
This one is for the medial head which is the smallest part of the triceps. Do this exercise in the cable station with a straight bar attached to the cable pulley. Grab the bar with a underhand grip at about shoulder width. Take a step back, bend slightly forward while keeping your elbows by your sides. Start the exercise with elbows bent so you forearms are parallel to the floor or pointing a bit up. Start straightening them without using any momentum. Squeeze hard when they are straight and hold that squeeze for 1 second and start going back to the starting position. Keep reps speed slow and focus on feeling the triceps working.
Try these lifts and put some of them in your routine. If you do full body routines do one exercise for biceps and one for triceps for 2 to 4 sets, if you do a split routine you can do as many of them as you like. Remember to always work your arms after your other upper body work as you use your arms during both pulling and pressing and you never want to sacrifice performance in the bigger lifts. So be a total boss and take your arms to the next level!