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arm workouts guide

THE ULTIMATE ARM WORKOUT GUIDE

When you hear someone say that it’s Arms Day, do you immediately imagine several sets of bicep curls?

Maybe you’ll throw in an occasional chair dip?

Guys, biceps are just ONE part of your arm. You also need to target the triceps and forearms!

Here’s the thing: One of the tenets of muscle growth is to understand the function of these arm muscles to learn how to properly target each of them.

A better mind to muscle connection to those target muscles means bigger and more defined arms. And who doesn’t want a nice set of arms to show off?

In this comprehensive guide to arm workouts, I’ll teach you arm muscle anatomy, the most important factors to include in your arms training, and the best exercises and workouts to stimulate arm muscle growth!

Here are the things I’ll cover in this arms training guide:

Before I show you how I’ve structured the absolute best arm workouts, I want to break out my Muscle Markers and help you learn the muscles that make up your arm.

1) ANATOMY OF THE ARMS

There’s no doubt or debate about the importance of mind-to-muscle connection.

If you want to maximize your gains and results, you need to get to know your arm muscles inside and out.

So, let’s start with the biceps muscle.

BICEPS MUSCLE ANATOMY

The bicep muscle has two heads, which is why it’s called the BI-CEPS.

This two-headed muscle is responsible for elbow supination and flexion as well as shoulder flexion.

BICEPS LONG HEAD

The biceps long head is located on the outer side of the biceps. It has a connection at the shoulder, which is how it aids in shoulder flexion.

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biceps long head

There are no exercises that isolate the long head of the biceps muscle. However, there are exercises that predominantly target the long head.

For example, the Hammer Curl is a great long head exercise.

BICEPS SHORT HEAD

Take a look on the other side – inside your arm – and you’ll find the short head of the biceps muscle.

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biceps short head

It’s the same case for the short head as the long head in that there are no isolation exercises for it. You can perform certain exercises to target this side more than the other.

For example, Concentration Curls are a great way to work more of the short head of the biceps.

BRACHIALIS

Finally, we have the brachialis, which is not technically part of the biceps muscle but nonetheless has a significant impact on the aesthetics of your arms.

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brachialis muscle

How’s that? This muscle makes your arms look wider, especially if someone is looking at you head-on.

TRICEPS MUSCLE ANATOMY

Turn your arm over and we’ll breakdown the three-headed muscle on the back of your arms: the triceps brachii.

LATERAL HEAD

The lateral head of the triceps, which is near the biceps brachialis, aids in elbow extension.

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triceps lateral head

MEDIAL HEAD

The medial head of the triceps primarily assists with elbow extension, but it also participates in forearm extension.

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triceps medial head

LONG HEAD

The long head of the triceps muscles overlap the shoulder joint, which is relevant since it directly affects adduction and extension of the arm.

It also assists with elbow flexion.

The long head of the triceps is particularly important since it accounts for the majority of the size of the triceps brachii. In other words, if you want bigger arms overall, you must focus on this portion of the triceps.

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triceps long head

FOREARM MUSCLE ANATOMY

Let’s move on to what I believe is the most neglected part of the arms: the  .

BRACHIORADIALIS

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brachioradialis

The brachioradialis begins on the humerus and ends on the bone at the thumb side of the forearm.

The brachioradialis muscle does not cross the wrist joint and therefore has no effect on the wrist. This indicates that the brachioradialis does not extend or flex the wrist in the same manner as other forearm muscles.

Speaking of flexing and extending…

FLEXORS AND EXTENSORS

For the remaining flexors and extensors, I’d argue that it’s more important to look at the functions of the forearms instead of the muscles.

forearm muscles anatomy including flexors brachioradialis and extensors

Knowing HOW the muscles work is essential in both selecting the proper exercises and establishing a mind-to-muscle connection during those exercises.

The forearm muscles are involved in five distinct movements.

ULNAR DEVIATION

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ulnar deviation of the forearm

Ulnar deviation is the term used to describe the shifting of the pinky finger toward the outer side of the forearm.

RADIAL DEVIATION

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radial deviation of the forearm

Radial deviation is the movement of the thumb toward the inner aspect of the upper arm.

 WRIST FLEXION

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wrist flexion of the forearm

By moving the hand toward the wrist, you’ll achieve a level of flexion in the forearm.

FINGER FLEXION

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finger flexion function of the forearm

Move your fingers toward the bottom of your hand to see a different level of forearm contraction.

PRONATION

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wrist pronation function of the forearm

Turn the closed hand toward the outside and you’ll see a different area of the forearm activate.

 

2) WHAT ARE SOME ARM STRETCHES?

Focusing on all of the muscle groups discussed above, here are some dynamic arm stretches that you can use to get yourself ready for your workout each week.

We’ll include the shoulders as well since they are involved in most of the exercises I will cover below.

STANDING ARM CIRCLES

Start with your arms extended out to the sides at shoulder level, and then make small circles with your hands. Slowly increase the size of the circles until you feel a stretch in your shoulders and upper back. Give yourself a few seconds of rest before continuing on to the next arm stretch.

SHOULDER ROLLS

Start with your shoulders relaxed and down, then roll them forward and up, and then back and down. Repeat this several times to loosen up the muscles around your shoulders.

TRICEPS STRETCH

Reach one arm overhead and bend the elbow so that your hand comes down behind your head. Use your other hand to grab the elbow and gently pull it closer to your head. You should feel a stretch in the back of your upper arm.

WALL BICEPS STRETCH

Place your forearm on a wall at about shoulder height, and then turn your body away from the wall. You should feel a stretch in the front of your upper arm.

WRIST FIGURE 8

Start with your hands in front of you and make a figure 8 pattern with your wrists. Reverse the direction and repeat. This stretch will help to loosen up your wrists and forearms.

HOW DO YOU START TRAINING ARMS?

Some people may find that they are able to start training arms without any specific warm up exercises, especially if they are using these exercises as a part of a bigger workout session.

However, it is generally recommended that you perform some sort of light cardiovascular activity or dynamic stretching prior to working your arms to help prevent injury.

Don’t forget to include the stretches above.

3) WHY ARE ARM WORKOUTS IMPORTANT?

Now that we’ve covered the different muscles in the arms, we can talk about why it’s important to focus on a well-structured arm workout.

While aesthetics is important, the real reason you want to work on your arms has to do with symmetry and strength.

It’s amazing how much your arms can say about your strength levels, and you don’t have to say a word.

The amount work you put in each week and the quality of your workouts will be more than obvious based on the size and shape of your arms.

Which brings us to the idea of symmetry.

While it’s important to improve functionality in your fitness routine, it’s just as important to make sure one muscle group isn’t staggeringly bigger than another.

Not only does this throw off the aesthetics you’re going for, but it can also lead to muscle imbalance and muscle compensation issues.

I believe most of us can agree that training the arms for muscle growth is a good thing, but the problem comes in when you use the wrong exercises to achieve that goal.

So, what arm exercises and accompanying training volume should you include in a workout session?

4) WHAT IS THE BEST ARM WORKOUT?

Let’s address the most important question you came here for: What is the best exercise for arms?

If you’re looking for an effective arm workout, remember this:

The best arm workout hits all the arm muscles AND activates every function of those muscles.

That means your ideal arm workout training will target each of the heads of the biceps and triceps while activating the forearm in each of the functional movements we covered.

That’s a tall order, but don’t worry because I’m going to provide you with loads of arm exercises to focus on to achieve that training goal.

Let’s start with arm workouts at the gym.

BEST BICEP EXERCISES

What should you look for in the best bicep exercises? I’ve mentioned this above, but it bears repeating:

The most effective biceps workout will target the following:

  • Long head of the bicep
  • Short head of the bicep
  • Brachialis

It will also include exercises that utilize all three functions of the biceps, and that move through all three portions of the strength curve.

important elements in biceps training

BARBELL CHEAT CURL

You should always start your workouts with the “biggest” arm exercises, or the ones that are going to require you to move some serious weight.

You do these big exercises when you have the most energy.

For the biceps, the big exercise to go with is the Barbell Cheat Curl.

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cheat curl biceps exercise

HOW TO DO IT: Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Place your hands on the barbell with a supinated grip. Keep your elbow tucked to the sides as you use momentum to curl the bar up, squeezing your biceps at the top of the movement. Slowly – and I mean slowly – lower the weight to return to the original position.

WHAT MAKES IT EFFECTIVE: The ‘cheating’ portion happens during the concentric (lifting) portion of this curling exercise. This is going to allow you to create eccentric overload, which is essential for hypertrophy.

WEIGHTED CHIN UP

If you want to target all three functions with one exercise, the Weighted Chin Up is the way to go.

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weighted chin up

HOW TO DO IT: Set up a weight belt to hold a heavy but manageable plate. Grab a pull-up bar with hands shoulder width apart and with your palms facing toward you. Pull your body upward until your chin clears the bar. Slowly lower yourself to the starting position.

WHAT MAKES IT EFFECTIVE: The magic lies in the supinated forearm position of the underhand grip. Since it forces your elbow and shoulder into flexion, you’re able to hit all three functions of the biceps.

BANDED DUMBBELL CURL

Here’s the problem with Barbell Bicep Curls and Weighted Chin Ups: They don’t require active supination against resistance.

So where to turn? Resistance bands.

By using resistance bands to create constant tension, we can fix that issue. Introducing the Banded Dumbbell Curl.

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banded dumbbell curl

HOW TO DO IT: This takes some quick prep work. Wrap a resistance band around a pair of dumbbells but do this on the ground to make it easier. Now, step on the band and pick up the dumbbells. Slowly lift and curl the dumbbells to eye level or shoulder height, pausing at the top before slowly returning to the starting position. Fight against the bands as you lower – Don’t let them just pull you down.

WHAT MAKES IT EFFECTIVE: One of the things I love about this exercise is that the band increases peak tension throughout the entire range of motion of the exercise.

INCLINE DUMMBELL CURL

The Incline Dumbbell Curl is a great way to achieve peak muscular tension at the beginning portion of the biceps’ range of motion.

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incline dumbbell curl

HOW TO DO IT: Sit on a bench with the seat positioned back one or two notches. Hold a dumbbell in each hand and slowly lift the weights, squeezing the biceps at both the top and bottom of the movement.

WHAT MAKES IT EFFECTIVE: This exercise moves the arm behind the body and this places a bit more stretch and stress on the long head of the biceps.

BICEPS CURL TRIFECTA

The final biceps exercise is one that is a true finisher move.

You’ll alternate the following three positions in a single set: Supinated Cross Body Curl, Pronated Cross Body Curl, and No Money Curl.

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biceps curl trifecta

HOW TO DO IT: Start with the Supinated Cross Body Curl by supinating the forearm with palms facing toward the ceiling and forearms coming across the body. From here, move into the Pronated Cross Body Curl. You’ll pronate your forearm with palms facing toward the floor (overhand grip) and forearms coming across the body. Finally, you’ll curl the dumbbell as you outwardly rotate the shoulder for the No Money Curl.

WHAT MAKES IT EFFECTIVE: This is a combo of three curl variations that will help you do three things: achieve intensity, work the rotation of the shoulder, and hit the brachialis muscle.

To see more of the best biceps exercises that hit these functions and how to organize them into an entire biceps workout, check out the article Best Bicep Workout.

BEST TRICEP EXERCISES

Let’s move on to the triceps. Don’t worry, I’ll be covering arm workouts for beginners as much as those who have been lifting for years.

The best triceps workouts focus on three crucial things:

  • Hitting all three heads with progressive overload
  • Achieving a stretch on the long head
  • Targeting specific strength curves

tricep workouts should include

If your triceps exercises don’t do that, then you’re doing the wrong exercises.

Here’s my top picks for the best triceps workout.

CLOSE GRIP PIN PRESS

As always, start your weekly workouts with heavier compound exercises because this is when you have the most energy.

I’d recommend that you start with the Close Grip Pin Press. If your goal is bigger arms, this is one of the best arm workouts for mass.

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close grip pin press for triceps progressive overload

HOW TO DO IT: Lie on a bench with the barbell positioned across the pins or barbell support beams. Place your hands shoulder width apart with your palms facing away from you as you strongly grip the bar. As you raise and lower the weight, be sure to keep your elbows tucked in close to your side.

WHAT MAKES IT EFFECTIVE: The reason this is my go-to triceps exercise is when you press off the pin, you can guarantee your triceps are handling most of the work. You don’t have to worry about the delts or chest muscles taking credit for that work.

CABLE TRICEPS PUSHAWAY

Next up, I want you to perform a superset of Cable Triceps Pushaways and the Drag Pushdown.

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cable triceps pushaway

HOW TO DO IT: Take a staggered feet starting position, holding a cable rope in both hands and face away from the pulley. Place your arms above your head, elbows bent, and begin to push the rope outward, extending the elbows completely. As you return to the starting position, allow the arms to stretch backward behind the head. Once you finish your reps for this exercise, immediately hop over to the Drag Pushdown.

WHAT MAKES IT EFFECTIVE: Remember that we need to take the long head of the triceps through both extremes of maximum stretch and maximum contraction. This superset is a perfect combo for doing just that.

DRAG PUSHDOWN

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drag pushdown

HOW TO DO IT: Stand and face the cable machine. Take the same rope from above and hold it at the level of your abs. Hinge forward slightly while focusing on having an upright chest. Bring your shoulders and elbows behind the body so that when you push down, you will ensure a fully contracted triceps long head. Also, remember that as you push down, you’re getting the rope as close to the body as possible.

WHAT MAKES IT EFFECTIVE: Remember that we need to take the long head of the triceps through both the extremes of maximum stretch and maximum contraction. This superset is a perfect combo for doing just that.

ROCKING TRICEPS PUSHDOWN

The reality is that when you’re working the triceps, you tend to max out the strength curve in the middle of a movement. That means you lose tension when you get to the top of the movement.

I find that the best triceps exercise for addressing all the strength curves is the Rocking Triceps Pushdown.

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rocking triceps pushdown

HOW TO DO IT: Grab a cable rope attachment and move the pulley to the top level. In a staggered stance, begin with your weight on the front foot. As you pull down, rock backward on your back foot. Continue this pattern for all reps.

WHAT MAKES IT EFFECTIVE: This one exercise addresses all the strength curves you need to hit for the triceps muscle.

To see more of the best triceps exercises that hit these functions and how to organize them into an entire triceps workout, check out the article Best Tricep Workout.

BEST FOREARM EXERCISES

Finally, we get to that part of the arm that always seems to get the leftover work from the bigger bicep exercises. Not today! I want you to give just as much attention to your forearms as you do the other two.

Remember when I broke down the functions of the forearm to demonstrate the different parts of the forearm? We’re going to progress that idea with exercises that maximize the forearm’s ability to perform those functions.

In the process, you’ll notice a huge change in both functionality and appearance of your arms.

PRONE WRIST CURL

We start with addressing the wrist flexion and endurance, and we’ll do that with the Prone Wrist Curl.

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prone wrist curl with cable forearm contraction

HOW TO DO IT: Grab a cable handle attachment with an overhand grip and your palms facing away from you. Bend your elbow to take the biceps out of the movement. As you push into the cable handle, you’ll feel an intense contraction of the forearm muscles with this variation.

WHAT MAKES IT EFFECTIVE: Most forms of the Wrist Curl can cause elbow problems. They also prevent you from maximizing your forearm gains. The Prone Wrist Curl is a different story. Performed with a cable rope attachment, the Prone Wrist Curl ensures the biceps won’t dominate the exercise while preventing elbow strain.

REVERSE WRIST EXTENSION

We now move over to the opposite side of the forearm to focus on a wrist extension exercise with the Reverse Wrist Extension.

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reverse wrist extension

HOW TO DO IT: Stand with a straight bar at hip level. Grip the bar with hands about shoulder width apart. Starting with the left hand, roll the barbell back, then switch to the right hand. Continue rolling the barbell, switching from hand to hand.

WHAT MAKES IT EFFECTIVE: The issue is that most wrist extension exercises take tension off the forearm as you move closer to the top. This is going to prevent you from getting the activation you want. The solution is to perform the Reverse Wrist Extension in a standing position with an opposite roll.

ROPE RADIAL AND ULNAR DEVIATION

When your wrist bends in the frontal plane, it will do one of two movements: radial deviation and ulnar deviation.

One of the best ways to work on radial and ulnar deviation in the gym is with a rope.

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ulnar deviation cable exercise using rope attachment
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radial deviation cable exercise using rope attachment

HOW TO DO IT: For ulnar deviation, start by standing near a cable pulley and holding one end of a rope in your hand. Slowly move the wrist down and back, pause, and slowly return to the starting position. Perform the full set then move into radial deviation by performing a similar movement, but pushing with the pinky side of your hand.

WHAT MAKES IT EFFECTIVE: A rope is one of the best methods to safely work on radial deviation and ulnar deviation.

ROPE SUPINATION AND PRONATION

Supination and pronation are the next functions on the list and again, we’ll turn to a cable rope to help us here.

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rope supination
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wrist pronation muscles working

HOW TO DO IT: To focus on pronation, start in a supinated position, by holding one end of a cable rope and turning the forearm away from the pulley. Push out with this finger into the rope. This will help you move into that resisted pronation. To move into supination, position yourself facing out with your back toward the machine. Take your hand with the rope and move it to the side.

WHAT MAKES IT EFFECTIVE:  Just like with the previous exercises, a cable rope attachment is a safe and low-impact way to work on these functions.

CLIP SQUEEZES

Wrapping up with the forearms, you’re going to focus on those intrinsic hand muscles that I talked about above.

It’s not something you think about every day because it happens so naturally, and it’s easy to take it for granted. I’m talking about how the activation of our fingers dramatically influences what goes on in our forearms.

An easy way to work on finger activation is with a clip and hand squeezes.

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clip squeeze for hand strength

HOW TO DO IT: You want to focus on taking your fingers and moving them from a straight to a flexed position to get activation of the forearm. Squeeze the clip with a tight grip. Do a set to failure and then decrease the tension as you do another two sets – one with the wrist in extension and another with the wrist in flexion.

WHAT MAKES IT EFFECTIVE: Given the importance of these tendons (finger flexors) and muscle bellies that run down through the forearms into our fingers, you need to work on that intrinsic hand strength. The best and easiest way to do just that is by doing some hand squeezes with a clip from the gym.

To see more of the best forearms exercises that all of these hit these functions and how to organize them into an entire forearms workout, check out the article Best Forearms Workout.

5) HOW TO GET BIGGER ARMS 

So, you want to stretch out those shirt sleeves?

There’s two ways to look at this: training and nutrition.

TRAINING FOR BIGGER ARMS

If you want to gain some serious size on those arms, you’ll need to focus on hypertrophic training.

More specifically, we need you to increase muscle protein synthesis.

Studies suggest that the best way to do this is by working out the arms three times per week with about two days of rest in between.

If you’re a hard gainer, this type of workout schedule will work really well for you.

Best of all, you don’t necessarily have to do anything different with your compound movements or the workout you’re doing right now.

You can integrate the exercises I’ve discussed into your current program either by combining them in with your program or inserting them in between your big workouts.

You might be wondering, “How many exercises should I do for arms?”

If you’re a beginner, one exercise per muscle group will work wonders. If you’re more experienced, you can do two or three exercises per muscle group.

BIGGER ARMS NUTRITION

What’s one of the best ways to support growth and protein synthesis?

Eat a diet that has plenty of healthy proteins.

A high-protein diet is going to be essential for building bigger muscle.

On average, you want to shoot for 0.8 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight.

And while a lot of people talk about post-workout protein, it’s more important to make sure you’re consistently getting protein throughout the day.

Still, a post-workout protein shake isn’t a bad idea.

If you’re looking for a workout to get bigger arms fast, check out my article on How To Build Bigger Arms Fast.

6) WHAT ARE THE BEST ARM WORKOUTS WITH DUMBBELLS?

With all this talk of barbells and cable machines, some of you might feel excluded because the only thing you have access to is a set of dumbbells.

More specifically, you might want to narrow it down when it comes to a workout with dumbbells – something solid and concrete.

Don’t worry – I’ve got you covered!

Let’s take a look at the best arm dumbbell workouts.

DUMBBELL EXERCISES FOR BICEPS

Kicking off this list, we’ll start with the biceps.

ALTERNATING DUMBBELL BICEPS CURL

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alternating dumbbell biceps curl exercise

HOW TO DO IT:  To start, hold the dumbbells at arm’s length by your sides, with your palms facing the tops of your quads. Slowly lift one dumbbell to the front of your shoulder while keeping your back straight and elbow and shoulder stationary. Once the dumbbell reaches shoulder level, pause and squeeze your bicep at the top of the curl before lowering it back to the starting position. Repeat this motion with the other arm and continue alternating until all reps are complete.

WHAT MAKES IT EFFECTIVE:  This foundational exercise for bigger arms allows you to maximize your strength lifting one dumbbell at a time.

DUMBBELL UNDERHAND DEAD ROW

The Dumbbell Underhand Dead Row is the next exercise on the list.

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dumbbell underhand dead row exercise

HOW TO DO IT: Start by holding a pair of dumbbells with your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent. Hinge at your hips to lower your torso forward until it is almost parallel to the floor, keeping your back flat and maintaining a slight bend in your knees. Exhale as you row the dumbbells to your sides, leading with your elbows until your upper arms are just past parallel to the floor and the dumbbells are at ribcage level. Slowly lower to the starting position and repeat.

WHAT MAKES IT EFFECTIVE: The Dumbbell Underhand Dead Row will involve the back, which means you can go a bit heavier. The catch is that you need to be able to control the weight for all the reps.

SEATED LOWERING DUMBBELL CURL

If you’re ready to feel an insane burn in those biceps, the Seated Lowering Dumbbell Curl is the way to go.

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seated lowering dumbbell curl exercise

HOW TO DO IT: Start by sitting straight up on an incline bench. Bring the dumbbells up to chest level. Now simultaneously lean back and lower the dumbbells slowly – Do not rush this one, guys. Once your back touches the bench, sit back up and bring the dumbbells up for the next rep.

WHAT MAKES IT EFFECTIVE:  I guarantee you’ve never done an exercise like this before. It’s perfect for building up muscular endurance as well as muscle mass.

If you’re looking for more great dumbbell biceps exercises you can check out my article on Best Dumbbell Exercises for Biceps to see more examples.

DUMBBELL EXERCISES FOR TRICEPS

Next, we have three dumbbell triceps exercises that are going to be exactly what you need to add some size to those arms.

DUMBBELL CLOSE GRIP BENCH PRESS

Let’s start with one of the most effective triceps-building exercises: the Dumbbell Close Grip Bench Press.

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dumbbell close grip bench press

HOW TO DO IT:  Lie back on a flat bench with a pair of dumbbells at chest level. Focusing the contraction on the triceps, push the dumbbells toward the ceiling. Squeeze the arms at the top then slowly lower to the starting position.

WHAT MAKES IT EFFECTIVE:  This exercise allows you to go heavy while maintaining control, which is perfect for building bigger arms.

LYING DUMBBELL TRICEP EXTENSION

We move from a direct pushing movement to an exercise that is going to remind you of a pulling motion: the Lying Dumbbell Triceps Extension.

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lying dumbbell tricep extension

HOW TO DO IT:  Lie on your back on a bench holding two dumbbells above your head, with your palms facing each other. Use your triceps to lower the dumbbells back behind your head. Pause then squeeze the triceps to bring the weights back up.

WHAT MAKES IT EFFECTIVE:  Overhead triceps extensions put the long head of the triceps on stretch, which causes rapid growth in the long head.

DUMBBELL TRICEPS KICKBACK

I’m going to bring some stability and core work into the mix with the next triceps exercise: the Dumbbell Triceps Kickback.

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dumbbell triceps kickback

HOW TO DO IT:  Start by holding a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing your thighs. Bend your knees slightly and hinge at the hips to lean forward, keeping your back straight. From this bent-over position, extend your arms behind you, maintaining the slight bend in your elbows. Squeeze your triceps as you extend your arms, and then slowly return to the starting position.

WHAT MAKES IT EFFECTIVE: The Kickback is a great way to really burn out the triceps while working on your core and stability.

If you’re looking for more great dumbbell triceps exercises you can check out my article on Best Dumbbell Exercises for Triceps to see more examples.

DUMBBELL EXERCISES FOR FOREARMS

Let’s wrap up these dumbbell arm workouts with one of my favorite forearm exercises: the Farmer’s Carry.

FARMER’S CARRY

Our final exercise is a favorite no matter what your goal is: it’s the Farmer’s Carry.

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farmers carry

HOW TO DO IT: Start by standing tall with your feet shoulder-width apart and a weight in each hand. Brace your core, and walk forward, maintaining good posture. Carry the weights for the desired distance or time.

WHAT MAKES IT EFFECTIVE:  The Farmer’s Carry is a fantastic exercise to strengthen your slow-twitch forearm muscles while also testing muscular endurance.

7) HOW TO DO ARM WORKOUTS AT HOME

Right now, some of you might be saying, “Jeff, you’ve been focusing on arm workouts with weights. How can I workout my arms at home with no equipment?”

I’ve got you covered with the following arm workouts without weights.

The only equipment you’ll need for these at home arm workouts is a backpack and a dog leash. Trust me when I say you can get insane results from the most basic supplies around the house.

HOME EXERCISES FOR THE BICEPS

Here are the best arm workouts no weights for the biceps.

WAITER’S CURL

You might be familiar with the dumbbell variation of this exercise as it’s been featured a lot within the ATHLEAN-X videos and articles. I’m talking about the Waiter’s Curl.

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backpack waiters curl

HOW TO DO IT: Load up a backpack with enough weight so that it’s just heavy enough for you to aim for the hypertrophy rep range, which is around 8 to 12 reps. Standing tall, focus your grip on the bag toward your fingers. Just like you would do when you lift dumbbells at shoulder level, curl the bag up to shoulder level as you squeeze the biceps. Slowly lower the bag to the starting position.

WHAT MAKES IT EFFECTIVE: I really like this exercise because it ensures you get peak contraction on the biceps while minimizing the contribution of the forearms to the curl.

HOME EXERCISES FOR THE TRICEPS

WEIGHTED DIPS

For the triceps, we’ll focus on a heavily weighted exercise that is guaranteed to add some size. This is the Weighted Dip or Tricep Dips.

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backpack weighted dips

HOW TO DO IT: Take the backpack from the previous exercise and wear it on your back. Place two chairs or stable boxes near one another and step in the middle. You can also use an L-shaped kitchen counter. Maintain an upright posture as you lower yourself to the point where your upper arms are parallel with the floor. Pause at the bottom then push yourself back up to the starting position. Take care not to lean too far forward into that all too-familiar push-up position as this will put more focus on the chest.

WHAT MAKES IT EFFECTIVE: Tricep Dips allow you to go heavy and see gains in muscle size from the comfort of your home.

HOME EXERCISES FOR THE forearms

CHAIR FOREARM EXTENSION

The Chair Forearm Extension takes the chair and moves it in a single direction, focusing all the contraction on those forearm extensors.

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chair forearm extension

HOW TO DO IT: Grab the handles of the chair with the back of the chair touching your torso. Using only your forearms, move the chair handles upward. Pause at the top and slowly lower the chair while focusing on perfect form.

WHAT MAKES IT EFFECTIVE:  This exercise will ensure you’re working all the extensors while building muscle endurance in the forearms.

If you’re looking for more great exercises to add to your home arm workouts, you can check out my article on Arms Workout At Home to see more examples.

8) HOW FAST WILL I SEE RESULTS FROM THESE ARM WORKOUTS?

I know a lot of you are looking at these exercises, ready to jump into them, and you have a ton of questions… mainly about when you’re going to see a big change.

  • How quickly can arms be toned?
  • Can you build arm muscle in 2 weeks?
  • Can you get ripped in 2 weeks?
  • How can I tone my arms in a week?
  • How can I build my biceps at home in 15 days?

I’ve got a feeling these are a few of the questions you’re asking yourself, and that’s understandable. You want to know if your hard work is going to pay off.

While seeing major results in one to two weeks may not be realistic, I’ve got a 22-day program that covers everything you need to know about how to build bigger arms fast. Guys, if you follow my 22-day arm workout plan exactly as I lay it out, I guarantee you’ll see respectable gains in less than a month.

But your real focus should be on the long game.

Don’t worry about how quickly you can gain a certain number of pounds of muscle. Instead, think about what your body should look like in a few months or a year from now.

That should be your target, and that’s where all your hard work should go.

9) ARM WORKOUTS FAQ

1. What is the best workout for arms?

The best arm workout hits all the arm muscles AND activates every function of those muscles. That means your ideal arm workout will target each of the heads of the biceps and triceps while activating the forearm in each of the functional movements we covered.

Here is the best arm workout:

2. Is 1 arm day a week enough?

Studies suggest that working out the arms three times per week with about two days of rest in between is best to get bigger arms.

3. What are 3 exercises for arm muscles?

Three exercises for the arm muscles are:

4. What should I workout on arm day?

The best arm workout will target each of the heads of the biceps and triceps while activating the forearm in each of its major functions.

5. How do you get killer arms?

To get killer arms you will want to target each of the heads of the biceps and triceps while activating the forearm in each of its major functions.

6. Can I tone my arms in 2 weeks?

It may not be realistic to tone your arms in 2 weeks, but it may be possible to see some gains in less than a month with this 22-day program.

This definitive list gives every level of lifter – from beginner to advanced – plenty of exercises to do to focus on arm growth.

Regardless of what your training goals are and what equipment you have at your disposal, you’ll be able to grow some serious head-turning arms.

As I stress in all my workouts, there’s a lot more to an arms training session than just a couple sets of curls.

If you want to force growth, you need to employ some techniques to push them beyond what those standard exercises can accomplish.

Give the exercises and techniques in this guide a try to create much more efficient arm workouts and you’ll start to quickly see results.

If you’re looking for an entire training day plan with complete workouts to build lean muscle and strength in every muscle group in the body, see which of our ATHLEAN-X programs best suits your goals and equipment possibilities:

Program Selector ==> See which program best fits your goals
AX1 ==> 
Train at Home With Dumbbells and Minimal Equipment
XERO ==> 
Train at Home With No Equipment

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