10 Best Arm Exercises for Bigger Biceps, Triceps {Arm Muscles}

Do you workout? Here look at my arms and you give that famous double biceps pose. 

Arms. Pipes. Bulging biceps. Whatever you call them, they are the most prized possession of any bodybuilder.

And here are the 10 most effective arm muscle building exercises, 6 arm training strategies and 3 effective arm workouts to build bigger, muscular arms fast.


Inside This Article:


Why Build Big, Muscular and Strong Arm Muscles

Apart from the ego-shot you get from bigger arms here are 2 more reasons to build muscular, stronger arms muscles.

  1. Balance and Symmetry: Check out any of your favourite movie star or natural bodybuilder and you will find arms built perfectly in balance in chest, shoulders and back. Slight bigger arms are even preferred for sexier looks.
  2. Arms help other lifts: Tell me an upper body lift that doesn't require arm muscle involvement? What if your bench press, shoulder press or pull ups suffer due to weak triceps or biceps muscles? Your big lifts will suffer.

Although arm muscles are involved in big lifts, they alone cannot build bigger arms. You need the Big 5 moves plus arm specialisation exercises to make your arms reach their true potential. But before the exercises you need to know...


Arm Muscle Anatomy and Functions

Your arms are made of 3 major muscles:

  1. Biceps brachii
  2. Triceps Brachii and
  3. Forearm flexors and extensors

1. Biceps is a two-headed muscle whose main function is to bend/curl your arm and lift it towards your arm. It also can twist the wrist downwards. But to fully develop the arm, you need to work 2 more flexors: brachialis and brachio-radialis muscles.

Brachialis has same muscle potential as biceps and thereby our chance to double up on arm development. Most people uncertain brachialis.

2. Triceps is a three-headed muscle whose main function is to straighten your arm and twist the wrist upwards. 

Ideally they should be slightly bigger than triceps and since it has lot of muscle building potential, we can add an inch to your arm size just by working the under-trained triceps.

3. Forearm Muscles: These arise from multiple joints but with one aim - to move your wrist and hands in various directions. 

Although they can help you move your wrist in a full circle, bodybuilders should best concentrate on wrist curls and extensions for fast gains.

Ok. Ready for some insider secrets to building bigger arms? Then read the...


6 Critical Arm Training Points

Here are 6 training tips you should use in every arm workout for optimal gains.

1. Do the best exercises first: Do the most effective, high threshold arm muscle building exercises first. No point doing triceps kickbacks before bar dips. No point doing concentration curls before chin ups or barbell curls.

2. Never sacrifice form for weights: Biceps and especially triceps muscles respond best to heavy training, but never sacrifice form.

Strict form, slightly lower weights are the best way to build arm muscles while keeping them safe from injury {repetitive stress injuries}.

3. Add variety: Your arm muscles are small ones. Although they recover faster, they don't respond to stale workouts. Beginners change workout every month and advanced trainers should change workouts every week.

4. Always initiate with the working muscles: I learnt this from Ben Pakulski. Keep the stress/tension on the working muscle by starting the move with it. Don't sway or swing your body. Stay tight!

5. Concentrate and develop excellent mind-muscle connection: Think the sets and reps through. Count your reps backwards. Put 100% into each rep, then the next. Never rush.

6. Work all the 3 heads of triceps and don't miss brachialis muscle: The best exercises are mentioned below.


10 Most Effective Arm Muscle building Exercises

I have divided the arm muscles into 3 group: Biceps, triceps and forearms.

Here are 10 best exercises for complete arm development.

10 Best Arm Muscle Building Exercises:

Biceps Muscle Building Exercises: 

A combination of barbell, dumbbell and cable exercises is ideal for total biceps development.

Triceps Muscle Building Exercises:

Work all the 3 heads of the triceps for total muscle development.


Forearm Muscle Building Exercises:


Best Biceps Muscle Building Exercises

Biceps are your prized possession and its your job to make biceps that you are proud of.

Bigger, thicker, peak biceps are possible with hard work and quality nutrition.


1. Barbell/Dumbbell Biceps Curls

This is the bread-and-butter exercise for building the brachialis and the short head of biceps. 

The standing curls targets the mid-range of curl movement.

The key is to fully extend your elbows at the end of all reps. The pre stretch of the muscle helps it contract even better.

Variations:

  • The cable versions provide constant tension and ensure strict form.
  • Dumbbells allow for a more mobile movement.
  • Arm blasters are a superior version as it prevents cheating and if you have the device, use it.

2. Chin Ups

Try to chin after arm exercise and see the difference. Chin ups with your palms facing you has been scientifically proven to recruit more biceps muscle fibers than other exercises.

Your arm muscles are strongest when pulling from upwards and hence your biceps are stronger when doing pull ups than any other biceps exercise. Period!

Then why don't many people use it. Ignorance and difficulty. Curling a barbell feels so right that most people overdo them.

How to do them: Perform 3 sets of all out chins and concentrate on pulling with your biceps not back muscles.


3. Hammer Curls or E-Z Bar Curls

Hammer and E-Z bar curls works your hidden brachialis muscle which lies underneath the biceps.

Since your biceps in 20-30% weaker in the hammer/E-Z bar curl position, your brachialis takes over more burden. This ensures more muscle stimulation and a balanced looking arm.


4. Incline Dumbbell Curls

Since we are looking for a complete arm development, why miss the short head of biceps.

The barbell and dumbbell curls target the long head only leaving the short head of biceps out since the short head of biceps work when the arm is behind the body.

Why work them? Because most bodybuilders have poorly developed short heads as they overwork the long head.


5. Preacher and Concentration Curls

These two exercises, the preacher curls and the concentration curls completes your curling range.

Preacher curls emphasises the first portion of elbow flexion and concentration curls emphasise the last portion of the elbow flexion.

Arnold Schwarzenegger is a firm believer that he owes his peaked biceps to concentration curls exercise


Peak Biceps - The Power of Concentration Curls!

Triceps Muscle Building Exercises

Let's tackle the three headed triceps muscle now. The long head, lateral and medial heads of the triceps when built will give an awesome appearance to your triceps.

You t-shirts will look fuller, your arms bigger and your whole upper body looks broader.

6. Close Grip Bench Press

Close grip bench press targets the long head of triceps muscle. The long head is also called the lazy head as it demands very heavy weights to grow.

Why it works? Because triceps muscle is strongest when extending the elbows at 90 degree angle. Close grip benching stimulates it maximally.

Close grip pulldowns are an excellent alternative for building the long head.


7. Parallel Bar Dips

This is the second best triceps exercise for one simple reason - It is a compound move which help you lift heavy weights {your bodyweight is the optimal training load}.

Compare this to any other triceps exercise. Heavier weights means more growth and that makes bar dips come out on top.

Read this article on how to perform parallel bar dips for awesome results.


8. Lying Triceps Extensions

This is the last piece of the triceps puzzle. Lying triceps extensions target the lateral head of triceps muscle.

You can use dumbbells or E-Z bar for this exercise. Both are very effective.

But remember no cheating, no outwards swaying of elbows and no swinging either.

Go heavy. Start small but progressive loading is the key to bigger triceps.


Forearm Muscle Building Exercises

Nothing looks better than rugged, muscular, thick forearm muscles. And how do you build them? By two exercises only.


9. Wrist/Forearm Curls and 
10. Reverse Wrist/Forearm Curls

Wrist Curls

Wrist curls and reverse wrist curls are the only 2 exercises you need to build muscular forearms muscles. 

Go heavy. Forearms are used all day long and they respond only to heavy training. 


Reverse Wrist Curls

3 More forearm training tips:

  • The only addition for the brachioradialis muscle of the forearms is the reverse E-Z bar curls.

  • Dumbbell Variations work the forearms very well as they increase range of motion.

  • Use a preacher curl bench to perform wrist curls as it maximises your end contraction position.

More on how to perform wrist curls properly here.


3 Effective Arm Workouts

Lets put together the 6 training principles and 10 best exercises into 3 effective arm muscle building workouts.

  1. Beginner Arm Muscle Building Workout 
  2. Intermediate Arm Muscle Building Workout 
  3. Advanced Arm Muscle building Workout

Best Muscle Building Program

Why just build arms when you can build bigger chest, shoulders and legs too. Watch the video below to learn how.


Summary and Action Points

Heavy lifts like bench press and deadlifts require isometric arm strength. They do target arm muscles but arm muscles require direct stimulation for accelerated muscle growth.

Use the 6 critical training points and 10 best exercises to build biceps and triceps you can be proud of.

The arm workouts are proven to add 1 inch to your arms in 4 weeks. Don't miss them.


› Arm Muscle Building Exercises

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