Everyone wants to have big, muscular biceps they can show off in short sleeves. Even if gaining size isn’t your goal, it’s still important to have strong arms for day-to-day activities and overall health.
The two main muscles in your arms are the biceps and triceps. When planning your workout, include exercises that hit both muscle groups. Since your bi’s and tri’s are relatively small, performing the following four lifts with sufficient volume and intensity is all you need to train your arms.
1. Barbell curl
The barbell curl is a strength training staple, done by everyone from casual lifters to professional athletes. It’s one of the best ways to grow both the short and long heads of your biceps. You can add variety by widening or narrowing your grip on the bar, or using dumbbells or an E-Z grip bar instead of the classic barbell.
Remember to keep your elbows in, stand straight up, and don’t rock back and forth – this recruits momentum to help your biceps move the weight.
2. Tricep cable press downs
The triceps press down or pushdown is one of the best ways to hit every part of your triceps muscle. You can perform this exercise with either a straight bar or a rope handle. Stand up straight in front of the pulley machine with your arms tucked at your sides. It’s okay to lean slightly towards the machine with your upper body.
Only move your arms from the elbows down, and start the negative motion in your rep just before your arms are completely straight. This will maximize tension on the muscle and help you accelerate your tricep gains.
3. Bench press (close grip variation)
The bench press is a classic exercise that can be used to strengthen most upper body muscles, depending on how you perform it. While a normal bench press move emphasizes your chest by recruiting your pec muscles, moving your hands closer together will help you hit your tricep muscles.
Remember not to move your hands too close together. Keep them between 8 to 10 inches apart on the bar. If your hands are closer than 8 inches apart when you perform the close grip bench press, you will put undue strain on your wrists and elbows.
4. Cable curls
Barbell curls are excellent for moving heavy weight with your biceps. To round out your bicep work, add cable curls. This lift keeps the tension on your biceps and its surrounding stabilizer muscles throughout the entire rep, which improves both strength and size.
The cable curl is also versatile – you can perform it with a straight bar attached to a cable, or use individual cable handles to work each arm separately. Mix up your cable curl variations to keep your body guessing and build bigger biceps.
Using the Ultimate Arm Workout
Make sure to get adequate rest between lifting sessions – you’ll want to give the biceps and triceps at least 48 hours to recover, especially if you lift with intensity until failure. If you’re looking to build bigger arms, remember to eat at a caloric surplus so that your body can add mass.
Whether you are looking to fuel muscle mass or just want to get stronger, it’s also vital to get enough protein in your diet. Protein helps you with recovery and performance in the gym.
MET-Rx® Ultramyosyn Whey Isolate is an excellent option to help you maintain sufficient protein intake for powerful arms.* With 30g of Pure Whey Protein Isolate in every serving, plus 6 grams of naturally-occurring BCAAs, you’ll get a great-tasting shake that helps you improve arm strength and mass both inside and outside of the gym.*