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Go to: Biceps, Triceps, Forearms

Arms, the bodypart that everyone sees, are probably the most popular to train.  Every bodybuilder wants big arms with biceps bulging out of their sleeves.   There are 3 main muscle groups in the arms:  the biceps, the triceps and the forearms.  Here are the best exercises for BLASTING new size into those guns!


Biceps exercises all use a "curl" motion in which the upper arm remains stationary and the lower (forearm) moves in an arc.  Here are the exercises:

Barbell curls:  This is the standard biceps exercise, all the others are just variations of this.

One Rep:   Stand with your feet about 10 inches apart.  Hold a barbell with an underhand (palms up) grip with hands spaced about shoulder width (can be varied).  Keeping the upper arms tight to your sides, raise the bar in an arc until you biceps are fully flexed.  Lower slowly back to starting position.
    These can be done seated or standing using dumbbells.  When using dumbbells do the arms alternately i.e./  Do one complete rep with the right arm, then one complete rep with the left arm.

Biceps Curls

Preacher Curls:  Also called "Scott curls" after Larry Scott, who popularized them.  These are done by placing the upper arms on an angled or vertical platform attached to a bench. This prevents any movement or "cheating" while doing the exercise and usually results in an intense burn in the biceps.  They can be done with a barbell or one arm at a time with dumbbells.

One Rep:  Adjust the seat or platform to a comfortable height, Sit on the bench with your upper arms flat on the platform.  Lean forward and pick up the barbell and sit back down.  Slowly curl the bar up to almost vertical, then slowly lower to starting position.

Incline Curls:  These are the same as seated dumbbell curls except you do them on a 45 degree (or higher) incline bench.  These should only be done about every third workout as they work the muscle at a new angle.   Excellent exercise.

Hammer Curls:  These are the same a Standing or seated Dumbbell curls, except you hold the dumbbells in a vertical position, like holding a beer mug.  This works the muscle on the side of the upper arm and a bit of upper forearm as well.  Good exercise for a full well balanced arm.

Cable Curls: These are done using a bar or handle attachment off a low pulley.  The motion is the same as a barbell curl except you are pulling the cable instead of lifting the dumbbell.  You can do these single or double handed.  These work well supersetted with triceps pressdowns to blast the whole arm.

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Triceps are on the other side of the biceps and are used to extend, or straighten the arm. 

Lying Triceps (French) Press:  One of the best, this can be done on a flat or decline bench.  I recommend a decline bench if available as the angle works the triceps better.

One Rep:  Set a barbell at the end of a flat bench.Lie on your back on the bench with your head hanging off the end by the barbell.   Either have someone hand you the barbell or reach back over your head to grab it.   Hold the bar at arms length (like a bench press) and use a narrow grip.   Keeping the upper arms locked in position, lower the bar by letting your elbows bend until it is just above your forehead. (These are also called "Scull Crushers, or Nose Breakers" for obvious reasons.  You can bring the bar to your forehead, your nose, or over your head altogether (safest).  Remember to keep the upper arms stationary, then press the weight up until the arms are locked.  Squeeze the triceps at the top.

Triceps Press Downs:  These are done with a straight or bent bar on an upper pulley, such as a Lat machine or one side of a Cable Crossover machine.

One Rep:  Stand with your feed directly under the bar and take one small step back.  Use an overhand grip (palms down) and keep your upper arms tight to your sides.  Press the bar down until your arms lock out at the bottom, then let back up slowly.  The motion is the opposite of a biceps curl.

Close-grip Bench Press:  Just like the name says, bench presses with a close grip (3 - 6 inches between hands) is an excellent triceps exercise, and works the inner chest as a bonus.

Dips:  These are an excellent exercise for triceps and chest.  For triceps, use a narrow grip on a V-bar, if available, if not parallel bars work fine too.  See Chest for description.

Reverse-grip Press Downs:  These are similar to normal Press Downs except you use an underhand (palms up) grip and works very well doing one arm at a time with a handle on the upper pulley.

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The forearms don't usually need too much training as they get worked indirectly from just about every upper body exercise. Training forearms directly will increase you grip strength and give better wrist support, not to mention more size.   Nothing compliments a good upper arm like a matching forearm.

Wrist Curls:  These, and Reverse Wrist Curls, are about the only exercises for the forearms.

One Rep: Sit on a bench and hold a bar in your palms with your wrists resting on your knees.  Curl your hands, bending at the wrists, as far as possible, slowly lower to the lowest position.  For Reverse Curls, do the same thing using a palms down grip.

Farmer's Walk:  This is an excellent exercise for developing grip strength and will also help develop the traps as well as forearms. 
    Pick up 2 heavy dumbbells and walk around with them until you drop them.


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