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    « Why Breakfast is Important | Main | 10 Ab-Sculpting Exercises »

    10 Killer Arm Exercises

    Let's face it: few things say "hard body" like some rock solid arms.  Below are some of the best upper-arm exercises that will have people gazing in wonder at the way you stretch your sleeves.

    Let's start with biceps:

    Hammer Curls - Hammer curls get their name from the way the dumbbell is held while you're performing the curl.  Hold the dumbbells at your sides with palms facing your legs.  Curl the dumbbell toward the shoulder without turning your wrist.  The up-and-down motion of the exercise will mimic the striking blow of a hammer.  A couple things about this exercise (and all curls): on the eccentric (contracting) part of the exercise, do not let your arm reach vertical.  Once the arm is vertical, the bicep is no longer being used to hold the weight.  Similarly, do not completely lower the weight.  Maintain a bit of flex in the bicep at the bottom to keep the muscle engaged in the exercise the entire time.  Do reps of 15, 10, 8, and 5, increasing the weight with each set.

    E-Z bar curls - the E-Z curl bar looks like it has a 'W' shape at its middle.  Load on your weight and perform 3 sets of 8 reps.  By the time you get to the last set, your biceps should be on fire.  If they're not, up your weights next time.

    Incline curls - sit on an incline bench with a dumbbell in each hand.  Alternately curl the weight (left hand then right hand) for 3 sets of 8 reps.  By sitting at an incline, there's less chance that you'll use body momentum to lift the weight.  Remember not to lift the weight too high or lower it all the way.

    Concentration curls - with a dumbbell, sit on the end of a bench and rest your elbow on the inside of your thigh.  Support your upper body by resting your other hand on your knee.  While performing this exercise, the only part of your body that should be moving is your forearm.  If you twist your hand as you lift (pinky up), you put more emphasis on the bicep.

    Pullups - reverse-grip pullups (palms facing you) are best for this exercise.  Grip the bar with your hands approximately shoulder width apart.  Perform 3 sets of as many reps as you can by pulling your chin to the bar.  Avoid swinging up to the bar as it decreases the effectiveness of the exercise.

    Now let's work on those triceps:

    Cable press - attach the rope attachment to the high pulley on a cable trap.  Pull the weight downward, flexing the triceps at the bottom.  Slowly lower the weight and repeat.  This exercise can be even better if your gym has a single rope attachment rather than the regular two-handed variety.  With the single rope, you can perform the exercise one arm at a time.  Perform sets of 15, 10, 8, and 5 reps, increasing the weight each time.


    Overhead press - sit on a chair bench with a single dumbbell.  Hold the weight behind your head by the inside of the weight plates.  Press the weight over your head and slowly lower it to the starting position.  Perform 3 sets of 8 reps.



    Sit on the bench and grip the edge at your side.  Slip your bottom from the bench supporting yourself with your arms.  Bend your elbows, lowering yourself toward the floor.  Press back to the start position.  Perform 3 sets of 10.  To make these more difficult, rest your feet on another bench (as pictured).

    Dumbbell kickbacks - hold the weights at your side with palms facing inward. Bend your knees slightly and bend at the waist until your chest is just above parallel to the floor. Press the weight behind you, moving only your forearms. Slowl lower it and repeat the movement for 3 sets of 8 reps.bench while performing the exercise.

    Skull-crushers - sounds wonderful, I know!  Lie on a flat bench.  Close-grip an E-Z curl bar and hold it as if you had just completed a bench press.  Bend your elbows and SLOWLY lower the weight to your forehead.  Flex the triceps and press it back up.  Perform 3 sets of 8 reps.


    • Don't perform every exercise every time.  Choose 2 or 3 exercises, mixing them up every 4 weeks or so.
    • Safety first!  If you're not sure how to perform the exercise, talk to one of the staff at your gym for guidance.

    Be well!!


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    Reader Comments (1)

    Wonderful post... Very informational and educational as usual!

    Acai Optimum

    February 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJay B.

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