The Best Exercises for Strengthening Every Muscle in Your Arms

December 14, 2023 by No Comments

Lighter weights will increase endurance, while heavier weights will improve muscle strength.

Don’t forget your arms if you want to increase your upper-body strength! It is important to strengthen your arm muscles to make it easier to carry luggage, toss a ball, or swing a racket.

Learn more about the arms and how to keep them in shape.

Which muscles make up the arms?

Mecayla Fröerer is a personal trainer certified by the National Academy of Sports Medicine and an executive with the fitness technology company iFIT. She lives in North Salt Lake.

StatPearls states that the front of the arm contains the biceps (also called the biceps), brachialis, and coracobrachialis muscles. The triceps (or triceps) is located on the back of the arm. The deltoid forces sit at the top of the shoulder. The rotator cuff is located on the backside of the shoulder. It consists of four muscles: supraspinatus (or triceps), infraspinatus (or teres major), and subscapularis.

These muscles are all important and unique in their way to our arm movement.

You can use your arms to do anything from lifting a dog or carrying groceries to performing a plank in yoga or opening heavy doors.

Froerer says that by training all the muscles in your upper body, you will find a greater range of motion. This will help prevent injuries.

Your arm muscles also support your elbows and wrists. Strengthening your arms can help you avoid the stress and pressure that daily activities like using a cell phone or chopping up vegetables put on your joints. Samantha Parker is an AFAA-certified personal trainer and integrative health specialist with the U.S. Air Force.

What to do with your arm strength training

The American College of Sports Medicine recommends at least two or three days of nonconsecutive strength training per week for the entire body. This includes the arms.

The number of sets and repetitions will also be important. The ACSM recommends that, regardless of which part of the body you are training, you do 2 to 3 repetitions of 8 to 12. However, Parker says you can go further depending on your goal.

To build muscle endurance, you should use lighter weights while doing more repetitions and sets. This is how long it takes to work a particular muscle before becoming fatigued. She says that if you are looking to build strength in your muscles, you should increase the weights and decrease the repetitions.

When you are doing upper body exercises, here are some additional things to consider:

Do not lock your elbows. By locking your elbows, you can cause a chain reaction that will force other joints to be closed (such as the shoulders and wrists). Parker warns that “you could strain the ligaments, tendons and cartilage around the joint.” She says that you should use your full range of motion for any arm exercise to get the most out of the muscles.

Check out your posture. Your posture can suffer when you are tired. When you slump forward, the shoulders will internally rotate. This can lead to problems with your rotator cuff. Parker warns that if you lift weights while in this position, it could worsen the situation.

Parker advises: “Don’t add weight too fast.” What is a general rule to follow when choosing a weight? Froerer advises: “Choose weights that you can lift with proper form, but are still heavy enough to be challenging.” It’s important to make sure you can complete the last two repetitions with good form. Try using a lighter weight if you find yourself arching your back, holding your breath, or needing to get up on your tiptoes in order to finish the curl.

Breathe properly. When doing arm exercises, exhale when you lift weights and inhale when you lower them.

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The Best Exercises to Strengthen the Arms

Are you ready to shape up those arms? Here are nine exercises by Froerer and a sample exercise that incorporates them all.

Biceps Curl

Holding a weight each in your hands, stand with your feet at shoulder width apart. Lift the weights towards your shoulders while stabilizing them. Start with weights near your thighs. One rep is completed when you release the consequences. Lift and lower your body in a controlled way — for two seconds upwards and two seconds downwards. Repeat.

Hammer Curl

Holding a dumbbell in each hand, stand with your feet at shoulder width apart. Your arms should hang down by your sides. Lift dumbbells to your shoulders, keeping your palms facing your body while your elbows are pressed against your body. Repeat the reps and release the dumbbells to begin. Lift and lower each side with two-second counts.

Wide Curl

Holding a weight each in your hand, stand with your feet at shoulder width apart. Turn your palms so that they face the corners of the space. Brace your core while keeping your elbows pressed against your body. Lift the dumbbells to your shoulders. Repeat the reps, releasing to begin each one.

Bent-Over Triceps Extension

Standing with feet hip-width apart, hold a dumbbell each in your hands and hang your arms at your side. The palms should face inward. Leaning forward from your hips, with your legs slightly bent and your hands facing inward, bend your torso until you are at a 45-degree angle. Keep your spine straight and your head in line with it. Your chin should be slightly tucked. Keep your upper arms close to your torso and your elbows by your sides. Extend your forearms until they are parallel to the floor. Then, release your forearms to begin.

Overhead Triceps Extension

Holding a dumbbell each in both hands, stand with your feet hip-width apart. Your knees should be softly bent and your core engaged. Lift dumbbells until arms are straight. Be careful not to lock elbows. Palms should face each other. If this is too hard, you can use only one dumbbell. Start by holding it in both your hands and then lifting it with both of your hands overhead. Slowly lower your forearms, keeping your elbows and upper arms in place. The weights should fall slightly behind your heads. Repeat the rep by extending straight overhead. Keep your head in line with your chest and relax your shoulders throughout the exercise.

Triceps Dip

Sit comfortably on a chair or bench, with your fingers facing forward and your hands firmly grasping the seat. Place your feet flat on the ground and extend your legs out in front of yourself. Your knees should form a 90-degree angle (knees above ankles). Slide your butts off the bench or chair so that only your feet and hands are supporting you. Extend your arms nearly straight. While keeping your back near the chair or bench and slowly lowering your body to the floor, bend your elbows. Repeat the exercise by pressing into a chair or bench, then returning to the start. You may want to start slowly if you are having shoulder problems.

Shoulder or Military press

Standing with dumbbells at each side, your arms by your sides, and your feet hip-width apart, hold dumbbells. With your palms facing outward and your elbows bent at approximately 90-degree angles, lift the dumbbells above your shoulders. Press dumbbells up above your head from this position. Repeat the reps by releasing them to start.

Front and Lateral Raises

Stand with your feet hip-width distance apart. Hold dumbbells in both hands, arms at thigh height, and palms facing you. Lift the dumbbells straight up in front of you, keeping your elbows slightly bent and your palms facing down. Hold for a moment and then extend your arms to the side so that they are slightly below your shoulders. Repeat the exercise, but this time reverse the movement. Lift your arms straight to the side. Then, draw them in until they are straight in front. Finally, lower them down to your thighs. This is one rep.

Rear Delt Fly

Standing with feet approximately hip-width apart, hold a dumbbell each in your hands. Your hands should be facing each other as you bend your knees. Lift your arms out to the sides, keeping your spine and core engaged. Squeeze your shoulder blades as you do this. Release your arms back to the start position while keeping your torso in a hinged place. Repeat this for one rep.

Customizable arm-strengthening workout for every fitness level

Three different arm circuits are included in this workout. Each course contains one exercise for each of the biceps region, the triceps region, and the shoulder region.

Start with the first workout circuit. Complete only 1 set per session. Add the second and third circuits as you become stronger.

If you are at an advanced level, do each circuit 2 to 3 times before moving on to the next.

Circuit 1

For each exercise, use a moderate amount of weight. Repeat the exercises for three sets, with a 30-60 second rest between each set.

  • Biceps Curl: 12 reps
  • Bent-over triceps extension:12 reps
  • Shoulder Press: 10 reps

Circuit 2

For each exercise, use a moderate amount of weight. For the front-to-lateral raises, you may wish to use a lighter weight. Repeat the exercise for three sets, with a 30-60 second rest between each set.

  • Hammer curl: 12 reps
  • Overhead triceps extensions: 12 reps
  • Front to lateral lift: 10 reps

Circuit 3

For each exercise, use a moderate amount of weight. For the rear delt fly, you may choose a lighter weight. Repeat the exercise for three sets, with a 30-60 second rest between each set.

  • Wide curl: 12 reps
  • Triceps dips: 20 reps
  • Rear delt fly: 10 reps

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