Training

The Ultimate Workout for Bigger Arms | 13 Best Arm Exercises

If you’re looking for the best exercises to help you build bigger more defined arms, then you’ve come to the right place.

Building bigger biceps is at the top of many people’s wish list, right? Whether you’re looking to dedicate a day a full session to those arm gains, or accessorize with varied splits in the gym, we’ve got the exercises you’ll need to make your arms stand out.

 

The best exercises for bigger arms  

1. Standing Dumbbell Bicep Curl

How to do it: Grab a pair of dumbbells and let them hang by your sides. Turn your arms so your palms face forward. Without moving your upper arms, bend your elbows and curl the dumbbells as up towards your shoulders. Pause and squeeze the bicep, then slowly lower the weight back to the starting position. Each time you return to the starting position, completely straighten your arms. 

 

2. Hammer Curl

How to do it: Grab a pair of dumbbells and let them hang at arm’s length next to your sides with your palms facing your thighs. Without moving your upper arms, bend your elbows and curl the dumbbells as close to your shoulders as you can. Pause, then slowly lower the weight back to the starting position. Each time you return to the starting position, completely straighten your arms.

 

3. Incline Dumbbell Curl

How to do it: Lie with your back against a bench that’s set to a 45-degree incline. Without moving your upper arms, bend your elbows and curl the dumbbells as close to your shoulders as you can. Pause, then slowly lower the weight back to the starting position. Each time you return to the starting position, completely straighten your arms. 

4. Zottman Curl

How to do it: Turn your arms so your palms face forward. Without moving your upper arms, bend your elbows and curl the dumbbells as close to your shoulders as you can. Pause, then rotate the dumbbells so your palms face forward again. Slowly lower the weights down in that position. Rotate the dumbbells back to the starting position and repeat. 

5. Decline Dumbbell Hammer Curl

How to do it: Lie with your chest against a bench that’s set to a 45-degree incline. Without moving your upper arms, bend your elbows and curl the dumbbells as close to your shoulders as you can. Pause, then slowly lower the weight back to the starting position. Each time you return to the starting position, completely straighten your arms. 

6. EZ Bar Curl

How to do it: Take EZ-bar with your hands on an angled grip. Rest your upper arms on the pad and hold the bar in front of you with your elbows slightly bent. Without moving your upper arms, bend your elbows and curl the bar toward your shoulders. Pause, then slowly lower the weight back to the starting position. 

 

7. Chin Up

How to do it: You will need a shoulder-width underhand grip and hang at arm’s length. Squeeze your shoulder blades down and back, bend your elbows, and pull the top of your chest to the bar. Pause, and slowly lower your body back to the starting position. 

 

8. Standing Barbell Bicep Curl

How to do it: Hold the barbell with an underhand grip, with your hands positioned about hip-width. To target the inner bicep, take a wider grip.  In order to target the outer part of the muscle, bring your hands closer together. Start holding the bar at hip height, then squeeze your core and contract your biceps to curl the bar up to the shoulders. Squeeze your biceps at the top of the movement, then slowly lower the weight back to the starting position, controlling the weight through the eccentric movement. Plant your feet and lift without using the hips engaging the core. 

9. One-Arm Dumbbell Curl Over Incline Bench

How to do it: Start off setting up your bench to an incline level so that you can comfortably rest your arm. Hold a dumbbell in one hand and rest it over the bench so that your forearm and tricep are flat upon the bench. Curl the dumbbell up towards your shoulder, isolating your biceps.

10. Barbell Concentration Curl

How to do it: Sit on the end of a bench with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Hold the barbell with an underhand grip, leaning forward until your upper arms are touching the inside of your thighs. You’ll be using your thighs to hold your arms in position. Curl the weight up, squeeze the bicep, pause at the top, then lower back into the original position. 

11. Preacher Curl

How to do it: Grab an EZ-bar with your hands six inches apart. Rest your upper arms on the sloping pad of a preacher bench and hold the bar in front of you with your elbows slightly bent. Without moving your upper arms, bend your elbows and curl the bar toward your shoulders. Pause, then slowly lower the weight back to the starting position. 

 

12. Inverted Row

How to do it: Grab a bar with an underhand, shoulder-width grip. Your palms should be facing you. Hang with your arms completely straight. Your body should form a straight line from your ankles to your head. Initiate the movement by pulling your shoulder blades back, then continue the pull with your arms to lift your chest to the bar. Pause, then slowly lower your body back to the starting position. 

 

13. Diamond Press Up

Start in a press-up position but with your thumbs and index fingers touching to form a diamond. Keeping your hips up and core braced, bend your elbows to lower your chest towards the floor. Push down through your hands to return to the start. 

 

Want to get those bigger arms faster? Here’s how…

 

1. Make sure you’re getting enough protein  

In order to increase the size of any muscle, you should be eating enough protein in your everyday diet. Ensure your dietary intake supports your training.

 

2. Increase weights every week

Train those arms 2-3 times a week, with a day’s rest between, progressively overloading your exercises each week to see faster progress.  

 

3. Don’t forget to stretch 

If you increase training on your arms and have a desk job, you need to ensure you are stretching. If not, the biceps tendon may become too tight and shortened, which can rotate your shoulders inwards.   

Try standing side-on to a solid wall, about an arm’s width away. Using the nearest arm, place your palm flat on the wall while keeping the arm outstretched. Hold for 30 seconds, then change sides. 

 

Don’t make these simple mistakes

 

Overtraining — Don’t be curling all day every day.  This will fatigue your muscles and increase the likelihood of causing injury.

Neglecting other muscles — Don’t just focus on your arms. All the muscles support each other in one way or another, so it’s vital you focus on those compound exercises to target multiple muscle groups at once.

Not eating enough — There’s only one way to increase muscles size and that’s consuming enough calories.  You need a sustainable surplus to support your training in order to gain size. 

Take Home Message 

As long as you get the fundamentals right in your nutrition and training you will soon have sleeve fillers but remember not to neglect the triceps, they have more muscles and ill provide a fuller effect.  Then there will be no cheating buying shirts too small anymore. 



Chris Appleton

Chris Appleton

Writer and expert


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