Arm Workouts

Arm Biceps Triceps Muscles

Arm workouts will focus on developing your biceps and triceps primarily, but also your forearms. There are many different exercises you can perform to build these muscles up, allowing you to keep your workouts varied and more interesting.

Whether you want to do bodyweight exercises, use free weights or weight machines at a gym, there are loads of great ways to do a successful arm workout.

In an ideal world, your biceps and triceps will be worked equally in every workout, but this is not always the case. For example, dips will work your triceps much more than your biceps, so it is important to vary your workouts to train up all the muscles evenly.

Workout options

Press ups are one of the easiest ways to get strong, toned arms, as they require no equipment and little space. Pull ups are another great way to get stronger arms, if you have access to a chin up bar, and dips are also very beneficial.

However, if you want to get bigger arms, you will probably benefit most from some form of weight resistance, either in the form of dumbbells, a kettlebell, or using weight machines which work the upper body.

One advantage of using weights, compared to bodyweight exercises, is that you can typically make the same gains in a quicker period of time. If you just want general strength and tone, you will be fine with bodyweight/calisthenic workouts, but if you want a good level of strength by a certain time, weights will be more beneficial.

For the best results, make sure all movements are controlled throughout your workouts. If you can’t do a repetition with perfect form, you risk an injury, which can delay your gains further.

Below are some bodyweight exercises you can do – almost anywhere – to get stronger arms, and you can also wear a weight vest to increase the difficulty if you wish. Our weight machines page has instructions on how to get stronger arms in the gym, and our kettlebell page also has information on arm exercises.

How to do:

Press ups

Lie face down on the floor, with your legs straight, feet close together and toes pointed down into the floor. Have your elbows bent, placing your hands slightly out to the sides of your chest.

Push against the ground by extending your arms, lifting your body up off the floor, with your back straight. You should now be supported by just your arms and your feet. This is the starting position.

Maintaining this straight posture, bend your arms, lowering your body down to the floor, until your chest is just off the floor. Use your toes to keep stable throughout.

Push back up, extending your arms, returning you to the starting position and resulting in the completion of one repetition.

Diamond press ups/Narrow press ups

You can target different muscles more depending on the position of your hands during press ups. This variation works your triceps more than a normal press up does.

Take the same starting position as for a normal press up, but place your hands in the middle of your chest, just a few inches apart, or touch your index fingers and thumbs together to form a diamond shape.

Keep the same posture that you would have for a normal press up, and perform it in the same way. Keep your arms tucked in, tight to your body, as best as you can, and lower yourself down before returning back to the starting position, resulting in the completion of one rep.

Raised/Elevated press ups

There are many variations of raised, or elevated, press ups, which mean that part of your body is raised up off the floor. Using a box as an example, you can place your feet on a box to raise them off the floor, you could raise just one foot, or you could raise one hand.

All of these changes can increase the difficulty of the workout, as well as engaging other muscle groups, such as your core, making your workout even more effective.

These press ups will be performed with the same technique as normal press ups – a straight back and a stable posture.

One-arm press ups

If you have built up your strength to a good level, and have a strong core, you can try a one-arm press up.

Get into the same starting position as for normal press ups, but place your feet wider apart (more than hip width apart). Tuck one arm behind your back, putting your weight onto the one arm being used.

Carefully lower yourself down, bending your arm, and engaging your core to remain stable throughout. When your chest is just slightly above the floor, then push your body back up to the starting position.

Dips

Using an object such as a bench, you can complete triceps dips. Ideally you will have another object to put your feet on, meaning you are completely off the ground, but you can still do this workout with your feet on the floor. Be careful of which object you use, making sure it is stable and strong enough to fully support your weight, and without tipping over.

The higher your feet are, the harder the exercise will be. If you are competent at this exercise, your feet will ideally be on an object the same height as the one your hands are on. This workout will target your triceps and forearms very well.

In this example, two identical benches are used with a gap between them.

You will need to hold onto one bench and put your feet on the other. Facing away from the bench that you will put your hands on, place your hands on close to your sides, with your fingertips over the edge.

Place your feet on the opposite bench, with your legs fully extended, and your arms fully extended too, holding yourself in the starting position.

You then lower your body down, bending your arms until your elbows are at a 90 degree angle, keeping your arms tucked in close to your body, rather than bending them out to the sides.

Once you have reached this lowered position, you then extend your arms again, lifting your body back up into the starting position, resulting in the completion of one rep.

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