How to build arm muscles
The human arm has a lot of muscles, and in this article, we will focus on two of them: Biceps brachii and Triceps brachii. A common mistake in fitness training is to work too much with biceps brachii and not give enough attention to triceps branchii.
- Biceps brachii, commonly referred to simply as biceps, is a muscle found on the upper arm. As the name suggests, it has two heads. Both heads arise on the shoulder-blade. The main functions of the biceps is to flex the elbow and supinate the forearm. Many different exercises exist for strengthening the biceps, including the famous biceps curl.
- Triceps brachii is a large muscle located at the back of the upper arm. As the name implies, it has three heads. Triceps brachii is used for extending the elbow joint, i.e. to straighten the arm. Exercises intended to strengthen the triceps brachii can be divided into two categories: isolation exercises that focuses on the triceps only and compound elbow extensions movements. Cable pushdowns is an example of the former, while pushups and bench press are examples of the latter.
This exercise requires one dumbbell. It will chiefly target your biceps, but your forearms will also benefit. Suitable for beginners.
- Sit down a flat bench.
- Place a dumbbell in front of you between your feet.
- Spread your legs. Your feet should be resting on the floor and your legs should be bent, not straight.
- Pick up the dumbbell with your right hand.
- Place the back of your upper right arm on top of your inner right thigh. Extend your arm.
- Rotate your right hand until your palm (still holding on to the dumbbell) is facing forward (i.e. away from your thigh). This is the starting position for this exercise.
- While exhaling, curl the dumbbell forward while contracting your right biceps. It’s important not to move the upper part of your arm, only the lower part should be moving. Continue the curl and exhale until you have a fully contracted biceps. Your dumbbell will now be positioned at shoulder level, and the little finger on your right hand should be higher than the thumb.
- Remain in contracted position for 1 second while squeezing the biceps.
- Slowly and gradually move the dumbbell down again while exhaling. It’s very important not to swing. Lower the dumbbell until you’re back to the starting position.
Once you’re finished with your right arm, proceed to do the exercise with your left arm.
Alternate Hammer Curl
The alternate hammer curl will primarily target your biceps, but the forearm will also be involved. You need a dumbbell for this exercise. Suitable for beginners.
- Stand up.
- Pick up a dumbbell in each hand.
- Check that your torso is upright.
- Hold the dumbbells at arms length (near you hips) with both elbows near your torso. Also, the palms of you hands should be facing your torso. This is the starting position for this exercise.
- While you exhale, curl the dumbbell in your right hand forward while contracting the biceps. It’s important that you keep your upper arm still; only the lower arm should move. Continue curling until you have a fully contracted biceps. The dumbbell will now be at shoulder level.
- Remain in contracted position for one second while squeezing the biceps.
- Slowly and gradually move the dumbbell back down while breathing in. Continue until you’re back in starting position.
- Repeat point 5-7 but with your left arm.
- Continue alternating between right hand and left hand exercise.
Pushups in Close Triceps Position
This exercise will target your triceps, but your chest and shoulders will also be active. It doesn’t require any equipment. Not recommended for beginners.
- Position yourself lying on the floor face down.
- Place your hands on the floor, closer to each other than shoulder width.
- Lift your torso at arms length, balancing your body on your hands and on the toes of your feet. This is the starting position for this exercise.
- While breathing in, slowly lower your torso by bending your arms. Keep lowering your torso until your chest nearly touches the floor.
- While breathing out, use your triceps and some of your pectoral muscles to press your upper body back to starting position. Squeeze your chest.
- Remain contracted for a second.
This exercise requires much less strength when carried out against a wall instead of on the floor.
This exercise requires much more strength if you place your feet on a high surface, e.g. a bench, instead of on the floor.