How to Build Impressive Arm Muscles

How to Build Impressive Arm Muscles

When you think about a well-rounded workout routine, it’s common to picture exercises like squats, deadlifts, or bench presses. These are essential for building strength and muscle in various parts of your body. However, one area that often takes center stage in the quest for a perfectly sculpted physique is the arms. Building big biceps, triceps, and forearms is a fitness goal shared by many. But arm training isn’t just about aesthetics; it’s also about functionality and overall fitness.

Why Train Your Arm Muscles?

For some, the pursuit of big arms is purely aesthetic, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. Bodybuilding is built on the foundation of shaping your physique to your desires, and having strong, muscular arms can be a source of pride and confidence. However, there’s more to training your arms than just looks. Your arm muscles, including the biceps, triceps, and forearms, play a crucial role in numerous daily movements and exercises. These muscles are not only integral for performing strength-focused compound exercises but also essential for various everyday tasks, from carrying groceries to picking up your children. In other words, having strong, healthy arms contributes to a better quality of life. So, regardless of your fitness goals, it’s essential to include arm-focused exercises in your training routine.

Exercises to Build Big Biceps

Biceps Curl

The classic biceps curl is the cornerstone of building impressive biceps. To perform it correctly, start by squeezing your shoulder blades, glutes, and abs to create a strong foundation. Keep your upper arms perpendicular to the ground, engaging your lats. Eliminate any momentum by stabilizing your core. As you curl the weight upwards, squeeze your biceps and rotate the dumbbell toward the sky, parallel to the ground. If you want to intensify the exercise, add a 2 to 5-second isometric hold at the midpoint of the rep.

Spiderman Curl

The Spiderman curl is designed to eliminate momentum and isolate your biceps effectively. Begin on a bench with a 45-degree angle. Maintain a strong and stable body position, with your chest high and your glutes engaged. Keep your upper arm angle perpendicular to the ground throughout the movement. As you curl the weight, focus on rotating your pinky upwards and squeezing your bicep at the top with a forward rotation to protect your shoulder.

Dumbbell Preacher Curl

Dumbbell preacher curls offer a different angle for your biceps curls, providing a unique pump for your muscles. While specialized benches and EZ bars are commonly used for this exercise in big box gyms, you can achieve similar results with dumbbells and an adjustable bench. Set up by positioning the back of your arm against the incline bench and hugging your armpit to the top. Engage your glutes, hamstrings, and abs. Curl the weight, ensuring your upper arm remains glued to the bench, and maintain a neutral wrist position. Keep the range of motion constant without resting at the bottom or top of the movement for continuous tension.

Concentration Curl

Concentration curls are a classic exercise for building biceps, but many people perform them incorrectly. The key to success is maintaining proper posture. Avoid moving your torso and digging your elbow into your thigh by keeping your non-working hand away from your body. Sit with good posture, engage your core and shoulders, rest your working arm’s triceps against your thigh, and focus on moving only at the elbow to perform the curl.

Tall-Kneeling Curl

One of the unique features of arm training is the ability to vary your position to increase the challenge. Performing dumbbell biceps curls from a tall-kneeling position not only eliminates cheating but also engages your core for an added workout. Ensure that you squeeze your glutes and core when assuming the kneeling position.

Hammer Curl

To target the brachialis, a muscle just beneath the biceps, switch to the hammer curl. Hold the weights with a neutral grip and focus on moving only at the elbow. To prevent cheating, you can perform the hammer curl in the tall-kneeling position.

Incline Dumbbell Curl

Adding an incline bench to your curl session emphasizes the peak of your biceps. Set the bench to around a 60-degree angle and sit back with a pair of dumbbells in hand. Let your arms hang down, keeping your elbows behind your torso, and curl the weight by moving only at the elbow. Squeeze your biceps at the top of the movement, control the weight on the way down, and pause before starting the next repetition.

Crucifix Curl

The crucifix curl allows you to change your angle and isolate your biceps effectively. You’ll need a cable tower or a resistance band to perform this exercise. To maximize the pump in your biceps, try it from a tall kneeling position, imagining an invisible wall in front of you that you must not touch.


While chin-ups are primarily known for building the back, they can also contribute to sculpting massive arms. To make the exercise more arm-centric, focus on extending the time under tension by emphasizing the eccentric (descending) portion of the exercise.

Angle Change Biceps Curl 21s

This challenging exercise combines the classic 21s workout protocol with a shifting load position. By performing drag curls, standard curls, and preacher-esque variations, you’ll switch up your stimulus and experience significant muscle growth.

Resistance Band Preacher Curl

Incorporating a resistance band into your arm workout adds a new dimension to your arm pump. Loop the band around your feet to shift your arms away from your torso. Ensure you squeeze your biceps at the top of each repetition for maximum effectiveness.

Lying Biceps Cable Curl

The lying biceps cable curl provides a fresh perspective on targeting your biceps. As you lie on the bench under the cable, the goal is to maintain your upper arms perpendicular to the ground while avoiding any backward shift in your elbows. This ensures that the focus remains directly on your biceps muscles.

Exercises to Build Powerful Triceps

Skull Crusher

The skull crusher exercise is a highly effective way to build your triceps. It isolates the triceps and prevents any help from momentum. Lie back on a bench with your feet flat on the floor, keeping your glutes squeezed for a strong base. Maintain a tight core, avoid ribcage flaring, and engage your abs. Lower the weight while squeezing your triceps to create tension. Keep your wrists strong and maintain a 90 to 92-degree angle an inch from your head. At the top, squeeze your triceps for one second.


Push-ups are a classic bodyweight exercise that actively involves your arm muscles. To perform a proper pushup, start in a pushup position with your glutes and abs engaged. Place your hands directly under your shoulders with some external rotation. Look down at the ground, engage your mid-back, and squeeze your shoulder blades. Lower your body while keeping your elbows close to your torso and push back up. If needed, you can use a bench to modify the exercise.

Close-Grip Pushup

The close-grip pushup is a variation that specifically targets your triceps. It’s a safer option than diamond pushups, which can lead to potentially dangerous internal rotation at the shoulder. To perform a close-grip pushup, squeeze your glutes and core as you get into position. Look straight toward the ground and position your hands closer together than shoulder-width, with your hands facing forward. Turn your lats on by turning your elbows forward, and lower your body while keeping your elbows as tight to your torso as possible. Aim to keep your forearms as close to perpendicular to the ground as possible.

Triceps Rope Pressdown

The triceps pressdown is a muscle-building staple for anyone with access to cable machines. Stand in front of the cable stack, gripping the handles of the rope tightly. Keep your core engaged and your glutes squeezed as you press downward, moving only at the elbow joint. To maintain proper posture, you can plant your back against an incline bench while focusing on tension in your glutes, core, and shoulders.

Triceps Kickback

The triceps kickback is another effective exercise for targeting your triceps. To get the most out of this exercise, work with lighter weights. Set up with your arm using a bench for support and ensure your upper arm remains parallel to the ground. Extend your arm, moving only at the elbow. If you struggle to control the movement, consider using a lighter weight.

JM Press

The JM press combines the skull crusher and close-grip press, offering a unique exercise that builds both muscle and strength. When performing the JM press, remember to touch the dumbbells to your shoulders and keep your elbows close to your ribs. Focus on deliberate movements to increase the time under tension.

Bench Dips

Bench dips are a great exercise to build triceps strength, and you can perform them with minimal equipment. However, they may not be suitable if you have a history of shoulder issues. To perform bench dips effectively, position your hands on the bench so they point outward, with your fingers facing away from you. This hand placement reduces stress on the shoulders and offers a safer alternative.

Loaded Pushups

Adding weight to your pushups can significantly increase muscle growth. The key is to maintain proper form and balance while incorporating the additional load. Using a plate for resistance can be challenging, but it helps engage your core and glutes to prevent the weight from sliding off.

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