What are the Different Types of Arm Workouts?

Daniel Liden

Arm workouts typically are intended to increase the muscular strength, endurance, and flexibility of the arms. There are many different parts of the arms that people exercise, though most people tend to focus on the biceps, triceps, and forearms. The biceps, or biceps brachii muscle, is located on the upper arm; it's function is to rotate the elbow from an extended position to a bent position. The triceps, or triceps brachii muscle, is located on the back of the upper arm; it is responsible for extending the arm or unbending the elbow. The forearm contains many muscles that are primarily responsible for bending and straightening the wrist.

Doing push-ups can help tone the arms.
Doing push-ups can help tone the arms.

Biceps arm workouts are very popular, especially among men, because of the perceived visual appeal and utility associated with large biceps. The most popular arm workouts for biceps are curls, which can be performed with a barbell or with dumbbells. To perform barbell curls, grasp the barbell with both hands in an underhand grip and bend your arms at the elbow, bringing the barbell toward your chest. Dumbbell curls are similar, except that each dumbbell is held in one hand; both dumbbells can be curled upward simultaneously or one at a time. Many repetitions of lighter weights work well for endurance training while fewer repetitions of heavier weights are more fitting for strength training and muscle building.

Using hand weights to perform kickbacks helps to tone the triceps muscles.
Using hand weights to perform kickbacks helps to tone the triceps muscles.

While many arm workouts for biceps also benefit the triceps, there are also arm workouts that exist specifically to train the triceps. The close grip bench press is one of the most popular and effective workouts for the triceps. Close grip bench presses are very similar to regular bench presses; to perform them, lie on a bench beneath a weighted bar roughly even with your shoulders. For a close grip bench press, your hands should be roughly six inches apart on the bar. To perform the exercise, grasp the bar and extend your arms, lifting the bar, then bend your elbows and lower the bar to your chest; finally, press the bar back up and return it to its original position.

Dumbbell curls, seated or standing, are an effective way to build stronger biceps.
Dumbbell curls, seated or standing, are an effective way to build stronger biceps.

Many people neglect forearm exercises, though they can be very helpful for developing muscular forearms and strong wrists. An excellent forearm exercise called a seated wrist curl can be performed in a seated position using a barbell. Grasp the barbell in your hands and let your arms rest on your knees with your hands slightly beyond the end of your knees. The weight of the barbell should bend your hands down toward the floor. To perform the exercise, curl your wrists upward, away from the floor and toward your body, then return to the starting position.

Curls help strengthen the biceps and other muscles of the arms.
Curls help strengthen the biceps and other muscles of the arms.

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