Arm Exercises

By Lee Hayward
Arm Muscle Anatomy The arms consist of three main areas - the biceps, triceps, and forearms.

The biceps is actually a smaller muscle then the triceps. It is on the front of the upper arms. There are two heads of the biceps muscle (hence the bi in biceps). Beneath the biceps is the brachialis, a flat muscle group that runs about half way up the upper arm bone from the elbow joint. From the rear you can see the brachialis as a welldefined band of muscle between the triceps and biceps when a muscular bodybuilder flexes his/her arm. The triceps is a three-headed muscle that is on the back of the upper arm (hence the name tri in triceps). There are three primary muscle groups in the forearms. The forearm flexors lie along the inner sides of the forearms. The forearm extensors run along the outer sides of the forearms. And the supinators that lie on the upper and outer sections of the forearms. It is essential that when you do any exercise that you perform the movements correctly, if you don’t you will receive less then optimum benefit from the exercise. It is very difficult to unlearn bad exercise habits, so it is best to learn the right exercise technique from the very start. The key to developing the arms is to avoid overtraining these small muscle groups. The arms are used as secondary muscles in almost all chest, back, and shoulder exercises. For example, the biceps are used when doing any type of rowing movement for the back. The triceps are used when doing any type of pressing movement for the chest and/or shoulders. And the forearms are used whenever you have to grip the weights.

Bicep Exercises
Standing Barbell Curls This exercise is a basic movement that works the biceps and forearms.

Grab a barbell with an underhand grip. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Let the barbell hang in front of you at arms length. Keep your elbows close to your torso at all times. Moving only your forearms, use your bicep strength to curl the barbell up to shoulder level. Hold this position for a second to maximize the peak contraction in the biceps. Slowly lower the barbell to the starting position. Repeat.

Tips - do not lift excess weight and use momentum to swing the barbell up. Use a lighter weight and keep the movement slow and controlled. For variety you can use different types of barbells (i.e. an ez curl bar) to work the muscles at different angles. You can also do this exercise with a bar attached to a low cable pulley.

Standing Dumbbell Curls This exercise is similar to the barbell curl. It works the biceps and forearms.

Grab a pair of dumbbells. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Let the dumbbells hang at arms length on each side of your body. Keep your elbows close to your torso at all times. Moving only your forearms, use your bicep strength to curl the dumbbells up to shoulder level. Rotate your hands so that your palms are facing upwards at the top. Hold this position for a second to maximize the peak contraction in the biceps. Slowly lower the dumbbells to the starting position. Repeat. Tips - do not lift excess weight and use momentum to swing the dumbbells up. Use a lighter weight and keep the movement slow and controlled. For variety you can do this exercise with one arm at a time. Dumbbell Hammer Curls This exercise is similar to the dumbbell curl. It works the biceps, brachialis, and forearms.

Grab a pair of dumbbells. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Let the dumbbells hang at arms length on each side of your body. Keep your elbows close to your torso at all times and keep the palms of your hands facing each other. Moving only your forearms, use your bicep and forearm strength to curl the dumbbells up to shoulder level. Do not rotate your hands as you curl the dumbbells. Hold the top position for a second to maximize the peak contraction in the biceps. Slowly lower the dumbbells to the starting position. Repeat. Tips - do not lift excess weight and use momentum to swing the dumbbells up. Use a lighter weight and keep the movement slow and controlled. For variety you can do this exercise with one arm at a time. Incline Dumbbell Curls This exercise is similar to the standing dumbbell curl. It works the biceps and forearms.

Grab a pair of dumbbells. Sit back on an incline bench with your feet shoulder width apart. Let the dumbbells hang at arms length on each side of the bench behind your body. This exercise isolates and stretches the biceps more then standing dumbbell curls so you will have to use less weight. Moving only your forearms, use your bicep strength to curl the dumbbells up to shoulder level. Hold this position for a second to maximize the peak contraction in the biceps. Slowly lower the dumbbells to the starting position. Hold this position for a second to really stretch the biceps. Repeat. Tips - do not lift excess weight and use momentum to swing the dumbbells up. Use a lighter weight and keep the movement slow and controlled. For variety you can do this exercise with one arm at a time. Preacher Curls This exercise isolates the biceps. Secondary stress is applied to the forearms.

Sit on a preacher bench with your upper arms lying flat on the pad, palms of your hands facing up. Have a training partner hand you a barbell. Lower the barbell until your elbows are almost straight and you feel a good stretch in the biceps. Moving only your forearms, use your bicep strength to curl the barbell up to shoulder level. Slowly lower the barbell back to the starting position. Hold this position for a second to really stretch the biceps. Repeat. Tips - since this is an isolation exercise use lighter weights and really focus on using perfect exercise form. For variety you can do this exercise with dumbbells instead of a barbell. You can also do this exercise with a bar attached to a low cable pulley. Dumbbell Concentration Curls This exercise isolates the biceps and is good for getting a peak contraction in the muscles.

Sit at the end of an exercise bench with your legs spread. Reach down between your legs and pick up a light dumbbell with one hand. Brace your elbow against your knee and fully straighten your arm. Place your other hand on your opposite leg to support your upper body. Moving only your forearm, use your bicep strength to curl the dumbbell up to shoulder level. Hold this position for a couple of seconds to maximize the peak contraction in the biceps. Slowly lower the dumbbell to the starting position. Repeat for the desired number of reps. Do the same for your other arm. Tip - since this is an isolation exercise use lighter weights and really focus on using perfect exercise form.

Tricep Exercises
Lying Barbell Extensions This exercise works the triceps, particularly the large inner head of the tricep muscle.

Lie back on a flat bench. Feet shoulder width apart on each side of the bench. Have a training partner hand you a barbell. Grip it with your hands place a bit narrower then shoulder width. Press the barbell up until it is at arms length above your shoulders. Moving only your forearms lower the barbell in an arc motion until it is an inch above your forehead. Using your triceps strength push the bar back up in an arc motion to the starting position. Repeat. Tips - have a training partner spot you while you are doing lying barbell extensions just in case you need help lifting the weight. For variety you can do this exercise with an ez bar or dumbbells.

Close Grip Bench Press This is a basic tricep exercise. It works the triceps (inner and outer heads), pecs, and deltoids.

Lie back on a bench pressing bench. Your feet should be flat on the floor, shoulder width apart. Grab the bar just a bit narrower then shoulder width. Straighten your arms to lift the barbell off the rack. Position the bar so it is at arms length over you lower chest. Lower the barbell until it touches your lower chest. As you lower the bar keep your upper arms close to your torso. With out bouncing the bar off your chest push the bar up until it is back to the starting position. Repeat. Tips - you should always have a training partner spot you when doing the close grip bench press, just in case you need help lifting the barbell off your chest.

Tricep Dumbbell Extensions This exercise works the triceps, particularly the long inner head of the triceps.

Grab a light dumbbell with one hand. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Lift the dumbbell so that it is at arms length straight above you shoulder. Keep a slight bend in your knees to take pressure off the lower back. Slowly lower the dumbbell in an arc motion behind your head until your elbow is at a 90degree angle. Slowly lift the dumbbell in an arc motion back to the starting position. Repeat for the desired number of reps. Do the same for the other arm. Tip - You can do this exercise with both arms at the same time by using a barbell, two dumbbells, or holding 1 dumbbell with two hands.

Tricep Push Downs This exercise targets the triceps, particularly the outer head of the triceps.

Attach a bar to an overhead pulley. Stand in front of the pulley with your feet shoulder width apart. Grab the bar with a narrow overhand grip. Bend your arms fully and tuck your elbows close to your sides at all times during the exercise. Moving just your forearms push the bar down in an arc motion until your arms are straight. Hold this position and squeeze your triceps for a second to maximize the peak contraction. Slowly lower to the starting position. Repeat. Tips - do not let the weight plates touch during the exercise, keep the tension on the tricep muscles. For variety you can use different bars attached to the overhead pulley (i.e. ez bar, V bar, etc.) to work the muscles at different angles.

Tricep Dumbbell Kick Backs This is a good exercise to hit all three heads of the triceps with a good peak contraction.

Grab a light dumbbell in one hand. Stand beside a flat exercise bench. Bend over at the waist until your upper torso is parallel to the floor and place your other hand on the bench to support yourself. Keep your upper arm along the side of your torso during the entire exercise. Moving just your forearm lift the dumbbell in an arc motion until your arm is straight. Hold this position for a couple of seconds to maximize the peak contraction in the triceps. Slowly return the dumbbell to the starting position. Repeat. Tip - you can also do this exercise with a handle attached to a low cable pulley. This variation will keep constant tension on the triceps muscles.

Tricep Bench Dips This is a good exercise that works all of the triceps, but it emphasizes the outer head a little more then the other two heads. Secondary stress is applied to the deltoids.

Place two flat exercise benches parallel to each other and about two and a half feet apart (you may need to adjust the distance a bit after you try the movement). Place your feet on one bench and your hands on the other bench. Keep your legs together and your hands just a bit narrower then shoulder width. Straighten your arms and position your body so it is L shaped between the two benches. Bend your arms and slowly lower your body between the benches as far as comfortable. Hold this stretched position for a second. Straighten your arms and push yourself back up to the starting position. Repeat. Tip - you can add resistance to this exercise by having a training partner place a weight plate on your lap.

Forearm Exercises
Reverse Curls This exercise emphasises the brachialis muscles and the supinators muscles of your forearms.

Grip a barbell with your hands placed shoulder width apart. Palms of your hands facing down. Stand up right with your feet shoulder width apart. Let the barbell hang at arms length in front of your body. Keep your elbows close to your torso at all times. Moving only your forearms, curl the barbell up to shoulder level. Hold this position for a second to maximize the peak contraction. Slowly lower the barbell to the starting position. Repeat. Tips - do not lift excess weight and use momentum to swing the barbell up. Use a lighter weight and keep the movement slow and controlled. For variety you can use different types of barbells (i.e. an ez curl bar) to work the muscles at different angles. You can also do this exercise with a bar attached to a low cable pulley.

Barbell Wrist Curls This exercise works the forearm flexor muscles.

Grab a barbell with your hands narrower then shoulder width apart. Palms of your hands facing up. Sit on a flat exercise bench, let your forearms rest on the bench, your wrists should be hanging over the end of the bench. Using your forearm strength, curl the barbell moving only your wrists in a small semicircular arc. Hold the barbell at the top position for a second to maximize the peak contraction in the forearm flexors. Slowly lower the barbell back to the starting position. Repeat. Tips - you may want to place your thumbs on the same side of the bar as your fingers. Some people find that this helps to isolate the forearm flexors better. Instead of doing this exercise on a flat bench you can do it in a seated position and have your forearms rest on your thighs and let the barbell hang over your knees.

Dumbbell Wrist Curls This exercise is similar to the barbell wrist curls. It works the forearm flexor muscles.

Grab a pair of dumbbells and keep the palms of your hands facing up. Sit on a flat exercise bench, let your forearms rest on your thighs, your wrist should be hanging over the end of your knees. Using your forearm strength, curl the dumbbells moving only your wrist in a small semicircular arc. Hold the dumbbell at the top position for a second to maximize the peak contraction in the forearm flexors. Slowly lower the dumbbell back to the starting position. Repeat for the desired number of reps. Do the same with the other arm. Tips - you may want to place your thumbs on the same side of the bar as your fingers. Some people find that this helps to isolate the forearm flexors better. You can also do this exercise with one arm at a time.

Barbell Reverse Wrist Curls This exercise works the forearm extensor muscles.

Grab a barbell with your hands narrower then shoulder width apart. Palms of your hands facing down. Sit on a flat exercise bench, let your forearms rest on the bench, your wrists should be hanging over the end of the bench. Using your forearm strength, curl the barbell moving only your wrists in a small semicircular arc. Hold the barbell at the top position for a second to maximize the peak contraction in the forearm extensors. Slowly lower the barbell back to the starting position. Repeat. Tip - Instead of doing this exercise on a flat bench you can do it in a seated position and have your forearms rest on your thighs and let the barbell hang over your knees.

Dumbbell Reverse Wrist Curls This exercise is similar to the barbell reverse wrist curls. It works the forearm extensor muscles.

Grab a dumbbell with one hand and have the palm of your hand facing down. Sit on a flat exercise bench, let your forearm rest on the bench, your wrist should be hanging over the end of the bench. Place your empty hand on your knee to support your body. Using your forearm strength, curl the dumbbell moving only your wrist in a small semicircular arc. Hold the dumbbell at the top position for a second to maximize the peak contraction in the forearm extensors. Slowly lower the dumbbell back to the starting position. Repeat for the desired number of reps. Do the same with the other arm. Tip - Instead of doing this exercise on a flat bench you can do it in a seated position and have your forearm rest on your thigh and let the dumbbell hang over your knee.

Flat Barbell Bench Press

This is a great upper body exercise. It works the entire pectoral area, deltoids, and triceps. The lats, biceps, and forearms also come into play to help stabilize and balance the barbell. Lie down on the flat bench press. Place your feet flat on the floor on each side of the bench. Grab the bar with a wider then shoulder width. Straighten your arms to lift the barbell off the rack. Position the bar so it is at arms length over your chest. Lower the barbell until it touches your chest then press the bar back up until it is locked out at the starting position. As you lower the bar keep your elbows tucked so that your upper arms are at a 45-degree angles to the sides of your body. Do not let your upper arms go straight out to the sides as this will place excess strain on the shoulder joints. Tip - you should always have a training partner spot you when doing the bench press, just in case you need help lifting the barbell off your chest.

Incline Barbell Bench Press

This is very similar to the bench press, it works the same muscle groups (i.e. pectorals, deltoids, and triceps). But the incline bench press places more of the workload on the upper chest. Lower the barbell until it touches your upper chest then press the bar back up until it is locked out at the starting position. As you lower the bar keep your elbows tucked so that your upper arms are at a 45-degree angles to the sides of your body. Do not let your upper arms go straight out to the sides as this will place excess strain on the shoulder joints. Tip - you should always have a training partner spot you when doing the incline bench press, just in case you need help lifting the barbell off your chest.

Decline Barbell Bench Press

This is very similar to the bench press, it works the same muscle groups (i.e. pectorals, deltoids, and triceps). But the decline bench press places more of the workload on the lower chest. Lower the barbell until it touches your lower chest / upper abs then press the bar back up until it is locked out at the starting position. As you lower the bar keep your elbows tucked so that your upper arms are at a 45-degree angles to the sides of your body. Do not let your upper arms go straight out to the sides as this will place excess strain on the shoulder joints. Tip - you should always have a training partner spot you when doing the decline bench press, just in case you need help lifting the barbell off your chest.

Dumbbell Bench Press

The dumbbell bench press variation works the pectorals, deltoids, and triceps. But because you are balancing two weights instead of one the dumbbell bench press will bring more stabilizer and supporting muscles into play. Dumbbells also force both the left and right sides to handle an equal workload thus helping to develop balance and proportion between both the left and right sides of the body. Grab a pair of dumbbells and lie down on a flat bench. Lower the dumbbells until they touch your chest then press the dumbbells back up until they are locked out at the starting position. Dumbbells allow more freedom of movement with your hand positions. You can keep your hands in a more neutral position, unlike with the barbell bench press. Tip - when handling heavy weights you may want to have a couple spotters help hand you the dumbbells rather then try and position them by yourself.

Push Ups

Push ups are a good basic exercise that most people tend to ignore. They work the entire chest area. Secondary stress is placed on the shoulders and triceps. Lie face down on the floor. Place your hands palms down on each side of your body. Keeping your legs and torso in a straight line push yourself up and support your upper body on your arms. Slowly lower yourself until your chest is about an inch from the floor. Hold this stretched position for a second. Push yourself back up to the starting position. Repeat. This is a good exercise to use as both a warm up to your chest exercises and as a high rep finishing exercise to really pump up your chest muscles.

Seated Barbell Shoulder Press (aka "Military Press")

This is a basic shoulder exercise that works the front and side delts and the triceps. It also works the upper chest and upper back as secondary muscles. Sitting on an upright bench. Grab the barbell with a wider then shoulder width grip. Push the barbell directly upward until it is at arms length above your shoulders. Lower the barbell down to the front of your shoulders, then press it back to starting position. This exercise can also be done lowing the barbell to back of the head. But some people find that the behind the head version places more stress on the shoulder joints. Tip - you should always have a training partner spot you when doing the barbell shoulder press, just in case you need help lifting the barbell.

Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press

This exercise works the entire deltoid area and the triceps. Secondary stress is placed on the upper chest and upper back muscles. Sit on an upright bench. Grab 2 dumbbells and pull them to your shoulders. The palms of your hands should be facing forwards during the exercise. Keep your feet at least shoulder width apart. Keeping your elbows directly under the dumbbells press them upwards until they are at arms length above your head, then lower the dumbbells back to the starting position. Tip - when handling heavy weights you may want to have a couple spotters help hand you the dumbbells rather then try and position them by yourself.

Barbell Upright Row

This is a good exercise for working the muscles of your shoulder girdle. Primary muscles are the traps and the deltoids. Secondary muscles are the biceps, brachialis, and the forearms. Stand holding a barbell with a shoulder width grip and keep your feet shoulder width apart. Keep your elbows above your hands at all times. Pull the bar directly up from the starting position until your elbows are shoulder height. Hold this position for a second to maximize the peak contraction, then lower to the starting position. Tip – using an EZ bar is generally more comfortable on the wrists compared to using a straight barbell.

Dumbbell Side Lateral Raises

This exercise works the medial (side) deltoids. Secondary stress is applied to the front deltoids and the forearms. Grab 2 dumbbells. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Hold the dumbbells just in front of your body with the palms of your hands facing each other. Keep a slight bend in your elbows. Using your deltoid strength, raise the dumbbells out to the sides and upwards in a semicircular arc until they are just above shoulder level. Hold this position for a second to maximize the peak contraction in the deltoids. Lower the dumbbells back to the starting position. Repeat. Tip - to really isolate your deltoids you can do this exercise seated on a bench. This will eliminate any body motion.

Bent Over Lateral Raises (aka "Bent Over Dumbbell Flyes")

This exercise works the entire upper back, rear deltoids, and traps. This is a very important shoulder exercise because most people tend to focus more on the front and side deltoids and the rear deltoids are most often neglected. Well developed rear delts will balance out your shoulder development and help to prevent a lot of shoulder injuries and rotator cuff problems. Grab 2 dumbbells. Bend over at the waist with your feet shoulder width apart. Keep a slight bend in the knees to prevent stain on the lower back. Hold the dumbbells at arms length in front of you with the palms of your hands facing each other. Keep a slight bend in your elbows. Using your rear deltoid and upper back strength, raise the dumbbells to the back and upwards in a semicircular arc as far as you can. Hold this position for a second to maximize the peak contraction in the rear deltoids and then lower the dumbbells back to the starting position. Tip - to really isolate your deltoids you can do this exercise lying face down on a high exercise bench. This will eliminate any body motion.

Decline Bench Sit Ups

This exercise works the entire frontal abdominal wall.

Sit on an decline bench and place your feet under the foot pads to restrain your legs. Either cross your arms over your chest, or place them behind your head to support your neck. Sit up and squeeze your abs at the top. Hold this position for a second. Then slowly lower your torso back up to the starting position. Tip - If you want to add resistance to the exercise you can hold a weight plate to your chest.

Leg Raises

This exercise works the frontal abdominal wall, particularly the lower half of the abdominals. Position yourself on the leg raise station. Support your bodyweight on your forearms. Keep your torso upright. Raise your legs in a semicircular arc until your legs are parallel to the floor. Then slowly lower back to the starting position. Tip - a less intense version of this exercise is to keep your knees bent at a 90-degree angle during the exercise.

Pull Down Cable Crunches

This is a good all around abdominal exercise. It places intense stress on the rectus abdominis, intercostals, and serratus muscles. Attach a handle to a lat pull down machine. Facing away from the weight stack. Grab the handle with an underhand curl grip and brace the back of your legs against the knee pad. Bend forward at the waist and crunch your abdominal muscles. Breath out as you contract your abs. Hold this position for a couple of seconds to maximize the peak contraction in the abs. Then return back to the starting position.

Frog Kicks (aka Seated Knee Up)

This exercise works the frontal abdominals, especially the lower half of the abdominal muscles. Sit on the floor or a flat bench with your legs out straight. Place your hands palms down behind you. Lean back slightly and use your abdominal strength to lift your legs.

Simultaneously bend your legs and bring your knees as close to your chest as possible. Slowly straighten out your legs and return to the starting position. Repeat. Do not let your feet touch the floor during the exercise, keep the tension on the abdominal muscles.

Crunches

This basic abdominal exercise isolates the upper half of the fontal abdominal wall. Lie on your back on the floor. Your feet should be flat on the floor shoulder width apart with your knees bent at a 90-degree angle. Place your hands behind your head for support.

Without pulling on your neck, slowly lift your shoulders off the floor using your abdominal strength. Breath out as you contract your abs. Hold this position for a couple of seconds to maximize the peak contraction in the abs. Then slowly lower yourself to the starting position.

French Press (aka "Lying Tricep Extension")

This exercise works the triceps, particularly the large inner head of the tricep muscle. Lie back on a flat bench. Feet shoulder width apart on each side of the bench. Have a training partner hand you a barbell. Grip it with your hands place a bit narrower then shoulder width. Press the barbell up until it is at arms length above your shoulders. Moving only your forearms lower the barbell in an arc motion until it is about an inch above your forehead, then using just your triceps strength push the bar back up in an arc motion to the starting position. Tip - using an ez curl bar is generally more comfortable and will place less stress on the wrists then a straight bar.

Close Grip Bench Press

This exercise is a big basic compound movement that heavily works the triceps as well as the chest and shoulders.

Lie down on the flat bench press. Place your feet flat on the floor on each side of the bench. Grab the bar with a grip no wider then the width of your torso, generally for most guys this will be with the index fingers on the smooth part of an standard Olympic barbell. Straighten your arms to lift the barbell off the rack. Position the bar so it is at arms length over your chest. Lower the barbell until it touches your lower chest / upper abs, then press the bar back up until it is locked out at the starting position. As you lower the bar keep your elbows tucked in close to the sides of your body. Do not let your upper arms go straight out to the sides as this will place excess strain on the shoulder joints. Tip - you should always have a training partner spot you when doing the close grip bench press, just in case you need help lifting the barbell.

Tricep Cable Push Downs

This exercise targets the outer head of the triceps. Attach a bar to an overhead pulley. Stand in front of the pulley with your feet shoulder width apart. Grab the bar with a narrow overhand grip. Bend your arms fully and tuck your elbows close to your sides at all times during the exercise. Moving just your forearms push the bar down in an arc motion until your arms are straight. Hold this position and squeeze your triceps for a second to maximize the peak contraction. Then slowly lower to the starting position. Tips - do not let the weight plates touch during the exercise, keep the tension on the tricep muscles. For variety you can use different bars attached to the overhead pulley (i.e. rope, ez bar, V bar, etc.) to work the muscles at different angles.

Dips

This exercise works the triceps hard, but it is also a great chest and shoulder exercise as well. Grab a pair of parallel bars so the palms of your hands are facing each other. Straighten your arms and support yourself between the bars. Slowly bend your arms and lower your body between the bars until your elbows are at 90-degree angles. Hold this stretched position for a second, then push yourself back up to the starting position and lock out your arms at the top. Tip - this is an advanced exercise because you have to be able to lift your entire bodyweight. But as you get stronger you can add extra weight to the exercise by hanging weights from your waist using a weight belt.

Tricep Push Ups

This push up variation works the triceps harder then regular push ups. Lie face down on the floor. Place your hands palms down on the floor with your index fingers and thumbs touching (as shown in the pics). Keeping your legs and torso in a straight line push yourself up and support your upper body on your arms. Spread your feet a bit wider then shoulder width apart for better balance. Slowly lower yourself until your chest is about an inch from the floor. Hold this position for a second and then push yourself back up to the starting position.

Standing Barbell Curls

This exercise is a basic movement that works the biceps and forearms. Grab a barbell with an underhand grip. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Let the barbell hang in front of you at arms length. Keep your elbows close to your torso at all times. Moving only your forearms, use your bicep strength to curl the barbell up to shoulder level. Hold this position for a second to maximize the peak contraction in the biceps, then slowly lower the barbell to the starting position. Tip – Grabbing the barbell with a wider grip will work more of the inner head of the biceps, helping to develop more muscle fullness. Grapping the barbell with a closer grip will work more of the outer head of the biceps, helping to develop more bicep peak.

Standing Dumbbell Curls

This exercise is performed similar to the barbell curl. Grab a pair of dumbbells. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Let the dumbbells hang at arms length on each side of your body. Keep your elbows close to your torso at all times. Moving only your forearms, use your bicep strength to curl the dumbbells up to shoulder level. Rotate your hands so that your palms are facing upwards at the top. Hold this position for a second to maximize the peak contraction in the biceps. Slowly lower the dumbbells to the starting position. Tip - you can do this exercise in an alternating fashion curling one arm first and then curling the other arm. Curling one arm at a time will allow you to handle heavier weights then you could by curling both arms simultaneously.

Bicep Preacher Curl

This exercise isolates the biceps. Secondary stress is applied to the forearms. Sit on a preacher bench with the back of your upper arms lying flat on the pad, palms of your hands facing up. Grip the barbell with an underhand grip. Lower the barbell until your elbows are almost straight and you feel a good stretch in the biceps. Moving only your forearms, use your bicep strength to curl the barbell up, hold this position for a second, then slowly lower the barbell back to the starting position. Tip – using an EZ bar is generally more comfortable on the wrists compared to using a straight barbell.

Pinwheel Curls

This exercise is similar to the alternate dumbbell curl. It works the outer head of the biceps, brachialis, and forearms. Grab a pair of dumbbells. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Let the dumbbells hang at arms length on each side of your body. Curl one arm at a time. Moving only your forearm, use your bicep and forearm strength to curl the dumbbell in an arc motion across the front of your body up to shoulder level. Hold the top position for a second to maximize the peak contraction in the biceps. Slowly lower the dumbbell to the starting position. Repeat and do the same with the other arm.

Bicep Cable Curls

This exercise is similar to the standing barbell curl. But cable resistance provides constant tension on the muscles at all times.

Attach a straight bar attachment to a low pulley cable. Grab the bar with an underhand grip. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Let the bar hang in front of you at arms length. Keep your elbows close to your torso at all times. Moving only your forearms, use your bicep strength to curl the bar up to shoulder level. Hold this position for a second to maximize the peak contraction in the biceps, then slowly lower the bar to the starting position. Tips - do not let the weight plates touch during the exercise, keep the tension on the bicep muscles. For variety you can use different bars attached to the low pulley (i.e. rope, ez bar, straight bar, etc.) to work the muscles at different angles.

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