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Best Arm Workouts For Size & Definition

Updated on August 16, 2014

Research has shown that the best arm workouts for size and definition are workouts that use a good mixture of isolation style exercises such as incline dumbbell curls or lying triceps extensions.

All good upper body workout routines should have some good compound exercises such as Bench Press, Lat Pulldowns, or Bent Over Rows. These compound exercises not only work your chest and back but they also work your biceps, triceps and shoulders.

So to thoroughly work your arms concentrate on good isolation exercises to build arm muscle and leave the compound chest and back exercises for separate days.

Warm Up To Prevent Injury

Not warming up can destroy tendons and tear muscles. Aside from that its good to get the blood pumping through those veins for the full pump and feel of a great arm workout. Start your arm training with 2-3 warmup sets in a range of 15-20 reps.

Don't Cheat Yourself

The best arm workout should consist of some good isolation exercises such as seated dumbbell curls instead of standing bar curls or lying triceps extensions over close grip bench press taking your body out of the movement and putting all of the stress on your arms. Some people have a tendency to swing the weight with dumbbell exercises or arm exercises in general which is fine to a point, but too much swinging momentum takes all the tension off the arms. You can stop this by doing seated exercises or by locking your lower body in place.

Don't Make This Mistake

Many bodybuilders & weightlifters have bad elbows or bicep tendon soreness. This usually comes from trying to apply the same heavy training principles to their arms as they do to their back or legs.The bicep & triceps are small muscles compared to the back, legs, or chest so why should you work your arms the same way you work your major muscle groups that involve several different muscles?

Lighten Up

Biceps and triceps need to be hit from many angles but not with the same weight and rep scheme as large bodyparts. So lighten up and use some different techniques like drop sets, rest pause, and forced reps. Stay in a rep range of 10-12 never going lower than 8. If you ever feel nagging joint pains go higher with your rep ranges 15-20 until you can get back to normal.

  • Drop Sets - Pushing your muscle to the point of failure then lighten the weight to squeeze out more reps. Do this as many times as you can.
  • Rest Pause - Rest Pause training breaks down one set into several mini-sets, with a short rest period between each set.
  • Forced Reps - Use a training partner to assist you in 2 or 3 extra reps past failure.

Form Is Everything

You've probably heard the term control the weight ; don't let it control you. Standing barbell curls and pressdowns immediately come to mind as exercises done with sloppy form. Make a conscious effort to keep your back straight and your feet planted firmly on the floor when performing these exercises. Control the weight on the negative part of the lift. The idea is to put yourself through as much pain as you can handle and put as much strain on the muscle so it can grow stronger.

Great Bicep Form

Triceps Form

Variety Means More Growth

A good arm workout should have more variety because being one dimensional with your exercises will limit your development. There are three muscles in the triceps and two muscles in the bicep which means they need to be stimulated from different angles to give you the most development.

You can work the front of the tricep with pressdowns, from the back with extensions and basicly the whole tricep with dips. You can work the biceps inner head with wide grip barbell curl or the outer head with hammer curl. You can't have great arms without working all the muscles that make up the arm (inner-outer-front-back).

Hammer curls can be done across the body or to the side. Extensions can be done seated, lying on a flat, incline or decline bench. Overhead cable extensions can be done by separating the ropes as you extend your arms, or you can use a bar keeping your elbows pinned to your sides with good form.

Train Arms Twice a Week

Some people train once a week because they've read it in a book or that's what everyone else is doing and they never change. I think the best method is to put more time and effort into your weak areas. If you want bigger arms its ok to work them twice a week. Don't be worried about overtraining. Biceps and triceps are smaller muscles which will recover faster.

Try This Big Arm Routine

* Pressdowns (pyramid) 5 sets 15-8 reps
* Seated Overhead Extensions 4 sets 10-12 reps
* Machine Dips 4 sets 8-10 reps
* Reverse-Grip One-Arm Pressdowns 3 sets 15 reps
* Seated Incline Dumbbell Curls (pyramid) 5 sets 15-8 reps
* Hammer Preacher Curls 4 sets 10
* Concentration Curls 4 sets 8-10.

Build Lean Muscle With 21's

21’s are a great way to add quality muscle to your arms. The concept is to annihilate your arms with constant tension by performing 21 continuous reps of arm curls that will force your arms to grow bigger and stronger. The first 7 reps are partial arm curls that start by pulling the bar from your waist to a half curl position, the next 7 reps are performed from the top position by your chin down to a half curl position, and to completely pump up the biceps do 7 full reps to complete 1 set of 21’s. Repeat 2 more times for a total of 3 sets.

This Is The Right Way To Do 21's

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