Sculpt Your Arms

6 classic exercises to get your arms tank top ready

The Oxygen Team | February 01, 2016

This routine hits your biceps and triceps for full arm development. You can do this routine on its own, or work these moves in with other body parts.

These exercises were selected to inject some definition into your pipes in two ways: by focusing on the brachialis, which sits deeply below your biceps brachii, you’ll add some much-desired “oomph” to the attention-getting biceps peak, and by placing an equal emphasis on all three triceps heads, you’ll really make that horseshoe shape pop! Work your bis and tris two to three times a week, but never two days in a row. After a few weeks, try working heavier weights into the mix. You never want to stall your efforts.

Barbell Preacher Curl

Target Muscles: biceps brachii

Setup: Adjust the preacher curl bench so that the top sits under your armpits. Hold a barbell with both hands and extend your arms.

Action: Bend your elbows — make sure your upper arms stay in contact with the padding — and curl until you feel the contraction in your biceps. Lower and repeat.

Tip: A staggered stance may help with stability.

Skullcrusher

Target Muscles: triceps brachii

Setup: Lie faceup on a flat bench and take a narrow overhand grip on a barbell.

Action: Raise your arms above your chest and bend your elbows to bring the weight towards your head. Repeat.

Tip: Lower the bar behind your head for a bigger stretch.

Concentration Curl

Target Muscles: brachialis, biceps brachii

Setup: Sit on a bench with your feet planted wide. Grab a dumbbell with one hand and place the back of your arm just above the elbow against the inside of your thigh as shown here.

Action: Flex your arm to bring the weight up towards your chest. Complete your set, then switch arms and repeat.

Tip: It’s easy to round your back when you bend forward from the hip — but you shouldn’t!

One-Arm Dumbbell Kickback

Target Muscles: triceps brachii

Setup: Place one knee and hand on a bench as shown. Bend your shoulder and elbow to bring your upper arm in line with the floor.

Action: Extend your arm to bring the dumbbell behind you, then carefully return to the start. Complete your set, then repeat with your opposite arm.

Tip: Watch that your upper arm is still as you extend.

Prone Incline Curl

Target Muscles: biceps brachii, brachialis

Setup: Sit backwards on an incline bench set to about 60 degrees.

Action: Hold a weight in each hand and curl them upward at the same time. Lower and repeat.

Tip: Angle the seat slightly for comfort.

One-Arm Reverse-Grip Pressdown

Target Muscles: triceps brachii (medial and lateral heads)

Setup: Stand at a cable machine and hold a D-handle set high with an underhand grip.

Action: Tuck your elbow close to your side, then extend your arm until it is straight. Complete your set, then repeat with your other arm.

Tip: Try it with two hands using a straight bar.

About the Author

The Oxygen Team