Best Arms Exercises for the Biceps and Forearms
The arms are one of the most noticeable body parts. Regardless of whether you are wearing a T-shirt, suit, dress or sweater, your arms are visible to the whole world, and nothing says that you’re in good shape more than toned, strong arms.
While the best arms exercise includes a combination of resistance training exercises for both the front and back of the arms, we will be covering the most effective exercises to strengthen, build, and tone the biceps in this article. One of my favorite forearms/biceps exercises will also be included.
If you’re looking for information and exercises to build, tone, and strengthen your triceps, you will want to check out the best triceps exercises for men.
A Crash Course in the Basic Arm Anatomy Will Help You Master the Best Arms Exercises
It is Not as Simple as Just Biceps and Triceps
There are many muscles which act on the wrist and elbow joints. Some muscles also act on multiple joints. To simplify, the muscles you should care about can be categorized into two categories: extensors and flexors.
There are Four Muscles Which Extend your Wrist and Four Muscles Which Flex Your Wrist
These muscles play a key role in all exercises in which you have to hold a weight. They are responsible for your grip strength and wrist stabilization. Your wrist extensors extend your hands back toward the backs of your forearms. Your wrist flexors flex your hand forward in the direction of your computer mouse.
The Biceps Flex and Supinate your Arms
Arm flexion is the motion you would use to bring a can of beer up toward your mouth. Although clearly an important motion, this is not the best arms exercise! The biceps brachii AKA the biceps is only one of the three muscles which help to flex your arm.
The brachialis and brachioradialis are the other muscles which help flex your arm. These muscles are recruited in certain arm positions, but contribute significantly to the size of the upper arms. If you want to increase the size of your arms, then you should use the best arms exercises which work these muscles as well as the biceps.
Even though the biceps has muscles which assist in flexion, the biceps is the main muscle responsible for supination. Supination is the motion of externally rotating your wrists away from your body, as if you were going to drink soup out of a bowl held in your palms. This is very important to know if you want to know the best arm exercises for the biceps.
The biceps is made up of two heads, hence the name biceps. The upper biceps is the origin and the lower biceps is the insertion. The best exercises for the biceps attempt to target the upper, lower and mid biceps.
What you Need to Know About the Best Arms Exercise
Your Arm Muscles are Also Exercised During Chest and Back Exercises
Multi-joint exercises for your chest and back such as push-ups and pull-ups require your arms to perform a significant amount of work. This work is in addition to the work of larger muscles.
Arms Only Account for a Small Percentage of Your Total Body Mass
If you want to lose weight or tone up your arms, arms exercises alone will not do the job, especially if you are overweight. In order for your body to lose weight and/or tone up in the arm area, it is best to focus on exercises for large muscle groups. Exercising your large muscle groups burns more calories, which is necessary for reducing fat mass.
For example, chest exercises and back exercises that simultaneously work your arms will have greater effect on your metabolism than simply performing the best arms exercise alone. Even if your goal is toning triceps, the best leg exercises will even help you tone them faster than the best arms exercise. Why? Large muscle groups like the legs and butt burn more calories when exercised, and in turn, will reduce more fat from your total body mass.
If you are not overweight and want better looking, more muscular arms, each of these arms exercises will help you tremendously. Use these exercises to hit the arm muscle fibers from every angle.
The best arms exercise for the biceps is pretty straight forward. In order to get a complete biceps workout, you need to include 3 different things. First and foremost, the best biceps exercise must include supination and flexion under resistance, as these are the main actions of the biceps. Secondly you should include exercises which attempt to target the upper biceps (origin), lower biceps (insertion).
Incline Dumbbell Biceps Curls
Incline Biceps curls attempt to target the upper biceps (insertion.) They are called incline, because they are performed on an incline bench. You can also perform them on a cable machine if you can position your arms the same as the incline.
Start: Set the bench up at an incline of approximately 60-80 degrees. Sit with your back against the bench. Let the dumbbells hang down straight toward the floor with your palms facing away from your body. Keep your elbows in this exact position for the duration of the movement.
Begin the motion: Keep your wrists in a neutral position. Curl the weight up as high as you can without lettting your elbow move at all. Lower slowly and repeat. Make sure your lower arm is in line with your upper arm the entire range of motion.
Modifications: You can perform this best arms exercise with one arm at a time, or both arms at the same time. You can also perform the motion on a cable machine.
Position yourself with the machine behind you. Walk forward slightly until your elbows are both behind your body. Curl the weights as far as you can without moving your elbows.
If you are looking for more than just the best arms exercise and would like more exercises and in-depth information on how to build bigger biceps, check out the best biceps exercises.
Supinating Dumbbell Biceps Curls
There is no secret to this one. This is the best overall biceps exercise because it utilizes the biceps two main actions: supination and flexion.
Start: Stand or sit on a bench with a pair of dumbbells at your side. Your palms should face the side of your body. Keep your elbows in against your sides for the duration of the movement.
Begin the motion: Begin to curl the weight up. As the dumbbells pass your legs begin to supinate your hands (rotate your palms away from your body).
At the top of the motion the your hands should be fully supinated. Slowly lower the weights the same way in which you raised them.
It is best to perform this best arms exercise for your biceps from a seated position. A seated position helps you isolate your biceps by taking away your ability cheat by using momentum.
You can lift both dumbbells at the same time, which saves time, or you can perform one side at a time.
Preacher Biceps Curls
Preacher Curls Attempt to Target the Lower Biceps (insertion)
Start: Position yourself with your arm over the preacher bench. Your upper arms, close to your armpits, should be in contact with the bench.
Hold a dumbbell or whichever form of resistance you choose in your hand with your arm at a 90 degree angle. Have your palm face toward the ceiling.
Begin the motion: Slowly lower the dumbbell until your touch the back of your arm to the bench. Keep your wrist straight, do not flex it and lift the weight back to the position you began from.
If you are using dumbbells, you should always stop at 90 degrees because anything above that, your biceps will not be under tension.
Modifications: Preacher biceps curls can be performed from a preacher bench if you have access to one, a stability ball, a couch, weight bench, or whatever you have available.
You can use a straight barbell, EZ curl bar, dumbbells, cables, tubing, or whatever resistance you have available. Cables actually have an advantage, because there will be constant resistance throughout the entire range of motion, . This will allow you to work the biceps more because even at the top of the range of motion the biceps will still be under tension.
Bungee cords and surgical tubes are even more challenging because they offer increased resistance at the easiest part of the range of motion.
What is the Most Effective Arms Exercise for the Forearms?
The forearm muscles are used for grip not only during arms exercises, but all exercises. Certain sports require and benefit from a strong grip. Your weight lifting can only be better with a strong grip. There are various exercises you can perform for the forearms, however, dumbbell hammer curls are one of my favorites, as they are very effective.
Dumbbell Hammer Curls
The dumbbell hammer curl is one of the best arms exercises because it works multiple muscles.
It works the forearms, specifically the brachioradialis, as well as the biceps and the brachialis, a little-known muscle of the upper arm.
Start: Either stand or sit with a pair of dumbbells at your side. Your palms should face towards your body.
Keep your elbows at your sides for the duration of this movement.
Begin the motion: Curl your arms until your thumbs approach your shoulders. Lower them slowly until they are in the original position.
You can curl one arm at a time or both arms at the same time. Keep a tight core and do not jerk your body around to swing the weights up.
Modifications: You can perform dumbbell hammer curls one arm at a time or with both arms at a time.
Make Sure You Read About Exercises That Supplement the Best Arms Exercises
- Best Biceps Exercises for Men
Do these arms exercises have you wanting more? Find the hardcore and expert ways to go the extra mile to increase the size of your biceps. Learn new and more challenging exercises and training methods to help your arms grow. Whether you want biceps peaks, or just stronger arms, it’s all covered here.
- Best Biceps Exercises for Women
Here are five of the best biceps exercises for women. Each exercise is super effective and easy to perform using dumbbells alone.
- Biceps Exercise Videos for Men and Women
Biceps exercises in the exercise video library which you can watch while listening to audio instructions. Organized by required exercise equipment.
- Best Triceps Exercises for Men
Here’s a look at some of the best triceps exercises with video demonstrations, an overview of triceps anatomy, and more.
- Triceps Workout Videos for Men and Women
Videos of triceps exercises with audio instructions which you can choose based on the required equipment.
- Best Exercises for Toning the Triceps
Find the best arms exercise for toning your triceps. Learn how to perform multiple exercises from different angles to maximize results. Learn which compound or multi-joint exercises you should include in your workout regimen for maximum toning of your triceps.
- Best Forearm Exercises for Men
Find which forearms exercises are best for improving your grip strength as well as making your forearms bigger. Learn how some forearms exercises may also make your biceps look bigger and actually be the best arms exercise.
- Best Forearm Exercises for Women
Here are the best forearms exercises for women to tone and strengthen their forearm muscles.
- Best Chest Exercises for Men
Remember that when you perform exercises for the chest muscle group, you not only work your triceps, which are a synergist for these multi-joint movements; you also work your biceps which stabilize during isolation movements for your chest.
- Best Back Exercises for Men and Women
Most of the best back exercises use your biceps as a synergist. Learn why you may not actually have to perform many sets of arms exercises to get defined, strong arms.