10 best exercises for bigger arms biceps triceps dumbbell training muscle strength

The 10 best exercises for big and strong arms

Build bigger biceps and thicker triceps to get the big, strong and defined arms you want with the 10 best exercises for bigger arms, says New Body Plan’s Joe Warner

Building big arms speaks volumes about your commitment to fitness. And we’re going to cut straight to the chase: we’ve outlined the 10 best exercises for bigger arms that will cultivate formidable biceps and triceps. We’re not promising miracles, just solid, reliable results to push past your limits and achieve your physical potential. It’s time to roll up your sleeves, embrace the grind, and forge the bigger, stronger and more defined arms you’ve always wanted.

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1. Barbell Curl

Primary: Biceps; Secondary: Brachialis, Brachioradialis
Why: This classic barbell biceps curl demands focus on the biceps, driving growth through isolation.
* Stand up straight, gripping a barbell with palms facing forward.
* Keep elbows adjacent to your torso. Curl the weights, engaging your biceps.
* Continue until the bar reaches shoulder level, and the bicep contraction is complete.
* Decelerate to return to the start.

: Lighter weights or resistance bands

Advanced: Combine with preacher bench for added stabilisation

2. Close-Grip Bench Press

Primary: Triceps; Secondary: Chest, Shoulders
Why: The close-grip bench press is a triceps-transforming heavyweight, also engaging chest and shoulders for a comprehensive upper-body workout.
* Lie on a bench, clutching a barbell with a narrow grip.
* Lower the barbell to your chest, maintaining close elbows.
* Forcefully push to return to the start, extending your arms.

Beginner: Close-grip push-ups
Advanced: Introduce resistance bands or chains for additional challenge

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3. Hammer Curl

Primary: Brachialis; Secondary: Biceps, Brachioradialis
Why: The dumbbell hammer curl targets the often-neglected brachialis, promoting well-rounded arm development.
* Stand upright, holding a dumbbell in each hand at arm’s length, elbows close to the torso.
* Curl the weights with a bicep contraction as you exhale.

Beginner: Lighter dumbbells
Advanced: Perform on an incline bench for a deeper stretch and contraction

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4. Dips

Primary: Triceps; Secondary: Chest, Shoulders
Why: It’s a robust compound movement for functional strength and defined triceps.
* Lift yourself onto parallel bars, body perpendicular to the floor.
* Lower until there’s a 90-degree angle between upper arms and forearms.
* Push to rise, extending the arms.

Beginner: Assisted dips or bench dips
Advanced: Weighted dips or ring dips for an amplified test of strength and balance

5. Pull-ups

Primary: Latissimus dorsi; Secondary: Biceps, Rhomboids
Why: A supreme bodyweight exercise, pull-ups demand strength and endurance, fostering both bicep size and grip strength.
* Grasp a pull-up bar, palms facing your torso.
* Pull up until the bar meets your chest.
* Lower your body with control to the start.

Beginner: Assisted pull-ups
Advanced: Weighted pull-ups or one-arm pull-ups for added intensity

The free arm workout for big and impressive biceps and triceps

6. Overhead Tricep Extension

Primary: Triceps; Secondary: Shoulders
Why: The dumbbell tricep extension calls your triceps to action, enhancing the muscular definition of your upper arm.
* Stand up straight holding a dumbbell in both hands, extending it overhead.
* Lower the weight behind your head by flexing at the elbows.
* Push back to the start, extending your arms fully.

Beginner: Lighter weight or use of a resistance band
Advanced: Perform seated to avoid momentum, or use separate dumbbells in each hand for added challenge

How to do the barbell bicep curl to build bigger biceps

7. Concentration Curl

Primary: Biceps; Secondary: Forearms
Why: A must-do for isolation enthusiasts, this bicep curl variant helps to build the bicep peak.
* Sit on a bench with a dumbbell in front of you between your legs.
* Use your right arm to pick up the dumbbell, and place the back of your upper right arm on the top of your inner right thigh.
* Curl the dumbbell while keeping the upper arm stationary.
* Lower the dumbbell back down to the starting position.

Beginner: Lighter dumbbells
Advanced: Add a twist of the wrist (supinate) at the top of the curl for extra bicep engagement

8. Tricep Kickbacks

Primary: Triceps; Secondary: Shoulders
Why: Kickbacks are great for isolating your triceps and providing a stretch at the bottom of the movement.
* Holding a dumbbell in your hand, hinge at the hips, and keep a slight bend in the knee.
* Start with the arm close to the body, bent at a 90-degree angle.
* Extend the arm back, focusing on the contraction of the tricep.
* Slowly bring the weight back to the start.

Beginner: Lighter dumbbells
Advanced: Perform while in a plank position for added core engagement

Your complete guide to getting big and muscular arms

9. Diamond Push-ups

Primary: Triceps; Secondary: Chest, Shoulders
Why: Diamond push-ups target your triceps specifically and are a fantastic bodyweight exercise for arm strength.
* Assume a push-up position but with your hands close together under your chest.
* Lower yourself until your chest nearly touches your hands.
* Push back up to the starting position.

Beginner: Kneeling diamond push-ups
Advanced: Elevated diamond push-ups for increased intensity

10. Skull Crushers

Primary: Triceps; Secondary: Forearms, Shoulders
Why: Aptly named, this exercise is a sure-fire method to stimulate tricep growth and strength.
* Lie on a bench with a barbell.
* Extend the barbell above your chest, arms perpendicular to the floor.
* Keeping your upper arms stationary, lower the bar by bending at the elbows.
* Return to the start by contracting your triceps.

Beginner: Perform with lighter weight, use a resistance band, or do cable tricep pressdowns
Advanced: Use dumbbells for each arm separately, increasing the balance challenge

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