The 4 Best Arm Exercises

It’s almost summer time! How are you preparing for the season of tank tops and T-shirts?

While it is impossible to “spot reduce” body fat (i.e. losing fat specifically from one part of your body) you can definitely give your arms a little bit of a boost by developing the muscles that will help you rock those sleeveless shirts with pride!

Don’t know where to start? Try a few of these exercises:

1. Biceps Curls

12_BicepCurlSit on the edge of a chair or bench with your feet flat on the floor and your legs shoulder-width apart. Rest your right elbow against the inside of your right knee, with your hand hanging towards the ground. You can rest your left hand on your left thigh to help keep yourself steady if you need. Get a firm grip on your weight in your right hand and squeeze your biceps until you’ve curled the weight up as high as you can without moving your elbow. The only part of your arm that should be moving is from your elbow to your wrist, while the muscle you should be concentrating on runs from your elbow to your shoulder. Slowly lower the weight back to the starting point. It should take you the same amount of time to raise the weight as it does to lower it. Don’t just drop your arm back to the starting position! Repeat 8 to 12 times, and then switch to the other arm. Do each arm three times.

2. Zottman Curls

12_ZottmanThese are very similar to the biceps curl and they work the same muscle. Begin this exercise standing, with your hand hanging by your side so that your palms face your body, a weight in each hand. Leave your elbows by your side, and slowly raise your right arm. As you raise the weight, twist your hand so that your palm faces your chest. Bring the weight up and across your chest. Slowly lower your weight back to the starting point, remembering to control the entire motion. Repeat with your left arm. Complete 8 to 12 repetitions per arm, three times total.

Now, let’s switch to the other side of your arm! Your triceps are a horseshoe-shaped muscle that runs down the back of your arm, opposite your bicep. It’s important to work both sides of your arm equally; so one side doesn’t overpower the other.

3. Triceps Press

12_TriPressThe Triceps press can be done either standing or sitting on the edge of a chair or bench with your back straight. You can choose to work one arm at a time, or both arms together. For the sake of this description, I will describe one arm at a time. Raise your right hand straight up, firmly holding a weight in your hand. Bend your elbow and lower your hand and weight behind your head. This will be your starting position. Slowly push your weight upwards, until your arm is once again straight. Visualize the muscle in the back of your arm working as you complete this exercise. Lower your weight slowly, remembering to control the movement. Count in your head…if it takes five seconds to raise your weight, it should also take five seconds to lower it. As you raise your weight, be careful not to let your arm drift to the side, instead, try and keep your arm from the shoulder to elbow as near to your ear as you can. You can take your left hand and hold your arm in place if you need to. Repeat for a total of 8 to 12 repetitions and then switch arms. Complete each arm three times.

4. Triceps Kickback

12_TriKickStand with your feet together and your knees slightly bent. Lean forward until your back is slightly lower than 45 degrees. Hold your weight in your right hand, palm facing inwards. If you need to rest your left hand against your knee for balance and stability, go for it! Keep your elbow aligned with your torso. Begin by holding the weight up, near your shoulder. Slowly press the weight back until your arm is completely straight and the weight is behind you. Slowly bring the weight back to the starting point. Try not to let your elbow drift away from your torso. Repeat for a total of 8 to 12 repetitions, and then switch arms. Complete each arm three times.

If any of this was confusing or difficult to understand, don’t get discouraged. YouTube is your friend! Simply type the name of the exercise into a search box and videos demonstrating the move will pop up. If you don’t have weights at home, improvise! When I first started lifting weights, I used cans of soup and textbooks as “weights.” You’ve got this!


About Author

Dani Russell is a freelance health and fitness lifestyle writer living in Honolulu, Hawaii. She is currently working to complete a Master's Degree in Counseling Psychology and is a practicing student therapist. In her free time she can be found playing in the ocean, hiking and weightlifting. You can keep up with her daily quest to balance multiple jobs, fitness and graduate school via her tumblr.

Posts By Dani Russell