It’s ok to want big arms. Lifting weights can boost your confidence, improve your health, and make you stronger — but wanting to look buff in a sweater is a perfectly acceptable goal, too. Aesthetics aside, bigger stronger arms can help you lift more weight — after all, they’re key players in pulling and pushing moves — and are less prone to serious injury.
Below, we’ve compiled the 10 best arm exercises you can do to build more muscle. You’ll also learn more about how to specifically program arm workouts into your other training days and how to progress with them.
The Best Arm Exercises
The main benefit of the barbell curl is that it allows you, relatively speaking, to lift more weight as you’re both standing and curling with two hands. And by using an ez-bar — a relatively affordable and accessible piece of home gym equipment — your hands turn inward slightly, alleviating potential wrist pain allowing you to lift more than what would be possible with a standard straight bar.
Benefits of the EZ-Bar Curl
- You can lift more weight relative to other weighted biceps exercises.
- The angled grip will feel better on your wrists compared to a straight bar.
- That same angle grip puts you in a better position to lift heavier than a standard barbell curl.
How to Do the EZ-Bar Curl
Load an ez-bar up with a weight that you can curl comfortably with good form (meaning you’re not using momentum to cheat the weight up). Grip the middle of the bar so that your hands are angled in. Keep your arms at your sides and flex your elbows to curl the weight up towards your shoulders. Lower the weight back down so that your arms are fully extended with control.
The concentration curl was made famous by Arnold Schwarzenegger in the 1975 film “Pumping Iron.” The Austrian Oak was bent over, one hand resting on a knee and his other arm curl weight straight up. Arnold was truly ahead of his time. ACE Fitness measured eight popular biceps exercises’ muscle recruitment and found that concentration curls were far and away from the best. Another bonus is that these are done one-arm at a time, and so you’ll be doing more work and therefore burning more calories, which never really hurt anyone.
Benefits of the Concentration Curl
- The concentration elicits the most muscle recruitment of any curl.
- Curling one arm at a time will burn more calories.
How to Do the Concentration Curl
Grab a light dumbbell and hold it in one hand. Hinge at the hips and place your free hand on your knee (you can also brace on a bench or a dumbbell rack). Let the loaded arm extend straight down. Keeping your arm in a straight line, flex your elbow to curl the weight up towards your opposite shoulder. You should feel a strong, almost painful contraction in your bicep.
This variation has you curl two dumbbells with your palms facing….
Read More: The 10 Best Arm Exercises for Major Muscle Growth