You can build strength in your legs, core, back, and chest, but if you really want people to see that you’ve been working out, it’s all about that arm strength. Achieving bulky arm muscles is easier said than done, but we’ve got some amazing exercises to help.
Stronger arms don’t just mean better-looking arms. It also means stronger bones, increased flexibility, and even improved balance. Since the benefits don’t stop, neither should you.
Let’s get to work. Here are eight fantastic exercises to tone, bulk, and contour your biceps, triceps, and shoulders.
1. Bicep Curl
Starting off strong with an absolute classic is the bicep curl. Bicep curls are an important arm exercise to master because it essentially serves as the basis for every other bicep exercise in the book. Almost every other workout for this muscle is some kind of variation of this basic move.
Completing a bicep curl is simple, and you don’t need anything more than two dumbbells. Here’s how it’s done:
- Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Hold the dumbbells at your thighs with palms facing forward.
- Without moving your back or upper arms, bend your elbows to bring the weights up to your shoulders. Hold them here for a moment.
- Slowly lower back down to the starting position. Repeat.
You can mix things up by doing this on an incline press, or you can even just rotate the dumbbells on their side to do a hammer curl which works a completely different part of your bicep muscle.
Do it with the Gorilla Bow: You can stand on the resistance band portion and bring the bar up to your shoulders to complete this move with the bow. Simply increase the resistance to add some challenge to this simple move.
2. Reverse Grip Bent-Over Row
Some of the best arm exercises don’t just isolate single muscles; they work with your entire body to achieve results. The reverse-grip bent-over row is one of the best examples. This move requires activation of your biceps but does wonders for your latissimus dorsi muscles in your back.
Ready to give it a go? Here’s how to do it:
- With feet shoulder-width apart, hinge your hips back so that your spine is almost parallel to the ground. With a slight bend in the knees, hold dumbbells in each hand down in front of you with palms facing outward.
- Without moving your legs or back, pull the weights toward the sides of your abdomen, squeezing your shoulder blades as if trying to grab a pencil between them.
- Slowly return the weights to the starting position. Repeat.
You can also do a traditional bent-over row where your palms face behind you. This will work different muscles of your back, but won’t work your biceps as much.
Do it with the Gorilla Bow: Stand on the resistance bands and hold the bar with your hands, pulling it in towards your belly button. You can also sit on the ground and do a seated row by attaching the resistance bands under your feet.
3. Upright Row
Rowing is a great type of exercise because of how it incorporates muscles from your entire upper body. Upright rows help target your biceps just as much as they target your upper back.
Get out your dumbbells and get to work:
- Feet shoulder-width apart. Hold the dumbbells at your thighs with palms facing you.
- Lift the dumbbells straight up, almost as if closing a zipper. Bring them up to your shoulders and keep elbows bent outward.
- Gently lower back to the starting position. Repeat.
Do it with the Gorilla Bow: Stand on the resistance band and replace the dumbbells with the bar. Keep the movement exactly the same.
4. Decline Press
The decline press is another workout that does more than just make your arms sore. While it’s a perfect move for your triceps, it’s also one of the best for making your pectoral (chest) muscles bulge.
You’ll need some dumbbells and a bench:
- With a bench at a 30-degree angle, lay down with your head closest to the floor. Grip the dumbbells in both hands and hold them by your shoulders.
- Push the dumbbells straight towards the sky, squeezing your lower pectoral muscles in the process.
- Slowly lower the weights back to the starting position. Repeat.
You can also do this on a flat bench to work more of the middle regions of your chest. Or, do an incline chest press to target your upper chest.
Do it with the Gorilla Bow: You don’t even need a bench to do this exercise if you have a Gorilla Bow. Just stand with one leg extended in front of you. Place the resistance band around the back of your neck and push down towards the ground at a 45-degree angle. Squeeze your chest and feel the tension in your tricep.
5. Overhead Tricep Extension
As the name implies, this one’s all about making your triceps feel the burn. Your triceps are the weaker upper arm muscle compared to your bicep despite being larger. These exercises tend to be more difficult to accomplish.
With that in mind, use a lower dumbbell weight when compared to bicep curls. Then, do this:
- Feet shoulder-width apart. Hold the dumbbell sideways, gripped with both hands, over the top of your head.
- Without moving your upper arms, lower the dumbbell behind your head, bending your elbows.
- Once the dumbbell reaches the back of your head and your elbows are at a 90-degree angle, slowly lift back up into starting position. Repeat.
You can do this same movement while lying down on a flat bench as well. Just hold the weights above your chest and bend your elbows so the weight comes down to the sides of your head. This is nice because it lets you use both hands to double the weight.
Do it with the Gorilla Bow: Take off the resistance bands and place them under one foot. Pull the band up over the top of your head, and slowly lower to the back of your head, repeating until you feel the burn.
6. Tricep Kickbacks
Our final tricep exercise might be one of the most difficult, but don’t stop here. All you need is a pair of dumbbells.
To do a tricep kickback:
- Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Hinge your hips back and try to make your back parallel to the floor. Keep your upper arms along your side and bend your elbows 90 degrees, holding the weight.
- Push the weights back without moving your upper arms. Extend the weights back behind you.
- Slowly return to the starting position. Repeat
Do it with the Gorilla Bow: Once again, remove the resistance bands and attach them to something in front of you at hip height. Get into the tricep kickback position, and extend the band behind you, keeping your upper arms attached to your body.
7. Clean and Press
Moving on up, we’re going to start giving your shoulders some love. However, clean and presses are great because they also activate your biceps and your quadriceps in the legs.
To do a clean and press:
- Feet hip-width apart. Hold the dumbbells in front of you to the sides of your ankles.
- Thrust yourself upward out of the squat, using momentum from your leg to bring the dumbbells to your shoulders.
- From there, push the dumbbells up towards the sky.
- Lower the weight to your shoulders, then drop back down to the squatting position and bring the weights to the starting position. Repeat.
Do it with the Gorilla Bow: Replace the dumbbells with the Gorilla Bow, performing one uniform movement from the squat to the overhead press.
8. Shoulder Shrugs
This is a simple shoulder movement with amazing results. You’ll definitely want to use a higher weight on this one than you’d normally use for a shoulder workout.
Shrugs are simple:
- Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Hold dumbbells down at your sides.
- Lift your shoulders up towards the sky without moving your arms.
- Slowly lower back to the starting position. Repeat.
You can try to make this a bit more dynamic by going from a squat to a shoulder shrug in order to incorporate some lower body movement.
Do it with the Gorilla Bow: Instead of holding dumbbells at your sides, stand on the resistance band and hold the bar in front of you. Keep the movement exactly the same.
The Cool Down
Working your arms is one of the more satisfying parts of the body to activate. Do these eight exercises on a regular basis to develop those huge bi’s and tri’s that you’ve always dreamed of. And if you use the nationally ranked Gorilla Bow instead of dumbbells, you can expect results even faster.
5 Benefits of Strength Training | American Cancer Society
Anatomy, Shoulder and Upper Limb, Pectoral Muscles | NCBI
Biceps vs Triceps: For Better Posture, Focus on the Tris | Men's Journal
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