Although summer in Canada is almost officially over (actually I’m not sure it even started this year) and arm bearing clothes become a distant memory, there is no reason why we shouldn’t continue to include arm exercises as part of our regular workout regime. In this article, I will share some of my favourite exercises to sculpt strong, sexy arms.
I recommend doing 3-4 sets of each exercise with a weight that will challenge you through 10-12 reps.
1. Incline Dumbbell Curl
This is one of my favourite bicep moves. I like the variation here of having the bench at a 45 degree incline. It not only works my biceps a bit more given the incline but also my core muscles as I have to contract them in order to stabilize my body.
The Set up: Begin this move by lying on an incline bench that is at about a 45 degree angle. Place your feet flat on the ground. Hold on to a dumbbell in each hand and let your arms hang down by your sides with a slight bend in your elbow and your palms facing out.
The Move: Tighten your core to stabilize and contract your biceps as you slowly raise the dumbbells towards your shoulders. Squeeze your bicep at the top and then slowly release the weights to your starting position. Remember to release the weights in a slow and controlled fashion and to exhale on the way up and inhale on the way down. Your upper arms should remain stable throughout the move and your elbows should be close to your sides. The only part moving is at the elbow.
2. Hammer Curl
The Set up: Standing with your feet shoulder width apart, maintain a slight bend in the knees, grasp two dumbbells and let your arms hang by your sides. You should have a slight bend in the elbow and your palms should be facing in towards your body.
The Move: Keeping your elbows tight against your side, exhale and contract your biceps as you slowly curl the dumbbells toward your shoulders. Squeeze your bicep and hold for a count at the top of the move and then slowly release back to the starting position exhaling as you release to the starting position. Again remember to keep your elbows tucked by your side. The only movement should be at the elbow joint.
1. Cable Pressdown
The Set up: Grasp the ends of a rope attached to a cable machine. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and a slight bend in your knees. Position your arms so that your elbows are tucked against your sides and your elbows are bent to form a 90 degree angle. This is your starting position.
The Move: Exhale as you slowly straighten your arms to bring them down by your sides. Contract the tricep at the bottom holding for one count and then inhale as you slowly return to the starting position (elbows at a 90 degree angle). Remember to move slowly through this move and resist the temptation to use momentum to return the weights to the start position.
2. Tricep Kickbacks
This is a variation of the Cable Pressdown I just described except you are working one arm at a time and at a different angle.
The Set Up: You can do this move using a bench like I did or without one. Start by resting your shin on a flat bench and bend forward so that your upper body is virtually parallel to the bench. Place your hand opposite of your resting shin on the bench for balance. Now if you don’t have a bench, don’t worry, instead just lean forward to bring your upper body almost parallel to the floor and rest your hand just above your knee. If you are using a bench, then grasp a dumbbell with the hand on the same side as your shin that is resting on the bench (i.e. if your right shin is on the bench then you are holding the dumbbell in your right hand) and bend your elbow to form a 90 degree angle.
The Move: Keeping your elbow tucked against your side, contract your tricep, breath out and extend your arm so that it is straight back behind you. Really squeeze your tricep at the top of the move. Slowly inhale as you return your arm to 90 degrees. After you finished about 10-12 reps, switch sides.
1. Dumbbell Shoulder Press
The Set up: Begin by sitting on a bench, feet firmly on the floor. With a dumbbell in each hand, bring the weights to shoulder level, palms facing out. Keep your back straight – so use your core to stabilize.
The Move: Slowly press the dumbbells up and in towards the center over your head. Hold for a count and then slowly return the dumbbells along the same arc to the start position by your shoulders. Remember to breath out on the way up and in on the way down.
2. Dumbbell Front Raise
The Set up: Standing with your feet shoulder width apart and a slight bend in your knees, hold two dumbbells and bring them in front of your body resting on your thighs. Palms should be facing in towards your body and you should have a slight bend in your elbows.
The Move: Lift the dumbbells forward and up to eye level. Keep your palms facing down throughout the exercise. Contract your delts (and your core to stabilize you) and then slowly lower the dumbbells back to start.
3. Dumbbell Lateral Raise
The Set up: Standing with your feet shoulder width apart and a slight bend in your knees, hold a dumbbell in each hand and bring them in front of your body resting on your thighs. Palms should be facing in towards your body and you should maintain a slight bend in the elbows.
The Move: Lift the dumbbells up and out to the sides until shoulder height then inhale as you slowly return the weights to the starting position.
You can do these exercises in a variety of combinations. For example, doing them in the order I presented above, or super setting (e.g. doing a set of bicep curls and then a set of tricep cable pull downs with no rest in between). Change it up to challenge your muscles and before long you’ll reap the benefits of this Armageddon workout.
To fitness with love,