Fit Tip: Amazing Arms Part II: Welcome to the gun show!

Posted On Oct 16, 2019 By Carolyn Gallagher

A fit man using BowFlex SelectTech Dumbbells.

Beautiful, round developed shoulders are the foundation to amazing arms, but biceps and triceps are just as important. Developing curves and shape in the upper half of your arm involves working all three muscle groups at least once per week.

One thing to remember when dealing with biceps and triceps is that when you are consistently making sure to work out all muscle groups, they need less attention than you think to grow and define. This is because any pulling exercise you do, your bicep is the secondary muscle working and any pushing exercise you do, your tricep is being worked at the same time. That means when you are doing back, chest, and shoulders you are also working arms at the same time! This is a great thing to keep in mind because with consistent activity they are already developing, so when you give them just a little love and isolation you see wonderful results.

The second major thing to remember about arms is a 2:1 ratio of tricep to bicep exercises. This is because your tricep has 3 parts (lateral, medial and long). In layman's terms, there's the outside part; the pretty part when your arm flexes, the back of your arm (the part that a lot of women hate when they wave). To strengthen the entire tricep you must isolate each part in separate movements. Because of this, I stick with 2 tricep exercises to every bicep exercise. Biceps are less complex so with a few variations in angles and grips you are on the road to great development.

Here is a quick, easy arm workout you can do once or twice a week. Pairing this with the shoulder workout in my last blog will definitely get you on the path to developing the arms of your dreams.

The Workout:

  1. Single Overhead DB Extension: Works the under part of the arm
    • 3 sets of 10-12 using 3lbs to 5lbs to start

    Sit or stand facing a mirror raise one arm with a light DB straight overhead with your palm facing the mirror. Ensure that your shoulder is back and down, and make sure to keep your arm close to your ear while keeping your head straight. (Don't bring your ear to your arm, bring your arm to your ear.) Slowly and controlled bend your elbow to 90° being careful not to hit your head with the weight. To complete the movement, straighten your arm being conscious of squeezing the triceps at the top. (Repeat for both arms)

  2. Standing DB Bicep Curl
    • 3 sets of 10-12 reps using 5lbs to 8lbs to start

    Stand facing a mirror with dumbbells in each hand. Roll your shoulders back and down, sticking your chest out and try to keep your shoulder blades slightly contracted. The key to effective bicep curls is isolation, making sure your shoulders do not move (aka help). Slowly curl the weight up to your shoulder, keeping your upper arm still and only bending at the elbow. Then control the movement back down to a full extension. If you see or feel your shoulders move during your set, reset yourself to the starting position and start again.

  3. Tricep DB Kickbacks
    • 3 sets of 10-12, (3lbs to 5lbs to start)

    Place your right knee on a bench while keeping your left foot on the ground for stability. Hinge at your waist so your chest is now parallel to the bench/floor, place your right hand on the bench as well for stability. Ensure you have a full view of your left arm in the mirror without too much twisting or turning as it may throw off your form. With a light dumbbell in your hand make a 90° angle with your bicep and forearm. Pull your shoulders back and down away from your neck and keep your left elbow high, past parallel with your back (this is where the mirror is very helpful) then in a controlled movement, straighten your arm, remembering to squeeze your triceps at the top for a 1 second. To complete the movement slowly bring your arm back to a 90° angle. Momentum will want to push your hand past 90° so be sure to control your arm and make each rep count.

I know this doesn't seem like much, but it’s really all you need to start your arm transformation. No need to go crazy or overthink things.

Always Trust the Process. Always Crush It.

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