The Best Arm Exercises to Workout Your Entire Arm

Bored of curls? Try these effective options instead!

Are your arms the focus of your current fitness goals? Whether it’s because you want to crush it in class or you’re looking to tone up your physique, these exercises will help you push forward to greatness! Having a strong upper body will help you not only in the studio but also in real life situations (hello city grocery shopping!).

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Five arm exercises to add into your next arm workout routine:

  • Arnold curl
  • Chin-ups
  • Plank up-downs
  • Skullcrushers
  • Medicine ball slams

1. Arnold Curl

This is a favorite of mine for several reasons — not only does it look super advanced, but it also helps work nearly every muscle in your arms depending on which variation you choose. You’ll work your shoulders, biceps and even the corners of your armpits! For the full curl, start with a regular bicep curl on the way up. You can also keep your elbows elevated as you curl inward and outward to press for added shoulder sculpting. Opt for a medium to heavy set of dumbbells for this exercise, and complete four sets of eight to twelve repetitions.

2. Chin-Ups

Bodyweight exercises can be some of the most effective ways to get stronger, especially when it comes to chin-ups! With this exercise, you will work your biceps and shoulders. Trade your traditional bicep curls for a set of assisted or negative chin-ups (if you’re just starting out). You want these to be challenging, so if you’re using assistance, try and keep the assisted weight to half your body weight, and complete as many reps as you can, four times.

3. Plank Up-Downs

This is another great bodyweight exercise (you can also add weight on your back for a challenge). You will work your triceps, shoulders and chest with this exercise, and get some added core benefits along the way too! Remember to keep your hands and elbows right below your shoulder joints for perfect form. You can further progress this exercise by lifting one foot off the ground for more weight resistance and core challenge.

4. Skull-Crushers

This is an excellent way to work your triceps without added fatigue to your shoulders. When it comes to arm workouts, you want to be careful how much you incorporate shoulder exercises in order to keep your muscles balanced and healthy. By laying down, you’ll take some gravity off your shoulders, allowing you to really focus on toning your triceps. Make sure you keep your elbow directly over your shoulder joint for perfect form for the full range of the exercise.

5. Medicine Ball Slams

This is another favorite of mine due to its functional benefits. You’ll not only work every muscle in your arm, but you’ll touch on nearly every muscle group in your body as well. Focus on using your back and triceps during the slam, and biceps and shoulders on your way back up to the starting point.

Callahan is a fitness enthusiast who moonlights on the growth team at ClassPass. She's a certified fitness trainer, with years of fitness experience both inside and outside of the gym. When she's not working you can find her pursuing her passion projects as editor of Trek Montana, contributing writer to the Ultimate Nashville Bach Planning Site and Plan Your Bach.
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