The best workouts for stronger arms

Mumbai-based celebrity trainer Preetesh Manas believes that whenever someone wants to show you their strength, or the fact that they’ve been going to the gym, the natural gesture is to flex one’s arms at the elbows and show off muscular biceps. Little wonder then that arm day is a favorite among gym goers. Apart from showing off, the arm muscles, such as the biceps and triceps, play an important role as accessory muscles in almost all kinds of exercises. Take pushups for example: our triceps are the accessory muscles in this exercise even though it is the chest that is the major muscle group that is engaged. And in case of pull-ups, it is the biceps that play the accessory role while it is the back muscles that are actually being targeted.

There are three main sections of the arm, the anterior (front), posterior (back) and shoulders, and you need make sure that you are training all three sections, says Bengaluru-based Rahul Huidrom, strength coach at Cult.fit. Biceps brachii (commonly known as biceps) are located in the front, triceps brachii (or triceps) are in the rear and along the shoulders sit the deltoid muscle. Finally, on the rear of your shoulder is the rotator cuff, which consists of four small muscles: supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor and subscapularis. “Each of these muscles plays its own unique and important role to help our arms move in all the various ways we use them throughout the day. Think of all the daily activities such as pushing a door open, carrying groceries, moving furniture and so on,” says Huidrom.

Also Read: Why you need strong arms

Training and strengthening the arm muscles can go a long way in achieving overall fitness and good aesthetics. The muscles in the arm are smaller compared to other muscles in the body such as the back, chest and legs and hence you need to turn to a special group of exercises known as isolation movements to train them. “Due to their specific nature, isolated movements help achieve greater gains on the muscle that is worked both in terms of strength, endurance and size,” explains AK Abhinav, coach and founder of Bengaluru’s Namma Xfit.

Working out your arms and shoulders has many benefits. Arm days help increase your muscle strength, muscle tone, and lean muscle mass, explains Huidrom, adding that these workouts also protect your bones and stabilize the joints. “Strong, toned arms will also look great and boost your confidence and aesthetics. It also comes with a host of health benefits. Having stronger arms and shoulders can reduce your risk of injury,” he adds.

Also Read: The best workouts for strong shoulders

Often women feel doing arm workouts regularly would make them bulky and muscular, but coaches say that isn’t really true. “Resistance training is an essential component of any fitness routine…arms included. Despite some unpopular beliefs, it won’t give you huge, oversized, bulging muscles,” says Huidrom, allaying the fears. “Regularly working out muscles in your arms, back, chest, and shoulders is vital to keeping your upper body strong and giving your muscles definition. If you’re a woman, the benefits of strength training extend far beyond toned, defined muscles.”

Rahul Huidrom’s Workouts for Arms

workout 1

Four sets

EZ Bar Preacher curls: 10-12 reps

Close grip bench press: 10-12 reps

Three sets

Dumbbell Hammer curls: 10-12 reps

Overhead rope extensions: 12-14 reps

Three Supersets

Standing cable curls: 15 reps

Reverse grip push downs: 15 reps

Also Read: The best workout for strong legs

workout 2

Barbell bicep curls: 4 sets x 8-12 reps

Incline dumbbell curls: 3 sets x 10-12 reps

Prone Dumbbell Spider curls: 3 sets x 10-12 reps

EZ Bar Skull crushers : 4 sets x 8-12 reps

Tricep Dips: 3 sets x 10-12 reps

Seated dumbbell single arm tricep extension: 3 sets x 10-12 reps

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workout 3

Four sets

Close grip bench press: 10-12 reps

EZ Bar skull crusher: 10-12 reps

Three sets

Single arm cable push down: 12-15 reps

Four sets

Barbell Curls: 8-12 reps

Standing hammer curls: 10-12 reps

Seated alternating dumbbell curls: 10-12 reps

Also Read: The science behind testing your strength with the 1-Rep Max

Preetesh Manas’ arms workouts

workout 1

5 super sets

Close grip bench press

pull ups

5 supersets with light weights till failure

Barbell curls

Lying triceps extension

5 supersets with light weights till failure

Hammer curls

Triceps push down

5 supersets with light weights till failure

Preacher curls

Dumbbell triceps kick backs

workout 2

Three sets of medium to heavy weights

Close grip bench press: 4-8 reps

Lying triceps extension (10, 8, 6, 4 at increasing weights)

Cable triceps push down (10-8-6-4 at increasing weights)

Cable reverse push down (10-8-6-4 at increasing weights)

Barbell curls: 4-8 reps

Hammer curls: 4-8 reps

Preacher curls: 4-8 reps

Cable curls: 4-8 reps

Shrenik Avlani is a writer and editor and co-author of The Shivfit Waya book on functional fitness.

Also Read: The best workouts for a strong back

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