You have just looked in the mirror. ‘Boy, my arm muscles are small,’ you thought to yourself. ‘I really need to look better.’
More muscular arms can indeed make you look better. They can also make you feel better. More importantly, perhaps, they can also make you DO better. With more muscular arms, you can do better in competitive sports, do better in exercises like cycling and swimming, and do better in everyday activities like carrying little children or laundry.
Building your arm muscles also becomes more important as you age. You might be less interested in showing off at the beach and attracting prospective dates, but you begin to lose muscle mass when you’re in your 30s. By age 50, you have lost about 10 percent of your muscle mass other things being equal, according to the WebMD report “Strength Training: Building Arm Muscles.” Most people lose about two percent of their muscle mass each year after they turn 50.
The bottom line is that biology is yet another reason you should try to build your arm muscles. Here are seven of the best ways, according to WebMD, Men’s Fitness magazine, Muscle & Fitness magazine, Men’sHealth magazine, and Livestrong.com.
7 Best Ways to Build Arm Muscles
- Chin-Ups: Lifting weights is many people’s first solution when they want to build their arm muscles, but many non-weightlifting exercises are great for your arms. Chin-ups are particularly beneficial for your biceps reports the Livestrong.com article “How To Get Strong Arms Without Lifting Weights.” The article recommends doing underhand chin-ups. That means gripping the bottom part of the bar. You should pull your body upward with your arms until your chin is over the bar.
- Push-Ups:Now that your biceps are stronger, it’s time to strengthen your triceps. Push-ups are one of the best solutions reports the Livestrong.com article. The article recommends “diamond push-ups.” These push-ups require you to place your hands on the floor in a diamond shape. Your thumbs should be nearly touching each other rather than shoulder-length distance apart.
- Hand Grippers: Now that your biceps and triceps are stronger, it’s time to make your forearms stronger. Obviously, hand grippers strengthen your hands, but they also make your forearms stronger, according to the WebMD article. Grippers can cost less than $10.
- The Bench Press: You can strengthen your biceps and your triceps via bench press exercises reports the WebMD article. The article recommends the close-grip bench press. Your hands should only be about 18 inches apart on the barbell as you lift the weight off the rack while you are lying on a bench. How much weight should you lift? If you can’t lift the weight eight to 12 times, there is too much weight on the barbell. If you can lift the weight far more times than that with ease, there is too little weight.
- Lateral Raises: Strengthening your lateral deltoids — the front of your shoulders — will make your arms stronger, according to the Men’sHealth magazine article “10 Easy Shortcuts To Big Arms.” Lateral raises might be the best way to strengthen your shoulders. They require you to lift two dumbbells from your left and right side simultaneously until you are holding the dumbbells while your arms are horizontally straight and your hands are as far apart as possible.
- Cable Rope Press Downs: This is the fifth exercise out of five exercises recommended by Men’s Fitness magazine in its article “30-Minute Arm Workout.” The first four are curls (more on that later). A large percentage of gyms have the equipment that allows you to pull a rope that is attached to a weight machine from chest level to waist level. The article recommends that you do 10 reps of this exercise three times with 30 seconds of rest between the three sets. It also recommends that you reduce the amount of weight you lift by 10 percent after each set.
- Curls: Most fitness magazines stress curls in their tips about exercises for your arms. The WebMD article stresses that you can do curls with a barbell, dumbbells, or a machine. “Bigger Arms in 5 (Unconventional) Moves,” a Muscle & Fitness magazine article, recommends the following curls:
- Two-arm, high-pulley cable curls
- Incline dumbbell curls
- Spider curls
- Concentration curls
- Standing two-pulley, low cable curls
The “30-Minute Arm Workout” article recommends four curls — Barbell Curls superset with V-Bar Tricep Push Down, Standing EZ Bar Close Grip Curls superset with Dumbbell Kickbacks, Bench Dips superset with Seated Dumbbell Hammer Curls, and Machine Seated Bicep Curls.
If you want to build your arm muscles, you need to stop curling up in bed, stop curling on the couch while reading a book or watching television, and start doing curls in the gym — preferably every other day because you need to rest your arm muscles about 48 hours between exercises. Good luck becoming the next Arnold Schwarzenegger (hey I spelled that right without looking)!