Building Muscle In Arms

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12 Must-Do Arm Workouts to Bulk Up Your Arms

 12 Must-Do Arm Workouts to Bulk Up Your Arms

Many lifters who are seeking to acquire mass want bigger biceps and triceps. While having large arms may not indicate how much weight you can lift, they can certainly help you with hefty pushing and pulling actions.

So, what exactly does the best arm bulking workout entail? When bulking up your biceps and triceps, add a mix of workouts that span the rep range, such as barbell curls, dumbbell curls, pull-ups, and dips (6-20 reps). For optimum growth, exercises should be spread out over 2-3 days.

12 Arm Exercises That Will Make Your Biceps and Triceps Bigger

My best biceps and triceps exercises for building bigger arms for every level of lifter are listed below. Most people should workout their biceps and triceps 2-3 times per week, with each session lasting 6-10 total sets (no more than 20 sets per week for most people).

Start exercising these motions in their full range of motion and keep note of your progress for the best outcomes. More volume in the gym does not always imply more muscular growth.

1. Push-ups

Chin-ups are an excellent way to improve upper-body pulling strength. Because of the grip position, they put more attention on the biceps than pull ups (palms facing you as they grab the bar).

Arm strength is often a limiting factor when training these with greater weights, whilst grip strength and muscle endurance are often the deciding factors when training them in higher rep ranges.

As a result, I choose to train chin ups with lower rep ranges (5-8) to increase arm strength. If you're doing them for strength, they should be the first thing you do in the workout.

2. Barbell Curl 

The barbell curl is a well-known biceps workout that, when performed correctly (i.e., no heaving or swinging the weight), will help you develop bigger, wider biceps.

Training with heavier to moderate weights is a wonderful option, since I've found that performing them for high-rep sets results in sloppy reps, body swinging, and excessive momentum consumption.

If you find yourself swinging, reduce the weight or switch to one of the machine-based exercises listed below, where "cheating" is less possible.

3. Curl using Dumbbells

The dumbbell curl is comparable to the barbell curl in terms of programming and training, but it has the extra benefit of allowing lifters to manipulate their wrist rotation.

In my post 4 Reasons You Get Wrist & Elbow Pain Doing Bicep Curls, I describe how barbells can cause wrist pain. Another advantage of the dumbbell curl is that it allows you to train each arm unilaterally (one at a time), allowing you to correct any imbalances between the right and left sides.

4. Seated Incline Dumbbell Curl

Dumbbell curls performed from a seated incline position target the biceps more effectively than other exercises because the range of motion is increased.

You can get a full muscle contraction cycle this way, while also trying to reduce movement momentum and isolate the biceps across the entire muscle belly.

This is usually done with moderate reps, but it can also be done with higher rep sets.

5. Spider Curl

A preacher curl and a chest supported curl are combined in the spider curl. You can expand the range of motion of your biceps and reduce momentum by resting facedown on an incline bench.

This is a fantastic action to do if you're having trouble with your shoulder joint when doing bicep curls because it effectively eliminates the front delt activation that occurs with other bicep variations.

This isn't the first bicep exercise I'd recommend for lifters because it's a little more difficult (combining two bicep variations), but if you've been doing strength training for a few months, you should give it a shot.

6. Curl of the Preacher

The preacher curl is an isolation exercise in which the lifter rests their elbows and upper arms on an angled pad that provides support throughout the movement.

The capacity to employ the anterior delt's momentum to lift the weight is reduced when the shoulders are fixated on the pad (just like the spider curl).

You can create a deep contraction and target the "bicep peaks" by expanding the range of motion. The preacher curl can be performed with either the EZ curl bar or dumbbells. Every 4-6 weeks, switch between the two devices to target the bicep in a little different way.

Curl with a cable

Another curl variation that may be done similarly to the dumbbell or barbell curl is the cable curl, which is commonly done from a standing position. Unlike free weights, cables maintain constant strain on the muscle and stress it evenly throughout the whole range of action.

As effective as free weights are, they will lack muscle contraction near the top of the exercise (past the sticking point). As a result, machine-based bicep exercises like the cable curl can maintain tension at the top of the range of motion that isn't triggered as much in other exercises.

Bench Press with a Close Grip

The close grip bench press is an excellent way to improve upper body pressing strength. When lowering a barbell to the chest, a "close grip" is commonly characterized as positioning your hands shoulder-width apart and keeping your elbows tucked underneath the barbell.

The closer grip puts more attention on the triceps than the normal bench press. Because the triceps are generally the limiting factor in training these with greater loads, they are an excellent way to improve tricep strength.

Because the triceps are crucial for locking the weight out in the bench press, training the close grip bench is an excellent suggestion if you feel your standard bench press' peak range of motion is deficient.


Dips, which target the lateral elements of the arm, are excellent for building triceps size and strength.

Heavy or moderate weights can be used to train dips. While some people do accomplish this with larger rep ranges (20-30 reps), I find that the shoulders and chest, or simply maintaining appropriate alignment and posture, are frequently the limiting factors.

A word of warning, however: some people find dips, particularly on the shoulders, to be uncomfortable. If this is the case, you can try one of three things: restrict your range of motion to simply the top half, utilize a lesser load, or lean forward slightly.

You'll target more of your pecs if you need to lean forward somewhat for dips to feel comfortable on your shoulders. So, if you really want to work on your arms, try a different workout from this list.

JM Press is number ten.

The JM press is a mix of a skullcrusher and a close grip bench press that can be useful for lifters who suffer elbow pain when doing other exercises.

This hybrid exercise can be performed with big loads and, unlike the close grip bench press, can target the long head of the triceps (rather than the lateral head). From the back, this will aid to shape and muscle the triceps (back of the arm).

If you only have time for two tricep exercises in your program, I propose combining the JM press with a close grip bench press.

Pushdowns on the triceps

The triceps pushdown is an excellent isolation workout that can help you build enormous tricep pumps. I prefer to use these as a 'burn out' strategy at the end of a workout with moderate to high reps (15-30 reps).

These can be done with a straight bar, reverse grip, rope, or other attachments. Make sure the elbow joint is the only one that goes into complete flexion and extension in any of these variations. Starting pivoting from the shoulder is not a good idea.


Skullcrushers can be performed while lying flat on a bench, slope, or even on the floor. A normal barbell, EZ curl bar, or dumbbells can also be used to load it.

Using an EZ curl bar and performing this activity while lying on the floor is my personal favorite. I prefer the floor version since I can simply place the barbell on the floor behind me if I miss a rep, making it a safer workout.

The elbows stay more upright in this exercise than in the JM press, and the load is reduced to the forehead rather than the chin.

Arms Bulking Workout Routines

While bulking, you can execute the following six workouts (three for biceps and three for triceps).

I don't do biceps and triceps exercises on the same day. You can, however, mix a biceps and triceps workout if desired. If you need more help figuring out how to build up your training split, download the Fitbod app and we'll come up with a plan that works best for you.

The overall weekly training volume is approximately 16 total work sets, which is within the standard effective training volume ranges for most people wanting to enhance muscle growth while still recovering adequately.

You may just add one or two work sets per week to advance this over the course of four weeks (choose one exercise from the entire week and add another set). This could take the form of the following work set progression per week:

  • Week 1 consists of 16 work sets.
  • Week 2 consists of 17-18 work sets.
  • Week 3 consists of 18-20 work sets.
  • Week 4 consists of 10-12 work sets (deload)

Workouts for the Biceps and Triceps

The goal of these workouts is to increase your strength. While we rarely complete less than five sets of five reps for isolation exercises, it is beneficial to train with greater loads to induce muscular growth adaptations.

You should still concentrate on solid form and making sure that you're moving the weights with your muscles rather than your momentum.

After each set, you should feel the muscles have lost all strength, which may or may not be followed by a tremendous pump.

These arm strength workouts are frequently done first in the training week so that you may engage the muscle fibers with larger loads earlier in the week when you are fresher and have less accumulated fatigue.

Both workouts are only two movements long and can be completed on the same day or after working out other muscle groups.

Biceps Strengthening Workout

  • 3 sets of 5-10 reps on the chin up
  • 3 sets of 5-10 reps on the barbell curl

Triceps Strengthening Workout

  • Bench Press with a Close Grip: 3 sets of 5-10 reps
  • 3 sets of 5-10 repetitions on the JM Press

Biceps and Triceps Workouts for a Medium Biceps and Triceps

These workouts are designed to build muscle in the moderate rep range (10-20 reps). It's a wonderful approach to enhance size by building strength, increasing metabolite production, and getting a great muscular pump.

You may take your arm training to the next level if you combine it with a regimen that includes both heavy and lighter days.

Focus on solid form and making sure you're moving the weights with your muscles rather than your momentum. After these workouts, you should notice the muscles' strength ebbing and the muscles themselves beginning to burn.

I usually schedule these arm strength workouts for the second week of the training week so that you can ensure that you gain some strength on day one but aren't utterly exhausted by day three.

A hypertrophy-focused biceps workout and a hypertrophy-focused triceps routine are included here. Both are quick (2 exercises) and may be done on the same day or after other muscle parts, although I prefer to do biceps after legs and triceps after upper body workouts.

Biceps Hypertrophy Workout

  • Curl a cable 3 sets of ten to twenty repetitions
  • 3 sets of 10-20 repetitions on the spider curl

Triceps Hypertrophy Workout

  • 3 sets of 10-20 repetitions on the triceps pushdown
  • 3 sets of 10-20 reps on the dips

Workouts for the Biceps and Triceps

The goal of these workouts is for the muscle to accumulate a large number of metabolites. This typically results in a "pump" in the muscle, which supplies a huge volume of blood flow.

I frequently propose completing these high-rep sessions later in the week so that you may attack the muscle fiber with larger loads earlier in the week when you are fresher and have less accumulated fatigue.

A high-rep biceps workout and a high-rep triceps routine are included here. Both exercises are only two minutes long and can be done on the same day or after other muscle groups. On the last day of the week, I usually do both of these workouts at the same time.

Biceps Workout with High Reps

  • 2 sets of 20-30 repetitions, resting 45-60 seconds between sets, cable curls RIR 0
  • 2 sets of 20-30 repetitions, resting 45-60 seconds between sets, reverse barbell curl RIR 0

Triceps Workout with High Reps

  • Triceps Pushdowns: 2 sets of 20-30 reps, 45-60 seconds rest in between sets, 0 RIR
  • Cables in the Sky Triceps Extensions: 2 sets of 20-30 repetitions, 45-60 seconds rest in between sets, 0 RIR

Do You Have to Lift a Lot of Weight to Get a Bigger Arm?

No, you don't have to lift big weights to expand your arms, but doing so (maybe 25% of your total training volume) will help encourage new arm strength and muscular growth. 5-10 reps with good form and little momentum are considered heavy for arm training.

Is it possible to overtrain your arms?

Yes, you can overtrain your arms, just like you can overtrain most muscles. Most lifters will experience arm growth between 12 and 20 complete training sets (weekly). The above regimen provides a total of 16 work sets per week, which may be sufficient for the great majority of lifters.

Is It Safe to Exercise Your Arms Every Day?

Arms can generally withstand a lot of volume, so as long as you keep track of your overall training volume, you can exercise them on a daily basis. However, you might find it more useful to train them three to four times a week and fine-tune your form.

For Bigger Arms, Should Beginners Do Isolation or Compound Movements?

Arm workouts for beginners should include both isolation and complex movements. Close grip bench presses, dips, and chin ups, as well as triceps pushdowns and cable curls, are all excellent bulk builders. If you're doing one but not the other, there's a good probability that adding both in your program will yield fresh results (like the plan above).

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