best arm workout

Huge Arms Workout Guide: The Best Exercises for Massive Arms

January 4, 2015 Published by

How to Maximize the Size of your Arms

One of the first body parts that gets noticed is your arms. While arms are just a small part of the whole picture, there’s no way around wanting to have a set of guns that attracts positive attention.

For most guys, the name of the game is achieving arm size and definition.

Without the right exercises (via arm day training for bigger arms), reaching your full mountain peak potential will always be just out of reach.

Let’s review the basic anatomy of your arm muscles, followed by the best exercises that have been proven to maximize muscle growth.

We’ll even throw in a comprehensive workout program so you can get started right away.


Everyone knows what “biceps” and “triceps” are but it’s important to understand how they each function so that you can put them under the right amount of stress for growth.


bicep arm muscle anatomy

Biceps Brachii

  • Tendons connect the biceps muscle to the bone of the arm.
  • The biceps brachii has two sections, or heads: a long head and a short head.
  • The long head is found on the outside of the arm and makes up most the biceps brachii.
  • The short head is found on the inside of the arm.
  • Forms the overall size of what is considered the bicep muscle. Most exercises are geared toward causing hypertrophy in this muscle.


  • This is a muscle that can be found deeper than the Biceps Brachii.
  • It does play an important role in functional movements as it helps the Biceps Brachii with flexion at the elbow joint. in flexing at the elbow.
  • While the Biceps-Brachialis does not make up a large portion of the arm, it is still important for balance in muscle size. You will achieve a rounder, fuller look in your arms by incorporating exercises that target this muscle in your workout program. Your arms will have that “peaked” look, that professional bodybuilders have.



Triceps Brachii

  • Has three sections, or heads, that form the famous horseshoe shape and make up the entire back of your arm.
  • Important for stabilization of the shoulder joint.
  • The triceps muscle makes up one third the size of your arm. If your goal is to dramatically increase arm size, you would want to focus on causing maximum hypertrophy in the triceps muscle.
  • Under training the triceps muscle can result in over compensation from other muscles, increasing your chances for strains and tears. It’s important to work on your triceps muscle just as much as the biceps muscle.



  • Made up of several smaller muscles including:
  • Flexor Carpi Ulnaris (outside of the forearm)
  • Palmaris Longus (not everyone has this muscle – if you do, it’s in the middle of your forearm)
  • Flexor Carpi Radialis (middle of the forearm)
  • Pronator Teres (inside of the forearm)
  • And a few more even smaller muscles
  • Forearms are important for wrist and elbow flexion.
  • They also help to balance out the look of your arms. Large biceps and triceps with underdeveloped forearms are aesthetically unpleasing but also a possible risk for strain or injury.


best arm exercises

As simple as it may seem to lift up a gallon of water or throw a basketball, each movement requires a complex set of actions and reactions from your arm muscles. They must work together in order to execute a movement properly.

During pushing movements, your triceps muscles must activate while your biceps muscles relax. During pulling movements, the opposite is true. Your biceps will react and activate while your triceps deactivate and relax.

It is important to understand this concept as you go through your workout program.

Pay close attention to how your own muscles are reacting during a movement. Focus your tension on the action muscle, this will help to stimulate muscular hypertrophy.


There are as many theories and methodologies on how to build your arms as there are muscles, tendons, and ligaments within.

The two major trains of thought boil down to high repetitions with lower volume and lower repetitions with higher volume.

Which one is right?

Both of them are actually. In order to achieve a high level of maximum growth, you need to focus on compound movements during your regular workouts and dedicating a day to really hitting your arm muscles (or even a day every couple of weeks).

Let’s breakdown the acute variables you should be incorporating into your workout program.

The Important Variables of The Best Arm Workouts

best arm workouts and exercises


  • 4 to 6
  • As demonstrated in a study published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine, the repetition range for muscular hypertrophy you want to strive to hit is 40 to 60 per muscle per workout.
  • 4 to 6 sets is an ideal amount that will allow you to reach the 40 to 60 repetition range.

Rep Scheme

  • 6 to 10
  • As mentioned above, achieving a total of 40 to 60 repetitions per workout has been shown to generate the most growth activation. You can hit this range by using the repetition count of 5 to 10 per set of the exercise.
  • For instance, performing 4 heavy sets of 5 reps, and then 4 sets of 10 repetitions will result in 60 total repetitions.


  • 75% to 85% of your one repetition maximum, or 1RM (the maximum amount of weight you can perform in one repetition)
  • While it may seem contrary to what you have been taught, utilizing a large amount of volume has been shown to cause the most muscular hypertrophy during arm training.
  • Variety is important when it comes to staying motivated and keeping your training interesting. So you can break up your workout routines by performing a day of high repetition, lower volume sets every now and again. This will help to change things up while providing your arms a much needed break.

Arm Exercise Selection

  • When it comes to maximizing growth, it is important to select the appropriate exercises. There’s no need to get fancy. Many of the classic bicep and triceps exercises work best for initiating hypertrophy. We will expand on this below.
  • The important thing is that you make sure to switch up exercises every 6 to 10 weeks, depending on your experience level. This will help you to avoid a plateau and sheer boredom.

Training Frequency

  • To expand on a study published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine, the greatest results came from training one body part every 5 to 7 days.
  • It is important to note that compound movements such as the bench press and pull-up will activate your arm muscles and give them lots of volume, so there’s no real need to have 2+ arm days per week. Even one arm-specific day every two weeks would be sufficient.


Not all arm exercises are the same. Some activate different portions of the arm while others may just be for show, having no real value.

We have compiled the best and most effective arm exercises that have been shown to maximize muscle growth.

All of the following exercises are free weight based as free weights allow for a greater range of motion without forcing your body into a locked position as many machines do. Machines for the most part just suck, period.

The Best Exercises For The Biceps

Barbell Bicep CurlHow To Perform

  • Holding a straight-arm barbell with an under handgrip, stand with a tight core and flat back.
  • Keep your upper arm in place and bend from the elbow with a straight wrist.
  • Curl the barbell up towards your shoulders.
  • Pause at the top of the movement.
  • Slowly, lower the weight.

E-Z Bar Bicep CurlHow to Perform

  • Holding an E-Z Curl barbell with an under handgrip, stand with a tight core and flat back.
  • Keep your upper arm in place and bend from the elbow with a straight wrist.
  • Curl the barbell up towards your shoulders.
  • Pause at the top of the movement.
  • Slowly, lower the weight.

Alternating Dumbbell CurlHow to Perform

  • Grab a pair of dumbbells, holding with an underhand grip, and stand up tall with a tight core.
  • Your palms should be facing forward.
  • Keeping your upper arm at your side, bend from the elbow and lift the bar upward.
  • Focus the tension in your bicep and pause at the top of the shoulder.
  • Slowly lower the weight to the starting position.

Hammer Dumbbell CurlHow to Perform

  • Hold a pair of dumbbells with an underhand grip and make sure your core is tight and lower back is flat.
  • Your palms will be facing inward to the sides of your body.
  • Bend from the elbow as you lift the dumbbell up and towards your shoulders. The motion will resemble swinging a hammer.
  • Pause at the top and slowly lower the dumbbell back to the starting position.

Chin-UpHow to Perform

  • Grab a pull-up bar with an underhand grip. Your hands should be roughly shoulder-width apart.
  • Keep your core tight and your elbows slightly bent throughout the movement.
  • Pull yourself up, stopping when your chin reaches the height of the bar.
  • Slowly lower yourself and repeat.

The Best Exercises For The Triceps

Close-Grip Bench PressHow to Perform

  • Lying on a flat bench, place your hands on the barbell close than shoulder width. Push the bar up, pausing above your chest.
  • Slowly lower the bar, focusing the tension in your triceps.
  • Keeping the elbows bent, push the barbell up to the starting position and repeat.

Dumbbell Overhead Triceps PressHow to Perform

  • Standing with a tight core or sitting on a flat bench, raise a dumbbell above your head with both hands.
  • Your elbows will be pointing skyward and the movement will come from the forearms. Minimal movement will come from your elbows.
  • Lower the dumbbell behind your head, pause, then slowly lift it to the starting position.

Lying Triceps PressHow to Perform

  • Hold an E-Z Curl bar with an overhand grip while standing. Sit on a flat bench then slowly lay back.
  • Push the barbell above your head.
  • Your elbows will be skyward for the entire movement.
  • Slowly, lower the barbell towards your face, pause, and return to the starting position.

Triceps PushdownHow to Perform

  • Standing at a cable machine, make sure the rope attachment is in place.
  • Grab the rope and make sure to keep your upper arms at your sides during the movement.
  • Push down on the rope, focusing all the tension in your triceps.
  • Pause at the bottom and slowly bring the rope to the starting position.

DipHow to Perform

  • Secure an overhand grip on the dip bars. Lift yourself up and make sure your core is tight.
  • Bend at the elbows and slowly lower yourself, focusing the tension in the triceps.
  • Raise yourself back up by pushing against the dip bars. Make sure to keep proper form.
  • You can also perform this movement with a bench. (The Bench Dip)

The Best Exercises for The Forearms

Reverse Curls – How to Perform

  • Stand tall, holding an E-Z Curl bar with an overhand grip.
  • Keeping your upper arms at your sides, bend at the elbow, lifting the barbell up.
  • Pause at the top of the shoulders and slowly lower the barbell to the starting position.


bodybuilder doing a big arm workout

Close-Grip Bench Press:

  • 2 warm up sets of 10 to 12 reps
  • 3-4 sets of 4-6 reps

Barbell Curl:

  • 2 warm up sets of 10 to 12 repetitions
  • 3 to 4 working sets of 4 to 8 reps

Dips (Optional: Add weights via a weight belt):

  • 3-4 sets of 4-8 reps

Dumbbell Hammer Curl:

  • 3-4 sets of 4-8 reps

Alternating Dumbbell Curl:

  • 2-3 sets of 6-8 reps


arm exercises

It is not enough to perform the exercises listed above, you have to constantly push yourself, shooting for higher volume, increased sets, and amplified intensity. Doing the same exercises with no change results in a plateau, where size or strength stop showing up.

  • Try to increase the weight you are using every workout by 1 to 5 pounds. At the same time, make sure you are able to maintain near-perfect form.
  • Decrease your rest breaks between sets on your higher volume end sets. This will force your body to become more efficient at utilizing fuel sources while increasing your endurance capacity.
  • Incorporate failure sets into your workout. It is recommended to save a failure set for the last set of an exercise. Simply do as many repa as you possibly can with good form.
  • Make sure you mix up your workout after 6 to 10 weeks, utilizing the other exercises, higher volume, or increased sets.
  • Be sure to focus on the muscle you are working. Review the anatomy section to understand the workings of that muscle to help you visualize the stress being placed upon it. This mind to muscle connection will help increase tension and hypertrophy.

Bonus Tip: Nothing feels better on arm day than a solid muscle pump. Check out our pre-workout supplement called ALTIUS which has clinically effective doses of Citrulline Malate and Betaine, ingredients backed by science to boost pumps, nitric oxide, and muscle growth.


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