These biceps & triceps strengthening exercises are meant to strengthen and define your arm muscles. To maximize what you want to get out of these exercises in terms of strength, power, hypertrophy and endurance, follow the guidelines below.
Power (high speed): 1-5 reps
Strength (slow & steady): 2-6 reps
Hypertrophy (growth): 6-12 reps
Muscular Endurance: 12-20 reps
3 sets on average are beneficial for all muscle development goals.
Try this exercise to strengthen and define your upper arm. Bicep curls are one of the most commonly seen arm isolation exercise. The biceps muscles main job is to flex the arm.
This exercise is great for targeting the biceps but it also targets the other major muscles in the arm like the brachialis and brachioradialis muscles. The brachialis is responsible for flexing the elbow and lies under the bigger biceps brachii muscles. The brachioradialis muscle is targeted specifically in the next exercise.
This variation of a bicep curl focuses more on the brachioradialis muscle. This muscle is a deep muscle that flexes the elbow.
Cross chest curls
This exercise targets the biceps, brachialis and forearm muscles. By crossing over the midline of your body, you are strengthening the outer part of your biceps that normally wouldn’t be targeted as much with a conventional bicep curl.
Bicep curl to overhead press combo
Adding a combo to your workout doesn’t just target more muscles, it also challenges your brain a little bit to switch between different muscle fibers more quickly in order to produce the movements under load. Bicep curls obviously target the biceps while quickly transitioning to overhead extensions that target the antagonist of our biceps (the triceps) as well as your traps, pecs and deltoids.
Overhead triceps extension
This exercise more definitively targets the triceps muscles on the back of your arm, isolating the triceps more than involving your pecs, deltoids or traps.
Triceps kick Backs
This exercise is another movement that strictly targets the triceps brachii on the back of your arm. By hinging at the hips and keeping the rest of your body still, the only movement being produced is coming from the triceps to extend your arm and the weight backwards.
Skull crushers are another great exercise for triceps isolation. Make sure you have a firm grip on the dumb bell, keep your elbows close and inline with the rest of the body, and be careful of the weight that you start off with. Once you are comfortable, you can increase the weight.
There are many different forms of how to do triceps dips. This exercise uses a bench. You can intensify the exercise by raising your feet on a block or another bench. The main target muscle is obviously the triceps but tis exercise also involves the shoulder and chest muscles.
Close grip chest press
Similar to close grip push ups, this exercise can activate all three heads of the triceps muscles in your arm. A traditional chest press works more of your pec muscles in your chest whereas the close grip activates your triceps more.
Julia de Reijke RKin, CSEP-CPT, BASc Kinesiology (Hons), DipFTHP