Having bigger, stronger arms can give you a feeling of confidence. Muscular arms can also convey a sense of athleticism and strength. But there are some important practical benefits to having stronger arms, too.
Anything that requires upper body effort — from picking up your kids to lifting heavy boxes — can be done more easily with stronger arms. In addition to boosting your daily functional fitness, having more muscle mass has the ability to:
- increase your metabolism — this means your body will burn more calories, even when you’re not exercising
- increase muscle endurance, strength, and tone
- lower your chance of injury
The two main muscles in your upper arm are the biceps in the front and the triceps in the back. They’re opposite functioning muscle groups, so they require different types of exercises for strength training.
In this article, we’ll walk you through eight of the best exercises for your biceps and triceps, based on research findings.
Exercises for biceps
Your biceps brachii, more commonly known as your biceps, is a double-headed muscle that runs from your shoulder to your elbow. It’s the key muscle involved in lifting and pulling with your arms.
Not surprisingly, according to a 2014 study conducted by the American Council on Exercise (ACE), some of the best exercises for your biceps involve lifting or curling weights up toward your shoulder.
To do these exercises, choose a weight that allows you to do 12 to 15 repetitions of each exercise with the right form.
To start, perform one set of each exercise two to three times a week, allowing for at least 1 day of rest in between your biceps workouts. You can build up to doing two to three sets of each exercise as you build your strength.
1. Concentration curl
In the ACE study, researchers compared the effectiveness of eight different types of biceps exercises. The one that achieved the greatest muscle activation was the concentration curl.