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Arms Workout

by Steve Theunissen
arm workout

Most people love to train their arms. That can be a blessing and a curse. It can inspire us to give the biceps, triceps and forearms the attention they need to look awesome with a killer arm workout. But it can also make us commit the cardinal sin of weight overtraining.

Good arm workouts with weights need to be balanced to avoid overtraining.

The three muscle groups that make up the arms are relatively small. They need to be stimulated rather than annihilated. That means training smart, not just training hard. In this article we present an effective arm training workout that provides the stimulation you need to get the results you want.

In this workout you will train all three of the muscles of the arms – the biceps, triceps and forearms – in one workout. You will not work any other body parts that day. This workout should only be performed once per week. The reason is that all three of these muscles will get plenty of indirect stimulation from your other body part workouts. Your biceps will get a good workout when you hit your back while the triceps are involved with chest training. You are working the forearms every time you grip the bar.  (1)

This arm day workout makes use of super sets. This is when you do one exercise one straight after the other with no rest between them. You can either do super sets for the same muscle group or for opposing muscle groups. In this case we will be working opposing muscle groups – the biceps and the triceps. (2)

Doing biceps, triceps and forearm workouts using supersets is a very satisfying way to train. You will feel a pump in both slides of your upper arms as the muscles work functionally together. The biceps and triceps are antagonistic muscle groups because when one contracts, the other expands. Working them this way will provide you with one of the best arm workouts you will ever do.

Note: Arm workouts for women and arm workouts for men should be the same- after all the muscles are anatomically the same!

The Workout

  • Cable Curl – 3x 8-12
  • Tricep Pressdown – 3x 8-12
  • Alternate Dumbbell Curl  – 3x 8-12
  • Lying Triceps Extension – 3x 8-12
  • Reverse Curls – 3x 8-12

Best Arm Exercises

Cable Curl

The best arm exercises are done with cables. Doing your curls with a low pulley has the advantage of keeping constant tension on the biceps from the very beginning to the start of the exercise. When you use a barbell or dumbbells there is no resistance in either the top or the bottom positions of the exercise.

Set up a pair of low pulleys that are in the lowest pin position of the machine. Stand about  two feet in front of the machine, facing away from it, with the cable handles in your hands. Your palms should be facing your sides.

Starting with your right hand, supinate the wrist so that it is facing forward. At the same time, start curling the handle up to your shoulder level. Squeeze your biceps tightly in the fully contracted position. Lower and repeat on the other side.

Triceps Pressdown

Switch one of the low pulleys to a high pulley position so that the handle is at your upper chest level. Replace the biceps curl handle with a rope handle. Face the machine and grab the bottom areas of the rope handle. With your elbows pinned to your sides, extend the triceps to straighten the arms. In the bottom position, pull outward to fully contract the triceps. Slowly return to the start position and repeat.

Alternate Dumbbell Curl

Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and a pair of dumbbells in your hands. Your arms should be hanging at your sides with the palms facing your thighs. Starting with the right hand, supinate your wrist so that the dumbbell is facing forward. At the same time, curl the weight up until it is at shoulder level. Be sure to keep your elbows pinned at your sides throughout. (3)

Forcefully contract the biceps in the top position and then slowly reverse the motion. Repeat with the other side.

Lying Triceps Extension

Lie face up on a bench with a pair of dumbbells in your hands. Extend your arms directly above your upper chest. Keeping the elbows in, bend at the elbows to bring the dumbbells down to your forehead. Just prior to the weights kissing your forehead, contract the triceps to return to the start position.

Reverse Curls

Stand with a barbell held in a reverse grip so that your palms are facing in toward your body. Your hands should be about shoulder width apart. Now curl the bar up to your upper chest level, being sure not to allow your elbows to flare out. Slowly return to the start position and repeat.


How often should I do arm exercises ?

You should only train your arms once per week. The biggest reason why people do not achieve their arm training goals is because they overtrain them. The arms are the levers of the upper body. That means that they get worked every time you work the chest, back and shoulders. So, if you are directly training them once per week in conjunction with other body part training, they are already getting at least two workouts per week.

The key to strength and size increases in the arms is recuperation and nutrition. If you train them too often, they won’t be able to get those two vital ingredients.

Are workouts at home efficient?

At home arm workouts can be efficient as long as you know what you are doing. If you have some basic equipment such as a pair of dumbbells, you can do most of the exercises in the program provided here. Another great exercise for the biceps is the pull up which you can do on a  pull up bar or simply by hanging from a rafter. You can also do arm workouts without weights. Some effective bodyweight arm exercises for women are reverse dips and push ups.

What’s the best workout for arms?

There really are no single best arm workouts. You should experiment with a variety of workouts and upper arm exercises to find which workouts give your muscles the best pump and growth effect. We believe the program listed here is very effective as a mass builder to provide great arm toning exercises.

When it comes to the question of how to build forearms, stick with just one or two exercises such as reverse curls or wrist curls. Your forearms will get plenty of additional stimulation from your other exercises.

Can you tell me how to build forearms?

When it comes to the question of how to build forearms, you don’t have to train them by themselves more than once per week. Forearm workouts occur every time you grab the bar. When you perform your forearm workouts, stick to such arm exercises and reverse curls, wrist curls and hammer curls.

Key Points

  • Train arms once per week
  • Use super sets
  • Train in the 8-12 rep range
  • Maintain strict form
  • Limit specific forearm workouts


  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30013836/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5556132/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3820192/

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