Looking to develop stronger, more defined arms? We get it. Having bigger arms can give you a serious boost of confidence—especially heading into summer, a time when sleeves are short and there are plenty of opportunities to lose the shirt altogether. Muscular arms can also convey a sense of athleticism and strength. But, they’re not just vanity muscles. There are actually some important practical benefits to having stronger arms, too.
Daily life requires a good amount of upper body effort, right? Whether it’s hauling groceries, picking up your kids or moving heavy boxes, they’re all done with greater ease when you’ve got bigger, stronger arms. And while you likely already know that the two main muscles in your upper arm are the biceps (in the front) and the triceps (in the back), you may not know that they’re opposite functioning muscle groups. Which means they require different types of exercises for strength training. And you don’t want to neglect your shoulders when you’re thinking about training your arms.
This quick and easy-to-master workout guarantees bigger arms with all the right definition to make them really shine. And best of all, it only takes a few minutes. Known as a “tri-set,” you perform the three moves back to back with as little resting as needed for five minutes straight. Start out with five reps a piece, then each time you repeat the workout, try to do one more rep. You're sure to see results … and fast.
The Quick Pump Arm Workout
Do five reps of each exercise as a set. How many total reps can you do in five minutes?
A curl is a curl, right? Wrong. Who knew that by simply turning your dumbbells 90 degrees you could build a set of biceps that really bang?
- Hold the dumbbells by your side, palms facing each other. This hand position will work the outer edge of your biceps.
- Without moving your upper arms, curl the weights up towards your shoulders.
- Pause, then lower to the starting position and repeat.
Overhead Tricep Extensions
Even among other triceps isolation exercises, few are as effective at recruiting the triceps brachii—Latin for “three-headed muscle of the arm”—as overhead extensions.
- Start with the weights over your head, with your arms straight. Brace your core and keep it tight throughout the exercise.
- Keeping your upper arms still, bend your elbows and lower the weights behind your head.
- Pause, then straighten your arms to return to the starting position and repeat.
This is an isolation move that primarily strengthens the deltoid shoulder muscles, which is essential to build strength and definition in the front and sides of your shoulders.
- Hold the dumbbells in front of your legs with your palms facing your thighs. Steady your back and make sure not to rock your torso as you lift.
- Raise the left dumbbell out and upwards, while keeping a slight bend in your elbow, until your arm is just above parallel to the floor.
- Pause, then lower the dumbbells to the starting position (at the thighs) with a slow and controlled motion while exhaling. Duplicate the move with your right arm.
* Change up your tempo: According to Muscle & Fitness, the impact rep tempo has on getting pumped cannot be underestimated. Doing the first half of the set with a slow tempo encourages lactic acid to build, which triggers the body to send oxygenated blood into the muscle.The second half of the set can be done with a faster rep speed, acting as a “pump”, and forcing even more blood into the biceps to see bigger results.