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Our Top 5 Exercises to Shape Your Arms

What if I told you everything we’ve been taught about gaining better looking arms is false?

What if I told you there was a better, more efficient way to have the arms of your dreams?

Luckily, we have the solution.

Great looking arms are a combination of both leanness and strength. In other words, your training should focus on losing body-fat (not just at your arms) with high-intensity conditioning and building some serious strength with the right exercises we will cover below.

When it comes to improving the look of your arms, the exercises you choose is crucial. Too often, people focus their time on isolation exercises like bicep curls, tricep kick-backs and press-downs. These exercises certainly have their place, but they should be done toward the end of your training sessions and only make up about 10-20% of your upper-body training. Too much of this style of training will result in underdeveloped arms and increase the risk of an overuse injury at your wrist, elbow or shoulder.

Instead, focus your arm training on compound, multi-joint movements that will give you the most bang-for-your-buck. Your arms are not just biceps and triceps. You want to select exercises that will challenge your forearms, triceps, biceps and shoulders. Finally, the exercises you choose should also allow you to use a good amount of weight, placing a large amount of stress and tension on your muscle, forcing them to strengthen and tone. This in-turn, will result in some strong, great looking arms.

Here are our top 5 exercises for better arms: 

1. Push-Ups (triceps and shoulders)

If we had to choose one exercise to improve the shape of your arms it would be the push-up. It is the ultimate exercise to improve the strength of your upper-body, especially your arms. It's hard to find someone who is really good at push-ups with bad looking arms. Because they are so versatile, you can make them harder or easier and do them just about anywhere. 

Key Points:

  • Start with hands just outside shoulder width
  • Keep a straight line from head to heels
  • Keep hips tucked and squeeze glutes
  • Lower yourself until arms finish inline with body
  • Keep elbows at 45 degree angle
  • Make them easier by starting from an incline, harder by adding weight to your back
  • Start with 2-4 sets of 8-10 reps

Learn how to improve your push-up in the video below:

2. DB Bench Press Complex (triceps and shoulders)

A great way to add some serious weight to your arm exercise is by incorporating the DB bench press. To build some great looking arms, the key is tension on your muscle. To increase tension you need  to increase both the weight and duration of the exercise. Enter the DB Bench Press Complex:

Key Points:

  • Start with DB's in bottom position, just above armpits
  • Start by pressing right dumbbell up and return to starting position, then left
  • Alternate each for 5 on each side
  • Bring DB's up to top position
  • Lower and press right dumbbell and then left
  • Alternate each for 5 on each side
  • Finish by pressing each for as many as reps possible 

3. DB Curl to Overhead Press (forearms, biceps and shoulders)

Similar to the DB Bench Complex, the DB curl to press is a great way to add some weight to your arm exercises. Here the focus is on building your biceps and shoulders. 

Key Points:

  • Start on one knee, DB's by your side
  • Start by curling DB's to shoulders
  • Keeping stomach tight, press DB's overhead
  • Finish by lowering DB's to shoulders and uncurling to starting position
  • Start with 3-4 sets of 8-10 reps

4. Renegade Row (triceps and shoulders)

The renegade row is a great to way to intensify your push-up. This exercise is a great way to improve the look and strength of your triceps as well as the front and back of your shoulders. If you are still working on your push-up, keep your motion small. 

Key Points:

  • Start in push-up position, hands on two dumbbells
  • Lower into push-up position and return to starting position
  • Without moving hips, row right DB towards rib cage
  • Squeeze right shoulder blade toward spine
  • Return to starting position and switch to left side
  • Start with 3-4 sets of 6 to 8 reps

5. Battling Ropes (forearms, biceps, shoulders, fat-loss)

One of the fan favorites amongst our women's group members is the ropes. The amount of grip it takes as well as the rapid arm action, makes this a must when it comes to building better arms. The high-tempo also makes the battling ropes a great conditioning and fat loss drill!

Key Points: 

  • Stay in a low, athletic position throughout
  • Using just your arms, make quick and even waves with the ropes
  • Keep the ropes moving together or alternate arms
  • Start with :15 of work :45 of rest for 6-10 rounds

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