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A lot of people who start weight training, tend to focus on the arms, especially biceps as they can be most easily shown off. However, training just your arms will lead to a disproportionate body and you need to place equal emphasis on your chest, abs and legs. Here are some introductory exercises that you can start off with to train the muscles on your biceps, triceps and forearms.
The exercises we list here are as important for women as they are for men. Our ladies need strong well-toned arms too (it won't cause women to bulk up like men do as they don't have as much testosterone as men).
Before we start, you need to understand the muscles of the arms biceps, triceps and forearms. Each of these has what are called extensors (muscles which help extend the arm and increase the angle of the joint) and flexors (muscles which help flex the arm and decrease the angle of the joint).
If you re performing the these exercises for the first time it would be a good idea to take seek help from a gym trainer so that he can show you the proper form and posture. If you don t have a personal trainer, don t fret. Just seek out the floor trainer (all gyms have them) for guidance in the early days. Make sure you are always in control of the motion and you re not lifting those weights with a jerking motion or breaking your form because this could damage your elbows. Also, you should begin with lightweights to learn the proper technique before you move on to heavier weights. Looking at your form and posture in the mirror while performing these exercises help.
Here are some exercises for different parts of the arm biceps, triceps and forearms.
Hammer curls with dumbbells
The hammer curl is a classic exercise and quite simple to boot. It can be performed either with alternate arms or with both arms at the same time using two dumbbells.
Weight, sets and reps: If this is the first time you re doing this exercise begin with 7.5 or 10 pounds in each arm. You should aim to do three sets of 15 reps each (15x3).
How to do it: Stand straight while holding a dumbbell in each of your arms. Your palms should be facing in. Slowly raise the dumbbell until the forearm is completely vertical and then lower your arm to the original position. Do the lifting with your elbows and not your wrists. Keep the wrist as firm as possible.
The barbell curl is another standard exercise which is great for the biceps.
Weight, sets and reps: If it s your first time, begin with a weight that you are comfortable with. You should aim to do three sets of 15 reps each (15x3).
How to do it: Stand straight with your legs wide as you hold a shoulder-wide grip with palms facing up. With your elbows side by side raise the barbell until your forearms are vertical and then lower until your arms are fully extended. Alternatively, you could try doing the biceps curl, which is the same exercise - using dumbbells instead of a barbell.
The exercise is done with the cable pulley machine the one with the weights and lots of ropes and pulleys.
Weights, sets and reps: If it s your first time begin put the weights stack at around 30 pounds (you can lower it even further if that's what you are comfortable with) and do three sets of 15 reps each (15x3).
How to do it: This exercise can either be done with a horizontal bar or a rope handle but the movement remains similar. Stand upright while facing the machine and pull the bar down until your forearm is completely parallel to the ground and repeat this movement. If you re using a rope handle bring your wrists back, at least until your arms are completely straight. Make sure your elbows remain steady while doing this exercise. Read about how you can do triceps cable extensions.
Close-grip bench press
This exercise is similar to the normal bench press but the close-grip makes it an exercise which targets your triceps more than your chest.
Weights, sets and reps: The bench press bar is itself a little heavy and if it s your first time don t add additional weights. However, if you feel that it s too light you can start by adding 5 pound plates on each side. Don t be in a hurry to increase the weight and instead concentrate on proper form and posture.
How to do it: Lie on bench and grasp the bar with a narrow grip (arms six inches apart). Lower the weight to your chest with your elbows close to your body and then push the barbell up until your arms are completely straight. Make sure you have a strong grip while doing this exercise and don t let your wrists bend. Read about how you can do the incline and decline versions of the bench press.
Reverse barbell curl
Weights, sets and reps: Start with the 20 pound barbell and try to do three sets of 15 reps each (15x3).
The reverse barbell curl is similar to the classic barbell curl; the only difference being that instead of up, your palms are facing down.
How to do it: Stand straight with your legs as wide as you hold a shoulder-wide grip with palms facing down. With your elbows side by side raise the barbell as high as you can and then lower until your arms are fully extended. This exercise can also be done while sitting down. The thing to keep in mind is that you should always be in control of the motion without which you could injure your wrists or damage your shoulders. Read about this exercise called farmer's walk which can give help build your forearms.
There are more intense exercises to bulk up the muscles in your arms but you should only start doing them once you re comfortable with the ones mentioned here.