20 Best Arm Exercises To Build Bigger Bicep and Tricep

Are you looking to pump up your biceps and triceps and show off some serious arm strength? Look no further. We will provide information about the best exercises based on anatomy and science that build a bigger arm.

We also cover the best arm exercises, such as bicep curls, tricep pushdowns, and presses, which will help you build size and strengthen muscles.

Strong arms can improve performance in various physical activities, such as sports and weightlifting, and daily tasks, such as lifting heavy objects.

Don’t think just biceps that make for bigger, more defined arms. When it comes to arms, the greatest portion of the upper arm is the triceps.

You might not be able to see them, but the triceps actually make up around two-thirds of your upper arm. So, if you want to pump your arms, it’s important to work on your triceps and biceps as well.

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Bicep Exercises for Building Arm Size and Strength

Many effective arm exercises for men can help build muscle and improve biceps strength. Here are a few exercises that are considered to be some of the best:

1. Barbell Curl

Barbell curls are the most popular arm exercise among men. The exercise typically uses a barbell but can also be done with an EZ curl bar. It is one of my favorite exercises.

In addition to the biceps, it also engages the forearms.

Barbell Curl

How To Do

  1. Hold a barbell with an underhand grip and keep your hands shoulder-width apart.
  2. Keep your elbows close to your sides and your upper arms stationary.
  3. Slowly curl the barbell towards your shoulders.
  4. At the top of the movement, fully contract your biceps.
  5. Slowly lower the barbell to the starting position.


  • Pause at the top of the movement and squeeze your biceps.
  • The motion should occur at the elbow to isolate the biceps, not on the shoulders.
Read More: Barbell Bicep Exercises and Workout For Mass & Strength

2. Preacher Curl

The preacher curl is an isolation exercise designed to target the long head of biceps muscles.

It is typically performed using a preacher curl bench but can also be done using a barbell, dumbbells, or an EZ curl bar.

The incline of the bench helps eliminate the use of the shoulders and back muscles, which makes the biceps work harder.

The preacher curl is, without a doubt, the most common arm workout for men.

Preacher curl

How To Do

  1. Sit upright with your chest flat against the preacher’s bench.
  2. Keep your upper arm pressed into the pad and use a supinated grip (palms facing up)
  3. Extend your arms until your biceps are fully lengthened.
  4. Curl the barbell until the bar is at shoulder height.
  5. Squeeze the biceps at the top and slowly lower the weight.


  • Do not lift off the back. Use your biceps only.
  • Keep the motion slow and controlled throughout the set.
  • Squeeze the biceps as hard as possible as you get the weight to the top.

3. Hammer Curl

The hammer curl is an isolation exercise designed to target the brachioradialis muscle of the forearm and the biceps.

It is typically performed using a pair of dumbbells and can be done seated or standing. The exercise gets its name from the grip used, similar to holding a hammer (neutral position).

It is one of the most popular arm exercises among bodybuilders and regular male weightlifters for building muscular strength and hypertrophy.

Hammer Curl

How To Do Hammer Curl

  1. Hold a pair of dumbbells in your hands with your palms facing towards your body.
  2. Keep your elbows close to your sides and your upper arms stationary.
  3. Slowly curl the dumbbells towards your shoulders.
  4. Take a moment to squeeze your biceps at the top of the lift.
  5. Slowly lower the dumbbells back to the starting position.


  • Raise and lower the dumbbell, which should be raised and lowered gradually.
  • Keep in control by using your own strength, not using momentum or gravity.
  • Neither leans back as you lift the weight nor forward as you lower it.
Read More: 15 Best Biceps Exercises With Dumbbells for Mass & Strength

4. Incline Dumbbell Curls

If you want bigger and stronger arms, then the incline dumbbell curl is what you need to add to your arm workout routine.

This workout isolates the long head of your bicep, stretches it, and pushes you to apply more force while contracting.

This means that it can be a great exercise if you are looking to maximize the bicep peak.

Incline Dumbbell Curl

How To Do

  1. Start by setting an incline bench to a 45-degree angle.
  2. Sit on the bench with your back against the pad and your feet flat on the floor.
  3. Hold a pair of dumbbells at arm’s length with your palms facing forward.
  4. Lift the weights up toward your shoulders and keep your elbows close to your body.
  5. Slowly lower the dumbbells back.


  • Exhale while you exert.
  • Keep your elbows close to your body and your upper arms stationary
  • Go full range to build biceps.

5. Chin Up

Chin-ups are one of the best bodyweight exercises for inducing serious muscle growth in the back, biceps, and forearms.

It is similar to the pull-up, but the grip differs. In a pull-up, the palms face away from the body, and in a chin-up, the palms face towards the body.

Due to the grip position, chin-up target the biceps brachii, brachialis, and brachioradialis more than the back.

Chin Up

How To Do Chin Up

  1. Hang from a chin-up bar with a close, underhand grip.
  2. Keep your body straight and your core engaged.
  3. Slowly pull your body towards the bar and try to touch your chest to the bar.
  4. At the top of the movement, your chin should be above the bar and your biceps should be fully contracted.
  5. Slowly lower your body back to the starting position.


  • Don’t get in the habit of doing half-reps and chasing numbers.
  • Lower to almost full extension of the elbow, but avoid locking out completely.
Read More: Bodyweight Biceps Exercises at Home for Bigger Arm

6. Zottman Curl

The zottman curl is one of the best variations of the standard bicep curl. This multi-movement piece is one of the best arm workouts for men to add to your arsenal.

  • The first portion, the regular curl, focuses on bicep strength.
  • The second lowering portion, the dumbbell reverse curl, allows you to overload the forearms.

You can perform Zottman curls with both arms or alternate the arm you lift with.

Zottman Curl

How To Do

  1. Hold a pair of dumbbells to your sides.
  2. Keep your palms facing up as you curl the weights to your shoulders.
  3. Pause at the top of the movement.
  4. Slowly rotate your grip so your palms are facing downwards.
  5. Lower the dumbbells slowly back to the starting position using an overhand grip.
  6. When the dumbbells are close to your thighs, again turn your hands while returning to the starting position.


  • Perform this exercise in a slow, controlled manner for best results.
  • Don’t go heavy. Choose a lighter weight and focus on perfecting your form.

7. Cable Curl

Unlike barbell or dumbbell curls, where the resistance varies during the lift, the cable pulley provides a uniform resistance throughout the movement.

This isolation exercise works primarily on your biceps and trains the muscles in your forearms. It is a pulling action performed with a cable machine that is suitable for beginners.

Cable Curl

How To Do Cable Curl

  1. Set up the cable curl by attaching a straight bar to the low pulley cable.
  2. Grasp the bar with an underhand grip (palms facing up), and your hands about shoulder-width apart.
  3. Curl the bar up toward your shoulders by bending at the elbows.
  4. Lower the weight down to the arm’s extended position.


  • Stand upright with the spine straight.
  • Keep the rep timing slow and control the weight as you lower it.
  • Fixing the elbows against your sides prevents movement at the shoulder and is an excellent way to isolate the biceps.

8. One Arm High Cable Curl

The High cable curl exercise is a great option for targeting the biceps and building muscle width and thickness.

The high cable curl has two main versions: one-arm and two-arm. 

Both variations are effective, but the one-arm version allows you to use more relative weight for potentially greater gains in biceps size and strength.

One Arm High Cable Curl

How To Do

  1. You should stand sideways next to a high pulley machine with your arm extended to about shoulder height and grasp the handle with one hand.
  2. Slowly curl the cable toward your head until you feel tension. Hold for a count of.
  3. Return to the starting position and repeat for as many reps and sets as desired.
  4. Repeat the exercise with your opposite arm.


  • Hold for a count of two and squeeze your biceps brachii.
  • Inhale as you extend your elbow, exhale while squeezing.

9. Barbell Spider Curl

If you’re looking for a way to spice up your barbell arm workout, you could try the barbell spider curl.

Barbell spider curls train your biceps in a shortened (maximally contracted) muscle position. This results in a powerful muscle pump that can make your arms appear more vascular and lead to significant hypertrophy.

Barbell spider curl

How To Do

  1. Adjust the bench to an incline 45-degree angle.
  2. Lean against the bench so that your chest is supported.
  3. Stand on the balls of your feet and keep them about shoulder width apart for stability.
  4. Let your arms hang in front of your torso. From here, prepare a barbell or set it up in front of you.
  5. Slowly curl the barbell toward your shoulders and squeeze your biceps forcefully.
  6. Hold the contraction momentarily, then slowly lower the bar under control until your elbows are fully extended.

10. Barbell Reverse Curl

Finally, If you want one more effective arm exercise, try the barbell reverse curl. It is a non-negotiable component of arm workouts.

A standard barbell curl will still work the same muscles, but a reverse curl variation hits certain muscles (brachialis & brachioradialis) a little better.

Your pronated grip will activate the brachialis muscles to move the weight during exercises.

Barbell Reverse Curl

How To Do

  1. Grab the bar with a shoulder-width grip with your hands on top of the bar (pronated grip)
  2. Curl the bar up to shoulder level by bending your elbows.
  3. Lower the bar back down to the arms’ extended position.
  4. Repeat for desired reps.


  • Your body should remain fixed. Only your biceps should be used to move the weight.
  • The motion should occur at the elbow.

Tricep Exercises for Building Arm Size and Strength

There are many effective arm exercises for men that can help build muscle and improve tricep strength.

Here are a few exercises that are considered to be the best.

1. Diamond Push-Ups

Diamond push-ups, or triangle push-ups, are a more advanced variation of the classic push-up.

Practice diamond push-ups by bringing your hands too close together to form a diamond or triangle shape below your chest.

Diamond Push Ups

How To Do

  1. Get on the floor with your hands together under your chest.
  2. Position your index fingers and thumbs so they’re touching, forming a diamond shape.
  3. Now, extend your arms to elevate your body and form a straight line from your head to your feet.
  4. Lower your chest towards your hands, ensuring you don’t flare your elbows to the sides and keep your back flat.
  5. Stop before your chest touches the floor, then push back up to the starting position.


  • Keep your body straight and rigid.
  • To make the diamond push-up easier, do it on your knees.

2. Parallel Bar Triceps Dip

Parallel Bar Triceps Dip is another great exercise for tricep workouts.

It is one of the most effective compound movements for the upper body pushing muscles – the chest and triceps especially.

You can build triceps mass by dipping on a narrow parallel bar with your elbows back and your body straight.

Parallel Bar Triceps Dip

How To Do

  1. Grasp the dip bars with your arms extended and locked.
  2. Keep your body as vertical as possible to keep the emphasis on the triceps and away from the chest.
  3. Keep your elbows as close to your sides as possible as you bend them to lower your body down until your upper arms are about parallel to the floor.
  4. Press your hands forcefully into the bars to extend your arms and raise your body back up.


  • Do not lock out your elbows at the top of the movement.
  • To focus effort on the triceps, keep your body upright and elbows tucked in.
Read More: 15 Bodyweight Triceps Exercises: Beginner to Advanced

3. Close-Grip Bench Press

The close grip bench press is a variation of the bench press and an exercise used to build muscle and strength in the triceps.

This position places emphasis on building strength and size of the triceps muscles, as well as the chest.

It is a superior movement for exercises that will pack mass onto your triceps.

Close-Grip Bench Press

How To Do

  1. Lie flat on a bench-press bench with your feet flat on the floor.
  2. With your hands shoulder-width apart, grasp the barbell with an overhand grip.
  3. Unrack the bar and slowly lower it to your chest.
  4. At the end of the movement, your elbows should be a little lower than your shoulders.
  5. Press the bar back up to the starting position.


  • Using a grip closer to shoulder width can make the triceps work harder but also stress the wrists.
  • Use a spotter if you are new to weightlifting.

4. Lying Triceps Extension

The lying tricep extension (aka skull crusher) is one of the best arm workouts for men to target the triceps.

It is an overhead extension performed while lying on a flat bench and using a flat barbell, EZ bar, dumbbell, or two dumbbells.

Lying Triceps Extension

How To Do

  1. Lie on a flat bench with your feet on the floor.
  2. Hold a barbell at full arm extension over your chest.
  3. Keeping your upper arms stationary, slowly lower your lower arms to bring the bar down to your forehead, then push it back up.
  4. Do not lock your elbows out, and repeat for desired reps.


  • Keep the movement in your shoulders to a minimum. Most of the movement should be in your elbows.
  • This exercise should be done slowly and carefully under good control.

5. Two Arm Overhead Dumbbell Triceps Extensions

The seated dumbbell overhead tricep extension is a fantastic movement that builds optimal muscle and strength in all three heads of the tricep muscle.

This exercise is a favorite for making big gains, but you must use proper form and take precautions for optimal safety and effectiveness.

It is particularly useful in targeting the long head of the triceps muscle.

Two Arm Dumbbell Extension

How To Do

  1. Hold one side of the dumbbell with both hands while seated on the bench.
  2. Keep your upper arms close to your head as you raise the dumbbell above your head.
  3. The upper arm should remain stationary, and movement should only come from the forearms.
  4. When the elbows have reached their maximum range of motion, reverse the movement and extend the arms back to the starting position.


  • Keep the head in a fairly neutral position; don’t allow the neck to jut forward.
  • The chin should remain parallel to the floor, and the core should be braced throughout the duration of the exercise.
Read More: 10 Best Triceps Workout with Dumbbells for mass & Strength

6. Triceps Pushdown

The triceps pushdown provides uniform resistance throughout the movement, unlike barbell or dumbbell exercises, where resistance varies during the lift.

This may seem like a simple triceps exercise. However, this exercise is ideal for men’s arm workouts.

  • Using the straight bar, a pronated grip (palms down) emphasizes the outer lateral head of the triceps,
  • A supinated grip (palms up) focuses effort on the inner triceps.
  • An angled V-shaped bar switches the hands into a neutral grip (thumbs up), equally targeting all three triceps heads.
Triceps Pushdown

How To Do

  1. Stand facing a high-pulley cable with a short straight bar attached to it.
  2. Slightly bend your knees and feet, which should be about shoulder-width apart.
  3. Grasp the Short bar with a pronated grip (palm down).
  4. Hold the bar at chest level with your elbows tight against your sides.
  5. Keeping your elbows stationary, straighten your arms until they are fully extended.
  6. Pause at full arm extension, flex your triceps, and slowly return the bar to the starting position.


  • You can do this exercise with a rope or EZ bar attachment.
  • Standing upright with the spine straight is the standard position.
Read More: 15 Best Triceps Cable Exercises for Building Bigger Arms

7. Rope Pushdown

The Rope triceps pushdown is a popular tricep exercise. The rope allows for a neutral grip.

Rope Triceps Extension

How To Do

  1. Keep feet shoulder-width apart, and face a high pulley machine enabled with a rope attachment.
  2. Grasp the ends of the rope so that your palms are facing inward and your elbows are by your waist.
  3. As you lower the rope, exhale and extend your arms until they are straight down by your sides.
  4. Hold for a moment and then inhale as you slowly return the rope to the starting position.


  • Standing upright with the spine straight is the standard position.
  • Contract your triceps as you lower the rope.

8. Cable One Arm Reverse Grip Pushdown

The cable one-arm reverse-grip tricep push-down is an isolation exercise that builds muscle and strength in all three tricep heads.

Pushdowns are excellent regardless of the variation, but the reverse grip may allow you to emphasize the outer tricep head more.

Cable one-arm reverse-grip triceps push-down

How To Do

  1. Stand near the cable apparatus and grasp the single-grip attachment with an underhand grip.
  2. Keeping your elbows at your body’s sides, press the weight downward, while exhaling throughout the movement.
  3. If desired, you may self-spot with your free hand.
  4. Slowly allow the weight to rise until your forearms parallel the ground, inhaling throughout the negative motion.
  5. Repeat steps 3-4 for as many sets as are desired.


  • Your elbow must remain fixed during the set. Keep your upper arm as still as possible, only allowing your forearm to move.
  • Squeeze the tricep hard at the top of the exercise to get that extra pump!
  • Keep the rep timing slow and controlled.

9. Dumbbell Kickback

The dumbbell kickback is a versatile and effective exercise that targets the triceps muscles.

It is an isolation exercise. This means that unlike other exercises such as the diamond push-up or close grip bench press, the tricep kickback specifically targets the tricep muscle.

Dumbbell Kick Back

How To Do

  1. Place your right knee and palm on a flat bench so your torso is parallel with the floor.
  2. Hold a dumbbell in your left hand. Keep your left foot flat on the floor, press your left arm tight against your side, and keep the upper arm parallel to the floor.
  3. Extend the elbow until your arm is straight back and fully extended.
  4. Flex the triceps hard for a second, then reverse to the starting position.
  5. Complete all reps on the left arm and then repeat on the right.


  • Keep your body as still as possible, moving only your forearms.  

10. Cable Overhead Triceps Extension

The overhead rope tricep extension is a variation of the rope tricep extension and an exercise used to build the triceps muscles.

Overhead tricep extension variations are especially good at targeting the long head of the triceps.

Cable overhead triceps extension

How To Do

  1. Attach a rope to the bottom pulley of the cable machine and face away from the pulley.
  2. Hold the rope with both hands palms facing each other (neutral grip), and extend your arms until your hands are directly above your head.
  3. Inhale as you perform this movement, and pause when your triceps are fully stretched.
  4. Slowly return to the starting position and repeat the desired number of sets and reps.


  • Never load up to where you cannot maintain a stable body position.
  • Keep your arms close to your head for maximum triceps engagement.
  • Use a slow and controlled movement from start to finish.
Know More: 15 Best Triceps Cable Exercises For Building Bigger Arms

Build Bigger Arm (With Workout Routine)

1. Progressive Overload

To build bigger arms, you need to increase the weight and resistance you lift progressively.

This will continuously challenge your muscles, leading to growth and development.

It’s not just about the number of reps and sets, but also the intensity of your training. You need to push yourself to the limits to see results.

3. Focus on compound exercises

Compound exercises like chin-ups, pull-ups, and dips work multiple muscle groups simultaneously, including your biceps and triceps.

These exercises are great for overall muscle development.

3. Add Isolation Arm Workout

Repeating the same workouts will cause your muscles to become accustomed, slowing muscle growth.

Instead, make sure to include various exercises that target different muscle fibers and angles.

Isolation exercises like bicep curls and tricep extensions will help to hit the muscle fibers at different angles and make them look bigger

4. Allow Arm Recovery

Your muscles need time and nutrition to recover and grow after a workout. Make sure to get enough rest and sleep, and avoid working the same muscle group daily.

Protein is essential for muscle growth and recovery. Make sure to consume enough protein to support your workout goals.

5. Select Sets and Reps For Arm Training

The number of sets and reps you should do when training arms will depend on your fitness goals and experience level.

Generally, for muscle growth, it’s recommended to do 3-5 sets of 8-12 reps for each exercise. Strength, Power, Hypertrophy and Endurance by Mell Siff’s Supertraining

Here is a general breakdown of the number of sets and reps for different fitness goals:

  • Endurance: 2-3 sets of 15-20 reps
  • Strength: 3-5 sets of 3-5 reps
  • Muscle hypertrophy (size): 3-5 sets of 8-12 reps

It’s always a good idea to start with lower weight and higher reps to get the muscle used to the movement and avoid injury.

As you gain strength, you can gradually increase the weight and lower the reps.

Beginner Arm Workout Plan

ExerciseSetsRepsRest (between sets)
Dumbbell Bicep Curls38-1060-90 sec
Tricep Dips (Assisted if needed)38-1060-90 sec
Hammer Curls310-1260-90 sec
Tricep Pushdowns310-1260-90 sec
Close-Grip Push-Ups310-1260-90 sec
Preacher Curls310-1260-90 sec

Intermediate Bicep and Tricep Workout Plan

ExerciseSetsRepsRest (between sets)
Barbell Bicep Curls310-1260 seconds
Close-Grip Bench Press310-1260 seconds
Chin Up310-1260 seconds
Parallel Bar Triceps Dip310-1260 seconds
Hammer Curls310-1260 seconds
Tricep Pushdowns310-1260 seconds

Anatomy of the Arms

The arm comprises several muscle groups that work together to perform various movements.

The main muscle groups in the arm include:

  • Biceps
  • Triceps
  • Forearms

Biceps Anatomy

The bicep is one of four muscles that make up the arm, along with the brachialis, brachioradialis, and coracobrachialis.

The biceps brachii muscle (biceps) is a large, thick upper arm muscle. It is attached to the forearm bone called the radius and originates at the scapula in two heads, the short head and the long head.

It is responsible for flexing the elbow, which is the movement that occurs when you do a bicep curl. The biceps also assist in the rotation of the forearm.

bicep anatomy

Triceps Anatomy

Triceps brachii, or Triceps, is a three-headed muscle opposite of the biceps and responsible for 2/3 of upper arm mass.

The tricep consists of 3 parts: the medial, the lateral, and the long head of the Tricep.

It begins just below the shoulder blade socket and at two distinct areas of the humerus. It is responsible for extending the elbow, which is the movement that occurs when you do a tricep pushdown.

Triceps Anatomy


Men need to prioritize arm workouts for several reasons. Doing specific arm exercises can make your upper body stronger and look better. This can make your body look more defined and attractive. It can also help you perform better in various physical activities.

To effectively reap the benefits of arm workouts, it is essential to target all major muscle groups of the arms, including the biceps, triceps, and forearms.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. Enjoy the process of strengthening your arms and shaping your body.

Build Bigger Arms: 10 Best Bicep and Tricep Exercises

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