Tue. Dec 6th, 2022

What are the ten best arm weightlifting exercises to build massive arms? Arms are probably the most demanding muscle of all. Also, they shorten and lengthen more than any other muscle in your body. The arms comprise the biceps, triceps, elbows, forearms, and wrist.

The biceps and triceps are the most prominent muscles in the arm. Thus, the tricep has long, lateral, and medial heads. All three heads handle the extensions of the elbow. Also, the long head is responsible for the shoulder joint’s abduction.

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The tricep is a posterior muscle that performs a pressing motion. In comparison, the bicep has two heads: long and short. Also, the long head handles the elbow’s flexion and the foreman’s supination. In contrast, the short head is accountable for the weak flexion of the shoulder joint. Finally, the bicep is an anterior muscle that performs a pulling motion.

Understanding the mechanics and anatomy of the arms gives you some insight into what exercises build them the best. In addition, about 90% of exercises involve using the arms while. So, building muscular arms is vital to developing a solid and aesthetic upper body. Below, we list the ten best arm weightlifting exercises to create massive arms.

The criteria we used to rank the best arm weightlifting exercises were appearance, performance, and type. So let’s get the countdown started for the ten best exercises to build massive arms worldwide.

Here is the best bodyweight exercise for building massive biceps and triceps:

#10. Chin-ups

Chin-ups exercise is excellent for the back muscles. In this exercise, your biceps also get worked out to combine a back and bicep workout in your training routine. Also, the biceps and back both perform a pulling motion. Therefore, any exercise that involves you pulling weights or your body weight will require the biceps and back muscles. Chin-ups are a bodyweight exercise that is also a compound exercise. These are the best type of exercises for overall strength and athletic appearance. Finally, chin-ups are a great warm-up or cooldown exercise.

#9. Dips

The dip exercise is excellent for targeting the triceps muscles. You can do them with your body weight or with added weight. If you are a beginner, start with your body weight and when you get stronger, add weight. The dips also target your chest. The triceps and the chest both perform a pressing motion. Thus, any exercise that requires you to push the weight away from you will need the triceps and chest muscles. Dips are a bodyweight and compound exercise. In addition, you can add weight to this exercise and make it a weightlifting exercise. Finally, dips are a great warm-up, cooldown, or workout exercise.

#8. Close Grip Pushups

Close-grip pushups are an excellent bodyweight exercise for targeting the triceps muscles. It is a more challenging variation of the traditional pushup. If you can’t do close-grip pushups yet, start with regular pushups, and when you get stronger, progress to close-grip pushups. Like the chin-ups and dips, close grip pushups offer you some flexibility. You can use them to warm up, cool down, or workout. They also provide another compound exercise to improve your athletic performance and appearance. As a result, the close-grip pushup is the highest-ranking bodyweight exercise make our list.

Here is the best cable exercise for building massive biceps and triceps:

#7. Cable Curls

Cable curls are an excellent arm weightlifting exercise for hitting the biceps muscles from all angles. It is also a great isolation exercise. The advantage of doing cable curls over dumbbell curls is that they allow you to generate maximum contraction throughout the entire range of motion. Also, because the resistance is constant, you can’t cheat by using momentum to swing the weights.

#6. Triceps Cable Extension with Bar

Triceps cable extension is another excellent arm weightlifting exercise for targeting the triceps muscles. Also, it’s a more challenging variation of the overhead cable extension, so it targets the muscle fibers in your arms responsible for giving you bigger and stronger arms. Finally, cable exercises keep constant resistance on the targeted muscle, which creates more stress and growth.

#5. Tricep Pushdown

The triceps pushdown is one of the best arm weightlifting exercises to build up your triceps and give them a ripped look. Tricep pushdowns are another great cable exercise. Also, the tricep responds well to cable exercises. Not all muscles have the same response to a specific type of exercise. Compared to other tricep movements, such as skull crushers and dips, this movement allows you to overload your muscles with heavier weights. Finally, the tricep pushdown is the highest-ranking cable exercise to make our list.

Here is the best free-weight exercise for building massive biceps and triceps:

#4. Standing Barbell Curls

You can do this basic biceps movement with a straight bar or an E-Z curl bar. Standing exercises are great for building bigger arms because they allow you to move heavy weights and overload your muscles. They also are easier on the joints than other exercises, so there a good choice for those working out their arms. Finally, the standing barbell is the first free weight to make our list.

#3. Dumbbell Biceps Curl

The dumbbell bicep curl is another excellent arm weightlifting exercise for the biceps muscles. It’s a good variation of barbell biceps curls because you position your arms at different angles, allowing you to hit muscle fibers you wouldn’t target with straight bar movements. Also, it will enable you to target each arm separately and give your weaker arm added attention to ensure it keeps up with your more muscular arm.

#2. French Press

The French press movement is very effective for building up the triceps. If you are a beginner, do this exercise with dumbbells rather than a barbell because it’s easier to handle the weight of dumbbells. When you get stronger, progress to a barbell and use an EZ bar.

The French press is an overhead elbow extension and flexion move that directly pressures the tricep. Gravity applies constant pressure on the muscles, like the cables, during this move. Finally, the advantage that free weight gives you over cables is that it forces you to balance and control the weight through the entire range of motion.

#1. Skull Crushers

The skull crusher is another excellent arm weightlifting exercise for targeting the triceps muscles. It’s a more challenging variation of the traditional pushup. If you can’t do close grip pushups yet, start with regular pushups, and when you get stronger, progress in closing grip. Skull crushers and the French press are very similar. While you stand with the French press, you lay on a bench with skull crushers. Like the French press skull, crushers use gravity to keep pressure on the tricep during the concentric and eccentric parts of the lift.

How to build big arms

Summary of the ten best weightlifting exercises to build impressive arms

So let’s break down our countdown to discover how we put our list together. First, we categorized the best arm weightlifting exercises according to the exercise type:

  1. free weight
  2. cable
  3. bodyweight

Next, we categorized the tricep exercises above the bicep exercises. We did this because the tricep is twice as big as the bicep. Therefore, we get bigger arms by placing tricep exercises above bicep exercises.

Finally, we ranked the exercises you can perform with a more significant load above the others. Also, this allowed you to prioritize performance and appearance.

How to use the ten best arm weightlifting exercises to build powerful arms?

The arm is a unique group of muscles because it requires push/pull movements to develop muscular arms. Thus, the triceps push weight while the biceps pull it.

Using a push/pull workout, you will work the biceps and triceps on different days. Also, this type of workout requires combing the arm exercises with other large muscle groups. The bicep muscles support the chest and anterior and middle shoulder muscles on press days. While the triceps muscles support the back and posterior shoulder muscles on pull days.

Since the arms support all upper body lifts, we only need to work them one day. The nice thing about smaller muscles is that they recover quickly. But before we do that, let’s discuss some basics about muscle hypertrophy. Here are the basics:

Muscle Hypertrophy Guidelines
  • Weight Per Repetition: 70% – 80% of 1RPM
  • Repetitions Per Set; 8 – 12 reps
  • Set Per exercise; 3 – 5 sets
  • Total Sets Per Week; 8 – 26 sets
  • Workouts; 2 – 3 times each week
  • Rest Time; 48 – 72 hours

Use the ten best arm weightlifting exercises to build powerful arms

Let’s put together a stand-alone arm workout. First, we start with the skull crusher because it is a tricep exercise, and we can’t build enormous arms without triceps. Then we select another stable, the standing bicep curl, a bicep lift to keep things balanced.

While the first two exercises were compound moves focused on balance, the following two will focus on precision and isolation. Next, we choose the tricep pushdown and another tricep lift. However, this cable exercise allows us to apply more consistent pressure to the tricep. Finally, we select the dumbbell curls and a bicep lift to complete the workout. This exercise will isolate each bicep and work them from different angles.

Not to worry, you can use the other best weightlifting arm exercises as a part of a periodization plan when we look to spice up our workout. Also, the arms are a muscle group that can handle the volume. So let’s see what we can do:

Arm Day 

Warm-up:

  • Dips – 1 set; 10 reps
  • Chin-ups – 1 set; 10 reps

Workout:

  • Skull Crushers – 6 sets; 12 reps; 75% of 1rpm
  • Barbell Curls – 6 sets; 12 reps; 75% of 1rpm
  • Tricep Pushdowns – 6 sets; 12 reps; 75% of 1rpm
  • Dumbbell Curls – 6 sets; 12 reps; 75% of 1rpm

Cooldown:

  • Planks – 3 sets; 30-second reps
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Use the ten best arm weightlifting exercises to build muscular arms in a push/pull workout:

Let’s put together a push/pull workout. This type of workout allows you to perform exercises that require you to push on the same day and perform exercises that require you to pull. A push/pull workout is effective at building balance. Also, incorporate as many compound lifts as possible to get the biggest bang for the buck. Finally, the big lifts are a recommended starting point; you should include their variations in your periodization plan. So let’s see what we can do:

Push Day

Warm-up:

Workout:

Cooldown:

  • Planks – 3 sets; 30-second reps

Pull Day

Warm-up:

  • Chin-ups – 3 sets; 10 reps

Workout:

Cooldown:

Here is the last word on the best arm weightlifting exercises for building massive arms.

The countdown of the top 10 arm and bicep exercises to build muscle mass is an informative list for anyone who wants a robust set of arms. Also, this article will help you start your path to building more muscle, but we also want to hear about your experience with these exercises.

Achieving muscle mass can be an elusive goal for many people. But it doesn’t have to be! Also, this article has shared ten different exercises that will get you bulking up in no time. Remember, the best way to see results is by consistently incorporating these moves into a workout routine (minimum three times per week or 9 to 26 sets a week). So, which exercise did we miss? What has been your experience with bicep and tricep exercises? Let us know in the comments below!

By Terry Clark

Terry Clark is a math professor, certified fitness trainer, bodybuilding coach, nutrition specialist, writer, and fitness enthusiast. Terry loves working out, playing with numbers, solving problems, writing, and teaching.