• Joshua Li

Your Ultimate Playbook to Building Bigger Arms


A quick and easy guide to the most common arm training exercises

DUMBBELL CURL

Variation

  1. Standing

  2. Seated

  3. Incline Bench

  4. Supinated grip

  5. Neutral grip

Form

  • Allow full elbow extension whilst keeping it tight to the side of your torso

  • Limit shoulder movement

  • Control the downward descent (negative rep)

Don’t Do This!

  • Hyperextending your spine (arching backwards)

  • Curling too fast (using momentum)

  • Letting the weight drop down too fast

  • Not performing full extension of the arm (full descent of the weight)

  • Too much hip/back/shoulder motion

BARBELL CURLS

Variation

  1. Standing

  2. Incline Bench

Form

  • Allow full elbow extension whilst keeping it tight to the side of your torso

  • Limit shoulder movement

  • Control the downward descent (negative rep)

Don’t Do This!

  • Hyperextending your spine (arching backwards)

  • Curling too fast (using momentum)

  • Letting the weight drop down too fast

  • Not performing full extension of the arm (full descent of the weight)

  • Too much hip/back/shoulder motion

INCLINE CURLS

Variation

  1. Incline Bench

  2. Standing (with cables)

Form

  • Allow full elbow extension whilst keeping it tight to the side of your torso

  • Limit shoulder movement

  • Control the downward descent (negative rep)

Don’t Do This!

  • Hyperextending your spine (arching backwards)

  • Curling too fast (using momentum)

  • Letting the weight drop down too fast

  • Not performing full extension of the arm (full descent of the weight)

  • Too much hip/back/shoulder motion

PREACHER CURLS

Variation

  1. Seated

  2. Standing

  3. Barbell

  4. EZ Curl Bar

  5. Dumbbell

  6. Cable

Form

  • Rest most of the arm on the bench

  • Don’t allow elbow to dig into the pad on the eccentric, or lift up from the pad on the concentric

Don’t Do This!

  • Too much shoulder movement

  • Elbows coming off the pad (at the top of the rep)

  • Performing the motion too fast

  • Body sway (using momentum)

CABLE CURLS

Variation

  1. Cables in front

  2. Cables behind

  3. Single handles

  4. Bar attachment in front

  5. Various cable bar heights

Form

  • Don’t allow excessive shoulder motion

  • The further back you stand, the more the motion should look like a preacher curl (shoulders flexed)

  • The closer you stand, the more the motion should look like an incline curl (shoulders extended)

Don’t Do This!

  • Performing the motion too fast

  • Excessive shoulder motion

TRICEP DIPS

Variation

  1. Narrow grip on dip bar

  2. Wide grip on dip bar

  3. Bench placed behind torso

Form

  • Keep knees and hips flexed (to maintain a more horizontal torso position)

  • Slowly lower your body

  • Keep elbows tucked in and not flared out to the sides

  • Lower your body until your elbows create a 90-degree angle

Don’t Do This!

  • Keeping legs straight (this puts your anterior shoulder muscles in an awkward position and can lead to injury)

  • Not being aware of your active shoulder extension capabilities and thus descending too low or too fast

NARROW GRIP BENCH PRESS

  1. Barbell

  2. EZ Curl

  3. Smith Machine

Form

  • Hands should be shoulder width apart

  • Keep elbows tucked in to your torso

  • Lock out your arms at the top of each rep to ensure full tricep flexion

Don’t Do This!

  • Letting elbows flare outwards

  • Not locking out at the top of each rep

  • Using too narrow o a grip (puts unnecessary strain on the wrists)

  • Performing too fast with lack of control

STANDING CABLE ROPE EXTENSION

Variation

  1. Rope

  2. Webbing handles

  3. Two ropes at separate cable stations (crossovers)

Form

  • Make sure knees/hips are slightly bent, chest is pointed outwards, scapula retracted, and elbows are tucked into the side of your torso

  • Pull the weight dow with minimal shoulder movement

  • Perform full extension of the arms

  • Return arms to about 90-degrees on the eccentric

Don’t Do This!

  • Performing the motion too fast

  • Lack of control during the eccentric motion

  • Excessive neck/head movement

  • Not locking out arms at the bottom of each rep


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