Transform Your Arms: The Ultimate Guide to Building Bigger Biceps & Triceps with Top 10 Strength-Boosting Workouts for Men

In the quest to sculpt sleeve-busting arm muscles, you need to begin with a strategic selection of strength exercises. Choosing the right ones can be a challenge in itself, which is why I’m here to help. I’ve rounded up 10 of the best strength exercises for men to build bigger biceps and triceps.

The below strength exercises will serve as potent catalysts, activating the muscle fibers within these key arm muscles. Compound lifts such as lat pulldowns, barbell rows, dips, and bench press variations stand as cornerstones in this pursuit, orchestrating enhancements in muscle mass and overall strength. However, the artistry of sleeve-building extends beyond compound movements; it embraces the finesse of isolation exercises. Integrating single-joint exercises into your workouts can unlock the coveted pump.

Few workouts rival the intensity and satisfaction of arm training, so I’m here to present the ultimate arsenal of strength exercises for men to build bigger biceps and triceps. These exercises form the cornerstone of strength and size development and can be seamlessly incorporated using conventional gym equipment or adapted for home workouts, ensuring accessibility and effectiveness for all.

Reverse-grip Lat Pulldown

Positioning your hands in a reverse (supinated) grip during the lat pulldown stimulates your bicep muscles, enhancing both strength and size in your back and developing bicep hypertrophy compared to a standard grip.

Position yourself in the lat pulldown machine with your thighs under the pads and your feet flat on the floor. Grab the handle with an underhand grip, hands spaced shoulder-width apart, palms facing you. Maintain a tall posture throughout the movement as you pull the handle down, focusing on squeezing your shoulder blades together and driving your elbows toward your sides. Pause briefly at the bottom of the movement, squeezing your back muscles. Slowly return the handle to the starting position, allowing your arms to extend while maintaining full tension in your back muscles.

Aim for a full range of motion while keeping the movement controlled and deliberate to stimulate effective muscle growth. Complete three to four sets of eight to 15 reps. Rest for 60 to 90 seconds between sets.

Reverse Grip Barbell Bent-over Rows

To maximize the stretch in your biceps during the reverse grip barbell bent-over row, prioritize a full range of motion and maintain control during the lowering phase. Adopting a reverse grip with palms facing up activates the biceps more effectively than with a traditional overhand grip.

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding a barbell with an underhand grip (palms up) just narrower than shoulder-width. Maintain a slight knee bend and lean forward at a 45-degree angle with your back straight. Engage your core and retract your shoulder blades as you pull the barbell toward your lower chest, squeezing the shoulder blades together and contracting the back muscles. Pause briefly at the top before inhaling and lowering the barbell, feeling a stretch in the biceps.

Perform three to four sets of eight to 12 reps. Rest for 60 to 90 seconds between sets.

Dumbbell Hammer Curls

illustration of bicep hammer curls

Hammer curls utilize a neutral grip, often enabling you to lift heavier weights than other dumbbell curl variations. What makes hammer curls, including cable hammer curls, particularly effective is their ability to target both the long head of the biceps and the brachioradialis, a crucial forearm muscle. This dual focus promotes muscle growth and enhances grip strength, making them an excellent addition to any arm workout routine.

Stand tall with a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing inward. Keep your core engaged and elbows slightly bent, then curl the dumbbells toward your shoulders, squeezing your biceps. Pause at the top, then inhale as you lower the dumbbells back down with control.

Perform three to four sets of eight to 15 reps. Rest for 60 seconds between sets.

EZ Bar Preacher Curls

preacher curl

EZ bar preacher curls are excellent for isolating the biceps because of the preacher bench’s positioning, eliminating any potential cheating from arm momentum or torso movement. The underhand grip (supinated) effectively targets the short head of your biceps, enhancing the “peak” when flexing.

Position yourself on the preacher bench so your upper arms rest comfortably on the pad. Grip the EZ bar with your hands shoulder-width apart, palms facing upward. Keep your upper arms against the pad and exhale as you curl the bar toward your shoulders, contracting your biceps. Pause briefly at the top before slowly lowering the bar, maintaining control.

Complete three sets of 12 to 15 reps. Rest for 60 to 90 seconds between sets.

Barbell Cheat Curls

Barbell cheat curls are one of the most crucial strength exercises for building arm muscle mass. Introducing a controlled cheat movement during bicep curls enables you to push beyond limits, squeezing out additional reps for sculpted biceps. Embrace barbell cheat curls, especially for finisher sets to failure, maximizing your workout’s effectiveness.

To knock out sets of barbell cheat curls, grip the barbell with your palms facing up and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Engage your core and slightly bend your knees. Begin by curling the barbell toward your shoulders, allowing controlled torso sway to generate momentum. Achieve peak contraction at shoulder height before lowering the barbell back down controlled. Repeat for your desired number of reps, focusing on maintaining form and controlled cheating movements.

Perform three to four sets of six to 12 reps. Rest for 90 seconds between sets.

Close-grip Bench Press

close grip bench press

The close-grip bench press is potent for enhancing strength and size, honing in on your chest, triceps, and front shoulders. This variation increases tricep engagement compared to the traditional bench press, making it a potent compound exercise. Incorporating close-grip bench press into your routine, especially as a follow-up to traditional bench press sets, can boost your bench press numbers while prioritizing tricep hypertrophy.

Lie flat on the bench with your back firmly against it. Grip the barbell with your hands closer together than shoulder-width apart, palms facing forward. Lift the barbell off the rack and position it directly above your chest with arms fully extended. Lower the barbell toward your chest while keeping your elbows tucked close to your sides, then exhale as you push the barbell back up to the starting position.

For optimal results, perform three sets of eight to 12 reps. If using the drop-down method, finish with two sets to failure immediately after your bench press sets. Allow 90 seconds of rest between each set to maximize recovery and maintain intensity throughout your workout.

Tricep Dips

Tricep dips offer versatile training options, whether using a weight bench, parallel bars, dip bar, or dip machine, making them accessible for workouts at the gym or at home. This calisthenic-based exercise primarily utilizes your body weight for resistance. Adjusting your body position to maintain a more upright chest engages the triceps more effectively, while a lowered chest position targets the chest muscles.

Grip the parallel bars or dip bar with your hands shoulder-width apart and palms facing inward. Keep your torso upright and chest lifted as you lower your body by bending your elbows until your upper arms are parallel to the ground. Press through your palms to straighten your arms and return to the starting position.

Complete three to four sets of eight to 10 reps. Rest for 90 seconds between sets.

Overhead Dumbbell Tricep Extensions

tricep extension

Overhead dumbbell tricep extensions are one of the most effective strength exercises for promoting muscle growth. The overhead position stretches the triceps deeply when the elbows fully flex, leading to significant muscle activation. Training with the appropriate resistance and ensuring a full range of motion are key to maximizing muscle size and strength gains with this exercise.

Sit on a bench or stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding a dumbbell with both hands above your head. Lower the dumbbell behind your head by bending your elbows until your forearms parallel the floor. Then, press the dumbbell back up to the starting position by extending your elbows. Focus on slow and controlled reps.

Perform three sets of eight to 12 reps. Rest for 60 seconds between sets.

Reverse Grip Cable Tricep Pushdowns

The reverse grip position of the cable tricep extension is one of the most effective strength exercises for targeting your triceps, specifically the lateral head. Taking a wider or closer grip can help target either the medial, lateral, or long head of the triceps more effectively.

Attach a straight or EZ-curl bar to the high pulley of a cable machine and adjust the weight. Stand facing the machine with your feet shoulder-width apart and grip the bar with an underhand grip. Position your hands shoulder-width apart. Keep your elbows tucked in by your sides and your upper arms stationary. Push the bar downward by extending your elbows and contracting your triceps. Extend your elbows at the bottom, then return to the starting position with controlled movements.

Complete three sets of eight to 15 reps. Rest for 60 seconds between sets.

Dumbbell Skull Crushers

illustration of dumbbell skull crusher

Dumbbell skull crushers offer an intense triceps stretch, promoting muscle hypertrophy. Their unilateral nature engages stabilizer muscles in the elbows, wrists, and shoulders. Vary your routine using two dumbbells or focusing on unilateral training with a single dumbbell, targeting each arm individually.

Lie flat on a bench with a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing inward toward your head. Extend your arms straight up toward the ceiling, perpendicular to the floor. Lower the dumbbells toward the sides of your head by bending your elbows, keeping your upper arms stationary. Feel a stretch in your triceps as your forearms move backward. Press the dumbbells back up by extending your elbows, contracting your triceps at the top.

Perform three sets of eight to 15 reps. Rest for 60 seconds between sets.

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