Well defined arms are a sure way to tell the world that you work out. But having visibly toned and defined arms isn’t just about looks, it symbolizes strength and confidence. Whether you want to show off your short sleeves with pride or feel more confident in your skin, men of all ages need to add the following daily strength exercises to their fitness regimen. To help you develop sleeve-busting arms, we chatted with T. J. Mentus, CPT, a certified personal trainer at Garage Gym Reviews, who has curated a list of seven stellar exercises that target your biceps, triceps, and shoulders, giving you the perfect foundation for sculpted arms. Strengthening your arms can improve upper body strength, improving functional movements and increasing metabolism. So get ready to learn all about the seven best daily strength exercises for men to get ripped arms. You can thank us later!
If you’re ready to take your arms to Schwarzenneger level of definition and strength, read on for Mentus’s seven best strength exercises for men to include in their daily routine. And when he’s done, don’t miss these 5 Regular Strength Exercises All Men Should Do in Their 30s.
Pull-ups target your biceps and back muscles as you push yourself up with an underhand grip. The controlled movement and bodyweight resistance make it an effective and challenging exercise for building strong, defined arms.
“Chin-ups are one of the best exercises to build your arm muscles, specifically your biceps,” Mentus says. “The biceps work with the muscles of the back to help the body through the range of motion necessary to execute the exercise. Focusing on a controlled descent promotes muscle breakdown in the biceps to allow for better hypertrophy (growth) of the muscle.”
To start, grab a pull-up bar with your palms facing you and start at a standstill. Pull your elbows out to your sides until your chin is over the bar. Lower down until your arms are straight again. To make it more challenging, go slow on the way down.
Typically considered a chest strengthening exercise, the pushup is a classic exercise that engages multiple muscle groups, including the chest, triceps, and shoulders. Mentus tells us, “Push-ups are another great bodyweight exercise for the arms. The nice thing about this exercise is that a push-up can be done anywhere.”
Begin in a pushup position on the floor with your palms resting on the floor just outside of your shoulders and your body aligned from your back down through your legs. Lower your chest to the floor by bending your elbows out to the sides, keeping your legs apart from the floor. Once you lightly touch the floor, push through the floor to extend your arms again.
This twist on traditional bicep curls will target the brachialis muscle on the side of your arms to help build full, bulging biceps. This variation adds width and thickness to your arms for a well rounded and defined look. “Hammer curls isolate the biceps; you can usually use heavier weights than other curl variations, which makes it more demanding,” says Mentus.
Hold a dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing your sides. Curl the dumbbells up, pulling the head of the dumbbell toward the front of your shoulder, then back down. Keep your elbows tucked into your sides.
Don’t let the name of this exercise intimidate you. The skull crusher involves extending your arms with a dumbbell or barbell while lying on a bench, isolating and strengthening your triceps to add considerable size to the back of your arms. “Skull crushers are an exercise that significantly challenges the triceps. When done correctly, no other muscle can help move the weight,” says Mentus.
To set up, lie on a bench holding a barbell with your hands shoulder-width apart and arms straight. Keeping your upper arms stationary, lower the bar toward your face by bending your elbows. Once you’re an inch from your face, extend your arms straight again, keeping your upper arms still.
Next up on Mentus’ list of the best daily strength exercises for men to sculpt lean arms is the reverse curl. This biceps curl variation will activate the brachioradialis muscle, which runs the length of the forearm. “Reverse curls are great for directly targeting the forearm muscles,” explains Mentus. “If you’re building defined arms, it’s essential to focus on forearm exercises. Be sure to perform them with a barbell in a standing position.”
Begin by gripping the bar with your hands shoulder-width apart and palms facing you. Pull the bar up, keeping your elbows locked at your sides, then lower it back down.
This dynamic move involves a biceps curl followed by an overhead press, engaging both the biceps and shoulders for an overall more muscular upper body. “The curl-to-press movement is great for working the entire arm. The curl works the biceps and the overhead press works the triceps and shoulders. I love using this move for arm development in the gym, especially when I’m on a tight schedule or as a finisher,” says Mentus.
Hold a pair of dumbbells with your palms facing away from you. Raise the dumbbells to your shoulders, then press the dumbbells overhead and rotate the dumbbells and thumbs towards each other. Lower the dumbbells back in the reverse movement.
The last of these strength exercises for men to get ripped arms is the cable triceps pushdown. Using a cable machine and an appropriate accessory, this exercise targets the medial and lateral heads of your triceps to strengthen your upper arms. Says Mentus, “The cable triceps pushdown is one of the best isolation exercises for developing lean triceps. The cables maintain constant tension on the triceps, allowing you to load them more safely than other movements. Varying your grip position will also allow you to target different heads of your triceps.”
Position the cord so that the handle is at head height. Grab it with your palms facing you and pull your elbows out to the sides. Keep your elbows locked and extend your arms, pressing down on the cable.