What are the best arm building and shaping/defining exercises?
Dara: For biceps it’s important to work all heads to get a nice round overall shape, and this means working with a variety of grips from a variety of angles. I like barbell curls, dumbbell hammer curls laying on an incline bench and cross body hammer curls. 21’s and drop sets work well to give you a really good pump in the biceps as well. For triceps I like the cables. I find I can better focus on the triceps muscles with cables than just with barbells or dumbbells. Straight bar triceps pushdowns and overhead rope extensions are my favourite triceps exercises. Drops sets are great for the triceps as well. For shaping/defining, well that comes down to level of body fat again. In addition to your arm exercises you need to be doing regular HIIT and keeping your diet clean if you want to be able to see your hard work!
Colin: As Dara mentioned to really have defined muscles you not only need to have the muscle but you need a lower body fat for them to really “pop.” As for shaping, if you want to get technical you can’t really change the shape of your muscles. The shape of your muscles is from your genetics, you just have the ability to make them bigger or smaller. Don’t underestimate the importance of compound movements for nice arms. Bench variations, overhead presses, pull-ups, bent over rows, T-Bar rows and all the rows you can think of are great. From there mix in your favorite isolation exercises like the ones Dara mentioned, but continuously change-up the exercises as well as reps and training styles like drop sets and rest-pauses. There are a ton of great movements, it really all comes down to personal preference… Volume is key.
Matt: I like close grip bench presses and skull crushers as mass building exercises and lots of cable work for shaping movements. As Colin mentioned you can’t really shape your muscles so I guess I’m really saying that for heavy compound triceps work, the close and the skull crusher work very well. They both allow for a lot of weight and although both are compound movements I find them both to be effective at isolating the triceps, relatively speaking. As far as isolation movements, I really like anything that involves cables and a reverse or neutral grip. The reason being is that the close grip and skull crusher are both using the same grip so doing reverse grip or rope pulldowns will hit the triceps differently and we all know that hitting the muscle from a variety of angles is always better than just repeating the same thing over and over.
When it comes to biceps I really like the standing barbel curl, close grip pull up and the neutral grip pull up. The standing barbell curl is a great general biceps builder and the pull up variations, when you focus on using your arms, are very taxing to your biceps. I also like hammer curls and alternating dumbbell curls either standing or leaning back on an incline bench to change the angle. Two exercises that haven’t ever worked well for me personally are concentration curls and preacher curls. For some reason my shoulder gets really involved with those. I don’t know if that’s that same for anyone else but when I do preacher curls especially it takes me more strength and concentration to keep my shoulders locked in place to stay out of the movement that I can’t ever get a good biceps workout in.
Round 1: The best fat loss method
Round 2: Fasted vs fed cardio for fat loss
Round 5: The best 3 exercises
Round 6: The ideal training program
Round 7: How much protein for fat loss
Round 8: The last 10 pounds
Round 9: The ultimate training split
Round 10: Do carbs or fats make you fat?
Round 15: Are cheat meals good or bad?
Round 16: The fastest way to get six pack abs?
Round 17: The most effective exercise sequence
Round 18: Is cardio necessary?
Round 19: IIFYM vs clean eating
Round 20: Newbie mistakes and advice
Round 21: The most important muscle
Round 22: Is core training necessary?
Round 24: Good and bad fitness trends