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How to Build Arm Strength

Strength is the maximal force that can be generated by a specific muscle or group of muscles during a single movement, according to the American College of Sports Medicine. Increasing strength makes daily activities easier to perform, improves muscle definition and bone density, raises your metabolism and can even improve your mood. To build your arm strength, you will have to challenge your body with targeted training and stay consistent in your workouts. Plan for rest and change up your exercises to prevent boredom and push past plateaus, so you can build arm strength.

  1. Perform exercises for your biceps and triceps to build arm strength. Train your arms two or three times per week on nonconsecutive days. Choose one or two exercises for each muscle as part of a full-body workout routine, or do three to four exercises each and train just your arms in a single workout.

  2. Do two to six sets of up to six repetitions for each arm exercise to build strength, according to the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Rest for one to two minutes between sets. If you can do more than six reps, increase the weight by 5 to 10 percent.

  3. Superset your biceps and triceps exercises to save time. This involves performing one biceps and one triceps exercise back to back with no rest. For example, perform a set of dumbbell biceps curls, then lie on a bench and perform a set of skullcrushers with the dumbbells. Alternate up to six times.

  4. Use a variety of equipment to work your arms. You can choose from machines that target the arms, cables, bands, barbells, dumbbells and even your own body weight. Working your arms with different equipment and from different angles will help stimulate growth to improve strength.

  5. Perform one superset or all of these to help build arm strength. Grab a barbell and perform a biceps curl. Then lie down and perform a skullcrusher for your triceps. Repeat up to five more times. Choose a set of dumbbells and perform a set of hammer curls. Take the weights overhead and drop down and press up for overhead triceps extensions. Repeat up to five more times. Next move to a cable apparatus with a rope attachment. Lower the setting and perform a set of curls with the rope. Bring the cable up and perform rope triceps pressdowns. Repeat up to five more times. Holding a set of dumbbells lie back on an incline bench set between 30 and 45 degrees, and perform incline curls. Stand up and lean forward to do a set of triceps kickbacks. Repeat up to five more times.

    Tip

    Always see a physician before starting any workout program.

    Start with just one or two sets of eight to 12 reps if you are new to resistance training. This will promote moderate strength gains to get you started.

    Change your exercises every six to eight weeks to keep improving strength.

    Rest for at least 48 hours between arm workouts.

    Work your whole body, not just your arms for a balanced, healthy physique.

    Warning

    Stop exercising immediately if you feel pain, nauseated or light-headed.

    Don't workout if your arms are still sore. Take a little more time so they can heal.

    Don't compromise exercise technique for additional resistance -- form first, then add the weight.

    Have a spotter to help you if you are lifting very heavy weights.

Things Needed

  • Resistance training equipment

About the Author

Bethany Kochan began writing professionally in 2010. She has worked in fitness as a group instructor, personal trainer and fitness specialist since 1998. Kochan graduated in 2000 from Southern Illinois University with a Bachelor of Science in exercise science. She is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, Certified Personal Trainer, Medical Exercise Specialist and certified YogaFit instructor.

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