Arm Exercises: Yes, Aesthetically Pleasing - But Let's Think About Why They're Important



Getting Started with Arm Exercises

Arm exercises have become the most glorified forms of exercise - why? Because they look good when they're toned! You'll constantly see big men at the gym flexing their biceps or "guns" in front of the mirror. Sometimes this is what drives people to work out in the first place! Be careful though, this is one section of the body that's often overtrained due to the excessive determination to have big biceps and broad shoulders.

Why should you want strong arms?

Back to reality - obviously your arms are extremely important in functional living. Lifting your coffee in the morning, turning the ignition of your car, brushing your teeth...the list continues indefinitely. It seems that you would get an excellent arm workout before even making it to work in the morning!

Well, not quite, but doing arm exercises in your home or at the gym will make daily living much easier, even if it only involves small tasks. Heck, if your arms are weak, how can you expect your upper body to work as efficiently as possible? You can't. For example, weak arms will inhibit your ability to perform any sort of shoulder or chest workouts. If nothing else, this is a good reason to build arm muscle...to help build the rest of your body!

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Benefits of Arm Exercises

wrist muscles

We use our arms constantly throughout the day! Why wouldn't we want to workout our arms? Aside from the aesthetic factor, there're lots of reasons we should consider arm workouts...

  1. Get maximum benefit from your arm exercises! If you don't work your arms, there's no way you can efficiently get an upper body workout. You need arm and shoulder strength to help support chest workouts or any other upper body workout. As an example, having weak triceps will limit your ability to perform narrow-grip bench presses. A nice quick way to hit a plateau!

  2. Having strong arms, as I mentioned above, help to stabilize and protect the shoulder and elbow joints. There are such things as tennis elbow that can be annoying little injuries resulting from weak biceps and triceps muscles. In other words, a lack of elbow support. No, you don't have to be a tennis player to get tennis elbow! Your safety and prevention of injury in weight lifting is also enhanced with stronger arms.

  3. Also, doing wrist exercise can help with tons of daily activities such as typing, writing, turning a key, etc. etc. Carpal Tunnel syndrome is due to repetitive overuse of weak wrist muscles and forearm strength which can be really painful. It's caused by inflammation that pushes against the median nerve in the "carpal tunnel" between the hamate and lunate bones of the wrist.

  4. The aesthetic factor! This isn't quite the case for women, but it's still important nonetheless. Men tend to seek large biceps while women tend to avoid or seek relief from flabby arms. I guess the consensus is that having large biceps has the connotation of manly power while lean, toned arms appears more feminine. Toned arms look and feel healthy.

No matter your current state, you don't need huge guns to be efficient - in fact, large, bulky arms can limit movements. Don't allow yourself to feel judged by anyone - the bottom line is for you to feel good about yourself. Isn't that what it's all about?

The Basics of Arm Exercises

rock climbing

It's obvious that your arm muscles aren't nearly as large as your chest or legs, so you don't need to spend as much time maintaining them. Arm exercises most commonly include the biceps curl and the triceps extension. However, it's advisable to do about 3 different exercises for each (give them equal attention!), between 3-5 sets per exercise depending on the results you seek. Do more sets for more size and maximum strength and fewer sets for toning. It's not necessary to do a ton of repetitions as this just gets boring and doesn't do much to challenge your muscles.

In fact, the very nature of arm workouts can be somewhat boring. Do your least favorite exercise first! That way you can get it out of the way and not skip it! Skipping it is the worst thing you can do. But...

Remember when I said your arms are strong supporters for your chest? Well, when doing a total upper body workout, be sure to concentrate on your arms after your chest and shoulders. You need to have these muscles fresh and available to avoid injury and weight plateaus in support of your larger upper body muscles. Further, your wrists should be worked last because they're obviously important for gripping and stabilizing the barbell or dumbbell in each previous exercise!

old barbell

With arm exercises, just like any other workout routine, you need to have a warm up! Start with lifting lighter weights (using the same muscles you're about to work out). Gradually increase the weight until you're going full force. Get that blood pumping!

By the same token, you should also have a cool down routine to keep blood flowing to the muscles for a longer period after you finish your workout. This promotes faster recovery times and muscle building.

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Do your wrist and arm exercises!

Let's not exclude the small muscles, either! Your wrists can also be problem areas with carpal tunnel and ulnar tunnel syndromes due to weak digital extensors and flexors.

Video demonstrations of some awesome arm exercises and workouts are currently being written. Check the right column at the top of this page to find the demonstrations!

There's also a good inventory of chest exercises and ab ab workouts for your benefit. :)

Check back very soon for updates!!

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