- Personal trainer Chrissy Signore rated 5 arm exercises based on how effective they are at building strength.
- She said some arm exercises are less efficient and more prone to injury.
- She said biceps exercises are one of the least functional arm exercises because they only target one muscle.
Arm exercises are an integral part of any exercise plan, but many people choose ineffective and easy-to-perform exercises incorrectly, according to Personal Trainer Chrissy Senior.
She said exercises that involve many different muscle groups, such as push-ups, can actually do a better job of building functional arm strength and preventing injury than those that target just one muscle, such as biceps exercises.
Signore rated biceps and triceps stretches as the worst because they isolate one muscle and are easy to perform incorrectly.
5. Biceps curls are not functional and easy to do incorrectly
Signore, who is the founder of the fitness program interconnected relationshipThe biceps exercise isn’t a great arm exercise, he said, because it’s so easy to do wrong and only targets the biceps.
She said that men often lift very heavy weights, causing them to throw their core forward, rotate their shoulders inward, and swing their arms to lift the weights to their shoulders. She said bad form like this can damage your core and worsen your posture by pulling your shoulders.
In turn, Signor said she’s of the opinion that women aren’t using enough weight. In a set of 10 to 12 repetitions, she said, you should start to feel the muscle fatigue in your eighth rep in order to get the most out of your rigorous biceps workout.
She said the biceps workout isn’t very practical either, because you rarely use your biceps only when lifting or moving something in everyday life. She said exercises that engage your upper body are more effective and save you time by hitting several muscles at once.
4. Double triceps extensions can lead to injury
While Signore said the single triceps extension is a great exercise, performing the exercise with two dumbbells at once can cause injury.
For a one-time triceps extension, she said, follow this guide:
- Put one hand on a bench to support yourself
- In the opposite hand, hold a dumbbell with your palm facing inward
- Lift the dumbbells up so that your elbow is folded at your side
- Your arm should be at a 90-degree angle before you extend your arm back further than you think you can go, she said.
- Return to 90 degrees, and repeat
With the triceps extension, she said you lean your body unsupported from the bench and extend both arms at the same time. Signor said people often roll their backs and tighten their necks rather than keeping their backs straight, which can hurt the neck and lower back.
Finally, she also said to make sure your weights don’t swing around during your workout.
3. Dumbbell flexion and pushup is more functional than biceps exercise
Signore said the dumbbell curls and pushups are a modification to the biceps that make them more effective.
In addition to bringing the dumbbells to your shoulder with your elbows at your sides as in a traditional biceps exercise, press the weights over your head while rotating your hands so your palms are facing forward, she said.
She said that dumbbell flexion and push-ups engages a much larger portion of your upper body, including biceps, shoulders, and triceps. When you pick up and move something in everyday life, it’s common for all of these muscles to work in unison, she said.
Signore said to be careful not to push too hard and possibly hurt your shoulder.
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Push-ups also work multiple muscles in addition to your arms, such as the abdominals, triceps, chest, and outer shoulders. She said they also have a lot of variations that make them harder or easier and can target different muscles.
She said bring your elbows close to your body to engage your triceps more, or you can do a T-push-up to target your biceps and shoulders.
For the T push-up, she said she extends your hand up and behind you with one arm as you go up from the pushup. She said make sure to switch sides.
1. Wall balls engage your entire body
She said wall balls are Signore’s favorite arm exercise, because they recruit nearly the entire body into the exercise.
Here’s how to do it:
- Stand about 2 feet from a wall with a medicine ball between 10 to 20 pounds in your hands and your back straight.
- With your feet about shoulder width apart and corners slightly outward, dip into your heels as if you were squatting and then explode up to throw the ball perpendicular to the wall
- Hold the ball softly and return to the squat
Wall balls engage your shoulders, biceps, triceps, chest, back, abs, glutes, quads, and hamstrings, she said, which is also great for cardio and burning calories. She said she would aim for 30 seconds at a time or 10 to 15 reps.