Your upper arm includes two major muscle groups called biceps brachii and triceps brachii. Workouts that utilize dumbbells are a simple way to target these muscles. However, you can strengthen and build your triceps and biceps muscles in several other ways, both at home or at the gym.
You can use weights other than dumbbells to work your triceps and biceps. Barbells, specific triceps and biceps machines and cables are all typical equipment found at gyms and health clubs. You can do several variations of triceps extensions and biceps curls using this equipment. Target your biceps with a curl. Grasp a barbell with an underhand grip and bring it to your chest by bending your elbow. Lower and repeat. Do a pushdown to target your triceps. Grasp a cable with an overhand grip at your chest level with your elbows bent and forearms parallel to the floor. Pull downward until your arms are extended. Slowly return your forearms back up and repeat.
Resistance Band Exercises
You can also target and strengthen your biceps and triceps muscles by using a resistance band. Seated rows target your biceps among other muscles in your body. Sit on the floor with your legs straight in front of you. Place a resistance band around your feet so that you are holding both ends in your hands. Pull the band by bending your elbows and bringing them backward. Slowly return your arms forward. Repeat the movement 20 times. Target your triceps by placing a resistance band around a tree or a bar. Grasp both ends with your hands and lean forward by bending your upper body from the waist. Hold your upper arms against your body throughout the movement. Pull the band backward by extending your arms behind you. Slowly return your forearms forward by bending your elbows. Repeat 20 times.
Isotonic Calisthenic Exercises
Calisthenic exercises are an example of isotonic exercises during which your muscle shortens under a load. In the case of calisthenic exercises, the load is your body weight instead of dumbbells. Great calisthenic exercises that target your biceps include pullups or chinups and curls using your body weight as resistance. Exercises that target your triceps include pushups and triceps dips. For muscular strength, perform isotonic exercises that involve high resistance and a low number of reps. For flexibility, lower the resistance and increase the number of reps.
Isometric exercise or static tension, is a contraction of muscle without a movement or alteration in the length of the muscle. Although, they may not feel like muscle-strengthening exercises, isometric exercises are a way to increase your muscle strength and mass. They are also an excellent way to work your muscles pretty much anywhere because you do not need any weights or other equipment.
Target your triceps with this easy exercise. Start by standing about a foot away from a wall, with your back facing the wall. Place the palms of your hands against the wall with your fingers pointing downward. Lean toward the wall while pushing yourself away with your hands. Hold for 15 to 20 seconds and repeat. Target your biceps by putting your hands behind your back. Grasp your right wrist with your left hand. Now try to curl upward with your right arm while holding it down with your left arm. Hold for 15 to 20 seconds and repeat with the opposite side.
- Anatomy and Physiology; Gary Thibodeau, et al.
- American Council on Exercise: Biceps Exercises
- American Council on Exercise: Triceps Exercises
- An Invitation to Health: Building Your Future; Dianne Hales
- Shenandoah's Castle: Arm Exercises