Continuing our series on compound moves, this week we’re focusing on how to bulk up your arms.
Compound exercises involve getting a little bit clever. Rather than using single-joint moves such as bicep curls and tricep pressdowns which isolate particular muscles, we should choose movements which involve two or more joints.
Compound movements will burn extra calories, trigger more muscle-building testosterone and help more body parts become stronger, more quickly. We’re not saying it’s gonna be easy. But bulging biceps and tree trunk triceps are just a few (intense) flexes away.
Pull ups are one of the best compound exercises for the upper body. They hit most of the back muscles in one go, saving you time and money at the gym. They are particularly convenient because you can do them anywhere you have access to an elevated bar. Pull ups are done with an overhand grip which places more focus on the lateral muscles. Start with a dead hang with your hands slightly wider than shoulder width. Lift your body up to a bar and lower it back again. There are plenty of variations, whether you want to challenge yourself with weights or need some help nailing your first pull up.
Contrary to popular opinion, chin ups are not pull ups. Both raise the body up to a bar but chin ups use an underhand grip where the hands face inwards towards the bar. This works the biceps more intensely than pull ups. The body is pulled up until the chin just clears the bar, lowered and repeated. Chin ups are a challenging compound workout for several muscles including the biceps, triceps and posterior deltoids. You can also add variety, such as Gironda Sernum chin ups and Narrow Parallel grip chin ups.
Tricep dips are an intense exercise targeting several upper body muscles. You can either do these like a bench dip, or toughen it up using the parallel bar machine or rings. Always start with your arms fully extended. Lower to a 90 degree angle then raise back up. To target your triceps more than your chest keep your back straight. Elevating your feet also makes your triceps work harder. As well as the triceps muscle, this exercise also works the pectorals, deltoids and rhomboids.
IAre these are a good way to prepare for an obstable race which involves hauling yourself up walls etc? I am doing one this summer and need quick upper arm strength!
Many of these moves work out your back and shoulders too so they're really great to try and master, not that I'm there with all of them. Videos really help - thanks!
I think the only one I could do out of these three exercises are the tricep dips.
Nice to see a girl's arms in this pic, as most people assume it's only men who want to work their arms. C'mon girls, who wants bat wings??