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Bicep and Tricep Workout



Arm Muscle Anatomy

The arms consist of three main areas - the biceps, triceps, and forearms.







The biceps is actually a smaller muscle then the triceps. It is on the front of the upper arms. There are two heads of the biceps muscle (hence the bi in biceps).

Beneath the biceps is the brachialis, a flat muscle group that runs about half way up the upper arm bone from the elbow joint. From the rear you can see the brachialis as a well-defined band of muscle between the triceps and biceps when a muscular bodybuilder flexes his/her arm.

The triceps is a three-headed muscle that is on the back of the upper arm (hence the name tri in triceps).

It is essential that when you do any exercise that you perform the movements correctly, if you donít you will receive less then optimum benefit from the exercise. It is very difficult to unlearn bad exercise habits, so it is best to learn the right exercise technique from the very start.

The key to developing the arms is to avoid overtraining these small muscle groups. The arms are used as secondary muscles in almost all chest, back, and shoulder exercises. For example, the biceps are used when doing any type of rowing movement for the back. The triceps are used when doing any type of pressing movement for the chest and/or shoulders.



Bicep Exercises



Standing Barbell Curls

This exercise is a basic movement that works the biceps and forearms.



Standing Barbell Curls


Grab a barbell with an underhand grip. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Let the barbell hang in front of you at arms length. Keep your elbows close to your torso at all times.

Moving only your forearms, use your bicep strength to curl the barbell up to shoulder level. Hold this position for a second to maximize the peak contraction in the biceps. Slowly lower the barbell to the starting position. Repeat.

Standing Dumbbell Curls

This exercise is similar to the barbell curl. It works the biceps and forearms.



bicep dumbell curls


Grab a pair of dumbbells. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Let the dumbbells hang at arms length on each side of your body. Keep your elbows close to your torso at all times.

Moving only your forearms, use your bicep strength to curl the dumbbells up to shoulder level. Rotate your hands so that your palms are facing upwards at the top. Hold this position for a second to maximize the peak contraction in the biceps. Slowly lower the dumbbells to the starting position. Repeat.

Tips - do not lift excess weight and use momentum to swing the dumbbells up. Use a lighter weight and keep the movement slow and controlled. For variety you can do this exercise with one arm at a time.

Dumbbell Hammer Curls

This exercise is similar to the dumbbell curl. It works the biceps, brachialis, and forearms.



bicep dumbell hammer curls


Grab a pair of dumbbells. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Let the dumbbells hang at arms length on each side of your body. Keep your elbows close to your torso at all times and keep the palms of your hands facing each other.

Moving only your forearms, use your bicep and forearm strength to curl the dumbbells up to shoulder level. Do not rotate your hands as you curl the dumbbells. Hold the top position for a second to maximize the peak contraction in the biceps. Slowly lower the dumbbells to the starting position. Repeat.

Tips - do not lift excess weight and use momentum to swing the dumbbells up. Use a lighter weight and keep the movement slow and controlled. For variety you can do this exercise with one arm at a time.

Preacher Curls

This exercise isolates the biceps. Secondary stress is applied to the forearms.



Preacher curls with an ez curl bar


Sit on a preacher bench with your upper arms lying flat on the pad, palms of your hands facing up. Grip the barbell with an underhand grip. Lower the barbell until your elbows are almost straight and you feel a good stretch in the biceps.

Moving only your forearms, use your bicep strength to curl the barbell up. Slowly lower the barbell back to the starting position. Repeat.

Dumbbell Preacher Curls

This exercise isolates the biceps. Secondary stress is applied to the forearms.



Dumbbell Preacher Curls


Sit on a preacher bench and hold a dumbbell with one hand and brace yourself againt the pad with the other hand. Lower the dumbbell until your arm is almost straight and you feel a good stretch in the bicep.

Moving only your forearm, use your bicep strength to curl the dumbbell up. Slowly lower the dumbbell back to the starting position. Repeat for the desired number of reps. Do the same for your other arm.

Dumbbell Concentration Curls

This exercise isolates the biceps and is good for getting a peak contraction in the muscles.



dumbell concentration curls


Sit at the end of an exercise bench with your legs spread. Reach down between your legs and pick up a dumbbell with one hand. Brace your elbow against your knee and fully straighten your arm. Place your other hand on your opposite leg to support your upper body.

Moving only your forearm, use your bicep strength to curl the dumbbell up to shoulder level. Hold this position for a couple of seconds to maximize the peak contraction in the biceps. Slowly lower the dumbbell to the starting position. Repeat for the desired number of reps. Do the same for your other arm.



Tricep Exercises



Lying Barbell Extensions

This exercise works the triceps, particularly the large inner head of the tricep muscle.



lying tricep with an ez curl bar (french press)


Lie back on a flat bench. Feet shoulder width apart on each side of the bench. Have a training partner hand you a barbell. Grip it with your hands place a bit narrower then shoulder width. Press the barbell up until it is at arms length above your shoulders.

Moving only your forearms lower the barbell in an arc motion until it is about an inch above your forehead. Using your triceps strength push the bar back up in an arc motion to the starting position. Repeat.

Tips - have a training partner spot you while you are doing lying barbell extensions just in case you need help lifting the weight.



Dips

This exercise works the triceps as well as the chest and shoulders.



dips picture


Grab a pair of parallel bars so the palms of your hands are facing each other. Straighten your arms and bend your knees. Support yourself between the bars.

Lean your torso forward as you do the exercise. Slowly bend your arms and lower your body between the bars until your elbows are at 90-degree angles. Hold this stretched position for a second. Steadily push yourself back up to the starting position. Repeat.

Note: this is an advanced exercise because you have to be able to lift your entire bodyweight. As you get stronger you can add extra weight to the exercise by hanging weights from your waist using a weight belt.



Tricep Dumbbell Extensions

This exercise works the triceps, particularly the long inner head of the triceps.



Over head dumbell tricep extension


Grab a dumbbell with one hand. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Lift the dumbbell so that it is at arms length straight above you shoulder. Keep a slight bend in your knees to take pressure off the lower back.

Lower the dumbbell in an arc motion behind your head until your elbow is at a 90-degree angle. Lift the dumbbell in an arc motion back to the starting position. Repeat for the desired number of reps. Do the same for the other arm.

Tip - You can do this exercise with both arms at the same time by using a barbell, two dumbbells, or holding 1 dumbbell with two hands.

Tricep Push Downs

This exercise targets the triceps, particularly the outer head of the triceps.



tricep cable push downs


Attach a bar to an overhead pulley. Stand in front of the pulley with your feet shoulder width apart. Grab the bar with a narrow overhand grip. Bend your arms fully and tuck your elbows close to your sides at all times during the exercise.

Moving just your forearms push the bar down in an arc motion until your arms are straight. Hold this position and squeeze your triceps for a second to maximize the peak contraction. Slowly lower to the starting position. Repeat.

Tips - do not let the weight plates touch during the exercise, keep the tension on the tricep muscles. For variety you can use different bars attached to the overhead pulley (i.e. rope, ez bar, V bar, etc.) to work the muscles at different angles.



tricep rope push downs




Tricep Dumbbell Kick Backs

This is a good exercise to hit all three heads of the triceps with a good peak contraction.



tricep kick backs, dumbell kick backs


Brace yourself against a flat exercise bench. Grab a light dumbbell in one hand. Place your other hand on the bench to support yourself.

Keep your upper arm along the side of your torso during the entire exercise. Moving just your forearm lift the dumbbell in an arc motion until your arm is straight. Hold this position for a couple of seconds to maximize the peak contraction in the triceps. Slowly return the dumbbell to the starting position. Repeat.




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