Arm Muscles


Upper Arm


User's Manual
Arm Exercises
Tricep Exercises
Bicep Exercises
Forearm Exercises
Arm Stretches
Upper Arm Stretches
Wrist & Forearm Stretches

Amazing Facts
Related Links

Upper Arm


The most commonly flexed arm muscle for impressive purposes. A pair of muscles in each arm, used for underhand pull-ups, tug-of-war contests, and any other action requiring the arms to bend while pulling.

Proximal attachments:

Distal attachments:
Connective tissue in the forearm

User's Manual

(see bicep exercises and stretches)

It's easy to over work these muscles when beginning a lifting regiment, so no matter how good you feel the first day you return to the weight room, take it easy until your muscles have grown accustom to lifting again.


A pair of muscles in each arm used to straighten the arms in order to push an object.

Proximal attachments:
Superior posterior humerus

Distal attachments:
Ulna near posterior of elbow joint
Connective tissue in forearm

User's Manual
(see tricep exercises and stretches)

This is another muscle that can feel fine when trying a new exercise and kill the next day so be conservative whenever starting a new tricep exercise.



A group of muscles in the forearm used to extend the wrist.

Proximal attachments:
Lower Humerus
Upper Ulna

Distal attachments:
Lower radius
Hand bones

User's Manual
(see forearm exercises and stretches)


A group of muscles of the forearm used to flex the wrist.

Proximal attachments:

Distal attachments:
Hand bones

User's Manual
(see forearm exercises and stretches)

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Arms User Manual

Triceps Exercises

Tricep Extensions
Main target: the triceps (back of the upper arms).

  • Stand a foot or two back from the pulley, to avoid rubbing the cord on your face.
  • Feet shoulder width apart.
  • Grab bar or tricep rope attached to an overhead pulley.
  • Start with elbows bent at right angles.
  • Keep elbows close to the body at all times.
  • Keep your shoulders down.
  • Push the bar or pull the rope down.
  • Feel it in the back of your upper arms.
  • Return to starting position under control.
  • Repeat.


Lying Tricep Extensions
Main target: triceps

  • Grab an EZ curl bar with overhand grip and lie on a bench.
  • Hold the bar with straight arms directly over your head.
  • Keep elbows stationary while slowly lowering the bar just beyond your forehead.
  • Pause.
  • Raise the bar to the starting position.
  • Repeat.

This can also be done with a bar attached to a low pulley.


French Press
Main target: the triceps.

  • Stand or sit erect.
  • Grab a barbell with both hands two hands width apart, or grab a single-handed barbell with both hands.
  • Raise the weight above your head.
  • Keep your elbows close to the side of your head.
  • Lower the weight behind your neck until the elbows are bent at a 90û.
  • Raise the weight above the head and repeat.


Dumbbell Kick-backs or Leaning Tricep Extensions
Main Target: triceps.

  • Grab a dumbbell with your right hand.
  • Stand with your left leg forward and right leg back.
  • Lean forward bracing yourself with your left arm, pressing your left hand against your left knee.
  • Keep your right elbow firmly pressed against and in line with your right side.
  • Start with your right forearm hanging straight down from your elbow.
  • Straighten your right arm rotating your forearm in a backward ark.
  • Once your arm is straight hold briefly and slowly lower your forearm back to the starting position.
  • Pay strict attention to proper technique. You probably need to start with less weight than you expect, in order to retain correct form.
  • Repeat.
  • When finished, switch arms and legs and repeat the exercise.


Main Target: triceps, lower chest, shoulders.

  • Grab the parallel dip bars
  • Lift yourself so arms are fully extended
  • Slowly lower your body by bending your elbows until your upper arms are parallel to the floor.
  • Pause.
  • Lift yourself to the starting position.


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Biceps Exercises

Two Hand Bicep Curls
Main target: the biceps (front of the upper arms/ the pythons!)

Always support the bar or dumbbells with your shoulders between reps.

Always keep your elbows at least slightly bent to avoid over extension.

  • Stand erect retaining good back posture, with head facing forward and shoulders square.
  • Rest bar against front thighs.
  • Lift bar to the front of your shoulders.
  • Lower the bar in control.

Do not tilt back or forward during the exercise. Keeping the body completely still, while only the lower arms move will give the biceps the best workout.

Never use your back to whip the bar up Ð this does you absolutely no good and can cause injury.

Important note: When you use free weights for curling you don't do much work at the beginning and end of the motion. The point at which your elbows are bent at 90û requires the most effort. To get resistance at every point during the motion use a bar attached to a floor pulley on a universal machine or any other various bicep curl machine available at the gym. This goes for the reverse curl as well.


Preacher Bicep Curls
Main target: the biceps

Always keep your elbows at least slightly bent to avoid over extension.

  • Sit on the preacher bench seat with your elbows resting on the front of the pad and your back straight, bending forward at the hips.
  • Hold EZ curl bar with underhand shoulder width grip.
  • Lift bar toward your chin.
  • Pause.
  • Lower the bar under control.


Incline Curl
Main target: biceps isolated.

  • Sit back on an incline bench.
  • Take a dumbbell in each hand.
  • Let arms hang.
  • Curl each arm alone alternating arms.

Do not swing the dumbbells once they are lowered.


Concentration Curl
Main target: biceps isolated.

  • Sit on a bench.
  • Bend forward, holding a dumbbell in your right hand with your right elbow resting on the inside of your right thigh.
  • Curl the dumbbell to your shoulder.
  • Repeat.
  • Switch hands and repeat the exercise.

Reverse Curl
Main target: upper and outer forearms, brachialis and biceps.

This is a weak position for your biceps so start with little weight and use caution.

  • Stand with feet shoulder width apart.
  • Take a shoulder width over-hand grip of a barbell resting the bar on the upper thighs.
  • With your elbows close to your rib cage, curl the bar to your chin.
  • Lower the bar in control to your upper thighs.
  • Repeat.


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Forearms Exercises

Each exercise uses 5 to 6 sets of 15 to 20 reps or more.

Thick handled dumbbells give you a greater range of motion. You can thicken a narrow bar by rapping padding and grip tape around it.

Wrist Curl (4 sets of many)
Main Target: the flexors (belly of the forearms).

  • Grab a barbell with an underhand grip.
  • Sit on a bench.
  • Rest your forearms on your thighs with palms facing up.
  • Hands holding the bar hanging in front of your knees.
  • Curl the weight into the palm of your hand flexing only at the wrist.
  • Lower the bar to hang in front of the knees.
  • Don't allow the bar to roll down the fingers. Keep a firm grip.
  • As mentioned, a thicker bar will give you greater range of motion.
  • Repeat.


Reverse Wrist Curl (4 sets of many)
Main Target: the extensors (top of the forearms).

  • Grab a barbell with an overhand grip.
  • Sit on a bench.
  • Rest the belly of your forearms on your thighs with palms facing down.
  • Hands holding the bar hanging in front of your knees.
  • Flex the wrist as far as possible lifting the bar.
  • Lower the bar to hang in front of the knees.
  • Repeat.


Wrist Roller
Main Target: forearms.

  • Grab a thick handle bar with both hands using an overhand grip.
  • You can sit with your forearms resting on your thighs or stand holding the bar in front of you.
  • Roll the bar with both hands.
  • Tension can be supplied by attaching a weight to the bar using a cord, which wraps around the bar as you roll it, or some machines offer a tension dial to set before performing the exercise.
  • Roll your wrists in as large a motion as possible.
  • Avoid moving your elbows to isolate the exercise to the forearms.

Main Target: Forearm flexors (belly of the forearms).

Any exercise requiring a strong grip such as pull-ups or bent over rowing can help develop your forearms.

There are also specific apparatus made to grip against resistance:

Bruce Lee designed a gripping machine consisting of a fixed upper bar, and a moveable lower bar attached to weight. By pulling the lower bar up to the fixed bar using the fingers, he received a great gripping workout. Lee developed his forearms immensely to increase his forearm mass and thus the force of his punches (force = mass * velocity) and to increase the strength of his wrists.

Portable gripping tools are also available and can be conveniently used at any time throughout the day. One such tool consists of two small rods separated with tension supplied by a spring. The user grips the two rods, forcing the two rods together using his thumb and fingers against tension.


Zottman Curls
Main Target: entire forearm.

  • Grab a dumbbell in each hand.
  • Stand erect with feet shoulder width apart and dumbbells hanging at your sides.
  • Always keep your upper arms fixed to your sides.
  • Curl the right dumbbell in an ark toward your left side and ending at your right shoulder with palms facing up.
  • Rotate your right hand so your palms are facing down and lower the dumbbell in an ark to the right.
  • As you lower the right dumbbell, begin the same exercise with the left arm by raising the left dumbbell.
  • Repeat in alternate fashion one arm after the other in smooth circular movements.


Wrist Twists
Main Target: entire forearm.

  • Grab a dumbbell in each hand.
  • Stand erect arms bent at 90û, holding your upper arms against your sides and your forearms extending in front of you, palms facing each other.
  • Rotate the dumbbells back and forth in opposing directions.

Thor's Hammer
Main Target: entire forearm.

  • Grab Thor's hammer (a small bar with a weight attached securely to the end) with your right hand.
  • Stand with back straight. Hold right elbow stationary close to your side while you rotate the bar from a palm-up position to a palm-down position and back again.
  • Once finished, switch hands and repeat.


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Upper Arm Stretches

Tricep Stretch

  • Stand straight.
  • Grab your right elbow with your left hand.
  • Raise your left elbow straight up into the air and gently pull it backward so your right hand slides down your spine.
  • Make sure your spine is straight and torso erect.
  • Feel the stretch on the underside of your upper right arm.
  • Repeat with the left arm.


Arm Circles

  • Stand erect, feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent.
  • Straighten one of your arms.
  • Make as large a circle as you can make with this arm in one direction several times and then in the other direction several times.
  • Keep your back straight.
  • Repeat with the other arm.
  • Feel your chest, shoulders and side loosening up.


Biceps Stretch

You might be able to stretch your biceps just by fully straightening your arms And extending the top of your hand with bent fingers toward the top of your forearms Now rotate your arms so they extend behind you and hold.

If you need more of a stretch resume this position and ask a friend to gently and slowly raise your arms higher behind you.


Or if a friend isn't available try the following:

  • Stand one arm's length from a pole facing away from the pole.
  • Keep your back erect, feet shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent.
  • Extend your right arm to the side with your palm facing backward.
  • Reach back and wrap your right fingers around the pole propping up your hand with your right thumb.
  • Keeping your right arm slightly bent at all times, slowly and gently rotate your right shoulder forward and down.
  • Feel the stretch across your chest and in the biceps.
  • Repeat with other arm.



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Wrist and Forearm Stretches
Very important before handling heavy weights

Hand Rotations

  • Rotate and bend your hands as far as you can in every direction you can think.
  • Your wrists should loosen up a bit.

Wrist Flicks
Once you have loosened up your wrists with wrist rotations and wrist stretches, try this exercise to prepare your wrist for tension.

  • Hold your hands up and toward the center of your chest with palms facing you.
  • Briskly shake your hands down and out.
  • Return to starting position.


Wrist Extension Stretch

  • Extend your right arm in front of you, elbow slightly bent, and hand opened face up.
  • Place your left fingers together, face down, on top of your right fingers.
  • Extend your right arm straight while pressing your right fingers down with your left hand.
  • Hold.
  • Feel it in the belly of your right forearm.
  • Switch hands and repeat.


Wrist Flex Stretch

  • Position your right hand palm facing down in front of you, extending across your chest.
  • Raise your right elbow so your right arm is parallel to the floor.
  • Grab the top of your right hand just distal to the wrist with your left hand.
  • Use your left hand to flex the relaxed right hand toward the right elbow while gently lifting the right wrist upward.
  • Feel it in the top of the wrist and forearm.
  • Repeat with the other hand.

Inward Wrist Twist

  • Position your right hand face up in front of you just below your chest.
  • Grab the underside of your relaxed right hand with your left hand by wrapping your fingers around the thumb-side base and pressing your left thumb against the right hand just below the first pinky knuckle Ð much easier to explain visually.
  • Gently pull at the right thumb-side base while pushing at the right hand near the pinky knuckle.
  • This should twist your wrist to its limit.
  • Feel the pull in the extensors and wrist.
  • Hold.
  • Repeat with the other hand.


Outward Wrist Twist
Another doozy to explain Ð see diagram.

  • Extend your arms in front of you.
  • Place your hands back to back like spoons, palms facing to your left.
  • Lock the right fingers between the bases of the left fingers.
  • Slowly and gently use the right hand to pull the relaxed left hand toward the center of your chest upper.
  • Feel the pull in your wrist.
  • Hold.
  • Repeat with the other hand.

Shake out your wrists after each exercise.


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  • Anatomy Topics

Related Info

Next Page of Muscular System Tour



Amazing Facts

  • You have all the muscle fibers you will ever have at birth. Once damaged they can't be replaced.
  • Arnold Shwarzenaeger has just about as many muscle fibers as you do. They're just thicker.
  • There are more than 600 voluntary muscles in the body.
  • Your hand contains 20 different muscles.
  • If all your muscles could pull in one direction you could create a force of 25 tons.
  • Muscles account of 40% of your body weight.

Related Links

Strength Building Exercise

Other skeletal muscles
Facial muscles
Pectoral muscles
Rectus abdominis
External oblique
Internal oblique
Transversus abdominis


Thigh muscles
Lower leg muscles
Latissimus dorsi
Erector spinae muscles
Correct Posture