Preacher Curl Machine (Biceps)
Preacher curls, also know as bicep curls, are a must for your arm exercise routine. The preacher curl exercise builds the bicep muscles that make up the top portion of your upper arm. To begin the exercise, sit down on the preacher curl machine with your chest against the lower cushion, and your upper arms resting on the upper cushion with your elbows shoulder width apart. Grab the handles that are in front of you with your palms facing up. Pull the handles up toward you by contracting your bicep muscles. The only movement should be coming from your elbows and forearms. Once you have pulled the handles up, hold the position for one or two seconds and then lower the handles back down. There are a number of variations of this exercise using free-weights, cables, and resistance bands.
Dip Machine (Triceps)
A dip machine is a favorite of many gym goers for building the triceps, which run along the bottom of the upper half of the arm. A dip machine will usually have seat with a handle on either side of the machine that should be about chest high when you are seated. You can adjust the weight on the machine so that you can continue to make the exercise a good work out as you gain strength. Sit in the chair and grab both handles. Your elbows should be bent up behind you. Push the handles down until your arms are almost completely extended, but keep a little bit of bend so the pressure stays on the triceps. Slowly allow the handles up by bending your elbows back up to the starting position. Dips can also be done on parallel bars by starting with your hands on the bar and your arm extended out holding the upper body above the bar. Then you lower yourself so that your arms are at chest level before pushing oneself back up. Your feet should not touch the floor during parallel bars dip exercise.
Plate Pinch (Forearms)
The plate pinch exercise engages the muscles in the lower half of the arm. The exercise requires two plate weights. Put the weights together with the flat sides facing out and grab one side with your fingers and the other side with your thumb. Stand holding the plates together with your arms at your sides for as long as you can. The width of the plates is just as important as the weight – the wider the plates the more difficult the exercise will be. For an extra challenge you can try holding three plates together.
Extreme Exercise: Close-Grip Push-Up off of a Dumbbell
If you are ready to put your arms to the test, you may want to try the close-grip push-up off a dumbbell. The name of the exercise is rather self-explanatory, but completing the exercise is not so simple. To start the exercise place a dumbbell upright on the floor. The ends of the dumbbell should be flat so that it is stable while sitting on the floor. Then, get into the push-up position. Your body should be straight with the balls of your feet and toes on the ground, and your hands on the top of the upright dumbbell. In the starting position your arms should be straight. Then lower your chest to the dumbbell by bending your elbows while keeping them close to the body. Once you have reached the dumbbell push with your arms back up into the starting position. This push-up is extra difficult because all of the movements need to be more controlled so that the dumbbell does not move. Also, this push-up position targets the triceps, as opposed to the biceps that are exercised with the traditional push-up. The triceps do not get as much use in daily life, so individuals often need to pay special attention to this area.