The Best Exercises For an Arm Day Workout

The Best Exercises For an Arm Day Workout

One of the most common workouts you’ll see people doing are arm workouts. I mean, who doesn’t love a good arm day?!

Your arms are some of the first muscles people notice, especially in guys. Don’t get me wrong, ladies can have some nice guns too.

But what are some good exercises you can do to maximize your arm day workouts and see great results? That's what we're going to talk about today!

Now, I may have my biases, but I have a good feeling you will love these arm exercises.

Whether you want to look good, perform better, or build stronger arms, these exercises will do the trick.

But before I get into the exercises, let's talk about which muscles in the arms we'll be targeting.

Muscle in the Arm

There are 24 muscles total in the upper arm and forearm. But don't worry, I won't go that in-depth. Instead, let's break these muscles down into categories to keep it simple.

First, let’s start with the elbow flexor muscles, such as the biceps.

Elbow Flexors

Elbow flexors are the muscles that bend your elbow. There’s a handful of them, and they all work together. Any upper-body pulling movements can benefit from these muscles being strong.

Biceps Brachii

This is the muscle that almost everyone thinks of when it comes to your arms. The biceps brachii is a two-headed muscle that sits on the front of your upper arm.

It's the muscle that looks a lot like a baseball when it’s flexed.


This is a smaller and more flat muscle that lies beneath the biceps. This arm muscle helps bend the elbow too, but it's utilized more with a neutral or overhand grip.


This arm muscle is on your forearm and crosses over the radial side of your elbow. It helps to flex the elbow but works best when using a neutral or overhand grip. This muscle also plays a role in turning your wrist a bit as well.

Elbow Extensors

So, while you have arm muscles that flex your elbow, you also have arm muscles that extend your elbow. These are your elbow extensors.

For the most part, there is one main muscle group responsible for straightening your elbow. While there is another small muscle, it’s not worth mentioning.

Triceps Brachii

This is a 3 headed muscle on the back of your arm. It’s large too, as its size takes up about two-thirds of the upper arm. Because the triceps straighten the elbow, they are involved in all pressing movements.

Most of the exercises in your arm workouts will be focused on your biceps and triceps. After all, these are the two biggest muscles in your arms. However, there are muscles that flex and extend your wrist which are located in your forearms.

For well-rounded arms, these are muscles you don't want to neglect for your arm workouts either!

Wrist Flexors

I could go in-depth on these, but the names are very long and they all work together for the same purpose. So instead, I’ll keep it simple.

These muscles pull your palm toward your arm. Think about laying your arms on a table with your palms facing up. If you were to bend your wrists and raise your hands off the table, you would be using these muscles.

The wrist flexor muscles are all in your forearm on the same side as your palm.

Wrist Extensors

Similar to the wrist flexors, there are quite a few muscles that extend your wrists. For the sake of simplicity, I’m going to lump them all into one category for you.

These muscles move your wrist in the opposite direction of the flexors. If you lay your arms on a table with your palm facing down, bending your wrists to lift your hands off the table uses these muscles.

But that’s enough anatomy ... Let’s get into these arm exercises so you can add them in to your next arm day workout.

10 Amazing Arm Exercises For Your Arm Day Workout

What most people may not realize is that you don't have to isolate your arm muscles for a good arm workout. There are plenty of compound exercises that will give your arms a great workout too.

The bench press can be a great workout for your triceps. Rows can be a great workout for your biceps. So, keep that in mind as you read through these exercises.

For today, I'm going to stick to the exercises that target mostly you arms.

Here are 10 of my favorite exercises for a well-rounded arm day workout!

1. DB Alternating Bicep Curls

This is a classic arm exercise that never goes out of style. This exercise doesn't only work the biceps, but all of the elbow flexors to an extent.

Start by standing with a dumbbell in each hand. Your palms should be facing your thighs. Keep your upper arm stable while using your bicep in one arm to curl the weight up toward your shoulder. As you curl the weight upward, rotate your palm toward the ceiling.

Squeeze your bicep at the top for a second and slowly return back to the starting position. Repeat this movement for the same number of reps on each arm, alternating between them.

For the best muscle activation, make sure not to rock your body for momentum. Your body should remain still so the only motion comes from your arms.

2. Overhead Skull Crusher

This is a great arm exercise that you don’t see every day. Most of the time, you'll see people doing skull crushers on a flat bench with their arms over their chest.

For this exercise, you'll need a vertical or high-incline bench. Your arms will be overhead to help train your triceps differently. 

You see, your triceps attach to your upper arm and shoulder blade. So, when your arms are overhead, you can achieve a maximum stretch. This allows for a greater range of motion for your triceps, and a better workout.

This arm exercise also uses your wrist flexors to hold the weight properly.

To start, sit back on a high-incline bench with an EZ bar in hand. Grab the closer angled grips and hold the weight overhead with both arms. Your shoulders should be pulled back and your palms facing forward.

Keep your upper arm stable as you let your elbows bend as far as they can comfortably. The bar should end behind your head. When you get the full stretch, engage your triceps to push the weight up until your arms are straight.

Squeeze your triceps at the top and repeat this for reps.

3. EZ Bar Reverse Curls

This is an excellent arm exercise that doesn’t get used enough. The EZ bar makes this exercise easy on your wrists, and the reverse curl works your arms differently than a normal bicep curl. This exercise also uses your wrist extensors to hold the bar up.

With a reverse grip (overhand), you actually lower the emphasis on your biceps. Instead, this exercise uses more of your brachialis and brachioradialis.

To start, grab the outer angled grips on the EZ bar with an overhand grip. Start with the bar at your thighs and keep your wrists and upper arms fixed as you pull the bar up toward your shoulders.

Squeeze the muscles in your arms at the top before slowly returning back to the starting position. Repeat this for reps.

Once again, make sure not to rock your body for momentum. This will help make sure the exercise is exclusively for your arms. It also makes the exercise far more difficult, which is a good thing!

4. Close Grip Bench Press

This is another great exercise for your triceps, and it even targets your chest as well.

Lie back on a flat bench and grab a loaded barbell with an overhand grip. Your grip should be around shoulder-width apart, if not closer. Make sure to keep your shoulders pulled back and down for stability. From here, lift the bar off the rack and hold it above your chest.

Keep your elbows close to your body as you slowly bring the bar down to your lower chest. When the bar touches your chest, engage your triceps to press the weight back up until your arms are straight.

Squeeze your triceps at the top and repeat this for reps.

5. Spider Curls

This is another bicep curl variation that hits a little differently. There is less stability and leverage in this arm exercise, so your biceps have to work real hard. This is also a great exercise for the wrist flexors in your arms. 

For this exercise, you'll need an incline bench set at about a 45-degree angle. Lay your stomach on the bench and walk yourself to the top of it. Your legs should be straight, making it look like you’re standing up at a 45-degree angle.

Grab a pair of dumbbells and let your arms hang straight down in front of you from your shoulders. Keep your palms facing forward as you use your biceps to curl the weight up toward your shoulders.

Squeeze your biceps at the top, and slowly lower the dumbbells back down until your arms are straight. Repeat this for reps.

During this exercise, make sure to keep your upper arms stable without letting your elbows push backward. When your elbows bend behind you, it takes the emphasis off your biceps and brings your back into it.

6. Cross-Cable Triceps Extension

This requires two cables next to each other, and it’s a great isolation exercise. If you do them correctly, you’ll build a great mind-to-muscle connection with your triceps.

Set the height of each cable to roughly eye level, and attach a single rope attachment on each. Grab the left rope with your right hand and the right cable with your left hand. Pull your arms down to tuck your elbows to either side of your body.

The cables should cross over each other to form a big “X”. Your hands should be in front of your abs with both elbows bent. This is the starting position.

From here, keep your upper arms stable and use your triceps to pull the cable out to your sides. Once your arms are straight, squeeze your triceps for a second, then slowly return to the starting position.

Repeat this for reps.

7. Dumbbell Alternating Hammer Curl

This is still a curl, like a normal bicep curl, but it focuses on the other elbow flexors. Your biceps are less involved which allows the other muscles in your arm to get more work.

Grab a pair of dumbbells and hold them with a neutral grip by your sides, palms facing toward your body. Keep the neutral grip and your upper arms stable as you pull one dumbbell up toward your shoulder. Squeeze your arm muscles for a second at the top before slowly lowering to the starting position.

Repeat the same number of reps with both arms, alternating arms for each rep.

8. Triceps Kickbacks

This is one of the first tricep exercises I ever did, and it definitely works! That's why I still do it for most of my arm workouts. You can do this exercise with one arm at a time, or both. It’s totally up to you, but I’ll show you how to do it with both arms.

Grab a dumbbell in each hand and hold them with a neutral grip, palms facing inward. Next, bend your body forward a bit, pushing your hips back to get your torso parallel with the floor.

Row the weights toward your body and pinch your upper arms to your sides. Your elbows should be bent at a 90-degree angle with the weights hanging down. This is the starting position.

Engage your triceps to push the weights behind you until your arms are fully straight. Squeeze your triceps for a second at the top, then slowly return them to the starting position.

Repeat this for reps.

9. Chin-Ups

This is an exercise that not only targets your arms, but also your back muscles. It’s still great to do for your arms because it allows you to train with heavier weight than your biceps can curl.

For this exercise, you'll need an underhand grip. An overhand grip is a pull-up and will place less of an emphasis on your biceps.

Jump to grab a pull-up bar with an underhand grip, spacing your hands shoulder-width apart. Pull your shoulders back, and use your biceps to pull your chin to the bar. Once your chin reaches the bar, squeeze your biceps before slowly lowering back to the starting position. Repeat this for reps.

Your back will get some work too, so focus on what you can do with your biceps. The more you focus on them, the more emphasis you can place on them.

10. Dead Hang (Weighted)

Having big arms isn’t just about your biceps and your triceps. You have to give your forearms some love too! That's where the dead hang can be super helpful.

Now, if you struggle to do this with your body weight, then there’s no need to add weight. If you want the extra challenge though, you can put on a weighted vest or a belt to hold weight.

This exercise is very simple, and is a forearm killer. All you have to do is jump up to a pull-up bar, and hold yourself there for as long as you can. You’ll end up squeezing the bar so hard that your wrist extensors and flexors will stay engaged the whole time!

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How Many Sets & Reps Should I Do For an Arm Day Workout?

Now that you have some awesome arm day exercises, I'm sure you're wondering how many sets and reps you should do. The answer is, that will depend from person to person. On top of that, every workout is different.

If you're training for muscle growth, I'll generally recommend moderately heavy weights. For this, I often do 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps.

If you're training for strength, you may consider using heavier weights and lowering the number of reps you do.

If you're working on muscular endurance, or are newer to arm workouts ... I'd recommend starting with higher rep ranges and lower weight.

The important thing to understand is that your sets, reps, and the weight you use should align with your goals. It's also important to note how these variables affect volume. Especially if you are trying to gain muscle and strength, you should measure volume.

However, let's leave this conversation for another time, as it's a lot to get into.

For now, a good rule of thumb is to stick to a set and rep range that challenges you.

Getting The Best Results

As I’ve already mentioned, your arms are the muscles most people notice first. Plus, having strong arms can serve you in more ways than just being able to open the pickle jar!

One way to make sure your arms continue to grow and develop is by giving them a dedicated workout. Throwing an arm workout into your normal workout split can't hurt. In fact, it could be very helpful.

The exercises I just gave you can help you see some awesome results if you do them right. Your training style, and how hard you work, are only half the battle though.

If you want real results, you MUST also eat the right way. No matter how hard you train, if you don’t get enough protein, you won’t recover well. If you don’t eat enough calories, then you will have a really hard time building muscle.

If you eat too much, you’ll gain more fat than you may like. It’s all about balance, and following a diet is hard for most people.

That’s where we can help!

At 1st Phorm, we created the best all-in-one tool to help you get the results you’ve been looking for! It’s called the 1st Phorm App, and it can be a game changer for your fitness journey.

The 1st Phrom App simplifies the process of earning results by giving you the ability to track your food, access workout programs for your goals, and even measure your progress. We also set you up with an advisor to coach you, answer your questions, and give you the support you need.

No, the app is not a magic pill. You still have to do the work. But as long as you're willing to do the work, we'll meet you halfway ... always.

If you have any questions for us, feel free to reach out! We have a full team of NASM Certified Personal Trainers and Nutrition Coaches you can call at 1-800-409-9732 or email at We're available to talk every day of the week from 6 AM to 10 PM Central.

...and if you're ready to get started pursuing your goals and earn real, long-term results ... Download the 1st Phorm App today!

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