Arm Exercises: Build Muscle Fast

Add 2 Inches to Your Arms

Men's Health delivers the results you want in the time you have—with workouts from the world's top experts

Activate Your Arms

Unless you can complete a set of five chinups and eight dips, you should limit muscle building workout exercises that isolate your arms, such as biceps curls and triceps extensions. "Your arms will grow best when you focus on the basics," says Kelly Baggett, a certified personal trainer with the International Sports Sciences Association.

The basics, he explains, are compound exercises—such as the chinup and dip—that force you to move at more than one joint. These movements allow you to use heavier weights than you would with single-joint isolation exercises, while also training either your chest or back. So don't worry: By using these muscle building workouts, you'll fully engage the muscles of your arms with each repetition, and you'll also shore up any weaknesses in the larger muscles of your upper body.

The Payoff

Fuller Biceps
This muscle building workout routine places your arms in front of you during some arm curls and behind you or at your sides during others. Varying arm positions builds the biceps evenly. As a result, you'll raise your peak and build thickness throughout your arms.

Stronger Triceps
Your triceps consist of three distinct muscles—the lateral head, on the outside of the arm; the long head, which provides bulk; and the medial head, which lies between the other two. This plan develops all three.

A Bigger Upper Body
The chinup and bench press in this workout develop your arms with help from your back and chest, respectively. The benefit: You'll build a bigger and more balanced upper body to support larger—and stronger—arms.

Benchmark Of Success: How Big Are Your Arms?
Since it requires only a tape measure, finding the circumference of your arms is an excellent way to gauge the effectiveness of your arm workout.

Your arms may look slightly larger after a workout or meal, when blood and water rush to your muscles. So, for the most accurate results, take all your measurements at the same time of day, such as before breakfast. Extend your arm in front of you (unflexed) and wrap a measuring tape around the largest portion of your upper arm. Record the circumference, then measure your other arm.

Directions
If you can't yet perform five chinups and eight dips, do exercises 1-4 twice a week. Treat exercises 1 and 2 as a pair, and exercises 3 and 4 as a pair. Complete your reps for the first move in the pair, rest for 90 seconds, and then move to the next exercise. Continue alternating between exercises for a total of four or five sets of each movement, resting for 90 seconds between sets.

When you're able to complete a full complement of both exercises, progress to exercises 5-10. Treat exercises 5 and 6, 7 and 8, 9 and 10 as pairs, alternating between the two exercises. Perform the routine once every 3 to 5 days for bigger arms—and a better total body.