6 of the most effective arm exercises

7 October 2015 by
First published: 23 June 2015

As Britain prepares to pack away its winter wardrobe in favour of T-shirts and vest tops, WHL helps you prepare for the gun show with 6 of the most effective arm exercises you can do at home or in the gym. Grab your dumbbells, and before you know it you’ll be armed and dangerous.


Shadow boxing drills

Do: 400-600 punches

We’ve got a heart-raising warm-up to get you all limber. The Rocky soundtrack should be blaring as we get creative with some boxing drills. In a relaxed standing stance, aim 100 punches with alternate arms as quickly as possible towards 2 fixed points on the far wall. Repeat this process with two fixed points either side of you, engaging your core as you twist from side to side. For more of a challenge, pick up the pace and add some light dumbbells into the equation.


Triceps extension

Do: 4 sets of 10-15

Standing tall, with your ribcage high and away from the stomach, place one hand either on your hip or in the small of your back, palm facing out. With a dumbbell in opposite hand, drop the weight gently to the base of your neck. With the elbow remaining still as the night, slowly lift the hand until it is fully raised above your head. Repeat by slowly lowering the weight back down to the back of your neck. If you’ve only got a light weight, simply do some more reps to get your triceps properly fired up. You want to be feeling this in the back of your arms.


Triceps kickbacks with weight knocking

Do: 4 sets of 2 kickbacks and 5 knocks

Adopting a slight squat stance, place your dumbbells either side of your thighs, with your elbows tucked in at your sides. Methodically raise your hands behind your body, elbows locked, engaging the triceps muscle. You should feel a tension in the backs of your arms. Repeat this twice before then knocking the weights together behind your back. This will really get the insides of your arms working. Aim to do two kickbacks, followed by five knocks a total of five times. Then repeat that set four times.



Do: 30-45 seconds

No rest for the backs of your arms, I’m afraid. But we’re now working your pectorals as well. From seated on a raised surface like a box or a chair, cup your hands over the edge either side of your legs. The bum comes up off of your surface of choice, positioning yourself so that your bum is now just in front of your hands, with lowering room aplenty. Keeping your back close to the edge, lower yourself slowly down to just above the floor before springing quickly back up. The straighter your legs, the harder this exercise is. Oh and try digging your heels into the ground with toes raised for extra points.


Uneven raised press-ups

Do: 4 sets of 10-15 reps

Time to take care of those mirror muscles. We’re all familiar with the press-up in its classic format so let’s mix it up. Using a slightly raised surface, place both hands on it so that they are positioned directly under your shoulders. Take the right hand off and place it next to your block so your hands are far apart; from here, it’s down into your press-up, shooting the elbows wide. Bring the right hand back to the starting position, before repeating on your left side. Tip: keep your grip as firm as possible for better muscle engagement.


Chest press bridge

Do: 4 sets of 10-15 reps

Let’s finish up on your back. Come into your classic bridge position, navel raised high, feet and knees firmly together. Rather than hands at your sides, they’re positioned together with dumbbells over your chest, palms facing one another. Hands staying in this position, lower your elbows to either side of your body, with your hands  just off the floor. Hold for two seconds in this pose, before bringing your hands back to centre.