Many people who are new to the gym spend a ridiculous amount of time doing bicep curls using a set of dumbbells or a barbell because all they want to do is get big muscular biceps.
However the biceps are only one part of the muscular structure of the upper arm. It is actually the triceps that are the larger muscle group. Therefore people need to train the triceps just as much as the biceps if they want fully developed arm muscles.
Furthermore, it is not a good idea to spend too long performing exercises that specifically target the arm muscles because you should be training your chest, back, shoulders, legs and abs as well, particularly as you will still be working your biceps and triceps at the same time in many instances.
To demonstrate this point, here are some of my favorite exercises that mainly target other areas of your body, but will still help to develop your arms:
Rowing is a very effective workout for toning and fitness, but it can also help you to pack on some muscle as well. However instead of sitting on a rowing machine for 30 minutes, you should do seated rows (with your palms facing each other) using one of the machines at the gym, and focus on doing sets of 10-12 reps at a high resistance.
This exercise, along with upright rows and bent over barbell rows will help to develop your back, but they will also help you build bigger arms as well.
The pull-up is an exercise that works many different areas of the upper body, but it is also another exercise that will help you develop bigger stronger arms. That’s because it really works the brachialis and brachioradialis muscles in your arms when you pull yourself up to the bar. For greater activation of these muscles, you should bring your hands closer together instead of using the standard grip.
If you really want to engage your biceps even more, you should adopt a pull-up position on the bar, but turn your hands around so that they are facing you. This will work many of the same muscle groups in your upper body, but as you will soon discover, it will work your biceps a lot more. If pull-ups and chin-ups become too easy, you can wear a weight belt to provide added resistance.
The lat pulldown is primarily a back and shoulder exercise, but it will also engage your biceps to some extent as well. However the key here is to use a narrow grip if you are looking to target your biceps more, and for greater activation, you should use the v-shaped attachment instead of the wide bar and pull down to your chest with your palms facing each other.
As mentioned earlier, you really need to develop your triceps (the large muscles on the back of your upper arms) if you want to build massive arms and achieve a balanced look. This can be achieved with some dumbbell exercises, but dips are generally considered to be the most effective exercises for triceps. You can either do bodyweight dips or you can use the seated dip machine with weighted resistance, both of which will help you develop this muscle group.
I want to finish by saying that you shouldn’t necessarily stop doing bicep curls altogether because you can achieve some good results with dumbbell curls, barbell curls, concentration curls and preacher curls.
The point I want to get across is that your triceps need to be trained as well if you want big rounded arms, and if you spend too many days doing curls in the gym, you will be neglecting other areas of your body and developing a body that is out of proportion.
The truth is that many back, shoulder and chest exercises will work your biceps and triceps as well. So it makes a lot more sense to dedicate a day of the week to each of these body parts and use your time a lot more productively instead of hammering your arms with endless sets of curls.