Your arms are the body part people often notice first, so here’s how to make them impressive.
Everyone knows curls get the girls, but mix up your hand positions to properly sculpt that irresistible curve above the elbow — employ three different grips (palms up, palms down, and thumbs to the side) when you perform bicep curls (12 reps each). The other key to a good curl is posture — keep your feet shoulder width apart and your knees slightly bent, or even sitting with a straight back on an exercise ball to work the core as well. Rowing is another great exercise for definition, while barbell curls — slowly curling the barbell from waist to shoulder height, keeping your elbows by your side — help add size, especially if you’re lifting heavy.
These muscles hidden down the back of the arm don’t get as much attention as their eye-catching neighbours, the biceps, which the limelight on the front but they’re every bit as important. Sitting triceps extensions — sitting on an exercise ball with a light dumbbell in each hand, extending the weight from behind the head to above it (20 reps) — as well as lying triceps extensions — lying flat on your back and extending the dumbbell from behind your head to above it (20 reps) — both add size, as do dips, standing dumbbell presses above your head, V-bar pulldowns, and bench presses with a close grip.
It’s common to have strong front deltoid muscles but weak middle and rear delts — so to get three-dimensional definition in your shoulders, you need to work all three muscles. T-U-V dumbbell raises — T raises (using your shoulders to raise dumbbells from your side to shoulder height; 15 reps), U raises (lifting dumbbells overhead; 40 reps), V raises (lying face down on a bench and raising the dumbbells to a wide position; 15 reps) — build a good foundation for all three deltoid muscles that can then be built upon with dumbbell shoulder presses and barbell front raises.
Forearms are another eye catching body part — admirers can’t always see sculpted delts but rolled-up sleeves always expose a bit of forearm — so spending time on thicker, fuller forearms is a worthwhile investment. The ‘Farmer’s Walk’ (carrying two heavy dumbbells by your side for 60 seconds, mimicking the burn you feel when you carry half a dozen heavy shopping bags from the car to the kitchen), dumbbell wrist curls (involving only the wrists and keeping the elbow stationary), and reverse curls (lowering the barbell from shoulder to waist height with a slightly wider grip) all help tone muscular forearms.