Many of us are interested in having more toned arms and have tried many different exercises to get the arms that we desire. While doing body weight exercises is a good choice for getting in shape it may not be optimal. Arm workouts with weights is a better option for getting the look you want. This is because using weights for your arm workouts will allow you to hit the muscles better than body weight workouts. The benefit of using weights is that you can track how much load you’re using for your arm workouts and add more weight every week. Designing the workout with progression built in will provide better results than just going through the motions.
In this article we will go over different ways to work the arms with weights. We will give examples of how you can use barbells, dumbbells and the ez bar to get the arms that you’re looking for.
Here’s our list of arm workouts with weights.
Close grip bench press
The close grip bench is a good choice for building solid triceps while helping you improve overall strength. The close grip bench press is a compound lift that mainly focuses triceps rather than the chest. One of the benefits of doing this arm exercise is that you can easily add more weight every week which will help you progress faster. The barbell provides more balance than the dumbbell allowing for heavier weight to be lifted. This is an important exercise for arm workouts with weights.
How to do the close grip bench press.
When doing the close grip bench press you lie on the bench with your hands placed shoulder width apart. With experience you can go a little more narrow with the grip. Bring the barbell down to the chest until it touches then lift the bar back up. When doing this exercise aim for 8-12 reps. The reason for doing higher reps is that you’re not doing a maximal strength exercise. If you’re doing an arm workout this exercise would be placed first in the workout.
The skull crusher is a key exercise for any arm workout. This is because you can add a good amount of weight while isolating the tricep muscles. The main tricep muscle worked in this exercise is the triceps brachii. The equipment required to do the skull crusher is the ez bar with weighted plates. This is a great exercise for arm workouts with weights.
How to do the skull crusher
Lie down on the bench and get your ez bar. Grip the bar on the inside of the knurl of the barbell. The knurl is the grippy part of the barbell, lower the bar close to the forehead by bending the elbow joint and press the bar back up until your arms are straight. The first set should be done with just the bar to warm up. On the work sets add a weight that you can do for 8-12 reps.
Ez bar curl
One of my favorite arm exercises with weights is the ez bar curl. The reason that I like the easy bar over the straight bar is that it takes pressure off the wrist joint while still targeting the biceps. The muscles worked in the muscles used in ez bar curls are brachialis and brachioradialis. Many people make the mistake of doing partial range of motion when doing this arm exercise. This limits activation of the bicep muscles.
How to do the Ez bar curl
There’s two ways to do the ez bar curl one is standing and the other is with a preacher bench. Personally I like to do this standing with my back on the wall so that I don’t cheat. Grip the bar on the outer part of the knurl “cross-hatching”. Your hands should fit into the curve of the bar comfortably. Start with the bar touching your legs with the arm straight, flex the elbow until the forearm and bicep are almost touching and repeat. The rep range for this is about 8-12 reps.
Reverse barbell curls
I have added the reverse ez bar curl to the list because it helps build the forearms. I think that it’s important to work forearms because they play a major role in building strength. When doing the reverse barbell curl it’s pretty much the same as the ez bar curl but you’re using an overhand grip rather than an underhand grip. This grip will focus on the brachialis muscle.
How to do the reverse barbell curl
As said before doing the reverse curl is almost the same as the ez bar curl but the grip is reverse. Keep in mind that you most likely won’t be able to do as much weight with this lift. The steps are the same as the ez bar curl. Place your back on the wall and full extend the arm and flex the elbow joint. The rep range for this is about 8-12 reps.
Lying dumbbell tricep extension
The lying dumbbell tricep extension is a great exercise to add to an arm workout with weights. This is a little different from the skull crusher because of the grip. This exercise uses a neutral grip instead of an overhand grip. The muscles worked in this exercise are the same as the skull crusher but there’s more of a stability element added to the movement. We love this exercise for arm workouts with weights.
How to do the lying dumbbell tricep extension
Lie down on the bench, straighten your arms with a dumbbell in each hand, lower the dumbbells until they’re next to the ear and fully extend the arms. If you’re new to this exercise start with a light weight like 5-10 lbs in each hand. The rep range for this is about 8-12 reps.
Building up your arms is an important part of any weight training program. People enjoy having nice arms and sometimes weak arms are the sticking point when trying to hit a personal record on a lift. Doing some of the arm exercises listed above with compound lifts will improve strength and help you lift heavier on your big lifts. It’s important to note these lifts are not primary lifts and they should be used to complement compound lifts. Thank you for reading our article on arm workouts with weights.
Check out our article on how much I should be able to squat.