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6 At-Home Exercises That Will Blow Up Your Arms 

If you’ve got a set of dumbbells and a resistance band lying about, then you can build big arms just like @nathanielmassiah. This guy’s sharing his six secret moves to arms that will make you the envy of all your gym buddies. 

We’ve asked personal trainer, Joe Nixon, to break down each exercise so that you can avoid injury and get the most out of each move. So, grab your dumbbells and resistance band and get building those bi’s and tri’s. 



Seated bicep curl  

4 sets of 1012 reps 

No matter what type of curls you do, you’ll be targeting the biceps and brachialis to varying degrees. A supinated grip places most of the load on the long head of the bicep, which, when well-developedgives the bicep a ‘tall’ look. This is the case with the seated bicep curl, which makes this exercise a favorite ‘peak-builder’ amongst athletes.  

How to 

1. Sit on a bench with your arms hanging to the ground, dumbbells in hand. 

2. Keeping your elbows in place and palms supinated. Contract your biceps and bring the weight up to your chest, squeezing hard at the top. 

3. Relax the biceps to slowly bring the weight back to the starting position, maintaining full control throughout. 


Banded triceps overhead extensions

4 sets of 1215 reps 

Using a band is an effective way to perform resistance training when you have no access to a gym. The constant tension throughout the movement keeps the load directly on the triceps. You can make it harder by adjusting your grip or using heavier resistance bands, but by focusing on time-under-tension you’ll surely hit the level of difficulty you need. The key to performing this exercise correctly is a well-developed sense of proprioception — learn to feel the movement and adjust accordingly.  

How to 

1. Attach one end of a resistance band to a low implement and face away from it. Hold the other end in your hands behind your head, with your elbows flared 

2. Contract your triceps and extend your arms overhead, pushing the sides of your palms up and outwards against the tension. Contract hard at full lockout. 

3. Slowly bend your elbows and return your hands to the starting position, maintaining tension throughout. 


Hammer curls

3 sets of 10-12 reps  

Hammer curls are one of the few bicep movements that you can go relatively heavy on. The hammer curl, with its neutral grip, distributes the strain across the biceps brachii, brachialis and brachioradialis. Simply put, the sides of your arms and upper forearms kick in to help. This develops an overall ‘thickness’ to the arm that few curling movements can match. Use heavier weight than normal to maximize the effectiveness.  

How to  

1. Hold the dumbbells in each arm, with a neutral grip (palms facing inwards towards each other). 

2. Contract to bring the weight slowly up, maintaining tension on the upper arms. Squeeze hard at the top.

3. Slowly lower the weight back to the starting position at the sides of the body. 


Dumbbell skull crushers  

sets of 1012 reps 

Aside from sounding extremely badass, the skull crusher is a highly effective triceps exercise because it allows for the natural rotation of the wrists. This facilitates a natural movement and overloads the triceps in varying degrees at different points across the range of motion.   

How to 

1. Lay flat on a bench with dumbbells in a neutral grip and arms outstretched. 

2. Keeping the elbows pointing vertically, lower the weight to the sides of your head, allowing your grip to go from neutral to supinated. *Note – to what degree you supinate your grip is highly individual, do what feels right for you.  

3. Contract and slowly bring the weight back to the starting neutral grip position. 


Zottman curls  

3 sets of 1215 reps 

Zottman curls are a way of ‘hacking’ the strength that comes with the hammer curl, alongside the isolation of a standard curl. The upwards motion uses a concentric contraction to target the biceps, while the negative portion uses an eccentric contraction to overload the brachialis and brachioradialis to hit all areas of the bicep.  

How to 

1. Perform a standard bicep curl with a supinated grip (palms upwards). 

2. At the top, rotate your wrists so that your grip is now pronated (palms down). 

3. Very slowly lower the weight back to the starting position. Take at least 4 – 6 seconds on the negative rep.


Banded triceps pushdowns  

3sets of 1215 reps 

The banded triceps pushdown is an inexpensive alternative to the popular cable pulley exercise and compliments the overhead triceps extension. With a focus on time under tension and feel for the movement, the banded triceps pushdown can complete the job just as well. Contraction at the top of the movement is doubly important with bands, and tension should be so constant that it almost feels like one large rep rather than many.  

How to 

1. Attach a band at one end to a raised implement, such as a pull up bar. 

2. Holding the band in two hands, contract your triceps and pull the band down and outwards, keeping tension against the band throughout. Contract hard at the bottom. 

3. Slowly bend your elbows and let the bandrevert back to the starting position, maintaining tension throughout.  


Take home message

Incorporate this quick workout from @nathanielmassiah to build bigger arms with limited equipment. Make sure you squeeze everything out of each rep to see even better results. Who needs the gym to build muscle anyway?! 


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Evangeline Howarth

Evangeline Howarth

Writer and expert

Evangeline is a Veganuary convert and newbie vegan with a degree in English and French from the University of Nottingham. Having recently ditched the meat and dairy, she really enjoys the new flavours and cooking techniques she’s encountered on a plant-based diet. She’s been shocked by the millions of ways you can use tofu, however still hasn’t found a decent cheese substitute! When she’s not in the office or eating, Evangeline usually out running or sailing. As a qualified RYA Dinghy Instructor and a marathon runner, she knows the importance of providing your body with the right nutrients for endurance sports as well as a busy lifestyle. Find out more about Evie's experience here.